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Tower Hill Execution Memorial

The site of public executions near the Tower of London

The site of public executions near the Tower of London

Complete your visit to the Tower of London at the Tower Hill Memorial, in what is now Trinity Gardens. Here, an estimated 125 people were executed – including many prisoners of the Tower. The memorial names 29 of those who died on this site and stands roughly where the executioner’s scaffold was erected.

The History of Executions on Tower Hill

Despite the Tower's infamous reputation, very few people were executed inside the Tower of London, on Tower Green. The privacy of an execution inside the Tower was a privilege usually reserved for those of high rank or dangerous political figures.

Instead, most condemned prisoners met their fate here in large, public spectacles on Tower Hill. Tower Hill formed part of the Tower Liberty, an area outside the fortress controlled by the Constable of the Tower. Executions performed here were brutal displays of justice - as much about threatening the living as punishing the soon-to-be-dead.

Historians estimate that around 125 people were executed here on Tower Hill.

Most people executed here were prisoners from the Tower – usually men of high status or those charged with crimes against the monarch. This could include everything from plotting a rebellion to forging counterfeit coins. Though most were beheaded, some people were hung, disembowelled, shot, or even burnt at the stake.




The Tower Hill Execution Memorial is located in Trinity Gardens, opposite the Tower of London.

Important Information

A Tower of London ticket is not required to visit the Tower Hill Execution Memorial.

Trinity Gardens is located across a busy road near Tower Hill Underground Station. Please take extra care when travelling between the Tower and the memorial.


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The Tower of London about 1550. Map showing named parts. Drawn by Arthur E. Henderson, 1933.

The Tower of London and Tower Hill, c.1550

The site of the permanent scaffold on Tower Hill can be seen in the top-left (marked "U") of this map of the 16th-century Tower of London.

Image: © Historic Royal Palaces / Reproduced by permission of Historic Royal Palaces / Historic Royal Palaces Enterprises Ltd under licence from The National Archives 

Who was executed on Tower Hill?

The names listed on the Tower Hill memorial include some of the most powerful people in the country. From rebel conspirators, religious martyrs and ambitious courtiers swept up in royal plots and schemes, these notable men met their end on Tower Hill.

Only two women are known to have been executed on Tower Hill – Charlotte Gardiner and Mary Roberts, who were sentenced to death for participating in the Gordon Riots in 1780. However, Katherine Truerniet was one of three people executed for murder at nearby East Smithfield or 'Little Tower Hill' in 1700.

The Peasants’ Revolt: The Earliest Tower Hill Executions

The earliest executions recorded on the Tower Hill monument took place in 1381. Executions did take place outside the Tower before this date; however, their exact locations are not confirmed. Unlike later executions, the deaths recorded in 1381 were part of the medieval ‘Peasants’ Revolt’, a rebellion which sought to remove and punish the noblemen who ruled England on behalf of 14-year-old King Richard II.

The rebels breached the Tower gates and dragged Simon Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Robert Hales, the Treasurer, from the Chapel of St John to be beheaded on Tower Hill. Sudbury’s head was mounted on London Bridge.

The first official execution at Tower Hill took place in 1388 with the death of Sir Simon de Burley. Over the next 400 years, many famous figures met their fate in the shadow of the Tower of London.

A square memorial marked on the ground with five name plaques situated around a central stone marker

Image: The Tower Hill Exection Memorial. © Francis Mullan (WMR-60456)

A portrait of a man dressed in rich Tudor clothing, looking sternly to the right of the viewer

Image: Sir Thomas More, painted in the early 17th century, based on a work of 1527. © National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Thomas More

Executed 6 July 1535

Thomas More was an English lawyer, diplomat, and Lord High Chancellor of England. He was imprisoned inside the Tower by Henry VIII for refusing to recognise the King as the Supreme Head of the Church of England. In his final speech, More declared himself 'the King’s good servant but God’s first'. He was beheaded on Tower Hill.

George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford

Executed 17 May 1536

George Boleyn was a courtier, nobleman and the elder brother of Henry VIII’s second Queen, Anne Boleyn. George was accused by Anne’s enemies at court of committing adultery and incest with his sister. He was found guilty and beheaded on Tower Hill. As a former Queen, Anne was granted a more private execution inside the fortress on Tower Green two days later.

Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex

Executed 28 July 1540

Thomas Cromwell was Henry VIII’s chief minister and was once one of the most powerful men in England. Despite earning the King’s forgiveness for arranging a misjudged marriage alliance with Henry’s fourth Queen, Anne of Cleves, Cromwell’s enemies convinced the King that his minister was conspiring against him. Although Cromwell pleaded for ‘mercy, mercy, mercy’, he was beheaded on Tower Hill.

Lord Guilford Dudley

Executed 12 February 1554

Dudley was husband to Lady Jane Grey, the so-called ‘Nine Day Queen’. Dudley’s marriage to Jane was arranged by their parents, who hoped to claim the English throne after the death of Edward VI. However, this claim was overthrown by Mary I, daughter of Katherine of Aragon and Henry VIII. Dudley and Jane were imprisoned separately at the Tower before being put on trial and sentenced to death – Dudley on Tower Hill and Jane on Tower Green.

Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat

Executed 9 April 1747

A Scottish clan leader and Jacobite, Fraser worked as a double agent in support of a Stuart restoration against the ruling Hanoverian 'Georgian' royal family. His execution was so crowded that a viewing stand collapsed and killed several people. Fraser was the last person in Britain to be publicly beheaded.

A portrait of a man dressed in dark rich clothing sat at a table surrounded by books and papers. He holds a document in his left hand. A scroll depicted at the top of the painting reads 'Earl of Essex'

Image: Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, painted in the early 17th century, based on a work of 1532-1533. © National Portrait Gallery, London

The End of Tower Hill Executions

By the 1750s, most public executions had moved across London to the Tyburn Gallows (near Marble Arch). The last executions at Tower Hill took place in 1780 with the hanging of three members of the Gordon riots, including Charlotte Gardiner and Mary Roberts. 

To commemorate the tragic history and in many cases the martyrdom of those who for their faith country and ideals staked their lives and lost

Inscription on the Tower Hill Execution Site Memorial


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