The Tower of London (17): Treasury and Records office

Posted: June 24, 2016 in History, Medieval History, Post medieval history
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There is evidence of the storage of royal treasures at the Tower since the 11th century. It is likely that these were the items which were not for everyday use, these being kept in the Palace of Westminster (a Jewel Tower was constructed within the Palace in 1369) or wherever the royal court was situated.

Wakefield Tower

Wakefield Tower

Initially the Treasury was housed in the White Tower but in 16th century it was transferred to a purpose built Jewel House. On the execution of Charles I, the keeper of the Jewels, Carew Mildmay, was imprisoned because he refused to turn over the keys of the Jewel House to the republican government. It only delayed the inevitable and they broke down the doors and either sold off or melted down all they found within. Following the restoration of Charles II the new crown jewels were housed in the Martin tower and then the Wakefield Tower (from 1869) before being housed in the new jewel house located within the Waterloo Block in 1967.

Waterloo Block

Waterloo Block

 

Door to Jewel House

Door to Jewel House in Waterloo block

As with Treasury the White Tower was also used to store the records of the chancery. These related mainly to details of property ownership and taxation. The records office moved to the Wakefield Tower in the late 14th century where it remained until 1858 when with the formation of the Public Records Office they were  moved to a purpose built building in Chancery Lane near Holborn.

 

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