The Cradle Tower

The Cradle Tower

The roof of Cradle Tower

The Cradle Tower was built by Edward III as a private watergate to his lodgings and was later used as a prison. 

The Cradle Tower was built between 1348–55 for Edward III as his private watergate into the castle.  He used it when he arrived by boat. It is richly decorated with ribbed vaults supported by carvings of crowns and animals.

The gate was defended by a drawbridge and two portcullises – the groove for one still survives above the main doorway. This was one of two porters’ lodges which flanked the entrance. There is a hearth in it to keep the guard warm. A staircase in the opposite room led upstairs. The upper part of the tower was entirely rebuilt in the 19th century.

Prisoners at this tower

The tower contains displays about John Gerard, a Jesuit priest, who was imprisoned in 1597 but then who escaped and also Anne Askew, the Protestant prisoner imprisoned in 1546, who later became a martyr.

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