Events timeline

Events timeline

Step into 1000 years of history at the Tower of London

Established by William Conqueror in 1066 to keep hostile Londoners at bay, the mighty Tower of London has been the scene of Britain’s most dramatic, fascinating and surprising history.

Step into 1000 years of history

1066 
William the Conqueror establishes the Tower to keep hostile Londoners at bay.

1080s
Work on the White Tower is under way.

1101
Ranulf Flambard, the first known prisoner at the Tower, makes a daring escape.

1155
Thomas Becket, keeper of the works at the Tower, carries out repairs.

1220s
Henry III starts a major expansion of the royal palace.

1251 
A polar bear joins the Tower menagerie.

Find out more about the other animals that were held captive at the Tower in our exhibition, Royal Beasts.

View our Royal Beasts slideshow > 

1263
Henry III surrenders the Tower to Simon de Montfort.

1275-79
Edward I builds St Thomas’s Tower and the watergate now known as Traitors' Gate.

 

1360 
John II ‘the Good’ of France lives in great splendour as a prisoner.

1381
Simon of Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury, is dragged out of the Tower and murdered on Tower Hill during the Peasants’ Revolt. 

1389
Geoffrey Chaucer, clerk of works, oversees completion of Tower Wharf. Chaucer is better known for having written The Canterbury Tales.

1483
The Princes in the Tower disappear, presumed murdered.

1485
Henry VII founds the body ofYeoman Warders or 'Beefeaters'.

1536 

Anne BoleynQueen Anne Boleyn is beheaded on Tower Green by a swordsman brought especially from France.

© National Portrait Gallery, London

1554
Lady Jane Grey, the ‘nine days queen’, is executed. Princess Elizabeth, later Elizabeth I, is imprisoned in the Tower.

1605
Guy Fawkes is tortured at the Tower following the failed Gunpowder Plot to assassinate James I and blow up Parliament.

 

1671
Colonel Blood attempts to steal the Crown Jewels.

1780
The last hanging takes place on Tower Hill.

1826
Duke of Wellington becomes Constable of the Tower and appoints Yeoman Warders based on their exemplary military service.

1835
Tower Menagerie closes. The animals are transferred to the new London Zoo.

1841
Crown Jewels are saved from fire.

1850
Koh-i-noor diamond is presented to Queen Victoria.

1952
East end London gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray are held at the Tower.

2012
The Crown Jewels exhibition opens.

View our Crown Jewels slideshow

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We've added a 1000 years of monumental dates to the Tower of London's timeline.

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