|A Brief History of the Tower
Henry III built a new wall and gate.
By the late 1230s the Tower of London, the country's key fortress for the
past century, was in need of updating. French forces had taken and
occupied the castle between 1215 and 1217, showing its defences to be
inadequate. In 1240, Henry III built a new wall and gate.
One lasting legacy from this period was Henry's order to have the great
tower whitewashed inside and out. This gave the building its name - the
Edward I completed a new entrance to the Tower. He moved the main land
gate to the south west where to was defended by a heavily fortified
enclosure and two mighty towers.
Edward completed the outer wall and moat.
Henry III's son, Edward, was probably England's most successful warrior.
His additions to the Tower created a fortification ringed by a moat
and two curtain walls, which in turn were protected by a series of towers
and gateways. He built new royal accommodation and established the Great
Wardrobe where royal goods were were stored. A permanent branch of the
Royal Mint was set up.
Edward IV built brick defences on Tower Hill. This new brick structure
became known as the Bulwark.
Edward VI came to the Throne as a 9 year old boy, the Tower was no longer
really fit for a king. However, Edward rode from the Tower before his
The Tower was filled with houses and storehouses. Although no longer a
royal residence, the Tower was still a central powerhouse in the 18th
century. Hundreds of people worked in the Board of Ordnance, responsible
for all fortifications in the British Isles.
Rebellious Scottish lords were beheaded on Tower Hill.
Only seven executions actually took place within the walls of the Tower
but over a hundred were carried out on Tower Hill.
The Royal Menagerie left the Tower. There had been a collection of wild
and exotic beasts kept at the Tower since the mid 13th century.
A huge warehouse was built on Tower Hill. many of its buildings were
restored to try and re-create its medieval appearance.
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