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 would stay in these rooms.
St. Thomas's Tower, the Wakefield Tower and the Lanthorn Tower are known collectively as the Medieval Palace. Today, the towers house 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 I 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 Henry III some 40 years earlier. This room was probably a private audience chamber. Here you will find an intricate, replica canopied throne, which has been reconstructed from 13th-century descriptions.
The Lanthorn Tower contains rare objects dating back to the time of Henry and Edward. Jane Spooner, our buildings curator, talks about her favourite piece, a battered lead toy knight. She says, '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.'
In the St. Thomas's Tower, there is a re-creation of Edward I’s bedchamber. 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.
A new play, written for Hampton Court Palace by Sarah Dickenson and directed by Jo McInnes.
Daytime: Thu to Mon until 21 Aug 2017. Evening: 28, 29, 31 Aug & 1 Sep 2017
Daytime 11.00 & 14.45. Evening 19.30
Defend the Tower is a costumed, live historical re-enactment. You must help our heroic guards defend the mighty castle against its most dangerous enemies!
Open daily until 20 October