The Tower of London

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Henry's son Edward I (1272-1307) came to the throne determined to master the turbulent city. In ten years, between 1275 and 1285, he spent twice as much on the Tower as his father had done during his entire reign. A new moat was excavated, a new curtain wall was built along its edge, and Henry III's moat was filled in. A towered curtain wall was constructed along the river foreshore containing new[...]
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Henry's son Edward I (1272-1307) came to the throne determined to master the turbulent city. In ten years, between 1275 and 1285, he spent twice as much on the Tower as his father had done during his entire reign. A new moat was excavated, a new curtain wall was built along its edge, and Henry III's moat was filled in. A towered curtain wall was constructed along the river foreshore containing new royal accommodation, and the ground behind up. Edward paid particular attention to the elaborate fortification of the new landward entrance, across the moat.

The Tower, with its moat, now extended over 18 acres (7.3 ha), and nothing was lacking to make it an impregnable fortress except that, as in earlier times, the readiness of the defenders to fight still mattered more than the strength of the defences. This was to be strikingly shown during the Peasants' Revolt of 1381 when after the young Richard II had left the Tower to negotiate with some of the rebels, others appeared demanding entry. The garrison dared not resist and put the King at risk, and an exuberant crowd swept in, seeking loot and revenge.

Again, in 1460 during the Wars of Roses, after the Towers had been besieged and bombarded, the garrison preferred to surrender on conditions, rather than fight on in a lost cause.A medieval castle, as well as being the stronghold and residence of its lord, was also the place that held his treasure, armoury and prisoners. The Tower, as a great royal castle adjoining London, the commercial capital, and near Westminster, which had become the seat of government, was a major centre of the power and wealth of England monarchs.

Following Edward I's expansion of the Tower, it soon come to contain one of the main royal treasuries, a storehouse for official documents, the largest of the royal mints and the only one coining in gold as well as silver, and the chief arsenal in the kingdom, storing and assembling armaments for the royal armies and fleets. To speed the movement of supplies and afford storage and working space, the wharf was extended along the entire river front.

In medieval times the Tower also found room for prisoners who in one way or another were accounted the king's enemies, ranging from rioting London apprentices to foreign monarchs and nobles captured in war.
From the later years of Henry VIII's reign (1509-1547) the Tower gradually went out of use as a royal palace as Whitehall become the monarch's usual London residence, and the Tower life along with the ever-growing number of prisoners of state, the victims of court rivalries, dynastic disputes and religious animosities.
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