The Reverend Canon Roger Hall MBE, Chaplain to Her Majesty The Queen and the Tower of London, has been ‘intitulated’ as Canon of the Chapels Royal within the Tower of London by the Bishop of London. He becomes the first Canon at the Tower since the 17th century.
From 1449, a Dean and two Canons were attached to the Tower of London’s St Peter ad Vincula, which is a Chapel Royal and ‘Royal Peculiar’ directly under the jurisdiction of the monarch; the Canonry was abolished in the reign of James II in 1685. The Bishop of London recently asked The Queen to reinstate the Canonry and a Royal Warrant was signed. The Chaplain was intitulated as a Canon by the Bishop in a service at the Tower of London on Maundy Thursday (5 April) during which he swore allegiance to The Queen and the Bishop, recited canonical oaths and received a blessing. The service took place in St John’s Chapel in the ancient White Tower (also known as the ‘Conqueror’s Chapel’ as it was built for William the Conqueror in 1078). The Chaplain is to be installed as Canon of the Chapels Royal within the Tower of London at St James’s Palace later this year.
The Chaplain, who has lived and worked at the Tower of London since September 2007, is currently leading a £1.5 million fundraising campaign for the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula to give the Chapel the care it deserves. The funds raised will enable new furniture, heating and lighting to be installed, as well as other improvements designed to bring the Chapel’s stories to life for its worshippers and visitors.
The Chapel Royal is parish church to the Tower of London and its congregation includes nearly 150 residents (mainly Yeoman Warders, otherwise known as ‘Beefeaters’, and their families), as well as staff and members of the local community who are welcome to attend the services. The Chapel has an extraordinary history; three queens of England – Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard and Jane Grey – and the remains of two saints of the Roman Catholic Church – Sir Thomas More and John Fisher – are buried in the Chapel’s environs. All visitors to the Tower of London can view the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula as part of a guided Yeoman Warder tour, seven days a week, 361 days a year.