Bloody Tower



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Explore the most infamous prison at the Tower of London and learn about the intriguing stories that inspired the name 'Bloody Tower'.

Discover the story of the Princes in the Tower

The Bloody Tower is most strongly associated with the supposed murder of the 12-year-old Edward V and his younger brother, Richard, in 1483. Tradition says that they stayed in these rooms on the orders of their uncle, the future Richard III.

The princes' subsequent disappearance remains one of the most intriguing stories of the Tower's history. As the rumours grew, the tower was renamed the 'Bloody Tower' from the Garden Tower.

Learn why the boys came to be at the Tower and what we really know about their disappearance on the first floor of this notorious medieval building.

Sir Walter Raleigh in the Bloody Tower

A handsome courtier, celebrated explorer, favourite of Elizabeth I and scholar of poetry, history and science, Sir Walter Raleigh was also one of the most famous prisoners to be held at the Tower of London.

Learn more from Yeoman Warder Gary Burridge in this short video.

Sir Walter Raleigh's Study downstairs in the Bloody Tower at the Tower of London, showing a desk and walls with projections.

Explore Raleigh's study

Learn about the reality of high status imprisonment at the Tower in Sir Walter Raleigh's study, on the ground floor of the Bloody Tower.

It was here that Raleigh spent 13 years as a prisoner during the reign of Elizabeth I's successor, James I.

Raleigh was allowed three servants and the interior was even partitioned to make more comfortable living conditions for his family. However, Raleigh's health and morale were poor.

Learn about Raleigh's inquisitive mind, his passion for poetry and science and the herbal elixir he concocted on this spot in the Bloody Tower.

Raleigh's Lost Garden

As a prisoner of high status, Sir Walter Raleigh was granted access to a courtyard outside the Bloody Tower where he cultivated a small garden.

Raleigh used this garden for exercise and to grow exotic plants, which he’d become interested in during his adventures in South America. Some plants were used to create medicinal potions, such as Raleigh’s herbal elixir.

Today, the planting in the garden has been chosen based on research by Historic Royal Palaces Curators into plants that Raleigh used in his remedies, including rosemary, bistort and mint.

The Lost Garden and exterior of the Bloody Tower, showing plants and herbs growing in boxes beneath the medieval stone tower exterior

See the portcullis up close

Iron spikes descending from a stone arch, a portcullis

The Bloody Tower was not only used for keeping prisoners locked in; it was also built to keep people out!

See the Tower's awe-inspiring portcullis, which could shut off the gate passage below, and learn about the building’s history as part of this great medieval fortress.

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Sir Walter Raleigh's Study downstairs in the Bloody Tower at the Tower of London, showing a desk and walls with projections.

Blog: Sir Walter Raleigh at the Tower of London

Tracy Borman, Joint-Chief Curator describes how Sir Walter Raleigh went from being a world famous explorer to a prisoner at the Tower of London.

The Imprisonment at the Tower exhibition in the Beauchamp Tower at the Tower of London, showing three arches in the wall, a fireplace on the left hand side and a display case in the centre of the room
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Learn why people ended up as prisoners in the Tower of London, in the very rooms where some of them were held.


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