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Paul L. Gleiser | all galleries >> KTBB World Tour II - London & the English Countryside >> London >> Tower of London > 0511d-0504-0307.jpg
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May, 2011 Paul L. Gleiser


London, England view map

Popularized in movies and literature as a place of torture and execution, the fact is that only seven people were executed within the Tower's walls prior to the world wars of the 20th century. (During the first and second world wars, the Tower of London was again used as a prison and witnessed the executions of 12 men for espionage.) Most executions took place outside the Tower walls on Tower Hill, just north of the castle. One hundred twelve men and women were executed on the hill over a 400 year period. One execution that did take place within the Tower was that of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII. On the morning of May 19, 1536, after having been convicted four days earlier under very dubious testimony for adultery, she was led to a scaffold erected on this spot where a small fountain now stands. Anne Boleyn was beheaded by a swordsman hired for the purpose from France, her sentence of burning at the stake having been commuted by the king. Her body now lies beneath the floor of the altar in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula (St. Peter in Chains) to the right of the frame.

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