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Graffiti at the Tower

Slideshow

These powerful and often beautful inscriptions record the heartache, unwavering faith and the patience of some of the Tower's prisoners.

  1. Astrological inscription by Hugh Draper, 1561

    Astrological inscription by Hugh Draper, 1561

    This inscription in the Salt Tower reads 'Hew Draper of Brystow made this spheere the 30 day of Maye anno 1561'. Imprisoned for sorcery, Hew Draper surrounded his 'sphere' with the signs of the zodiac.

    Copyright Historic Royal Palaces

  2. Giovanni Battista Castiglione inscription

    Giovanni Battista Castiglione inscription

    Giovanni Battista Castiglione was Princess Elizabeth's (later Queen Elizabeth I) Italian tutor. He was imprisoned in 1556 by Elizabeth's sister, Queen Mary I, for plotting against her. He was later released.

    Copyright Historic Royal Palaces

  3. Giovanni Battista Castiglione, Salt Tower

    Giovanni Battista Castiglione, Salt Tower

    The E contained in the heart probably stands for Elizabeth. Giovanni Battista Castiglione, Italian tutor to Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth I), was imprisoned by Elizabeth's sister Mary I.

    Copyright Historic Royal Palaces

  4. James Rogers and Thomas Stevens inscription

    James Rogers and Thomas Stevens inscription

    In January 1540, James Rogers was charged with highway robberies and theft from churches. Thomas Stevens, who was also accused of robbing a church, was probably his accomplice. Stevens was later released through lack of proof.

    Copyright Historic Royal Palaces

  5. James Typping inscription, Beauchamp Tower

    James Typping inscription, Beauchamp Tower

    One of the many prisoners whose religious beliefs were not aligned with those of the State, James Typping wrote: 'Typping, stand [or be well content] and bear they cross, for thou art [sweet, good] Catholic but no worse and for that cause, that three year space, thou hast continued in great disgrace; yet what happ will it? I cannot tell but be death.'

    Copyright Historic Royal Palaces

  6. Jane inscription, Beauchamp Tower

    Jane inscription, Beauchamp Tower

    It is unlikely that this inscription in the Beauchamp Tower was actually made by the 'nine day queen' Lady Jane Grey, who was kept prisoner in another building on Tower Green before her execution at the Tower in 1554. It is more likely that it was carved by one of her supporters such as her husband Guildford Dudley or one of his brothers.

    Copyright Historic Royal Palaces

  7. John Dudley inscription, Beauchamp Tower

    John Dudley inscription, Beauchamp Tower

    Most of the family of Guildford Dudley, who was married to Lady Jane Grey, was imprisoned at the Tower. This inscription reads, 'You that these beasts do well behold and see, may dem with ease wherefore here made they be, with borders eke within [there may be found] 4 brothers names who list to search the ground.'

    Copyright Historic Royal Palaces

  8. Kneeling figure, Beauchamp Tower

    Kneeling figure, Beauchamp Tower

    Much of the graffiti we see today at the Tower of London was produced by prisoners who were kept there during the 16th and 17th centuries. Some of these inscriptions serve as poignant reminders of an individual's unwavering faith. Others record the long periods of time they spent waiting to be released - or executed.

    Copyright Historic Royal Palaces

  9. T. Salmon inscription, 1622

    T. Salmon inscription, 1622

    This poignant reminder of the hardship some prisoners endured was engraved on the Beauchamp Tower by T. Salmon in 1622. It reads: 'Close prisoner 32 weeks, 224 days, 5376 hours'.

    Copyright Historic Royal Palaces

  10. Thomas Miagh inscription, Beauchamp Tower

    Thomas Miagh inscription, Beauchamp Tower

    Imprisoned for his alleged links with Irish rebels, Thomas Miagh recorded his interrogation and torture in this inscription of 1581.

    Copyright Historic Royal Palaces

  11. Thomas Rooper, Beauchamp Tower

    Thomas Rooper, Beauchamp Tower

    Thomas Rooper was imprisoned in the Tower of London for a religious offence in 1570.

    Copyright Historic Royal Palaces

  12. William Rame inscription, Beauchamp Tower

    William Rame inscription, Beauchamp Tower

    William Rame's inscription of 2 April 1559 records his tremendous faith. Perhaps looking to his belief for strength, he writes 'be wise and patient in trouble for wisdom defendeth as well as money'.

    Copyright Historic Royal Palaces

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