The Haunting History of the Tower of London

History

| LAST UPDATE 10/21/2022

By Amie Alfaro
Tower of London History
Yale Center for British Art/CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

The Tower of London is an imposing and impressive structure on the Thames River in foggy London. It has become a symbol of the city over the centuries and has served many purposes. But the haunted history of the Tower will send chills down one's spine...

After William I of England, better known in history books as William the Conqueror, defeated the last Saxon king of England, Harold II, he wanted to make his presence known and instill fear in those who could possibly doubt him. So, in the early 1080s, construction began on the Tower of London. William gave the responsibility to Gundulf of Rochester to design and construct the new fortress and castle. Unfortunately, William was not alive to see the completion of the Tower. It took 20 years of construction on the White Tower, another name it goes by, for it to be finished. Once completed, the building was nearly 90 feet high and could be seen from several miles away. It instantly became a landmark of London, a title it still holds to this very day. For years, it was used as a royal residence until it became what it is most famous for today – a prison.

Tower of London Haunted
Loop Images/Contributor via Getty Images
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It is rumored that there are 13 ghosts who still call the Tower of London home. Its most notable resident is Anne Boleyn. She was the second wife of Henry VIII and the mother to a little girl, who would become Queen Elizabeth I. Things took a turn for the worst when Boleyn was unable to produce a male heir, and Henry VIII already had sights on her lady-in-waiting, Jane Seymour. Boleyn was arrested for adultery and held in the Tower of London. She was executed in May 1536, and today visitors to the tower report seeing her decapitated body wandering the corridors. Before she became Queen, Queen Elizabeth I was held as a prisoner in the same room her mother stayed in before her untimely death when Elizabeth's half-sister, Queen Mary, was convinced she was committing treason.

Nowadays, the Tower mainly serves as a tourist attraction and is also used in formal royal ceremonies. Its days of being a prison are long past. Yet, the haunting halls still spook visitors. This infamous landmark is integral to London and its history.

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