Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]
[graphic][merged small][ocr errors]

persons on foot, over the drawbridge, to the wharf, opened every day at a certain hour for the convenience of a free intercourse between the respective inhabitants of the Tower, City, and suburbs. Through a water gate, commonly called Traitor's Gate, it has been customary to convey traitors, and other state prisoners to or from the Tower, for greater privacy, and this is seldom opened on any other occasions; the lords committed to the Tower in the last rebellion were, however, publicly admitted at the main entrance. Over this is a regular building, terminated at each end by. two bastions, or round towers, on which are embrasures for pointing cannon. In this building are the infirmary, the mill, and the water-works that supply the Tower with water.

The points of a large portcullis are perceptible within the arch of the principal gate. This was used, in case of close invasion, to be let down, from the inside of which the besieged might shoot arrows, at the assailants through the square apertures of the portcullis ; whilst others from the battlements, hurled stones, hot water, or any other destruc. tive materials on their heads. The representation of a portcullis is exhibited in the armorial bearings of the city of Westminster.

Great ceremony is used at opening and shutting this gate every night and morning. Before six in the morning in summer, and at day light in winter, the yeoman porter goes to the governor's house for the keys; whence he proceeds to the innermost gate, attended by a serjeant and six men from the main guard ; this gate being opened to let them pass, is again shut, while the yeoman porter and the guard proceed to open the three outermost gates, at each of which the guards rest their firelocks, as do the spur guard while the keys pass and repass. At the yeoman porter's return to the innermost gate, he calls to the warders in waiting, to take in king George's keys ; the gate is then opened, and the keys lodged in the warders hall till the time of locking, which is usually about eleven at night, with the same formality as when opened; after they are shut, the yeoman and guards proceed to the main guard, who are all under arms, with the officers upon duty at their head; the usual challenge from the main guard to the yeoman porter is, “Who comes there?” his answer is, “ The keys." The challenger says, “ Pass keys;" upon which the officer orders the guard to rest their firelocks; the yeoman porter then says, “ God save king George.” “ Amen” is loudly anstrered by all the guard. From the main guard the yeoman porter with his guard proceeds to the governor's lodgings, where the keys are left; after which no person can go out or come in upon any pretence whatsoever till next morning, without the watch-word for the night, which is kept so secret, that none but the proper officers, and the serjeant upon guard, ever come to the knowledge of it ; the same precaution is used on the same night in every fortified place throughout the king's dominions. When the watchword is given by any stranger, to the centinel at the spur guard, (or outer gate) he communicates it to his serjeant, who

yeoman

passes it to the next on duty, and so on till it comes to the governor, or commanding officer, by whom the keys are re-delivered to the yeoman porter, as before; the main guard is then put under arms, and the keys are brought to the outer gate, where the stranger is admitted, and conducted to the commandant. Having made known his business, he is re-conducted to the outer gate and dismissed; the gate is then sbut, and the keys are again delivered with all the preceding formalities.

The principal buildings within the walls are the White Tower, the chapel, the offices of Ordnance, of the Mint, of the keepers of the Records, the Jewel Office, the Horse Armory, the grand Storehouse, in which is the Small Armory, houses for the chief officers residing in the Tower, with many smaller houses for other officers, &c. and barracks for the soldiers on duty, besides prisons for state delinquents, which are commonly in the warders houses.

White Tower. Whether or not there was a fortress erected by the Romans in this place, we have risqued an

opinion opinion upon the subject in our first volume *. We therefore leave this undecided matter of controversy, and refer to the register books of the bishops of Rochester, where it is recorded that the great white and square Tower was erected as a place of security by William I. about the year 1078, lest he should be surprized by the citizens of London, of whom, as an usurper to the English throne, he had reason to be afraid. This bulwark of defence was left to the management of Gundulph, bishop of Rochester, who was appointed surveyor and overseer of the work, and lodged during the time it was building at the house of Edmere, a burgess of London.

Having been damaged by a storm, in the reign of Wil. liam Rufus, it was repaired by that monarch, who, as Henry of Huntingdon writes, “ challenged the investiture of prelates; and pilled and shaved the people with tribute, especially to spend about the Tower, and the great hall at Westminster.” He, and his successor Henry I. caused a castle to be built under this tower, towards the Thames, and encircled the whole with fortifications.

We have before mentioned that Geffery de Magnaville, fortified this tower against his sovereign king Stephen ; as well as of the encroachment of Longchamp, bishop of Ely, in the reign of Richard I.

Matthew Paris informs us, " that the bulwarks which had been erected by Henry III. at the expence of twelve thousand marks, fell down, to the great joy of the ci. tizens; as they were intended to be prisons for the confinement of those who resisted the king's arbitrary measures. He also repaired the White Tower.” Edward I. in 1274, , commanded the treasurer of his exchequer to deliver out of his treasury, unto Giles of Antwerp, two hundred marks of the fines taken of divers merchants, or usurers of London, towards the work of the ditch; then new made about the bulwark, called the Lion Tower. The White Tower underwent a considerable repair in 1532, during the reign of Henry VIII. In the reign of George II. the walls

[blocks in formation]
« НазадПродовжити »