After your relocation to London we’ve suggested you snatch up a London Pass whilst living in London. Today we are exploring the Tower of London and the many things to see there, part one of this post covered the first part of your day at the Tower, let’s jump into the second half.
The Medieval Palace is a great place to start your afternoon. Life in St. Thomas’s Tower was surprisingly luxurious and palatial for the time of medieval days. They have recreated Edward the I’s bed and all its outfitting. During this period of time to have such excess was truly worthy of only the top sovereigns’.
Next up is the Fusilier Museum which depicts the story of a British army regiment started at the Tower of London by King James II in 1685. The current aristocratic was originally the Officers’ quarters for the British army. Still today the building houses the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, the Regimental Headquarters and the Officers’ Mess, often used for any kind of formal or ceremonial occasions. Must sees in the Museum is the collection of 12 Victoria Cross Medals won by the Regiment, the Uniform and Bearskin of King George V (who was a former Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment). King George the V was also an Eagle Standard of the 82nd Regiment of the French Line captured by the Royal Fusiliers during the Napoleonic Wars.
You will see the quote, “The Bold and the Old” that refers to the longstanding history of the Fusilier regiments that have served since their inception in the seventeenth century. The nicest feature that they have is actual letters and correspondences from real soldiers and officers of the time of each war effort. It offers a lot of insight into how conditions were at the time and the many battles and challenges they faced during times of war and unrest.
The Fortress itself is something to be toured whilst living in London. You will be able to walk about and pace the battlements that mark the Tower’s past as a tough royal fortress. The fortress walls were breeched however, in 1381 during the peasant revolution. It was and still is the only time the fortress walls have ever been breached; guess it takes an Englishmen to be able to claim that feat. They even have an in-depth profiling questionnaire that will tell you based on your answers which side of the revolution you would have been on, which is neat (I was a revolutionary). Beginning in 1238 through 1241 Henry III invested 5,000 GBP to fortify the Tower fortress which in today’s cash equivalent would equal 2.5 million pounds, whoa!
They do have replicas of the weapons of the age that were used to defend the Tower. They are called, “Siege Engines” and both types they display look extremely formidable. The Springald was the weapon of mass destruction during medieval times. Back in 1313, around the time of the revolution, five of these springalds were mounted atop of St. Thomas’s Tower and used to shoot anyone approaching the fortress. Springalds work like a cross bow only ten times bigger and with much greater force. They had a range of a quarter mile, but were used mainly as a deadly close range weapon. It is said that at the time of the mounting just one springald bolt was shot and impaled 5 men at once. The Perrier is the oversized slingshot for throwing rocks and boulders over the walls of the fortress. Delivered with as much strength of the 5 men it took to operate it, the weapon was very effecting and you get that sense standing beside the 17 foot slingshot arm apparatus.
Walking about the fortress you will want to stop in four of the other 8 Towers. The East Wall Walk will take you through the massive defensive inner circular wall and the four towers: The Salt Tower, The Broad Arrow Tower, The Constable Tower, and the Martin Tower. This was all part of the improvements during the refortification investments of Henry III in the mid- 13th century.
And finally it’s “Off With Her Head”, the Tower Green, where all the executions in the Tower of London took place. Only the upmost in stature were ever executed there, sort of an “Upper Class Execution Area”. The upper class and those that had too strong of public support under which unrest may be started by a public execution. More than one Queen of England has lost her head there (actually 3 did), and countless other executions and enemies of the crow were to meet their final moments there.
All in all the Tower of London offers a full day of one of the most famous buildings on Earth. Living in London after your relocation to London now makes you a part of the history that is London, and England.