The Tower of London (19): Tower Green

Posted: July 8, 2016 in History, Medieval History, Post medieval history
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Tower Green is an open space to the west of the White Tower. It is bordered on the south and west sides by the Queen’s House and on the north side by St Peter’s chapel.

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The Queen’s House is the residence of the Tower officials such as the governor and the chief warder. Although the building dates from 1540 the name dates only from Victorian times and changes depending on the gender of the monarch.

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Tower Green is traditionally the site of the execution scaffold within the Tower. Most executions were carried out in public on nearby Tower Hill, but 10 executions within the grounds are noted on a memorial, these include:

  • Queen Anne Boleyn – 1536
  • Queen Catherine Howard – 1542
  • Lady jane Grey – The ‘nine-day Queen’ – 1554
  • Margaret of Salisbury – last of the Plantagenet line – 1541
  • 1st Baron Hastings – Chancellor of England- 1483
  • Jane Boleyn – sister of Anne -Lady in waiting to Queen Catherine -1542
  • Robert, Earl of Essex – One-time favourite of Elizabeth I – 1601

The remaining 3 names are members of the Black Watch regiment who were found guilty of mutiny and executed by firing squad in 1743,

There is some debate about whether the monument is in the correct spot. In the reign of Queen Victoria, the Queen wanted to erect a monument to those who had been executed and this was the spot identified as being the site of the scaffold, but study of other sources suggests that the execution site was actually on the parade ground to the north of the White Tower or may have been different in each case as the scaffold was not a permanent structure but was erected when required..

Current memorial to victims of executions in the Tower (Photo by Wally Gobetz - https://www.flickr.com/photos/wallyg/)

Current memorial to victims of executions in the Tower (Photo by Wally Gobetz – https://www.flickr.com/photos/wallyg/)

 

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