Thursday, July 20, 2017

Tower of London Haunted

Here’ our article about the Tower of London haunted. On the northern bank of the River Thames in central London, England, there rises a majestic building which is, possibly, as iconic of London as, say, the British Bobby or the changing of guards at Buckingham Palace. This is the Tower of London, home to the British Crown Jewels and temporal residence of a long list of famous ghosts.

Tower of London Haunted

Photo of Tower of London - Courtesy of Thilo Rusche

Tower of London Haunted Ghost of Thomas Boleyn

One of the distinguished spectral personages on this list is Sir Thomas Boleyn who died in 1539. During the trial of his daughter, Anne Boleyn, he openly declared that he was convinced of her guilt. For his part in contributing to her conviction and subsequent execution, it was said that Sir Thomas Boleyn had to do penance for a thousand years. Every year, he had to ride post-haste all over the countryside. Coming close on his heels were hordes of screaming demons. This annual ritual was undertaken in a spectral coach drawn by headless horses with flames spewing from their mouths. Sir Thomas would ride this coach with his head severed from his torso. Legend has it that he had to cross 12 bridges before the cock crows.

Tower of London Haunted Ghost of George Rochford

Actually Sir Thomas Boleyn had it easy compared to Lord George Rochford, Anne Boleyn’s brother, who died three years before he did. At least, Sir Thomas had the luxury of riding in a coach. It is said that Lord Rochford had also been seen being taken on a ghastly ride all over the countryside. His blood-spattered, decapitated corpse had been sighted being dragged along by four headless horses.

Other ghosts found at the Tower of London haunted had to do their haunting on their own two feet. One such ghost is that of Lady Jane Grey.


Photo of White Tower - (c) by Bert Kohlgraf

Tower of London Haunted Ghost of Jane Grey

Lady Jane Grey was the granddaughter of Mary, King Henry VIII’s younger sister, and King Louis XII of France. She was just a young naive girl ensnared in the intrigues of the court. Her only guilt was in having a father who first arranged for her to be crowned Queen of England, then went over to support Mary against his own daughter. Finally this treacherous man rebelled against Queen Mary I.

Lady Jane Grey, together with her husband, was sentenced to death for guilt by association. She watched her husband being taken to Tower Hill to be beheaded. She, herself, lost her head at Tower Green. She was only 17 years old at the time of her execution. Her ghost had been sighted many times.

It was last seen by two Guardsmen on February 12 1957, the 403rd anniversary of her execution. They saw her ghost as a white shape taking form on the battlements. Her husband, Guildford Dudley, had been sighted weeping in the Beauchamp Tower.

The Ghost of Catherine Howard

Not all the people sentenced to death took their fate quietly. Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of King Henry VIII, was one such person who thought that she could escape her fate on the chopping block. According to legend, the day before her execution, she managed to escape from her room in the Tower of London haunted. She ran down the hallway, screaming for help and mercy. Of course, she was caught and beheaded the next day. Sometimes, her ghost can still be seen running down the hallway, screaming for help.

Tower of London Haunted Ghost of King Henry VI

Quite the opposite to the ghost of Catherine Howard is that of King Henry VI. His ghost haunts Wakefield Tower. On May 21, 1471, just after midnight, as he knelt in prayer, the Duke of Gloucester (later King Richard III) stabbed him until he was full of deadly holes. After he died, his ghost has come back every year on the anniversary of his murder. As the clock ticks closer to midnight, his ghost has been sighted pacing fitfully around inside Wakefield Tower. Then, on the stroke of midnight, his ghost would just fade away into the stone, without any screaming or running away trying to escape his fate.

The Spook in the White Tower

The Tower of London haunted exudes a creepy ambiance even during the day. So, at night, it is not the place for men with weak hearts and weaker knees. However, the Tower of London also housed the Crown Jewels so someone has to be on guard even after the sun sets. This falls to the Custody Guards. There was one occasion when one of them really showed his mettle.

One night, Mr. Arthur Crick, a Custody Guard, felt weary after making the rounds. He sat down on a short ledge to take a rest. To make himself more comfortable, he took off his right shoe and began to massage his foot. He was all alone in the dead quiet of the night in the White Tower. Then he heard an ominous voice behind him whisper,

“There’s only you and I here.”

To which Arthur responded,

“Just let me get this bloody shoe on and there’ll be only you.”

So, if you are a ghost-hunter of the adventurous kind with nerves wrought of tempered titanium, the Tower of London haunted will be a great place for a rendezvous with your like-minded friends, preferably around the witching hour.

Back to part one of Tower of London.

Tower of London photo by Thilo Rusche
White Tower photo by Bert Kohlgraf

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    1. […] More London Ghosts haunting the Tower of London can be found in Tower of London Part Two. […]

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