6 Famous Prisoners of The Tower of London

Many well-known people spent time in the Tower

Image by Ana Gic from Pixabay
Image: Public domain

1. Anne Boleyn

2 May 1536 – 19 May 1536

When Henry VIII’s second queen did not give birth to a son she was arrested – and later executed – on trumped-up charges of treason, adultery and incest.

Image: Public domain

2. Lady Jane Grey

19 July 1553 – 12 February 1554

The ‘Nine Day Queen’ was already at the Tower preparing for her coronation when her claim to power was overruled. She was imprisoned then executed.

Image: Public domain

3. Guy Fawkes

5 November 1605 – 31 January 1606

The head of the Gunpowder Plot was tortured in the Tower. Sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered, he was spared this fate by breaking his neck.

Image: Public domain

4. Sir Walter Raleigh


Once the favourite of Elizabeth I, Raleigh was unpopular with her successor, James I. Accused of plotting against the king, he was imprisoned for 13 years before being executed.

Image: Public domain

5. The Princes in
the Tower

June 1483

Edward and Richard York were held in what became known as the Bloody Tower before they mysteriously disappeared after their uncle usurped the throne.

Image: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146II-849 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

6. Rudolf Hess

17–20 May 1941

Winston Churchill briefly imprisoned the Deputy Führer of Nazi Germany after Hess’ plane crashed in Scotland. He claimed to have been travelling on a mission to broker peace.

This article was originally published in How It Works issue 117, written by Jodie Tyley

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