The ravens

The ravens

Yeoman Warder and raven at the Tower of London

The guardians of the Tower

‘If the ravens leave the Tower, the kingdom will fall…’

Legend of the ravens

Legend says that the kingdom and the Tower will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress. It was Charles II, according to the stories, who first insisted that the ravens of the Tower should be protected.

This was against the wishes of his astronomer, John Flamsteed, who complained that the ravens impeded the business of his observatory in the White Tower. 

Despite their having one wing trimmed, some ravens do in fact go absent without leave and others have had to be sacked. Raven George was dismissed for eating television aerials, and Raven Grog was last seen outside an East End pub. 

View our 'Meet the ravens' video

Spot the ravens

There are seven ravens at the Tower today (the required six plus one spare!). Their lodgings are to be found next to the Wakefield Tower.

These magnificent birds, large members of the genus Corvus, the crow family, respond only to the Raven Master and should not be approached too closely by anyone else.

The ravens preside over four different territories within the Tower precincts. See if you can spot them on your visit.

Biscuits and blood

‘The ravens eat 170g of raw meat a day, plus bird biscuits soaked in blood.’ The Raven Master

Please note: We would ask that you do not try to feed the ravens. They are large birds who are fed daily by our Raven Master. They can bite if they feel their territory is being threatened, so please be careful.

Downloadable Resources

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    Ravens Leaflet
    (Adobe PDF, 1.5MB)

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