Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hauntings: Tower of London



Tower of London (UK)

The Tower of London, over 900 years old, was used as a prison from 1100-1952 and has a reputation as being one of the most haunted places in Britain. Beheadings, murders, torture, and hangings have been carried out there.

Famous ghosts haunting the tower include:

Edward V and Richard Duke of York, two child princes, believed to have been murdered in 1483 on the command of their uncle and guardian, the Duke of Gloucestershire. Upon their disappearance, the Duke of Gloucestershire ascended the throne and was crowned Richard the III. Guards in the late 1400s spotted two small ghostly figures wearing the white night shirts, just as the princes wore on the night they disappeared. In 1674, workmen uncovered a chest that contained the skeletons of two children. Believed to be the remains of the princes, they were given a royal burial.

Queen Anne Boleyn. King Henry VIII, after learning his queen gave birth to a still born baby, accused her of infidelity. She was taken to the tower and beheaded on May 19, 1536. Queen Anne’s ghost appears near the Queen’s House and is often seen leading a ghostly procession of Lords and Ladies down the aisle of the Chapel Royal to where she’s buried, under the Chapel’s altar. Her headless body has also been seen walking the corridors of the Tower.

Sir Walter Raleigh was imprisoned and then executed by order of James I. His ghost has been seen wandering the halls and looks just like the portrait that hangs in his rooms, which are still furnished as they were in the 16th century, and can be seen when visiting the Tower today.

Countess of Salisbury
. The most grisly execution and haunting is that of the 70-year-old Countess of Salisbury, the last of the Plantagenets. King Henry VIII ordered her execution for political reasons, but the proud Countess refused to put her head on the block like a common criminal. She tried to escape and her executioner chased her, striking her with his axe until she was hacked to pieces. Her ghost has been seen running and screaming, reliving her gruesome murder.

Lady Jane Grey. She was the granddaughter of Mary (Henry VIII’s younger sister) and Louis XII of France. To keep the throne from Mary (who was Catholic) Jane’s father conspired to arranged her succession to the throne when Edward VI died. She was crowned Queen of England, but the supporters of Mary overthrew her. Mary spared her life, but when Jane’s father was later involved in a rebellion against Mary, Lady Jane was beheaded. She was only 17 years old. Lady Jane Grey’s ghost appeared to two Guardsmen on February 12, 1957, the 403rd anniversary of her execution. Her husband, Guildford Dudley, also beheaded, has been seen weeping in Beauchamp Tower.

Catherine Howard. Henry VIII married Catherine when she was 17. She allegedly had an affair with one of his courtiers and was imprisoned on charges of adultery and treason before she was 20. She once escaped from her room in the Tower and ran down the hall screaming and begging for mercy. She was caught and beheaded the next day. Her ghost has been seen running down the very same hallway, screaming for someone to help her.






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44 comments:

D.G. Hudson said...

Very interesting details, Lexa! I'm not sure I'd want to see any of those headless ghosts, but thanks for all that history about the Tower of London. Why is it always the power grab for the kingship. . .

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

What sad, sad stories. They sure cut off a lot of heads. I wouldn't have wanted to be royalty back then. Greedy people, all for a throne.

Very interesting.

Andrew Leon said...

There's nothing better than a famous ghost.

Tammy Theriault said...

see why I love you? you give me some creepy fun details and make me want to go travel!

Medeia Sharif said...

Such a gory history.

Kate Larkindale said...

Ive never seen any ghosts at the Tower, but I've never been there at night. It's certainly a rather eerie place to visit, but I often find those really old places are. So much history absorbed into the stone or something.

Sophie Duncan said...

The Tower certainly has its collection of ghosts, a lot of nobility met their maker here. I really wouldn't fancy being a guard there at night!
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

JeffO said...

What a brutal history!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've been there! Never saw a ghost though...

Cathrina Constantine said...

Sounds absolutely Spooky! I love it!

Nana Prah said...

How can a beautiful structure have such a horrible reputation?
Nana Prah

Mina Menon said...

I knew it was used as a prision, but didnt know abt it beng haunted!

Dean K Miller said...

My mother is in the area now...wish she had time to visit. I'll be there someday and would love to tour.

L.G. Smith said...

I'd think the ghosts of that place would need a traffic cop to keep the halls from overcrowding. Such a cool old place to explore. Didn't see any ghosts when I was there, but it felt entirely possible. :)

Julie Flanders said...

I've been to the Tower and even on a bright and sunny morning it seemed creepy! Fascinating place.

Birgit said...

I just came across your site courtesy of Alex! I love ghostly tales and Tower of London is a big one. I hope I have an encounter when I finally make it to London one day

Mere Joyce said...

Yes, that definitely has to be one of the most famous haunted places in the world (both for the building, and its ghostly residents!)

Rhonda Albom said...

Our guide when we visited the Tower of London was a fantastic story teller, making these ghost stories really come alive.

Rhonda Albom said...

Our guide when we visited the Tower of London was a fantastic story teller, making these ghost stories really come alive.

Crystal Collier said...

Okay, now that's a place I HAVE to visit. I mean, chances of seeing anything are nil, but just the history...

True Heroes from A to Z

S.K. Anthony said...

Oh my gosh...the Countess of Salisbury one is so violent. Okay, they're all violent, but wow.

kmckendry said...

There's a book out all about the Tower. I've wanted to read it but haven't had a chance yet. Fascinating stories and spooky!

Jennifer Hawes said...

Hard to believe the British royalty beheaded so many of their relatives! I've always been drawn to Lady Jane Grey's story and life.

Robin said...

I think the assumption (now) is how great it was to be Royal. Reading these makes me rethink that theory. Many royals died so that others could get, keep, or resume power. Yikes.

messymimi said...

Where there is danger and intrigue, there will be a lingering sadness that can be felt.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Lexa, there seem to be many ghosts inhabiting the Tower of London.

Lady Jai said...

I <3 this! Hauntings, especially in England are fascinating! I miss England so...

Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
My A to Z
Caring for My Veteran

Winter Moon said...

A lot of beheadings happened all over the British Isles. I've never visited the Tower of London, but these are delicious ghostly tales! Thank you for sharing Lexa :)

cleemckenzie said...

Ah the good old days when "Off with their heads!" was the usual ho hum kind of command. I'm thinking those ghosts have every reason to scare the bejeebers out of the living. Good on them.

Gina Stoneheart said...

These are great ghost stories, Lexa! So sad how those two princes were murdered by their uncle and how Queen Anne was beheaded by King Henry VIII. I will keep this place in mind if I ever find myself in London=)

Munir said...

I did not realize that beheading was so real. Unbelievable. As much as the power they had, they surely did not use it fairly eh?

Loni Townsend said...

All of these ghost stories are sparking my imagination like crazy. I think I want to write a horror story now.

Jean said...

Happy to see you mentioned at Alex's today! I love your choice for the A-Z this year! jean

Editors At Work said...

Oooh! Spooky ghosts! Love your post!

mooderino said...

I've been there a couple of times, not the most cosy place in the world. Probably even less welcoming at night. Nice gift shop, though.

mood
Moody Writing

Inger said...

I have been there too but didn't encounter any ghosts. Great ghost post, now I have to go and find Sophie's.

Stephen Hayes said...

I remember experiencing strange chills while visiting the tower. If ever a place was haunted it's the twer of London.

Jocelyn Rish said...

This is the first of the places you've featured that I've actually visited. Alas, I saw no ghosts.

I have to give props to Countess of Salisbury - her death was probably more painful, but I love that she fought until her last breath rather than kneeling down for the beheading.

Kim Graff said...

This is another place I've been to, but sadly saw no ghosts :(
I love the history of all the old places in Europe though. I imagine if ghosts did exist, they would be somewhere like that for sure.

Cathy Keaton said...

Seeing a ghost that old would be so cool. But, really how these people died is so horrible. I can't understand how they didn't see it as being so reprehensible like how we do now.

Mary said...

My husband & I visited a couple of years ago, and you could just sense that some bad things happened there. A child (I would guess her age to be around 4) looked at her mom and told her she wanted to leave because she "didn't like that place". I'd LOVE to hear stories from the beefeaters (and their families)who live there.

Leslie S. Rose said...

This is definitely on my HAVE TO GO THERE list. I've read so many histories and historical novels about it.

Leslie S. Rose said...

This is definitely on my HAVE TO GO THERE list. I've read so many histories and historical novels about it.

Lynda Dietz said...

Wow. This one really has its share of variety, doesn't it? The Countess' account sounds particularly unsavory.

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