sobota, 18. júna 2011
photo @ V.Morgan
The Tower of London in The Middle Ages
The Tower of London is one of London's most famous monuments. It has stood guard over the city since Norman times.
The first part of the Tower of London to be built was the White Tower. It was probably begun in 1078 and finished by 1100. The new tower was designed by a Norman bishop called Gundulf, who was a famous builder.
When it was completed the White Tower stood 90 feet high. Its walls were 15 feet thick at the bottom and tapered to 11 feet thick at the top. The entrance was on the first floor.
About 1097 William Rufus built a stone wall around the White Tower to enclose it.
For centuries the Tower of London was used to hold important prisoners. The first was Rannulf Flambard the Bishop of Durham. When an arrow in the New Forest killed William Rufus in 1100 his brother became Henry I. The new king promptly arrested the bishop for simony.
However the bishop escaped. He was allowed certain privileges such as buying able to buy his own food and wine. On 2 February 1101 the bishop generously invited his guards to a feast. When the guards became drunk he managed to squeeze through a window and climb down a rope. However the rope was not long enough and he had to drop the final distance. The bishop was met by friends who rowed him across the river and he then rode a horse to the coast where he escaped on a ship.
Bell Tower was built in 1190-1210. The bell at the top was rung in an emergency. Wardrobe Tower was built in 1190-1199. As its name suggests it was used to hold clothes and jewels.
The Tower of London was greatly extended by Henry III (1216-1272). About 1220 Henry began building the Wakefield Tower and the Lanthorn Tower.
photo @ V. Morgan