Tower of London (Inner curtain wall with mural towers, the New Armouries, the Queen's House and Tower Green)
Heritage Category: Listed Building
List Entry Number: 1242062
Date first listed: 30-Nov-1989
Statutory Address: Tower of London, London, EC3N 4AB
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Statutory Address: Tower of London, London, EC3N 4AB
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: Greater London Authority
District: Tower Hamlets (London Borough)
National Grid Reference: TQ 33538 80586
This list entry was subject to a Minor Enhancement on 04/06/2018
TQ 3380 21/885
THE TOWER OF LONDON Inner Curtain Wall, with Mural Towers, The Queen's House, Nos 1, 2, 4, 5 and 7 Tower Green and the New Armouries
GV I Inner curtain wall and towers. Bell Tower and curtain wall (of which lower courses remain) to Bloody Tower built c.1170; Wakefield Tower, Lanthorn (demolished and rebuilt in C19) and curtain wall and postern between them built c.1220-40 for Henry III; watergate, later incorporated into Bloody Tower, also built c.1220-40; curtain wall and towers from Devereaux Tower in north-west corner to Salt Tower in south-east corner built 1238-75; west side of curtain wall, including Beauchamp Tower, built 1275-85 for Edward I; southern side of curtain wall heightened and crenellated 1339; Bloody Tower remodelled 1360-1362. Restored in C19, principally by A Salvin in 1840s to 1860s.
Squared and coursed ragstone with ashlar dressings; lead and copper roofs to towers. Curtain Walls: gunports, loops and crenellation reworked in C19; west side of curtain wall has fine continuous line of embrasures, built in late C13 brick, to loops. Towers described in clockwise order from Bell Tower: c.1190-1200. Octagonal plan to ground floor, and thereafter cylindrical. Two storeys above solid base with ashlar plinth. Restored loops; early C18 keyed square-headed architraves to upper windows; late C17 wooden bell turret.
Interior, with access from The Queen's House (qv): ground floor has irregular-shaped lobby, with C18 brick round-arched entry to inner chamber with garderobe in recess, original splayed embrasure to south and pointed barrel vault; skewed two-centred arch to vaulted pentagonal-shaped chamber with pointed embrasures and acutely pointed vault with foliate-carved boss and square ribs springing from corbels with flattened stiff-leaf carving; pointed-arched doorway to upper room, with vice to roof, blocked pointed-arched doorway to east (to constable's house, on site of Queen's House (qv)), and skewed stone-flagged passage to barrel-vaulted garderobe chamber in thickness of main wall; circular main room has moulded rere-arches to windows, blocked wall passage to south-west, C14 square-headed cupboard in north wall, C14 fireplace (hood removed) in east wall, and heightened C17 domed roof (ring beam of original roof visible beneath).
Beauchamp Tower: c.1281; restored by Salvin 1851-3. D-shaped three-storey tower, with rectangular turrets to north and south. Restored loops; east elevation has pointed-arched doorway, mid C19 two-light Decorated-style window, two two-light trefoil-headed windows and Caernarvon-arched two-light window; C19 square-headed two-light windows to west elevation.
Interior: notable for survival of late C13 brick; ground-floor chamber has C13 pointed brick arches to five embrasures with C19 fireplace to south-west embrasure, pointed-arched north doorway to passage ending in garderobe, similar doorway leading to vice in south turret; pointed-arched doorway from vice to first-floor chamber with five similar embrasures including late C13 square-headed fireplace (hood removed) to south-west pointed-arched north doorway and pointed barrel-vaulted passage, leading to garderobe; pointed-arched doorway to south wall walk.
Devereux Tower to north-west corner: 1238-75. Irregular D-shaped plan with south-east staircase turret. Much rebuilt from mid C18 in brick, including two-storey, three-window range south front with keyed segmental arches over sashes and C20 door; beneath this elevation is pointed-arched doorway, hidden by early C16 vaulted brick casements with smoke vents, bordered on east side by early C16 stone wall with offset buttresses, blocked doorway to canted corner and two wide Tudor-arched entries (formed east elevation of ordnance office vacated in 1672 and demolished in 1714).
Interior: ground-floor chamber, of two bays with quadripartite and tripartite vaults with chamfered ribs, has C20 replacement of C13 fireplace, pointed-arched doorway to vice with garderobe at mezzanine level, and three late C13 round-headed embrasures; pointed-arched doorway from west wall walk to first floor; upper level modified as gun platform in 1683 and 1715 when second floor inserted.
Flint and Brick Towers, each rebuilt mid C19 and of D-plan with square-headed windows, pointed-arched doorways and corbelled parapets, flank Bowyer Tower of 1238-75, refaced in mid C19: D-shaped plan with south turret. Two storeys. Original loop to west of ground floor; mid C19 two-light windows and pointed-arched doorway.
Interior: quadripartite vault with chamfered ribs to ground-floor room, which also has pair of C15/early C16 square-headed cupboards, arched recess to blocked C13 fireplace to west and pointed-arched doorway to vice in south turret.
Martin Tower, in north-east corner: 1238-75 much altered and refaced in brick in late C17/C18. D-plan angle tower with two rectangular turrets to west and north. Two storeys, heightened to three in late C17. Restored loops and mid C19 two-light windows; west elevation has sash windows and widened Tudor-arched doorway beneath arch carrying C18 external stairs to door of c.1725, with six-panelled door set in keyed semicircular arched architrave with fan-light over bracketed flat hood; sundial set above pedimented doorway of c.1725 to south wall walk.
Interior: pointed-arched doorway to garderobe in north turret and altered C15 doorway to vice in south turret. Hexagonal-shaped ground-floor room with five embrasures. First floor entered from vice and widened embrasure with hollow-moulded rere-arch; pointed-arched doorway to garderobe in north turret and barrel-vaulted passage to west wall walk; five embrasures widened into window openings from early C18 and cut across by late C17 mezzanine floor with turned balusters to stair and balcony and bolection-moulded panelling.
Constable Tower: 1238-75, rebuilt mid C19. D-shaped plan, with similar features to Brick Tower and Flint Tower (qv).
Broad Arrow Tower: 1238-75; restored by Salvin 1855-7. D-shaped plan with rectangular turrets to north and south. Two storeys, with second floor added in late C19. Restored loops; mid C19 two-light windows; restored west window of one trefoil light; Caernarvon-arched west doorway to north turrets; pointed-arched doorway and ancient door to south wall walk; late C19 pointed-arched doorway to north wall walk.
Interior: ground-floor room with pointed embrasures and timbered ceilings; C13 dog-leg stair in north turret. First floor has hooded C20 fireplace (in place of original), pointed-arched mural passage and three embrasures.
Blocked segmental-pointed arch of two orders to postern adjoining Salt Tower: 1238-75. Three-quarter cylindrical-plan angle turret with remains of cross wall extending east to outer curtain wall (qv) built to bar inner ward. Basement and two storeys, with inserted upper floor. Restored loops and restored pointed-arched doorways to curtain wall walks; west window of two trefoiled lights, quatrefoil above two-light trefoil-headed window to first floor, and similar restored two-light window and lancet.
Interior: short mural passage to restored pointed-arched doorway in north-west corner to pentagonal-shaped room with five embrasures. Square-headed doorway from vice to mural chamber in east curtain. First floor has pentagonal-shaped chamber with C13 hooded fireplace in south wall and garderobe a few steps up vice.
Lanthorn Tower: rebuilt 1883, with lancets and two-light windows.
Wakefield Tower: built 1220-40 as "donjon circulaire" for Henry III, including his privy chamber at first floor; restored in 1866-9 by A Salvin. Two storey cylindrical tower, with ashlar plinth. Square-headed east door; late C19 doorway to wall walk; transomed first-floor east window has three Caernarvon-arched lower lights and three trefoil-headed upper lights; similar late C19 one and two-light transomed windows to west; C20 square-headed doorway to north.
Interior: octagonal ground-floor room with tall chamfered round-arched loops to south recesses; mid C20 timber ceiling is reconstruction of original. Octagonal first-floor room is entered through tall arched passage and east recess; has aumbry, piscina and round-arched sedilia indicating its original use as an oratory; north-west recess made into doorway c.1870; restored hooded fireplace; blank north-east recess (probably for chair of estate); C19 vault sprung from C13 wall shafts, with moulded capitals framing oratory.
Wakefield Tower historic note: in February 1913 the Wakefield Tower became the target of suffragette militancy. An attack was carried out by Leonora Cohen from Leeds, one of the leaders of the local branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). The Union used militant tactics including attacks on property in its campaign to win votes for women. Between 1913 and 1914 it committed several attacks on art galleries and museums. Cohen went to the Wakefield Tower with an iron bar hidden in her coat and smashed the glass of the case containing insignia of the Order of Merit. She was immediately arrested, and committed for trial at the London Sessions. Cohen, whose husband owned a jewellery shop, conducted her defence and produced as witness a jeweller who stated that the damage she had caused amounted to less than five pounds, a lower figure than the seven pounds she was charged with. When the jury was unable to agree the exact amount of damage Cohen, who never denied smashing the glass, was acquitted.
Bloody Tower: 1220s watergate, with vault and upper stages built 1360-62; interior divided in 1603; top parapet and windows restored in 1868-9 by Salvin. Rectangular plan with south-east stair turret. Two storeys. South elevation has early C13 chamfered pointed-arched entry, portcullis, similar arch and C16 studded doors; mid C14 two-light trefoil-headed window to east. North elevation has two mid C14 chamfered pointed arches, each of two orders and separated by portcullis slot; two late C19 two-light windows above and to east. West elevation has early C17 two-light chamfered stone-mullioned and transomed window and C17 studded door set in C14 double-chamfered pointed arched doorway.
Interior: fine 1360s vault to entrance passage has lions' heads and lions' masks to corbels; C14 pointed-arched doorway to early C13 porter's lodge to east, which has flattened barrel vault, remains of small rectangular window and original entrance doorway to north and C16 cupboards inserted in south and east walls. C14 pointed-arched doorway from west wall walk to first floor: small south apartment, with C16 portcullis and lifting machinery and Caernarvon-arched doorway to vaulted garderobe and vice (with C17 plank door), is divided by early C17 partition with horizontal planking and door from main room which has 1360s patterned tile floor, and mid C14 square-headed fireplace with original bread oven.
The following buildings are attached to the inner sides of the curtain wall.
No 8 Tower Green: Pair of semi-detached houses. Warders Quarters of 1866-9 by A Salvin. Red brick with half-timber to attic storey; cross-gabled old plain tile roof; brick stacks. Double-depth plan. Domestic Revival style. Two storeys and attic; three-window range to double-gabled elevation. Bracketed pentice roof over two plank doors to centre. Segmental brick arches over one to three-light casements with horizontal glazing bars; carved pendentive to carved wood bargeboards.
Interior noted as having been remodelled in mid C20.
No 7 Tower Green: two houses, now flats. That to left is early C18 with possible earlier origins. Flemish bond brick; plain tile gambrel roof; brick lateral stack. Double-depth plan. Three storeys and attic; Two-window range. Six-panelled door with overlight set in moulded wood architrave with brackets to flat hood. Flat brick arches over mid C19 horned twelve-pane sash to right and early C19 twelve-pane sashes; stone-coped parapet; six-pane sash to dormer. Interior not inspected but likely to be of interest. House to right is early/mid C17, with later alterations. Probably timber-framed; gabled front has plaster gable over mid C18 brick cladding; gabled plain tile roof. Double-depth right-angle plan. Two storeys and attic; one-window range. Flat brick arches over late C19 half-glazed door and one-light window with glazing bars; timber lintel over late C19 three-light casement with glazing bars; two-light casement to attic.
The Queen's House: Lieutenant's lodgings, now house of the Resident Governor and offices. c.1540; late C17 and C18 additions and alterations. Timber-framed, with ogee-bracing to square panels; late C17 and C18 brick facing to ground floor and to rear; cross-gabled old plain tile roof; brick ridge, end and rear lateral stacks. L-plan. Three storeys and attic; four gabled bays to each range with west bay of south wing obscured by west wing. Brick ground floor has one-storey extension of 1663 in angle of wings, with segmental brick arches over eight-pane sashes with thick glazing bars and early C19 twelve-pane sashes, and C18 six-panelled door set in moulded mould architrave. Late C17 stucco facing to three first-floor bays of west wing, with pedimented cornice over early C19 twelve-pane sashes. C18 panelling; early C19 stick-baluster staircase from ground to first floor, whence it continues as late C17 open-well staircase with ramped handrail set on turned balusters with finely-carved brackets to treads, and bolection-panelled dado; first-floor room to east has large arched kitchen fireplace. Mid C16 first-floor hall to penultimate western bay of south range, which was floored in early C17 when upper floor inserted: the second-floor room has mid C16 three-bay roof, which had queen posts, lateral bracing and braced tie beams removed for early C17 chamber, which has elaborate memorial tablet by fireplace erected 1608 to commemorate defect of Gunpower Plot. Noted as having queen-post roofs with butt purlins. Access to mural passages of inner curtain wall and to Bell Tower (qv). Basement of south range has medieval masonry associated with the constable's house built 1361-1366 on the same site.
Nos. 4 and 5 Tower Green: Two houses. Late C17, with possible earlier origins. English bond brick; cross-gabled old plain tile roof; brick ridge and end stacks. Double-depth plan. Three storeys and attic; five-window range. Segmental brick arches over late C18 six-panelled door with overlight to left and late C19 six-panelled (two glazed) door to right. Segmental brick arches over two early/mid C18 twelve-pane sashes with glazing bars to left and early C19 twelve-pane sashes; second and gabled attic storeys have flat brick arches over late C19 two- to three-light casements with glazing bars. Raised storey bands. Interior not inspected but likely to be of interest.
No. 2 Tower Green: House. c.1700-1720. Flemish bond brick; hipped old plain tile roof; brick lateral stack. Double-depth plan. Four storeys and basement; three-window range. Carved brackets to segmental hood over segmental-arched doorway with C18 fielded right-panelled (two glazed) door. Segmental brick arches over early C19 eight-pane sashes and nine-pane sashes to upper storey. Raised storey bands; stone-coped parapet. Interior not inspected but likely to be of interest.
No 1 Tower Green: House. Mid C18. Flemish bond brick; hipped old plain tile roof; brick rear lateral stacks. Double-depth plan. Three storeys; symmetrical five-window range. C18 six-panelled door with overlight set in pedimented doorcase. Flat brick arches over early C19 twelve-pane sashes and six-pane sashes to upper storey. Raised storey bands; stone-coped parapet. Interior not inspected but likely to be of interest.
The New Armouries: Small arms store, now museum and offices. 1663-4. English bond red brick; half hipped old tile roof; brick stacks. U-plan with projecting wings flanking central range. Two storeys and attic; eight-window range of 2:4:2 fenestration. C20 Heraldic cartouche set in finely-carved trophy above stone doorcase with Doric entablature and engaged half-columns to bolection-panelled double doors; six-panelled doors with overlights to inner sides of wings. Cambered gauged brick arches over early C19 twenty-pane ground-floor sashes and sixteen-pane first-floor sashes. Raised brick string course; moulded wood coved cornice, continued across fronts of wings; moulded wood cornices over flat-roofed dormers. Four-bay side walls with similar fenstration; right-side wall has two fine reset carved trophies, of 1780 with kettledrums, guns etc around cartouche holding Ordnance Coat of Arms.
Interior: main space to centre has central row of timber posts braced to main beams of ceiling which has joists of large scantling. Museum houses fine carved stone pediment by John Young from the late C17 Grand Storehouse, destroyed in fire of 1841.
This list entry was amended in 2018 as part of the centenary commemorations of the 1918 Representation of the People Act.
Listing NGR: TQ3353880586
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 206500
Legacy System: LBS
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
End of official listing