Nearly one thousand years old, the Tower of London, built by William the Conqueror, was used as a royal residence for many centuries and into the Tudor period, when Henry VIII was the last monarch to use it for this purpose. All Tudor monarchs stayed at the Tower before their coronation and Elizabeth of York died there following childbirth in 1503. Henry VIII built a sumptuous set of new royal apartments for Anne Boleyn’s coronation, between the White Tower and the River Thames, that have now, sadly, gone.
By the middle of the sixteenth century the Tower’s role as a prison for traitors and those considered dangerous to the state had grown hugely. Six of the seven executions within the walls of the Tower were during this time: Anne Boleyn (1536), Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury (1541), Katherine Howard (1542), Jane, Lady Rochford (1542), Lady Jane Grey (1554) and Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex (1601). They were all buried in Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, which was built in 1520. The King’s House, built in 1540, may have been where Lady Jane Grey was held as a prisoner in 1553/4, and can still be seen today.
Anne Boleyn's apartments at the Tower of London, Ripon Cathedral, Henry VIII's Kentish forts, Oatlands Palace and Tudor Tenby all feature in this first issue.