The Tower of London is located in the city of London, on the north bank of the Thames River. The original tower, known as the White Tower or Keep, was built by William the Conquerer shortly after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The tower has served as a royal residence, a state prison, a zoo, a mint, and a armory. But perhaps its most infamous use was as a torture center. Hundreds of people died here, most of them by judicial murder rather than the due process of law.
Many parts of the tower have recieved names from the horrible events that took place there. For instance, the Bloody Tower was so called from the tradition that the English child king Edward V and his brother Richard Plantagenet, duke of York, were murdered there in 1483. And then there is Devereux Tower, named for its most famous prisoner, Rober Devereux. He was held there befor his execution for treason in 1601, and where, in 1478, George Plantagenet supposedly was drowned in a barrel of wine.
The most notorious prisoners were kept in "Little Ease," a small cell impossible in which to stand upright or lay down. They may stay crouched for a week before their torture began. Some of those tortures practiced at the Tower of London include the rack, the thumbscrew, and the boot.
The tower has been the last resting stop for many famouse people before their death. In 1305 William Wallace, (the guy played by Mel Gibson in BraveHeart), was taken to the tower where he was tied to horses tails and and hanged till nearly dead, then his bowels torn out and his head cut off. The tower was also the host of the suspicous disappearance of Edward V and Richard Duke of York as mentioned earlier. Another theory is that they smothered the children in their beds and the bodies were buried in the precincts. However in 1674, when workmen were demolishing a stone staircase on the south side of the White Tower, they found a chest containing two childsize skeletons. None doubted that these were the bodies of the two princes.
Today, the tower is a museum and one of the country's greatest tourist attractions. It is home to many many legends of ghost stories and strange occurences.