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The Tower London Essay

818 words - 3 pages

The Tower of London is the oldest and probably the most famous historical building in Europe. The Tower of London was started in 1066 by its founder, William the Conqueror. It was built to serve as a fortress, a prison, and a symbol of power. The Tower began as a simple enclosure made out of timber and stone with a ditch and palisade along the north and west sides. A huge stone structure, which is now known as The White Tower, was then added to this enclosure. Around 1240, King Henry III widened the grounds to include a church, a great hall, and other buildings.The White Tower was the first building of the Tower of London. It was built as a residential palace and fortress for the king or queen. Although the official title of the Tower is 'Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London', there is not actually a Tower of London. Over the years, the Tower of London has become the term used for the entire complex. Since it was built in 1078, the White Tower has been used as a prison, a storehouse, and a museum. Until recently it was home to the national collection of arms and armour that belong to the Royal Armouries.The Tower of London is also home to the Royal Crown Jewels. The Crown Jewels are the personal property of the sovereign. Although the Coronation Regalia were held at Westminster Abbey, most of the jewels were kept at the Tower since that was the sovereign's residence. After some of the jewels were stolen from Westminster Abbey in 1303, the Tower of London became the permanent home to the Royal Jewels. In 1603, King James I ordered that the jewels be kept in the Tower Jewel House, and be put on display for the Tower visitors. No one knows the actual value of the jewels, but they are obviously priceless artifacts. Today the Crown Jewels are heavily guarded and it would be almost impossible to steal them; however in 1671, when security was not high, a man named Thomas Blood managed to steal the king's crown, an orb, and a sceptre. Thomas Blood was caught near the main gate with the stolen jewels before he could get away. Surprisingly, Blood was not punished; he was granted pardon and was awarded a pension.Not all traitors got off so easily though. The Tower of London has...

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