Dark clouds scuttled across rain-drenched skies at the Tower of London, and we took shelter in the spot where you can look out at the Thames and see this view of Tower Bridge. Even the Tower of London’s ravens seemed a bit put out by the weather.
If you are intrigued by fairy-tale-like legends, you’ll enjoy the Tower, as it has many. One such legend says that the kingdom and the Tower will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress. Luckily the Ravenmaster keeps a spare (7th) raven. After all, they do sometimes go missing. In fact one raven, aptly named Grog, went mysteriously absent, and was last seen outside an East End pub. No doubt trying to warm up and get out of the rain.
The thing is, though, that during the commotion of the Second World War the ravens were absent from the Tower, and the kingdom didn’t fall then. But why take chances?
The gloomy weather was the perfect setting for a visit to this stone-walled fortress that William the Conqueror began to construct in the 1070s. After all, it is the scene of murder, mystery and beheadings.
Yes, it also houses the Crown Jewels, but the stories of the people who lived, loved and died here seemed so much more interesting to me than valuable gems.
Gentle visitor pause awhile
Stand on the peaceful Tower Green and close your eyes, and listen to the gentle patter of rain as the ravens caw in the background. That’s when it’s east to imagine the day in May of 1536 when Queen Anne Boleyn crossed close to this very spot on the way to her execution. Nine others were beheaded here as well. I wonder what their last thoughts were?
The new (since my last visit) execution site memorial reads:
Gentle visitor pause awhile. Where you stand death cut away the light of many days. Here jewelled names were broken from the vivid thread of life. May they rest in peace while we walk the generations around their strife and courage, under these restless skies.
– Brian Catling, creator of the execution site memorial
Beautifully written. Do you have any favorite London legends? Let us know which ones!
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