Jul 122014

Join me and my daughter as we travel back to a time when tortures and beheadings were executed in the Tower of London.
Tower of London Traitor Gate

We are in a boat with Anne Boleyn, Queen of England, headed for the Tower of London.  King Henry VIII is now in love with Jane Seymour, so some trumped up charge like treason is needed.  This doesn’t mean Anne has betrayed her country, just displeasing the king becomes her vile act of treason.

Anne’s boat enters the Tower of London through the Traitor’s gate and is met by the Constable of the Tower.  We hear her ask if she will be taken to a dungeon.  He assures her that she will be imprisoned in the same Royal apartments she had stayed in three years ago, when she became queen.
Tower of London Torture Rack
Tower of London BeheadingThe Tower received a ghastly reputation of innocent prisoners being tortured into confessing their guilt.  I noticed a somber mood fell over our group, as we read how bodies were stretched on the rack.
Tower of London Scaffolding siteThe Spanish A-Frame successfully extracted confessions the opposite way by compressing the body.  I found it curious that these torture items were never destroyed, but I guess “what happens in the tower, stays in the tower.”

Let’s join Anne Boleyn again, as she hears that her sentence will be either burning or beheading.  King Henry VIII shows what a nice guy he is by selecting the quicker, less painful death.  English executioners didn’t get much practice hacking off heads, and needed several whacks to finally finish the bloody job.  As another act of kindness, an expert French swordsman with a sharpened sword is brought in to do the slicing.  We hear Anne commenting that fortunately “she has a little neck.”

The site of the scaffolding built for the beheadings is located on the Tower Green and marked by this crystal pillow.

My daughter and I weren’t very eager to test the rumors about ghosts haunting the Tower.  Supposedly, Anne Boleyn is sighted the most often as a headless body drifting near the Tower Green.  She has also been seen near the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula, where her bones were buried within the Tower.

I have never seen or felt the presence of apparitions, have you?

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  77 Responses to “A Good Day for Tortures and Beheadings at the Tower”

  1. I was never a history buff but I will say that in all my history lessons in school… I remember King Henry VIII very clearly. Such an interesting and disturbing piece of history.

    • Yes, King Henry VIII was quite an interesting person that did what he wanted, when he wanted. I can’t wait to read the book “The other Boleyn sister.

  2. Your one brave lady. While visiting would be very cool I might of ran after she said she had encountered a headless ghost. Those kind of things just make the hair on my skin stand up. I’m a pretty memory type girl and I’d have nightmares haha. Thank you for sharing.

    • We wouldn’t have wanted to stay at the Tower of London at night. Who knows what or who might have floated passed us.

  3. Wow, what an interesting place. I have seen a few apparitions before but it’s not something I talk about much because most people think you’re crazy lol

  4. You are brave but I am fascinated with sightings. Although I have never seen a ghost I would love to tour haunted places for the thrill 🙂

    • I’m not sure if I would want to see a headless ghost. I guess if Anne Boleyn would favor us with a sighting, it would quite a story to tell.

  5. Wow that must of been a very interesting place to visit, I’ve been meaning to go there.

    • I was amazed by the many buildings that are in the Tower of London. I would recommend visiting to any history buff like me.

  6. Wow! What an amazing trip you went on. Not only did you go on an adventure but you went back in time to learn some history lessons. Fascinating!

    • I loved walking where these kings and queens lived and died. King Henry VIII was quite the husband and Anne’s story is so interesting.

  7. Interesting place to visit…

  8. That must have been such a neat experience. As for your question- yes I have had experiences with spirits. A few times when I was a little girl. And a few as an adult. We have a spirit in our home now. Jokingly we call it Chad’s Ghosty Girlfriend. It seems to not like him very much. We’ve had things fly across the room straight at his head. We also do geocaching quite a bit. Once we went out with a friend of ours to a cache in a graveyard. We found it. Jumped back in the van. And went to leave. All of a sudden our GPS started routing us to the town his ex had just moved to. We have never been to that town and the name had never been entered into the GPS. That was spooky.

    • It sounds like you have had some interesting and strange experiences too. I would have liked to meet Anne Boleyn’s ghost, but since her head would be missing I guess she would have much to say.

  9. What a fantastic trip! I’m with you, I wouldn’t want to be there at night. I love history – maybe I’ll be able to visit the Tower myself one day. In the meantime, thank you for sharing your experiences with us – God bless and keep you safe!

    • It was an amazing experience to enjoy with my daughter. We saw so much and this tower has so much history to tell.

  10. I loved the Tower of London, such a fun and “scary” place to visit if you think too much about it!

    • It was my top place to visit and it was very well worth the time spent. I don’t think people realize what an amazing place it is.

  11. Aloha Neva, I’ve often felt a presence in various places, and I’ve seen several apparitions, so I’m a believer. I imagine the residual energy is very strong here. You will enjoy The Other Boleyn Sister, filled with machinations and intrigue. I understand the Tower was a rather benign residence prior to being used for more nefarious ends, true?

    • You’re absolutely correct that this was a benign residence until King Henry VIII started changing wives when he became tired of them. I can’t wait to read the book and get the rest of the story about the Boleyn sisters.

  12. Ghosts or no ghosts, the Tower is deservedly at the top of most must-see London places. Thanks for taking us along.

  13. So spooky! I have always been fascinated by Henry VIII and his unique forms of ending his marriages…what a great read!

    • I’m looking forward to reading more about the Boleyn sisters. It was fun walking into areas that these people lived in so long ago.

  14. No, I can’t say that I’ve seen and/or felt the presence of a ghost – and I’m good with that! England – and the royal lineage – have such a fascinating (and violent) history, you can’t help but be intrigued by all of it.

    • It was an amazing experience to walk in these areas that the royals walked. I loved all the history and really was intrigued to learn more.

  15. Yikes! Never have felt or seen a ghost, but if ever there was a place… the tower could be it.

  16. I bet you told your daughter some mean bedtime stories when she was young:-)

    • That’s funny you should mention “mean bedtime stories” since Mother Goose has some gems. How about the three blind mice getting their tails chopped off for starters.

  17. So much of the really fascinating history is also really gruesome! Evidently I’m not alone because Henry the VIII was a truly evil man with no empathy for others and stories and movies are still being written about him!

    • I can’t imagine what it would have been like to live in that time period. There is so much that is fascinating about the history of the Tower of London.

  18. What a touching post…I too was emotionally affected by the sad history at the Tower of London. The site of the scaffolding with the crystal pillow was particularly poignant.

    • It’s hard to imagine how people of that time were so easily tortured or killed without a thought of clemency or compassion.

  19. That sounds a bit too eerie for me.

  20. This totally gives me the creeps, which is why we’ve never visited it before! I’m going back to London next week and may have to give it a go this time. Will say hi to Anne for you if she floats by …

    • I’m eager to hear about your visit to the Tower of London. It has so much history and I think everyone loves the jewels and the Crown Jewels are worth seeing.

  21. I would have been upset to visit the place, knowing that somebody had to lose her life because her husband wanted her dead. I have seen a ghost (or whatever it was) when I was a child. I saw a figure of a man, white, glowing but the face was all blurry. It was standing beside a large tree in our backyard. When I realized it was not human, I ran back to the house and had a fever for three days. That was scary!

    • It sounds like you had a traumatic experience at a very young age that certainly affected your health. The Tower of London is filled with history that has a lot of happy stories too like the amazing Crown Jewels.

  22. What a neat place to visit during the DAYTIME 🙂 Not sure if I would want to stay the night though. Found you on Blogging to Success.

    • I also wouldn’t want to do a Halloween night time walk through this area. There’s so much to see and so much history to absorb, it could easily take all night to see it all though.

  23. The Tower of London is one of my favourite buildings in London but I really don’t like all that gory history associated with it!

  24. The Tower is one of my favourite buildings in London but I really don’t like all the gory history associated with it!

    • You have to admit, the Tower of London isn’t a boring history lesson. Those were the days when people were expendable, unfortunately if they weren’t murdered they got the black plague (sigh).

  25. The Anne Bolyen story never ceases to capture the imagination – or Henry the VIII. But we learned something from your post today – that her beheading was done on a crystal pillow.

    • No, her head was severed by a sword on a scaffolding. This was a private viewing of people that were selected by the king, so there wouldn’t be an uprising from the public. The crystal pillow marks the area where the scaffolding stood for the beheadings.

  26. Once I had children of my own, I could not stand stories of cruelty or visiting dungeons and seeing torture devices. However, I visited the Tower of London as a 15 year old when we lived in England for a year while my father was an exchange teacher and I remember being fascinated. I ended up as a double major in history and Spanish in college and I think my exposure to places like the Tower of London whetted my appetite to enjoy reading history.

    • I have become more fascinated with history since I’m more of an aged being as well. Although this was a place that speaks of extreme cruelty, it explains how people lived too. I’m looking forward to reading the book on the Anne Boleyn sisters.

  27. I’d loose to see the Tower of London! Thanks for giving us a private tour 😉

    • It was an amazing experience to see it with my daughter. We both love history and this was a great way to share our thoughts on this historical place.

  28. It is such an interesting period in history – a true turning point – and to have ‘walked’ in Anne Boleyn’s footsteps, as you did, I feel you can’t help but sense what went before?

    • This is what I felt as well, that we were walking in the buildings and areas that these famous figures from history walked. It means so much more in person than turning pages in a history book.

  29. I remember being fascinated with the story of Anne Boleyn in high school history class. Your experience makes it seem very real and scary.

    • I was amazed how people lived and died during this period in history. I’m not sure if I could handle walking around the tower in the dark though.

  30. Was at the Tower of London last year and greatly enjoyed the visit–didn’t see any ghosts! Just watched this PBS documentary last weekend all about the Tower of London secrets. If you’re interested, here’s the link: http://video.pbs.org/program/secrets-tower-london/ It seems to be free to watch if you’re in the USA.

  31. Have been to London a couple of times, but still haven’t made it to the Tower of London. I always seem to spend my time eating and drinking. No surprise!

    • That makes sense, since there are no chocolateers at the Tower of London. This is really a must see kind of place if you love history.

  32. I find this stuff fascinating (if not a little creepy!) When I was in Italy we stumbled across a serial killers museum in Florence, it was one of the most interesting museums I’ve ever been to!

    • The Tower of London is steeped in historical events and I enjoyed seeing items from the 15th century and older.

  33. That’s an interesting point you brought up about why the torture devices were never destroyed. I wonder if they were hanging on to them initially in case if they were needed again or some people thought that they’d be interesting from a historical perspective.

    • Supposedly the torture devices weren’t used very much. Another reason could be to have the prisoners see them as a scare tactic.

  34. I always love learning history while traveling, so much more interesting than sitting in a classroom. Thanks for sharing this piece of history.

    • Glad you enjoyed my visit to the Tower of London. I would recommend this must see place of so much history to walk through.

  35. What a cool trip! Pinned to my travel getaways board:) Found your post via Linkedin. New follow and pinned:)

    • Thanks for your comment and pinning to your board. It was a wonderful trip with so much history to soak up.

  36. I’d love to visit some day. All the history is fascinating. And I guess if there was ever a place with apparitions, the Tower of London would be it.

    • The Tower of London has been part of the English history as kings and queens lived in such interesting times. It was one of the most interesting places to see.

  37. I have, indeed, had paranormal experiences! But, alas, not during my trip to the tower of London. Of course, it was broad daylight, and I was with a large group of college students. I do not blame Miss Anne for avoiding us. It is still haunting, however, to be at such historical places, to walk the ground they walked, to touch the walls they touched. it is a humbling experience.

    • I totally agree that it is amazing to walk and touch the areas they lived and died in. I would recommend visiting the Tower to anyone visiting London.

  38. How interesting, thank you for sharing your travel stories with us and how creepy about visit a place that was once filled with such sorrow.. I would have been a bit leary of ghosts of the tortured souls too..

    • I found the entire area very fascinating to walk around such historical buildings. Trying to understand what it was like to live them was sad and yet exciting.

  39. This sounds so amazing and fascinating and I cannot wait until I visit the UK. It’s equally magical that you get to travel with your daughter.

    • It was a great way to visit a place with so much history that you only get to read about. Traveling with my daughter was the amazing experience and so glad we could be together.

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