Castles of England/Greater London
There is one castle of note in Greater London.
|Tower of London||Concentric castle||11–13th century||Intact||Historic Royal Palaces||White Tower begun c.1077, complete by 1100, curtain walls added 13th century, working portcullis.|
Tower of London
The Tower of London, or more properly, Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, stands on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. Construction began in 1066 shortly after the Norman invasion. The castle's common name comes from the White Tower which was built in 1078 and was seen at the time as a symbol of oppression. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard the Lionheart, Henry III and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.
The Tower of London was besieged several times and controlling it has been important to controlling the country. By the time of the Tudors the Tower became used less as a royal residence, and despite attempts to refortify and repair the castle its defences lagged behind developments to deal with artillery.
The Tower was oriented with its strongest and most impressive defences overlooking London and visually dominating the surrounding area. The castle is made up of three wards or enclosures. The innermost ward contains the White Tower and is the earliest phase of the castle. Encircling it to the north, east, and west is the inner ward, built during the reign of Richard the Lionheart. Finally, there is the outer ward which encompasses the castle and was built under Edward I. Although there were several phases of expansion after William the Conqueror founded the Tower of London, the general layout has remained the same since Edward I completed his rebuild in 1285. The castle encloses an area of almost 12 acres with a further six acres around the Tower of London constituting the Tower Liberties – land under the direct influence of the castle and cleared for military reasons.