Fabulous medieval interiors
Enter the world of Henry III and his son Edward I, two medieval kings who did much to give the Tower the appearance it has today. When Henry and Edward expanded the Tower’s defences in the 13th century, they also added a new, luxurious palace. For hundreds of years to come, Kings and Queens stayed in these rooms.
The Medieval Palace at the Tower of London contains recreations of fabulous interiors used by medieval kings and queens during their frequent but short visits to their most important fortress.
St Thomas’s Tower was built by Edward in the late 1270s. Edward didn’t stay at the Tower very often, but on his rare visits he used this room to meet important visitors and conduct business in front of the huge fireplace.
The Wakefield Tower was built by Edward's father Henry some 40 years earlier. The room was probably his Council Chamber and we've reconstructed his throne.
The Lanthorn Tower contains rare objects dating back to the time of Henry and Edward. Jane Spooner our buildings curator's favourite piece is a battered lead toy knight, 'it dates from about 1300. And I particularly like this piece because it reminds us that the Tower of London wasn’t just a place where Kings, Queens and tough soldiers were. It’s also a place where children lived and played.'
Edward I's Bed, inspired by Merlin
In the bedchamber there is a re-creation of Edward’s bed. The starting point for making an accurate replica came from Edward's financial accounts which recorded a payment of ‘11 shillings and a penny for timber, boards and sawn panels for a bed for the lord King and for transporting it through England’.
The little chantry off the bedchamber is one of the most peaceful and evocative spaces in the whole of the Tower of London.
‘When we were recreating Edward I’s bed, one of the most useful sources we found was a medieval picture showing the conception of the wizard Merlin! The event was taking place in a lavish bed that helped us a lot with our designs’. Assistant curator, Susan Holmes