The Salt Tower is one of the most significant structures within the historic Tower of London complex. It is a 13th-century tower that has witnessed several important historical events throughout its existence. In this article, we will explore the history, architecture, and significance of the Salt Tower in the Tower of London.
Video: FULL TOUR The Tower of London historic castle By LONDON MUSEUMS
The Salt Tower History
The Salt Tower was built during the reign of King Henry III in the 13th century, as part of the expansion of the Tower of London complex. It was constructed between 1238 and 1240 as a part of the inner curtain wall surrounding the White Tower.
The tower was originally known as the Bowyer Tower, named after the bowyers, who were responsible for making the longbows used by the English army. However, it was later renamed the Salt Tower, as it was used to store salt, which was a valuable commodity in the medieval period. The tower was also used as a prison, and several high-profile prisoners were held there, including the Jesuit priest John Gerard and the Puritan divine John Penry.
In the 19th century, the Salt Tower was used as a storeroom for guns and ammunition, and in the 20th century, it was used as a military museum. Today, the tower is open to the public as part of the Tower of London tour.
The Salt Tower Architecture
The Salt Tower is a well-preserved example of medieval military architecture. It is a large, circular tower with a diameter of approximately 42 feet and a height of 60 feet. The tower is built from Kentish ragstone, which is a type of limestone found in southeast England.
The tower has four floors, each of which has a vaulted ceiling. The ground floor was originally used as a storeroom for salt, and it has a low, narrow entrance that was designed to make it difficult for intruders to enter. The first floor was used as a living space, and the second floor was used as a guardroom.
The third floor was used as a chapel, and it is the only surviving example of a chapel within the Tower of London complex. The chapel has a beautiful rib-vaulted ceiling and a small altar. The walls of the chapel are decorated with graffiti left by prisoners who were held in the tower over the centuries.
Significance of The Salt Tower
The Salt Tower is an important historical landmark that has played a significant role in the history of the Tower of London. Its construction during the reign of King Henry III was part of the king’s effort to strengthen the fortress and make it more secure. The tower’s use as a storeroom for salt was an important part of its history, as salt was a valuable commodity in the medieval period.
The tower’s use as a prison during the 16th and 17th centuries is also an important part of its history. Many high-profile prisoners were held there, and the tower’s association with these dark and sometimes gruesome events has helped to make it one of the most popular attractions within the Tower of London complex.
The Salt Tower’s significance is also evident in its architectural features. The tower’s chapel is the only surviving example of a chapel within the Tower of London complex, and its beautiful rib-vaulted ceiling is a testament to the skill of the medieval craftsmen who built it.
Today, the Salt Tower is open to the public as part of the Tower of London tour. Visitors can explore the tower and learn about its history and significance, as well as enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area from the tower’s upper levels.
The Salt Tower is a fascinating and historic structure that has played an important role in the history of the Tower of London. Its construction during the reign of King Henry III was part of a larger effort to strengthen the fortress and make it more secure