List of prisoners of the Tower of London
From an early stage of its history, one of the functions of the Tower of London has been to act as a prison. The earliest known prisoner was Ranulf Flambard in 1100 who, as Bishop of Durham, was found guilty of extortion. He had been responsible for various improvements to the design of the tower after the first architect Gundulf moved back to Rochester. He escaped from the White Tower by climbing down a rope, which had been smuggled into his cell in a wine casket.
Other prisoners include:
- Robert, Duke of Normandy, eldest son of William the Conqueror, in 1206 as prisoner of war.
- Robert, Earl of Mortain in 1106 as a prisoner of war.
- Constance of France in 1150 on orders of Geoffrey de Mandeville.
- William Fitz Osbert in 1196 for protesting taxation levied for rescue of Richard I.
- John de Courcy in 1199 for rebellion in Ireland.
- Hubert de Burgh, 1st Earl of Kent, Regent to Henry III, was imprisoned from 1232 until pardoned in 1234.
- Gruffydd ap Llywelyn Fawr, a Welsh prince, the eldest but illegitimate son of Llywelyn the Great ("Llywelyn Fawr") was imprisoned in 1241. He fell to his death in 1244 whilst trying to escape.
- John of Scotland (John de Balliol) - after being forced to abdicate the crown of Scotland by Edward I he was imprisoned in the Tower from 1296 to 1299.
- William 'le hardi' Douglas, Lord of Douglas and Scots governor of Berwick-upon-Tweed, imprisoned 1297, murdered in the Tower 1298.
- William Wallace was imprisoned for a short time before his execution in 1305.
- David II of Scotland was imprisoned in 1346 after being captured at the Battle of Neville's Cross.
- John Graham, Earl of Menteith imprisoned after Neville's Cross, hanged, drawn and quartered in 1347.
- John II of France was imprisoned after being captured at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356. Released in 1360 to raise his ransom, he returned to England when his son Louis, used as replacement hostage, escaped from captivity in July 1363. Greeted in London with parades and feasts, he fell ill a few months later and died at the Savoy in April 1364.
- Richard II of England was imprisoned in 1399 before being taken to Pontefract Castle, where he was murdered.
- James I of Scotland, then heir to the Scottish throne, was kidnapped while travelling to France in 1406 and imprisoned in the Tower until 1408 before being transferred to Nottingham Castle.
- The family of Owain Glyndŵr was imprisoned in the Tower in 1408, a year after Glyndŵr had been defeated by Henry IV.
- Charles, Duke of Orléans was imprisoned in various English castles between 1415 and 1440, including the White Tower of the Tower of London.
- Henry VI of England was imprisoned in the Tower after his capture at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 and was murdered there on 21 May 1471. Each year on the anniversary of Henry VI's death, the Provosts of Eton College and King's College, Cambridge, lay roses and lilies on the altar that stands where he died.
- Margaret of Anjou, consort of Henry VI Imprisoned after being captured at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 until ransomed in 1475.
- George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, brother of King Edward IV of England, imprisoned in 1477 for treason and privately executed there in 1478.
- Edward V of England and his brother Richard of Shrewsbury, also known as the Princes in the Tower were sent to the tower by their uncle, Richard Duke of Gloucester in 1483 "for their own protection" after the death of their father and then, according to popular belief, ordered their deaths.
- Sir William de la Pole. A distant relative of King Henry VIII, he was incarcerated at the Tower for 37 years (1502–1539) for allegedly plotting against Henry VII, thus becoming the longest-held prisoner.
- Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, and his steward Sir John Thynne. Although Somerset was released from the Tower and restored to the Council, he was executed for felony in January 1552 after scheming to overthrow John Dudley, Earl of Warwick's regime.
- Thomas More was imprisoned on 17 April 1534. He was executed on 6 July 1535 and his body was buried at the Tower of London.
- Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, was imprisoned on 2 May 1536 on charges of High Treason: adultery, incest, and witchcraft. She remained a prisoner until 19 May 1536 when she was beheaded by a French swordsman on Tower Green.
- Adam Sedbar, Abbot of Jervaulx, imprisoned in 1537 for taking part in the Pilgrimage of Grace, before being hanged, drawn and quartered.
- Blessed Richard Whiting Abbott of Glastonbury Abbey was imprisoned in 1539 for a short time before being returned to Glastonbury to be hanged, drawn and quartered.
- Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury was imprisoned from 1539 until her beheading in 1541 for treason.
- Thomas Cromwell was imprisoned by Henry VIII in 1540 before his execution.
- Catherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII, was imprisoned in 1542 before her execution.
- Lady Rochford, sister in law to queen Anne Boleyn, held there before her execution with Catherine Howard.
- Anne Askew, Protestant reformer, was imprisoned and tortured for heresy in 1546 before being burnt at the stake.
- Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, was imprisoned in 1553 before being sent to Oxford in 1554 to be burnt at the stake for heresy.
- Lady Jane Grey, uncrowned Queen of England and her husband Guilford Dudley were imprisoned in the tower from 1553 until 12 February 1554, when they were beheaded by order of Queen Mary I.
- The future Queen Elizabeth I, imprisoned for two months in 1554 for her alleged involvement in Wyatt's Rebellion.
- Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl of Southampton imprisoned from October 1571 to May 1573, for his part in the Ridolfi plot to assassinate Elizabeth I and replace her on the English throne with Mary, Queen of Scots.
- Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford imprisoned from March to June 1581 for impregnating Anne Vavasour, one of the Queen's Maids of Honour, who had given birth to a son. Vavasour and infant were also imprisoned.
- Anne Vavasour, a Maid of Honour (1580–81) to Elizabeth I, for having an illegitimate son with Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. All were sent to the Tower by orders of the Queen: mother, father, and child.
- John Gerard, an English Jesuit priest operating undercover during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, when Catholics were being persecuted. He was captured in 1594 and tortured and incarcerated in the Salt Tower before making a daring escape by rope across the moat in 1597.
- William Wright, another Jesuit priest who was arrested in the aftermath of The Gunpowder Plot.
- Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton imprisoned (like his father had been earlier) and sentenced to death for his part in the Essex Rebellion of 1601; lucky to escape execution and be released only with the accession of James I in 1603.
- Sir Walter Raleigh spent thirteen years (1603–1616) imprisoned at the Tower but was able to live in relative comfort in the Bloody Tower with his wife and two children. For some of the time he even grew tobacco on Tower Green, just outside his apartment. While imprisoned, he wrote The History of the World.
- Guy Fawkes, famous for his part in the Gunpowder Plot, was brought to the Tower in 1605 to be interrogated by a council of the King's Ministers. When he confessed to treason, he was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered in the Old Palace Yard at Westminster; however, he escaped his fate by jumping off the scaffold at the gallows which in turn broke his neck and killed him.
- Sir Everard Digby. Gunpowder Plot conspirator, imprisoned in 1605 until hanged, drawn and quartered in 1606.
- Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland KG (1564 – 1632) suspected of being part of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and spent the next 17 years as a prisoner. He also paid a fine of £30,000.
- Nicholas Woodcock spent sixteen months in the "gatehouse and tower" for piloting the first Spanish whaleship to Spitsbergen in 1612.
- Sir Thomas Overbury was imprisoned in the Tower by King James I on 22 April 1613. He died on 15 September 1613 after being poisoned, and his murder resulted in one of the biggest scandals of the era.
- Niall Garve O'Donnell, an Irish nobleman, a one-time ally of the English against his cousin, Red Hugh O'Donnell.
- Domhnáill Ballaugh Ó Catháin, the last chieftain of Clan Ó Catháin died in the Tower in 1626.
- William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, was imprisoned from 1640 to 1645 before his execution for treason.
- William Penn, Quaker and future founder of Pennsylvania, was imprisoned for seven months in 1668-69 for pamphleteering.
- Samuel Pepys, civil servant and diarist, was imprisoned for six weeks in 1679 for maladministration.
- James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth imprisoned and executed in the tower in 1685 following the Monmouth Rebellion.
- Judge Jeffries was imprisoned in 1688-89 after the defection of James II. He died there of kidney disease.
- Sir Robert Walpole, future Prime Minister, was imprisoned for six months in 1712 for corruption.
- Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat was imprisoned in 1746 after being captured at the Battle of Culloden before his execution in 1747.
- Flora MacDonald, a Scottish Jacobite, was imprisoned from 1746 to 1747 for assisting Bonnie Prince Charlie after Culloden.
- Henry Laurens, the third President of the Continental Congress of Colonial America was imprisoned in 1780.
- Lord George Gordon, instigator of the Gordon Riots in 1780, spent 6 months in the Tower while awaiting trial on the charge of high treason.
- Johan Anders Jägerhorn, a Swedish officer from Finland, Lord Edward FitzGerald's friend, participating in the Irish independence movement. He spent two years in the Tower (1799–1801), but was released because of Russian interests.
- Josef Jakobs, a German spy, was executed there in August 1941.
- Rudolf Hess, deputy leader of the Nazi Party, the last state prisoner to be held in the Tower, in May 1941.
- The Kray twins, were among the last prisoners to be held, for a few days in 1952, for failing to report for national service.
- Parnell 1993, p. 54
- Impey & Parnell 2000, p. 45
- 'James the Second, 1685: An Act to Attaint James Duke of Monmouth of High-Treason. (Chapter II. Rot. Parl. nu. 2.)', Statutes of the Realm: volume 6: 1685-94 (1819), p. 2. Date accessed: 16 February 2007.
- "Tower of London: Fact sheet" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-10-10.
- Spencer, Charles, Blenheim, Chapter 3: John Churchill, p.54: "Monmouth had a particularly grisly end, the executioner's axe striking seven times before his head severed"
- Impey & Parnell 2000, p. 123
- The Tower, Channel 4, 2008-08-01, retrieved 2008-08-01
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