Monument to Those Put to Death in the Queen’s Residence Courtyard.

There is a monument at the end of the Queen’s Residence Courtyard to the people, including Anne Boleyn and one other of HenryVIII’s wives. Ironically, it has a glass pillow in the middle as if the beheadings etc. were gently done.

It is said that one of the women refused to put her head on the chopping block and her head was severed with one swipe of a sword with her standing up.

Note the tasseled glass pillow in the center…. I don’t think that was what the chopping block looked like…

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The Queen’s Residence in the Tower of London

The Queen’s Residence still posts a guard at the door even though it is no longer used by the Queen. Most of the residence is now apartments for the Tower staff and their families. Our Yoeman guide proudly pointed out his apartment to us and told us that the buildings were all haunted….

There are other parts of the Tower where staff also reside……but, no less haunted…

The Queen’s Residence.

Some other staff residences in the Tower.

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The Royal Mint at the Tower of London

The Royal Mint was once housed at the Tower of London. Now there is a museum in it’s place. It was interesting to know how people shaved the coins to get the silver… the Jews were blamed and persecuted for it. Also the coins were rarely replaced though some monarchs made a point of updating them and the mint was used for this purpose.There was also a display showing how a king from another nation (sorry, I forget which one) simply had his image stamped into the center of other nation’s coins to use them as his own and thus not have the expense of minting his own…. clever….Table set up outside the mint showing ‘newly minted coins’ being bagged…More of the display outside the mint with crates of ‘coins’ and wagons with small ‘trunks’ that presumably contain more coins.Some examples of devices used to melt the silver for the coins.Weighing the coins… the weight of the coins had better match the weight of the silver provided to make them or the minter would face dire consequences.

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The Menagerie of The Tower Of London

What do you give to someone who has everything….. or…. has the means to obtain anything??

Something they didn’t know they wanted, of course! So foreign dignitaries brought exotic animals to impress the Royal Family. These animals, 60 species at the height, populated the Royal Menagerie and, those alive when it was closed, moved to a zoo.

Some of the wire sculptures… watching the people instead of the other way around.

In remembrance of the elephant that only survived for 2 years in spite of having a full time keeper. Might have been the beer…. you see, no one in the Royal Court knew what it was or what to feed it… they were told it liked beer, or so the story goes… Reading how they described it instead of just naming it was amusing. No one would know what it looked like by hearing its name so it was described by the colour and texture of its skin, its immense size, and odd protuberance…

The lions from inside the old moat. Some say they are the origin of the use of lions on British Royal Banners though historians disagree. They used lions on the banners from the 12th century on when kings started combining their family coat if arms with those of their wives’ families.

Another view of the wire statues… they are watching us….

Some information about the Menagerie

More info…..

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The Yoeman Warder

The Yoemam Warders of the Tower of London and Her Magesty’s Royal Palace, popularly known as Beefesters, are ceremonial guardians of the Tower of London. All warders are retired from the Armed Forces of Commonwealth Relms and must be former warrant officers with at least 22 years of service. They must also hold the Ling Service and Good Conduct medal. This group was formed in 1485 by King Henry VII, the first monarch of the current Tudor dynasty.

One Yoeman is the Ravenmaster. Legend maintains that should the ravens ever leave the Tower, the White Tower (former Royal Residence) will fall and disaster will befall the kingdom. Further according to legend, King Charles II believed. When his astronomical observer complained that the ravens interfered with his observatory work, he initially ordered them destroyed, but reminded of the legend, he instead relocated the observatory to Greenwich. He decreed that at least 6 ravens must always remain at the tower. There are captive ravens there now while many still freely fly around in the Tower area. I did not take picture of the cages…. though they are spacious, it just didn’t seem right to me to have those ravens inside watching the others fly free. However, I have since read that the Ravens in the cages are released each day at dawn as the Ravenmaster prepares their breakfast so life ain’t so bad for them after all. That would also be why we only saw 2 in the cages instead of 6…. they must have come home for a rest….lol

This is our Yoeman. He pointed out what it takes to gain the honor of being a Yoeman and wanted us to know that what he us wearing is a uniform not a costume. He is very proud of his 33 years military experience and his position as a Yoeman Warder.

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Arriving at The Tower of London

As one walks towards the public entrance to the infamous Tower of London, the cobblestone pathway is along the river banks. It is built over where the River Thames once flowed to surround and protect this palace. A fact that I was not totally aware of is that this was a Royal Residence for centuries. I knew it was used as a prison and to house the Royal Jewels, but not that it also housed the Royal Family.

Though no longer a residence, it remains a palace. A palace within which the people who work there now have apartments. Currently the youngest resident of the Tower is a 4 month old baby girl.

Approaching the entrance of the Tower from Tower Hill you see wire statues of lions. This is where the Lion Tower once stood. It housed the lions until it was demolished in the 1800s. There are many of these wire statues throughout the Tower to commemorate the wild animals that one lived in the Tower.

The crowd of people in the background are standing in what was once the river moat. They are starting their tour with a Yoeman Warder. The tour is included in the price of admission and is well worth 45 to 60 minutes of your time.

Of note, Tower Hill was where executions took place. Total confirmed from 1388 to 1780 were 122. Only 93 were beheaded. Others were hanged, firing squad, burned at the stake, or hanged drawn and quartered…. none were pleasant deaths.

Within the walls were other beheadings and other executions… 22 in total. And even the murders of 2 young princes by their uncle. These walls have few pleasant memories apparently.

One amusing story about a person awaiting fulfillment of there death sentence was relayed to us by our Yoeman Warder. Lord Nithsdale was to be executed in the morning. His wife brought some friends with her on her final visit to say goodbye to her husband. They were in and out of his living quarters making quite a spectacle and distracted the guards while dressing the lord in women’s clothing and covering his beard with thick makeup. They whisked him away while his wife stayed behind wailing and holding an imaginary conversation with him. As she left, she asked that they leave him to make his peace with God for one hour. The next day the 4 guards were questioned as to why they did not notice a man with a full red beard standing nearly 7 feet tall leaving. Needless to say, they all lost their jobs and… perhaps… their right to breathe…. the Lord and his Lady fled to Italy and lived long and happy lives.

The irony of that story lies in the fact that Lord Nithsdale was to be pardoned the next morning… but, love waits upon no kings will…

This picture is taken from inside the moat area where we were standing, like the people in the picture above, awaiting the start of our tour.

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All Hallows by the Tower

We visited an ancient church beside the Tower of London known as All Hallows. There was some original Roman rule in it… very tiny squares that must have been very labor intensive to install.

Unlike the large cathedrals, this church was quite simply decorated.

Statues of a family watching their youngest take their first steps (as explained in the sign below). This is near the entrance to the lower levels of the church.

This is a sample of Roman tiles. It is the floor of a home.

more Roman tile on the floor where we walked.

A lower level chapel. There were shadow people in the chairs…. that is, clear plastic cutouts…

A Saint perhaps….

A special lamp…

A different kind of chapel also in the lower level…

A tribute to the soldiers who ‘will not grow old’ so that we may.

Another tribute.

The pulpit.

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There is history everywhere

Seen on our walk to the ATM near the Tower of London…

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The Tower Bridge

We walked across the famed Tower Bridge.

An impressive sight.

Of course, Barbara had to get a picture by the sign…

It’s a busy bridge both the pedestrian side and the car side. We chose not to join the crowds going up into the tower.

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A stroll along the River Thames

Our first full day in London…. our rest day to get over jet lag…. was actually quite active. We didn’t get an early start, but we made a full day of it starting with train rides to town where we had to improvise due to closures for maintenance. There are lots of workers along the system; wearing bright vests; who are there to help lost tourists so we did fine.

Lots of people all around our destination even though it was Friday so, presumably, a work day.

Stan with the Tower Bridge behind him.

The Tower Bridge from a distance.

Barbara with the Tower Bridge behind her and the Tower of London across the river Thames.

Stan, again, with the Tower of London across the river.

Stan considering having fish and chips at ‘The Horniman’…. hmmmm…. hand battered… hmmmmm.

There is quite a contrast between the new (and many oddly shaped) buildings and the buildings from times of old. The bow of the boat in the river is the HMS Belfast that is open for tours.

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