Henry III did a great deal to transform the Tower into what we see today. He improved and expanded the royal palace, building beautifully decorated lodgings for himself and his queen.
He also vastly improved the castle’s defences. Much of the first stone curtain wall was built in his reign.
Henry did not spend a great deal of time at the Tower – he stayed only 11 times in 56 years. Although it was important that the Tower was fit for a king, it was not a favourite residence.
Henry used the Tower specifically as a bolt-hole in times of political crisis. During his reign, lions, a polar bear and an elephant were kept at the Tower, all diplomatic gifts from other rulers.
Also famous for...
In 1258, barons led by Simon de Montfort demanded radical reform of the way the country was run. Civil war ensued.
His love of architecture and interior decoration
He re-built Westminster Abbey in the new, gothic style.