Tower of London

Origins of the Tower of London

The Tower of London was originally built as a symbol of the Norman Conquest around 1066. The famous tower was not only used as a fortress, but also as a palace, mint, treasury, prison and official holding place of governmental documents. Most strangely, the tower held a zoo when a fascination with wild, exotic animals came into being. Lions, bears, tigers, ungainly birds and leopards could be found within the walls of the structure.

The original structure was completed in 1078. William's son, William Rufus reinforced the fort in 1091, and thereafter a series of walls, gateways and more protective towers were added. What soon emerged was the tightest and most invincible structure in all of Europe. During the reign of Henry III the space inside the walls numbered twelve acres. A deep moat had been dug around the entire fortress in order to ward off invaders and to keep the prisoners inside.

By: Benjamin A. Stiles

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