Who was held prisoner in the Tower of London?

One of the most famous prisoners held in the Tower of London was Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry the VIII, King of England. Anne was beheaded there in 1536.

Another famous prisoner of the Tower of London was Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry the VIII. She was taken to the Tower on Feb. 10, 1542 and beheaded there on Feb. 13, 1542.


The Tower of London was significantly expanded in the 13th century, during the reign of Henry III, when two defensive walls were built around the White Tower. The inner wall had thirteen towers and the outer wall another six. The towers were mostly used to imprison political opponents.

Traitors' Gate

Some of the most famous prisoners locked in the Tower were two princes, the sons of king Edward IV. After Edward's dead in 1483 the children were locked in the Bloody Tower by their uncle, who would later ascend the throne as king Richard III. The princes were never seen again and were probably killed by guards.

The St. Thomas Tower is located close to the Bloody Tower. Here, prisoners were brought into the fortress by boat through the Traitor's gate.

Important prisoners were often locked in the Beauchamp Tower, sometimes with their servants. An inscription on the wall of the tower is believed to refer to Lady Jane Grey, who, nine days after she was crowned Queen, was executed on Tower Green, an open terrain in the Tower of London.

Byward Tower

Thomas More was imprisoned in the Bell Tower until his execution after he refused to accept king Henry VIII as head of the Anglican church. Even Queen Elisabeth I was confined here for some time.