Humour & Heritage

Feb 17, 2011, 12:42 PM |

   The Tower of London is the popular name given to one of England's oldest, most famous, and finest castles - the main fortification, the White Tower having been built almost one thousand years ago and most of what you see today having been added in the twelfth, thirteenth centuries fourteenth centuries by King Richard I (Richard the lionheart) and the Plantagenet monarchs that followed on through the centuries and into the 1300s.


   The castle, whilst it has been home to many Kings and Queens, is not the Royal residence of her majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but it is the home of her Crown jewels. These and the castle are guarded by her Yeomen ~ her personal guard ~ also known as Beefeaters.


   Countless blogs of interest could be written, on all aspects, but I leave it to the reader to imbibe what they will, from why they are so-called, to the various facets of the castle, like the infamous Traitor's Gate and its principal residents, like King Henry VIII, who had two of his wives executed here. Even Queen Elizabeth I was incarcerated here in the tower as a young girl before becoming one of our longest reigning monarchs. This was a time when the castle was much used, not only as a palace but for imprisonment and for all manner of macabre torture too by her spymaster general and loyal servant Sir Francis Walsingham.


   Beefeater, by the way, is also the name of a very good and very cheap brand of gin and one of these fine fellows can be seen on the bottles label.


   The castle lies on the north bank of the Thames on the eastern edge of the very old inner city directly below and to the west side of the world-famous Tower Bridge (the one that opens). It has immense appeal and is one of the attractions I like to visit when I have guests, but in all honesty, it's a place you could spend all week. The following is highly entertaining and gives a flavour of the Tower, its Yeomen and its history. This is part two of four, and a very good place to start before part's one, three and four, and maybe finding out the reason why all England has a vested interest in the continuing residence and well-being of the Ravens that have always lived there in the White Tower for hundreds of years alongside Kings and Queens.


   Without more ado, enjoy these 12 minutes of humour and heritage and should you come visit I will take you there. . .   J