Ghosts of the Tower of London

It’s a landmark everyone wants to see when visiting the city of London, UK but not everyone is aware of the spooky secrets hidden within. It is claimed there are at least 13 separate ghosts living in the tower including the spirits of some of England’s most famous royals.

The Tower of London was built in the decades following the Norman conquest of England in 1066. The tower complex was primarily a royal residence but was also used as a prison from 1100 until 1952. The tower has a grim reputation where many people have been tortured and executed for nearly 1000 years.

The 13 Ghosts

Anne Bolelyn

Anne Boleyn was the second wife of Henry VIII. Henry was originally married to Anne’s sister Catherine. When Catherine couldn’t produce an heir to the throne Henry divorced her and married Anne. Henry and Anne had a daughter, Elizabeth I, but their marriage also failed to produce a male heir. Desperate to have someone to continue his legacy Henry began courting another woman and needed to find a way to get rid of Anne. He accused Anne of high treason, adultery and plotting to kill the king. She was subsequently imprisoned in the Tower of London. It is believed these accusations were false but she was convicted by a jury of her peers and executed four days later.

Some visitors to the Tower claim to have seen Anne’s spirit wandering the Tower Green where she was executed. Others have seen her in St. Peter ad Vincula where she was buried or even wandering the corridors of the Tower as a headless apparition.

Henry VI

In the 1400’s Henry VI stood to inherit the thrones of both the French and the English. During the War of the Roses the House of York imprisoned him. Shortly after Edward IV seized the throne and Henry VI was stabbed to death while praying in Wakefield Tower. It is claimed that his spirit still wanders the tower where he was murdered often appearing at the stroke of midnight.

Lady Jane Grey

Lady Jane Grey was put forward as an alternative Queen to the catholic Mary Queen of Scotts, also known as Bloody Mary. As soon as Queen Mary caught wind of this plot Lady Jane was executed at the Tower of London along with her husband, Lord Guildford Dudley. Lady Jane’s ghost is often seen as a solitary figure wandering amongst the battlements.

Lord Guildford Dudley

As mentioned above the husband of Lady Jane Grey was also executed at the Tower of London. Before he died he carved his dear wife’s name into the stone of the tower which can still be seen today. It is believed to be his spirit heard weeping and calling out to his love in the Beauchamp Tower.

Margaret Pole, Duchess of Sainsbury

Margaret Pole was a devout Catholic and as such she was not viewed favorably by the Protestant Monarchy. She was imprisoned in the Tower of London for two and a half years before the king decided to execute her. Before she was killed she carved the following poem onto the walls of her cell:

For traitors on the block should die;
I am no traitor, no, not I!
My faithfulness stands fast and so,
Towards the block I shall not go!
Nor make one step, as you shall see;
Christ in Thy Mercy, save Thou me!

The usual executioner was not available when she was to be killed so an inexperienced one was brought in. Some sources claim she refused to kneel for her execution and attempted to run away from the executioner. He chased her, swinging at her when he could causing her to die in an incredibly horrific manner with her head and neck being hacked into several pieces.

Some visitors to the tower claim to have seen this grisly scene being recreated as a residual haunting. Others have heard her ghostly screams echoing over the Tower Green.

The White Lady

The White Lady often makes her self known with the sudden appearance of an overwhelming smell of cheap perfume that has been said to make some visitors feel ill. Some visitors to the Tower have felt a tap on the shoulder and when they turned around to see who was there they saw nothing but a wisp of white smoke.

The Grey Lady

The Grey Lady is another spirit that hasn’t been identified as anyone in particular. It is a shrouded grey figure spotted in various locations around the Tower Complex. It is said that this spirit only appears to women.

The Smothering Force

Many visitors have reported that while in the gallery featuring the armor of Henry VIII they have felt a strong smothering force. Some have been so overwhelmed that they had to leave the building to get their breath back.

Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes was captured attempting to blow up the British Parliament Building. He was brought to the Tower of London and tortured before being executed. It is said that you can hear Fawkes screaming and crying from the council chamber in the White Tower.

Arabella Stuart

King James I did not give his permission for Arbella to marry William Seymour, nephew of Lady Jane Grey. Enraged at the insult, and perceiving the marriage as a possible threat to his throne, James I imprisoned Arbella in the Tower. She died there in 1615—conflicting reports claim she either stopped eating or was murdered. She haunts the Queen’s House.

Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh was imprisoned in the Tower for treason and then executed. It is said that his ghost wanders around the Bloody Tower to this day as well as across the battlements. The area has even been named after him as Raleigh’s Walk.

The Princes – Richard, Duke of York and Edward V

Two young boy princes were made prisoners in the Tower by their uncle Richard the Duke of Gloucester and assumed to have been murdered by his order as they were a threat to the crown. The bones of two young boys were found buried under the stairs in 1674 and are assumed to be the remains of the boy princes. Visitors to the tower often report seeing two young boys wandering around in the White Tower wearing antique nightshirts. They have also been seen playing on the battlements and heard giggling throughout the tower complex.

The Grizzly Bear

The Tower of London has been home to a menagerie of animals over the years and some of their spirits are reported to still roam the grounds. One guard at the Tower of London claimed that the ghost of a Grizzly Bear charged at him. The guard attempted to bayonet the animal but his sword when straight through. The guard then lost his mind and was taken to his quarters where he died two days later.

If you liked this article you may also be interested in the ghosts of the London Underground or the ghost stories of Uwharrie Forest.

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