The Tower of London



This model of The Tower of London in paper (110 pound cardstock) is very close to representing the actual castle. The stone patterns on the walls of the model are from actual photographs of the castle walls taken by the author in London.

William, Duke of Normandy, defeated the last Anglo-Saxon King, Harold Godwinson, at the Battle of Hastings, 14 October 1066. Soon after his victory, William captured Dover Castle, Canterbury, and Winchester. In late November, he marched his main army to Southwark, across the Thames River from London. Then in early December, his army crossed the Thames at Wallingford, fifty miles west of London. Soon after that crossing, his troops moved on London and constructed a temporary wooden castle in the southeast corner of the old Roman walls, on the north bank of the Thames. William was crowned King William I of England 25 December 1066 in London.

Construction on the stone castle keep, known as the White Tower (because it was whitewashed from time to time), was begun in 1078. William’s fourth son, William Rufus, was crowned King William II, 26 September 1087, following his father’s death. In 1097, William II replaced the wooden stockade with a stone wall around the Tower. The castle was separated by the city of London by a square mile of open space called Tower Hill. More outer, concentric walls, and moat were added later. Most of the expansion occurred under the direction of Kings Richard I and Henry III. The Water Gate, also known as the Traitor’s Gate was built in the late 1270s under the direction of King Edward I.

The Tower of London has had a long and important life as part of English history. The castle served as a palace and royal residence for many years. It was also used as a prison and site of execution from time to time from 1100 to 1952. The Tower housed a menagerie (zoo) of exotic animals from the 1200s to 1835.