The Tower Of London During Tudor Times

1058 words - 4 pages

The reign of the six Tudor monarchs in England marked a great deal of change in the Tower of London and its purpose. From the completion of its first buildings in 1100 to the reign of the first Tudor monarch, Henry VII, the Tower was mainly used as a royal residence. When Henry VII was crowned, he first set about restoring royal authority. Besides building a gallery for himself and making improvements to the royal apartments, he had little effect on the changes in the tower. After his death, the major changes in the tower began taking place.Shortly after Henry VIII was crowned, the Palace of Westminster, his chief royal residence, was destroyed by a fire. Since he didn't feel the tower was elegant enough to be used as a residence, he put up a large range of lodgings at the Tower. These lodgings, which were only used once, marked the end of the history of royal residence at the Tower. After Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn he wanted he to be crowned "with all ceremony", which meant residence in the Tower (Crispen, "Henry VIII"). Exactly three years after the event, she was accused of treason and became a prisoner in the Tower. She was executed shortly after. Though Anne Boleyn is the most famous prisoner of the Tower, she was not the first. The first important Tudor prisoner was Sir Thomas More and Bishop Fisher of Rochester, who were both executed in 1535 for refusing to acknowledge Henry VIII as head of the English Church. Catherine Howard, cousin of Anne, was the only other wife of Henry VIII to have her coronation and execution at the Tower. Henry VIII never returned to the Tower again.After the death of Henry VIII, Edward VI was quickly crowned King of England. At age 9, Edward did not have the ability to rule the entire country. The King was knighted by the Lord Protector, Edward Seymour, his uncle. Edward's Privy Counselors thought the Reformation should be taken farther than Henry VIII allowed, and religious changes involving the destruction of idolatrous or superstitious instruments began. They also began imprisoning a number of people in the Tower, including one of Henry's counselors, Bishop Stephen Gardiner of Winchester. This religious conservative was overthrown by his rivals and imprisoned in the Tower. He was soon released and rejoined the Councilors of the King. Before long, he was arrested again, falsely accused of treason, and was executed on Tower Hill. Onlookers regarded him as a martyr and dipped bits of cloth into his blood as souvenirs. During Edward's reign the English Church became more Protestant, but the King's early death left the country with a Catholic heir.During the brief reign of Mary I, also known as Bloody Mary, the executions and imprisonments of many Protestants and political rivals took place at the Tower. The most famous victim, Lady Jane Grey, was originally proclaimed Queen in an attempt to secure a Protestant succession after the death of Edward VI. A few days into the reign of Lady Jane, Mary claimed the...

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