TOWER OF LONDON. In feudal days a powerful fortress, and long afterwards a State prison of gloomy memories. It is now a Govern ment Storehouse and armory. It is a collection of buildings in the form of an irregular quadri lateral on rising ground adjoining the Thames, on the north bank and immediately to the east of the City of London. The space occupied is between twelve and thirteen acres, and the whole is surrounded by a broad but shallow moat. Usually the moat is dry, but the garrison can flood it by sluices from the Thames. The moat is bordered within by a lofty castellated wall, Avith massive flanking towers at frequent inter vals. Within this wall rises another of similar construction, but of greater height. within \Odell are the various barracks and armories: and in the centre of all is the lofty keep or donjon known as the White Tower. This last named building, erected by the Bishop of Rochester, in the time of William the Conqueror. is the most interesting in the whole structure. Its walls are in parts 10 feet thick, and of solid masonry. The White Tower was the Court of the Plantagenet kings, whereas the various other towers are principally noteworthy on account of the illustrious prisoners who have been con fined in them. In the northwest corner of the quadrangle is Saint Peter's Chapel, now the gar rison church. In another part is the Jewel Office, containing crown jewels of enormous value, crowns, sceptres, golden dishes. tankards. salt cellars, and other plate and jewelry. Near this building is the Horse Armory, which contains a collection of ancient and medieval arms and armor, the latter exhibited in complete suits on wooden figures of men and horses. Some of these figures represent English kings arrayed in the armor which the kings actually wore while living. To the Jewel Office and the Armory visitors are admitted on payment of a small fee.
Early writers have alleged that .Julius ("Tsar built the Tower of London as a Roman fortress. The spot was in fact occupied by some structure before the time of William the Conqueror. as is
shown by the massive foundations discovered in the course of later erections; but of the nature of these earlier buildings we know little. The White Tower. already mentioned, is the begin ning of the historical Tower of London. During the reigns of the first two Norman kings. the Tower seems to have been used as a fortress merely. In Henry I.'s time it was already a State prison. That monarch and his successors gradually increased the size and strength of the ramparts and towers, until the whole became a great feudal stronghold. The kings frequently lived there, holding* their courts. and often sus taining sieges and blockades at the hands of their rebellions subjects. On the accession of Queen Elizabeth, however, the Tower ceased to be a palace. Of the long list of executions for political offenses which it witnessed, those of Lords Kilmarnock, Balmerino, and Lovat, after the rebellion of 1745, were the last.
In 1841 a fire broke out in the Bowyer Tower, and extended to the armories, causing the de struction of numerous- modern buildings and many thousand arms. At present the Tower of London is in charge of the War Department, and contains arms and accoutrements for the com plete equipment of a large army. The mint and public records were formerly kept in it, but have now been removed to more suitable buildings. The government of the Tower is vested in a constable, who has great privileges, and is usu ally a military officer of long service and dis tinguished rank, whose position is honorary; the deputy constable, also an officer of repute, is the actual governor. Ile has under him a small staff and the corps of yeomen of the guard, more commonly known as 'beef-eaters.' (See BEEF EATER.) Consult: Dixon, Her Majesty's Tower (London, 1869-71) Loftie, Authorized Guide to the Tower of London (London, 1880) ; Temple, Towcr of London, Its History and Contents (Lon don, 1870).