|TOWER of London. Building thereof. ||78
was the original Author and Founder as well thereof, as also of
many other Towers, Castles and great Buildings within this Realm.
But (as I have already before noted) Cæsar remained not
here so long; nor had he in his Head any such Matter, but only to
dispatch a Conquest of this barbarous Country, and to proceed to
greater Matters. Neither do the Roman Writers make mention of
any such Buildings Erected by him here.
In my Annals.
And therefore leaving this, and proceeding to more grounded
Authority, I find in a fair Register Book of the Acts of the Bishops
of Rochester, set down by Edmond of Hadenham, that William the
First (surnamed Conqueror) Builded the Tower of London; to wit,
the great White and Square Tower there, about the Year of Christ
1078, appointing Gundulph, then Bishop of Rochester, to be
principal Surveyor and Overseer of that Work; who was for that
Time lodged in the House of Edmere a Burgess of London. The
very Words of which mine Author are these; Gundulphus
Episcopus mandato Willielmi Regis magni præfuit Operi
magnæ Turris London. Quo Tempore hospitatus est apud
quendam Edmerum Burgensem London. Qui dedit unum Were
William the Conqueror built the White Tower,
Ye have heard before, that the Wall of this City was all round
about furnished with Towers and Bulwarks, in due Distance every
one from other; and also that the River of Thames, with his Ebbing
and Flowing, on the South side had subverted the said Wall and
Towers there. Wherefore, it is supposed, King William, for defence
of this City, in Place most dangerous and open to the Enemy,
having taken down the second Bulwark in the East Part of the
Wall from the Thames, Builded this Tower, which was the great
square Tower (now called the White Tower) and hath been since
at divers Times enlarged with other Buildings adjoining, as shall
be shewed hereafter.
This Tower was by Tempest of Wind sore shaken in the Year
1090, the Fourth of William Rufus [when the Chronicles speak of
the Roof of Bow Church taken off, and 600 Houses in London
overthrown.] But it was again by the said Rufus and Henry I.
repaired. They also caused a Castle to be builded under the said
Tower, to wit, on the Southside toward the Thames. And also
incastellated the same round about.
Damaged by the Tempest, and Repaired.
And the bearing of this expensive Building put the said K. William
upon Exactions, as one of our Historians writes] William Rufus
challenged the Investiture of Prelates: he pilled and shaved the
People with Tribute, especially to spend about the Tower of
London, and the great Hall at Westminster.
K. Will. Rufus, Polls the People for his
Buildings about the Tower.
Hen. Huntingt. Libr. 6.
[Othowerus, Acolinillus, Otto, and Geffrey, Magnaville Earl of Essex,
were Four the first Constables of this Tower of London by
Succession. All which held by Force a Portion of Land, that
pertained to the Priory of the Holy Trinity within Aldgate, that is
to say, East Smithfield, near unto the Tower, making thereof a
Vineyard; and would not depart from it till the Second Year of K.
Stephen, when the same was adjudged and restored to the said
The first Constables of the Tower.
They held Eastsmithfield, and made a
This said Geffrey, surnamed Magnaville, was Earl of Essex,
Constable of the Tower, Sheriff of London, Middlesex, Essex, and
Hertford Shires, as appeareth by a Charter of Maud the Empress,
Dated 1141. He also fortified the Tower of London against K.
Stephen. But the King took him in his Court at S. Albans, and
would not deliver him, till he had rendred the Tower of London,
with the Castles of Walden and Pleshey in Essex.
Geffrey Magnaville, Constable of the Tower. Ex
In the Year 1153, the Tower of London, and the Castle of Windsor
were by the King delivered to Richard de Lucie, to be safely kept.
The Tower intrusted to Richard de Lucie, Custos
of the Tower.
In the Year 1155, Thomas Becket being Chancellor to Henry II.
caused the Flemmings to be banished out of England; their Castles
lately Builded to be pulled down, and the Tower of London to be
Tho. Becket repairs the Tower.
About the Year 1190. the Second of Richard the First, William
Longchamp, Bishop of Ely, Chancellor of England, for cause of
Dissension between him and Earl John the King's Brother, that was
Rebel, enclosed the Tower and Castle of London with an outward
Wall of Stone embattelled; and also caused a deep Ditch to be cast
about the same, thinking (as I have said before) to have environed
it with the River of Thames. By the making of this Ditch in East
Smithfield, the Church of the Holy Trinity in London lost half a
Mark Rent by the Year, and the Mill was removed, that belonged
to the poor Brethren of the Hospital of St. Katharine, and to the
Church of the Trinity aforesaid; which was no small Loss and
Discommodity to either Part. And the Garden which the King had
hired of the Brethren for six Marks the Year, for the most part was
wasted and marred by the Ditch. Recompence was often promised
but never performed, till King Edward coming after, gave to the
Brethren five Marks and an Half for that Part which the Ditch had
devoured; and the other Part thereof without he yielded them
again, which they hold; and of the said Rent of five Marks and an
half they have a Deed, by virtue whereof they are well paid to this
Longchamp, L. Chancellor, encompasseth the
Tower with a Wall and Ditch.
St. Katharine's Mill stood where now is the
Iron Gate of the Tower.
It is also to be noted, and cannot be denied, but that the said
Inclosure and Ditch, took the like or greater Quantity of Ground
from the City within the Wall; namely, on that Part called the
Tower Hill, besides breaking down of the City Wall, from the
White Tower to the first Gate of the City, called the Postern. Yet
have I not read of any Quarrel made by the Citizens, or
Recompence demanded by them for that Matter; because all was
done for good of the Cities Defence thereby, and to their good
Encroachments made by the Ditch upon the
But Matthew Paris writeth, that in the Year 1239,
the Third Fortified the Tower of London to another End; wherefore
the Citizens fearing lest that was done to their Detriment,
complained: and the King answered; That he had not done it to
their Hurt; but (saith he) I will from henceforth do as my Brother
doth, in building and fortifying Castles, who beareth the Name to
be wiser than I am."
Bulwarks of the Tower builded by K. Henry
It followed in the next Year, (saith mine Author) the said Noble
Buildings of the Stone Gate and Bulwark, which the King had
caused to be made by the Tower of London, on the Westside
thereof, was shaken as it had been with an Earthquake, and fell
down, which the King again commanded to be built in better sort
than before, which was done."
West Gate and Bulwarks of the Tower fell
And yet again in the Year 1241, the said Wall and Bulwarks that
were newly Builded, wherein the King had bestowed more than
twelve Thousand Marks, were unrecoverably quite thrown down,
as afore; for the which Chance the Citizens of London were nothing
sorry; for they were threatned, that the said Wall and Bulwarks
were builded, to the End, that if any of them would contend for
the Liberties of the City, they might be imprisoned: And that
many might be laid in divers Prisons, many Lodgings were made
that no one should speak with another."
Wall and Bulwarks again fall down, and new
Thus much Matthew Paris avoucheth for this Building.