Tower Green and Scaffold Site
Tower Green contains the evocative memorial to the people who died here by order of the state.
Execution inside the Tower, away from the gawping crowds, was a privilege reserved for those of high rank or for those who had dangerously strong popular support.
The best-known among those executed on or near the site of the memorial are the three queens of England: Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, who was in her early thirties, Catherine Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth wife, barely in her twenties and Lady Jane Grey who was only sixteen.
Anne Boleyn was executed by the clean stroke of an expert swordsman specially imported from France.
Another victim of the executioner’s axe on this spot, Margaret Pole, was less lucky. A blundering executioner ‘hacked her head and shoulders to pieces’.
May they rest in peace
‘Gentle visitor pause awhile : where you stand death cut away the light of many days : here jewelled names were broken from the vivid thread of life : may they rest in peace while we walk the generations around their strife and courage : under there restless skies’. Brian Catling, creator of the execution site memorial