I'm not only behind with the blog posts, I am also out of order. I posted about the Elpers' first full day with us when we went on the first adventure walk, then our weekend away to Stonehenge and Bath and now it's back to the second day with the Elpers. This is really going to bother my friends who like things in order. I have one particular teacher friend and a college friend (also a teacher) who I'm sure are laughing at me right now.
Daddy was able to take the day off to hang out with you and our good friends, Lacey and Dave Elpers. You were very excited to see him when you woke up that morning. When Daddy and I visited London 4 years ago, the Tower of London was one of our favorite places to go. We were very excited to go back there, especially with you and our friends. You and I will be going back several times this year since we are lucky to have many family members and friends visiting us. You're lucky because you get in free to everything. Daddy and I decided to get a Historic Royal Palaces annual pass so we can go to places like Tower of London unlimited for a year.
In the early 1080s, William the Conqueror began to build a massive stone tower at the center of his London fortress. Nothing like it had ever been seen before. Although many later kings and queens stayed at the Tower, it was never intended as the main royal residence. Palaces like Westminster had more opulent rooms. Equally the Tower was not the first line of defense against invading armies, though it could rise to this challenge. The Tower's primary function was a fortress-stronghold, a role that remained unchanged right up until the late 19th century. .
The guards at the Tower of London are called Yeoman Warders. In principle they are responsible for looking after any prisoners at the Tower and safeguarding the British crown jewels, but in practice they act as tour guides. There are twelve Yeomen Warders and they are hilarious. Their sense of humor makes their 1 hour tour even more entertaining, not to mention the history you walk away with. Their nickname is Beefeater because until the 1800s they were paid part of their salary with chunks of beef.
This entrance was referred to as Trader's Gate because of the number of prisoners, accused of treason, who have passed through it. Often the journey made by barge along the River Thames would take them past the London Bridge where the heads of recently executed traitors were displayed on the roof of the stone gate house. The heads were placed on spikes, attached to poles and displayed on the Bridge. The young and tragic Catherine Howard had to pass the gruesome sight of the head of her lover Thomas Culpepper on her journey to the Tower of London and Traitors Gate. This grisly practice continued until around 1678.
Grace, according to your Paddington at the Tower book, "The Tower of London is famous for its ravens, but there is a legend which says if ever they fly away it will fall down."
I love the teal doors throughout the Tower of London.
Chapel Royal St. Peter ad Vincula- the burial place of some of the most famous prisoners executed at the Tower including Anne Boleyn and other members of royalty. Once again, another place where you're not supposed to take pictures...oops! Our camera must have gone off while we were sitting inside listening to the end of the tour.
This is the tower that holds the world famous British Crown Jewels. They have been kept at the Tower of London since the 14th century and are still used by the Queen and the royal family today. We saw the largest cut diamond in the world (530 carats), the Cullinan I (aka 1st Star of Africa), which sits on top of the Queen's Sceptre.
We're probably going to wait until you're a little older to share this particular post with you. I don't want you having nightmares of being executed at the Tower of London. In the gift shop on the way out, I saw a children's picture book of execution and torture at the Tower. Hmmmm....