The Tower of London is visited by more than three million people every year , but when the crowds have gone, and the doors are closed and bolted… spooky happenings are afoot.
Due to the grisly executions that have occurred here throughout history, it is perhaps not surprising that the oldest building in London boasts more than its fair share of ghouls and spectres - many of which are as famous as the tower itself! Read on for four famous ghosts who reside in one of the most haunted buildings in Britain.
1. Thomas Becket
One of the first ghosts to be sighted at the Tower (back in 1241) was Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. When Henry III, grandson of the King who is believed to be responsible for his murder, commissioned the Inner Circle wall to be built, Becket’s ghoul made numerous appearances, eventually causing the wall to crumble into dust. Henry III, in a desperate bid to appease the spirit, christened a chapel after Thomas Becket. Seemingly contented, the ghost has made very few further appearances
2. Anne Boleyn
The fate of Anne Boleyn was sealed when her notorious husband, King Henry VIII, had her committed to the Tower on charges of adultery, and even incest with her own brother. Convicted unanimously, the beautiful and daring former Queen of England was beheaded in front of a jeering crowd in 1536. Now, when the crowds at the Tower of London have calmed, if you cast an eye over Tower Green, the site of her execution, she may favour you with a re-appearance. Faint-hearted visitors beware, however, as she has been sighted both with, and without, her head.
3. Margaret Pole
If there’s something of a commotion over at Tower Green, you may be spying a different spectre: Margaret Pole , who was executed here just five years after Ann Boleyn. The Countess, one of the last remaining figures of the Plantagenet Dynasty has been sighted re-enacting her own execution, in which she ran around the Green in a bid to escape. These attempts were unsuccessful, and she eventually succumbed to her fate, another victim of the bloodthirsty King Henry VIII.
4. Lady Jane Grey
“One of the most compelling and tragic heroes of Tudor history”, Lady Jane Grey was queen for just nine days before Mary Tudor brought her to the block. She uttered the words “Lord unto thy hands I commend my spirit”, before her head was fatally severed from her body. Regardless of her speech, her spirit is said to remain… wandering the grounds and floating through the chambers.