A WALK ROUND THE TOWER

These manacles upon my arm
I, as my mistress’ favours, wear;
And for to keep my ancles warm,
I have some iron shackles there;
These walls are but my garrison; this cell,
Which men call jail, doth prove my citadel.
_Old Ballad._

On leaving the Tower gateway we turn into the gardens on the right and
walk along the pathway that lies beneath Tower Hill and above the moat.
An excellent view is to be obtained from these gardens of the outer
defences of the Tower. The western front exhibits a striking mass of
buildings of various age and colour. At first glance we might imagine we
were looking upon a bit of sixteenth-century Nuremberg. We would not be
at all surprised to see Hans Sachs, Veit Pogner, or Sixtus Beckmesser
look out from the windows above the Ballium Wall. Below lie the
Casemates or outer defences, running, on this western side, from the
Byward Tower to Legge’s Mount, named, it is conjectured, after George
Legge, Earl of Dartmouth, who had charge of the battery in the
seventeenth century. The Outward Wall was put up by Henry III.

_The Devereux Tower._–This tower stands at the north-west angle of the
Ballium Wall, above Legge’s Mount battery. Robert Devereux, Earl of
Essex, and friend of Shakespeare, was a prisoner here in Elizabeth’s
reign, hence the name; but in earlier days it was known as Robyn the
Devyll’s, or Develin Tower. It is so termed in the 1597 plan reproduced
at the end of this book. The lower and older portion of the tower dates
back to the time of Richard I.; the upper portions are modern
restorations of what had existed previously, but the arrow-slits, which
formerly pierced the walls and admitted so little light to the interior
of one of the gloomiest towers in the fortress, are now widened to
windows. The walls are eleven feet thick, and a small staircase leads
from the tower to cells lying within the thickness of the Ballium Wall.
The lower floor contains an old kitchen with finely vaulted ceiling;
beneath this there is a forbidding dungeon, and underground passages at
one time led thence to the vaults of St. Peter’s Church. But the secret
subways are now sealed up and their existence probably forgotten.

_Flint, Bowyer, and Brick Towers._–These towers lie along the northern
section of the Inner Wall and are protected by the Outer Wall, and also
by the comparatively modern North Bastion which projects into the ditch
and is pierced for successive tiers, containing five guns each. The
Flint Tower is next in order after the Devereux, and lies some ninety
feet away. An older tower on this site, known as Little Hell because of
its evil reputation as a prison, had fallen partly to ruin in 1796 and
was demolished; the present tower was set up in its place, and, though
used as a prison for a few years after the rebuilding, has practically
no history as it now stands. The Bowyer Tower, next in order eastwards,
was the place of confinement of the luckless Duke of Clarence, who
suffered a mysterious death in 1478. The lower portions of the structure
date back to Edward III.; all above is of more recent date. This tower
had always an evil reputation. “One of the most terrible cells of the
fortress,” one authority states, “is to be found in the Bowyer Tower,
where there is a

[Illustration: PART OF A BASTION OF OLD LONDON WALL, WITH CLOCK TOWER OF
THE WHITE TOWER]

ghastly hole with a trap-door, opening upon a flight of steps.” From
these steps a secret passage led through a small cell to a farther cell
in the body of the Ballium Wall. It is possible that Scott had this
tower in mind when describing the dungeon and secret passages and doors
in the thirteenth chapter of the _Legend of Montrose_. The account of
the one resembles very closely what we know of the other. The bowmaker
lived and followed his trade within this tower, and it is named after
that master craftsman, whose workshop was a busy place in the days
before the bullet had ousted the arrow. The Brick Tower is chiefly of
interest as having been the place to which Raleigh was moved during his
first and third imprisonments. When it was found necessary to keep him
in closer captivity than had been imposed on him in the Garden House and
Bloody Tower, he was brought to the Brick Tower, and not to the cell in
St. John’s crypt, as tradition has led many to believe. Lord Grey de
Wilton died here, during his captivity, in 1617; here, also, Sir William
Coventry was confined for a time in Charles II.’s time. Pepys, on his
visit to Sir William, found “abundance of company with him,” and sixty
coaches stood outside Tower gates “that had brought them thither.”

_The Martin Tower._–This is the most famous of the lesser towers, and
is also known as the old Jewel House. It, too, in part is ancient, but
the building set up by Henry III. was tampered with by Wren, and has, in
consequence, a somewhat patchy appearance to-day. The tower stands at
the north-east corner of the Inner Wall, and beneath it lies Brass Mount
battery. It is best seen from the point where we leave the public
gardens and go on to the level of the Tower Bridge Approach. From this
recently constructed roadway a good general view of the Tower buildings
on the eastern side is obtained. But we will pause here on our walk to
consider two memorable events in the history of the Martin Tower.

In May, 1671, that audacious rascal, Colonel Blood, “whose spirit toiled
in framing the most daring enterprises,” after having failed to “seize
his ancient enemy, the Duke of Ormond, in the streets of London,”
bethought him of a plan to seize and carry away the Crown Jewels of
England, then kept in the Martin Tower. It was soon after the
appointment of Sir Gilbert Talbot as Master, or Keeper, of the Jewels
that the regalia had been opened to public inspection, and an old
servant of Sir Gilbert’s, Talbot Edwards, was in immediate charge of the
room in which the gems lay. Blood had been making one or two visits, in
various disguises, to the Jewel-room during the last weeks of April of
the year mentioned (the date is sometimes given as 1673, but Evelyn
mentions the affair, in his _Diary_, under May 10, 1671), in order to
make sure of his ground and to devise plans of safe retreat. Blood, in
guise of a clergyman, and addressed as Parson Blood, had been invited to
dine with Edwards and his wife and daughter. “You have,” said the
cassocked Colonel, “a pretty young gentlewoman for your daughter, and I
have a young nephew, who has two or three hundred a year in land, and is
at my disposal. If your daughter be free, and you approve it, I’ll bring
him here to see her, and we will endeavour to make it a match.” The day
that he had chosen to introduce his nephew was the day on which he was
to make his own attempt to steal more than a maiden’s heart. At the time
appointed, Parson Blood returned “with three more, all armed with
rapier-canes and every one a dagger and a brace of pocket-pistols.”
Blood and two of his associates “went in to see the crown,” and the
pretended “nephew” remained at the door as sentinel. Miss Edwards, with
maidenly modesty, forbore to come down and meet her wooer, yet curiosity
impelled her to send a waiting-maid to inspect the company and report as
to the appearance of her lover. The maid, having seen whom she took to
be the intended bridegroom standing at the door of the Jewel-room,
returned to her mistress and analysed the impression of the young man
which she had formed, with womanly intuition, by a single glance.
Meanwhile, it was not love but war below. Old Talbot Edwards had been
gagged and nearly strangled by Blood and his men, but not before he had
made as much noise as possible in order to raise an alarm. The young
women upstairs were much too interested in Cupid’s affairs to hear the
cries from the Jewel chamber. Edwards received several blows on the head
with a mallet in order that his shouts might be silenced. He fell to the
ground and was left there as dead, while the ruffians were busily
despoiling the jewel case of its more precious contents. Blood, as chief
conspirator, secured the crown and hid it under his cloak; his trusty
Parrot secreted the orb; and the third villain proceeded to file the
sceptre in order to get it into a small bag. At that moment a dramatic
event upset their calculations. One can almost hear the chord in the
orchestra and imagine that a transpontine melodrama was being witnessed,
when told that there stepped upon the scene, at this juncture, a son of
Talbot Edwards who had just returned from Flanders. Young Edwards, on
entering his own house, was surprised by the sentinel at the door asking
him what his business might be. He ran upstairs, in some amazement, to
see his father, mother, and sister, and ask the meaning of this demand.
Blood and his precious suite of booty-snatchers received the alarm from
the doorkeeper, and the interesting party made off as quickly as they
could with cloaks, bags, pockets, and hands full of Crown jewellery, the
property of His Majesty King Charles and the English nation. Old Edwards
had now recovered his powers of speech, and, working the gag out of his
mouth, rose up to shout “Treason! Murder!” and so forth. This was heard
by those above who had been welcoming young Edwards’ unexpected return.
All were now active, and young Edwards, assisted by some warders, gave
chase to the rapidly retreating regalia. The Blood contingent had
already reached the Byward Tower and were making for the outer gateway
when some of the King’s jewels were dropped in order to lighten the
burdens of those who ran. But the Colonel still hugged the crown. They
were soon out on Tower Wharf and making for St. Catherine’s Gate (where
the northern end of Tower Bridge now stands). Here horses awaited them,
and here they were aware that shouts of “Stop the rogues!” were
proceeding from an excited body of men rushing towards them from the
western end of the Wharf. The gallant Colonel did not resign the crown
without a struggle, during which several of the jewels, including the
Great Pearl and a large diamond, with which it was set, rolled out upon
the ground and were for a time lost, but subsequently recovered. Parrot
was found with portions of royal sceptre in various linings and pockets,
and a valuable ruby had been successfully conjured away. When Blood and
his three tragic comedians had been made prisoners, young Edwards
hastened back into the Tower and acquainted Sir Gilbert Talbot with the
alarming news. Sir Gilbert stamped and swore a round oath or two and
hurried to the King to give him an account of the escapade. Charles
commanded the prisoners to be brought before him at Whitehall, and the
Merry Monarch endowed Blood with a pension of £500 a year. The second
Charles evidently admired a man of daring.

The Seven Bishops were confined–huddled together would be the more
literal term–in the Martin Tower, during the troublous days of James
II., for refusing to subscribe to the Declaration of Indulgence. “A
warrant was issued for their committal to the Tower,” we are told by Dr.
Luckock in his _Bishops in the Tower_, and “the spectacle of the 8th of
June [1688] has had no parallel in the annals of history. It has often
been painted, and in vivid colours, but no adequate description can ever
be given of a scene that was unique.” As the barge containing the
Bishops was pushed off from Whitehall Steps, “men and women rushed into
the water and the people ran along the banks cheering with the wildest
enthusiasm, and crying, ‘God bless the Bishops!’ When they reached the
Traitor’s Gate and passed into the Tower, the soldiers on guard,
officers as well as men, fell on their knees and begged for a blessing.
It was evening when they arrived, and they asked for permission to
attend the service in the chapel [of St. Peter]; and the Lesson for the
day, by a happy coincidence, was one well calculated to inspire them
with courage: ‘In all things approving ourselves as the ministers of
God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in
strifes, in imprisonments.’ … The enthusiasm was continued long after
the ponderous gates of the Tower had closed upon them. The soldiers of
the garrison drank to the health of the Bishops at their mess, and
nothing could stop them from such a manifestation of their sympathy.”
The Bishops were in the Martin Tower until June 15, when they returned
by water from the Wharf and were taken to the Court of King’s Bench.
They were tried on June 29. When Sir Robert Langley, foreman of the
jury, declared that the prisoners were found “not guilty” the scene
again became one of the wildest joy and excitement. “The released
Bishops, hearing the bells of a neighbouring church, escaped from the
crowd to join in the service, and, by a second coincidence, more
striking even than the first, the Lesson that they heard was the story
of St. Peter’s miraculous deliverance from prison.”

_The Constable, Broad Arrow, and Salt Towers._–These small towers
stand on the line of the eastern wall of the Inner Ward and face the
Tower Bridge roadway. In the first named the Constable of the Tower
lived in Henry VIII.’s reign; in the time of Charles I. it was used as a
prison. Its rooms and dungeons resemble those of the Beauchamp Tower,
but are on a smaller scale. The Broad Arrow Tower never lacked prisoners
during the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth, and the room on the first floor
has some inscriptions left by captives; these writings on the stone have
been so repeatedly covered with whitewash that they are now somewhat
difficult to decipher. In 1830 a list of the inscriptions was made, and
we find in it the following names and dates: “John Daniell, 1556,” a
prisoner concerned in a plot to rob the Exchequer in Mary’s reign, and
hanged on Tower Hill; “Thomas Forde, 1582,” a priest executed “for
refusing to assent to the supremacy of Queen Elizabeth in the Church”;
“John Stoughton, 1586,” and “J. Gage, 1591,” both priests. At the top of
this tower, near the doorway giving access to the Inner Wall, is a
narrow cell, with only a small aperture to admit light, which rivals
Little Ease in sparsity of accommodation. Behind the Constable and Broad
Arrow Towers are the Officers’ Quarters of the garrison, occupying
ground on which stood, until the reign of James II., an old building
known as the King’s Private Wardrobe, connected with the now vanished
Royal Palace. South-west of the Broad Arrow Tower lay the Queen’s
Garden.

_The Salt, Cradle, and Lanthorn Towers._–The Salt Tower, standing at
the south-east corner of the Ballium wall, is one of the oldest portions
of all the buildings, and dates back to the time of William Rufus. It
possesses a spacious dungeon, with vaulted ceiling, a finely carved
chimney-piece in one of the upper rooms, and in a prison chamber the
inscription of “Hew: Draper, 1561”–the memento of a sixteenth-century
magician–is cut on the wall. The Salt and Cradle Towers were the scene
of an escape of two prisoners in Elizabeth’s reign–Father Gerard and
John Arden.

Gerard had been put in the Salt Tower for the part he is said to have
taken in an attempt on the Queen’s life. When examined before a Council
which sat in the room in the King’s House where Guy Fawkes was
afterwards convicted, he refused to give any information that might
involve brother priests. For this he was ordered to be tortured in the
dungeon under the White Tower. In the account which he himself wrote of
the proceedings

[Illustration: EAST END OF ST. JOHN’S CHAPEL IN THE WHITE TOWER, FROM
BROAD ARROW TOWER]

we are told that he and his guards “went in solemn procession, the
attendants preceding us with lighted candles because the place was
underground and very dark, especially about the entrance. It was a place
of immense extent, and in it were ranged divers sorts of racks, and
other instruments of torture. Some of these they displayed before me and
told me I should have to taste them.” Gerard was led to “a great upright
beam, or pillar of wood” in the centre of the torture chamber, and there
hung up by his hands, which were placed in iron shackles attached to an
iron rod fixed in the pillar. The stool on which he had stood while this
was being done was taken away from under his feet and the whole weight
of his body was supported by his wrists, clasped in the gauntlets. As he
was a tall, stout man his sufferings must have been terrible indeed.
While he hung thus he was again questioned as to his associates in the
“plot,” but he refused to betray any one. He has left on record his
sensations as he hung against the pillar of torture. “I felt,” he says,
“that all the blood in my body had run into my arms and begun to burst
out at my finger-ends. This was a mistake, but the arms swelled until
the gauntlets were buried in the flesh. After being thus suspended for
an hour I fainted; when I came to myself I found the executioners
supporting me in their arms.” They had replaced the stool under his
feet, and poured vinegar down his throat; but as soon as he recovered
consciousness the stool was withdrawn and Gerard allowed to remain
hanging in agony for five hours longer, during which he fainted eight or
nine times. For three days he was put to this torture on the pillar, and
Sir William Waad, then Lieutenant of the Tower, exasperated at the
victim’s fortitude, exclaimed at last, “Hang there till you rot!” and he
was left hanging till his arms were paralysed. Each evening the victim,
“half dead with pain, and scarce able to crawl,” was taken back to his
cell in the Salt Tower. A few days later Gerard was again brought before
the Council, and again refused to compromise others. Waad thereupon
delivered him to the charge of the chief of the torturers–a dread
official indeed–with the injunction, “You are to rack him twice a day
until such time as he chooses to confess.” Once more he was led down
into the dungeon beneath the White Tower and strapped up to the pillar
as before, his swollen arms and wrists being forced into the iron bands
which could now scarce go round them. Still he refused to give the name
of a single friend, and Waad saw the futility of torturing him to death.
Gerard was locked up in the Salt Tower again and lay on the floor of his
chamber with maimed arms, wrists, and hands, terrible to look upon. Yet
he remained firm, and the pains of the body could not, it seemed, affect
his spirit. It happened that in the Cradle Tower, standing to the
south-west of the Salt Tower, on the outer wall and close by the Wharf,
another Roman Catholic prisoner, John Arden, was kept in confinement.
Gerard, when sufficiently recovered to be able to walk about again,
obtained leave of his jailor to visit Arden. Together they planned
escape. They wrote to friends in the City with orange juice, which
writing was invisible unless subjected to a certain treatment whereby it
became legible. Gerard, by the help of these friends, secured a long
piece of thick string with a leaden weight attached, and with this came
a written promise that upon a certain night a boat would lie beside the
Wharf just under the Cradle Tower. On the evening of the day appointed
Gerard stayed longer than usual with Arden, but dreading lest at any
moment he should be sent for and taken back to the Salt Tower. But night
came and he was still in the Cradle Tower, looking out anxiously across
the moat towards the riverside. At last the boat approached, and was
moored opposite the tower, from which Arden threw his line, and both
prisoners saw, with joy, that the leaden weight had cleared the moat and
fallen on the Wharf. It was picked up by the boatmen, and a strong rope
was fastened to the cord. This rope Arden hauled up into his cell and
made it fast. Gerard then swarmed down the tightened rope to the Wharf,
suffering acute pain owing to the condition of his arms and wrists. It
was five months after his torture before the sense of touch was restored
to his hands. Arden followed, and both got away safely to the steps
beside London Bridge, where they were met by the friends who had cheered
them in their captivity, and were taken to a place of safety.

The Cradle Tower is seen best from the Wharf. This broad riverside
embankment constructed by Henry III. makes a delightful promenade. It is
reached from the level of the Tower Bridge approach by descending a
flight of steps on the eastern side of the roadway and passing under the
bridge by the archway at the guard-room. When this arch is passed under,
on the immediate right, beyond the trees, is seen the Galleyman or
Develin

[Illustration: THE TOWER FROM THE TOWER BRIDGE, LOOKING WEST]

Tower, and the Well Tower to the left of it The Galleyman, or Galligman
Tower–to give it the name under which it appears in a plan of 1597–was
in former times a powder store and gave access to the “Iron Gate,” now
demolished. It will be noticed that five towers stand closely together
at this corner of the defences. The south-eastern portion of the
fortress had always been considered that most exposed to attack; the
protecting ditch, too, is narrower at this point than elsewhere, hence
the need for additional fortification. Beside the Cradle Tower a modern
drawbridge has been constructed giving access for stores. Within the
outer and inner walls here, lay the Privy Garden, one of the most
peaceful and secluded nooks in the fortress–a place of old-world
flowers and southern sunshine. The Cradle Tower is so named from the
existence there in former times of a “cradle,” or movable bed by means
of which boats could be hoisted from the moat, and, within the grated
doorway in the tower wall, raised on to a dry platform there. The
principal entrance to the Outer Ward lay, in early days, through this
gateway in the Cradle Tower, and prisoners were landed here as well as
through Traitor’s Gate. In 1641 it was described as “Cradle Tower–a
prison lodging.” The round Lanthorn Tower rising above and dwarfing the
Cradle Tower was in Tudor days known as the New Tower, and commanded the
King’s Bedchamber, and the Queen’s Gallery. Towards the end of the
eighteenth century this tower was burnt down, and the walls, from the
lower portions and vaults, were rebuilt. In Henry III.’s reign this
tower was a place of great importance; its chambers were hung with
ornate tapestry, and the inner walls decorated with frescoes. This
tower, being attached to the royal apartments, was never used as a
prison, and so may be said to be happy in having no history of suffering
attached to it. It has been so admirably restored, by Salvin, and again
by Taylor in 1882, that it has lost little of its original appearance.

From the Wharf the massive St. Thomas’s Tower can be examined more
closely and the outer side of the Traitor’s Gate is open to view. The
guns on the Wharf, near the Byward Tower, are those that are used for
the firing of salutes on days of royal anniversary.