The Queen’s House

Anne Boleyn

The Queens House was built about 1530, probably for Queen Anne Boleyn, but she lived there only as a prisoner for 18 days awaiting her execution. The second queen of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth  I, she was beheaded on Tower Green by a French executioner for alleged infidelity; it is said she felt the French more skilled at the task of beheading. As a princess interned at the Bell Tower, Elizabeth I was permitted to dine here. Despite the presence of these and future Queens, the building was known until 1880 as the Lieutenant’s Lodgings.

Views of the left and right sides of the L-shaped complex of the Queen’s House

It is a very fine example of half-timbered Tudor architecture. Within a few years of completion, a floor was inserted at second storey level in the lofty hall making what is known as the Council Chamber. The chamber has a magnificent 16 century rafted ceiling and contains an elaborate tablet commemorating the Gunpowder Plot erected in 1608 by the then Governor, Sir William Waad. In this room Guy Fawkes was interrogated and after torture on the rack in the White Tower, signed a confession incriminating his fellow conspirators.

Adjoining the Council Chamber is a room in which William Penn, the famous Quaker who founded the state of Pennsylvania, was once a prisoner. And in modern times the notorious Rudolph Hess, Nazi leader and German deserter during World War II, was imprisoned here.

Previous <= The Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula

Next => The Crown Jewels

Read More

The Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula

The historic Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula (St. Peter in Chains) is the oldest chapel royal in England. In this little chapel most of those who died on Tower Hill and six of the seven executed on Tower Green, were laid to rest under flagstones without ceremony.

The Site of Block is demarcated in front of the Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula. (Part of the Jewel House can be see to its right). [Greeley/Gilmore]

Site of Block

Between the Chapel and Tower Green is a small paved area. A scaffold was erected here for the beheading of those whose public execution on Tower Hill might have incited the people to riot. The names of the six tragic figures who died on this fateful spot are inscribed on the board. They include three queens of England: Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and Lady Jane Grey. Elizabeth Ist supposed suitor, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex was also executed here.

A well-used block and axe. Although there can be found many cut-marks in the block, two are deepest — the one used for practice, and the one used for actual execution.  [Both: R.Radliff]

Previous <= The Beauchamp Tower

Next => The Queen’s House

Read More