The history here boggled the mind. Although the tower's primary function was a fortress, a royal palace and a prison, it has also served as a place of execution and torture, an armoury, a treasury, a zoo, the Royal Mint, a public records office, an observatory, and since 1303, the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.
Seeming out of place on the extensive greens are plain old black crows, or ravens, They have been in residence at the towers for centuries. An astronomer convinced King Charels II that if the ravens ever left the Tower of London, the entire kingdom would fall.
Although they are free to roam the grounds, the crow's wings are clipped to keep them from flying away. A Ravenmaster, a Yeoman Warder, is responsible to keep their individual names, gender and age. At the present the oldest crow is an 18 year old male named Gwylum. The oldest crow ever had a name familiar to Americans. He was "Jim Crow" and he lived to be 44.
The "Tower" is well known as a place of execution. Common people were hanged at "Old Bailey" but royalty was beheaded. The beheading of Anne Boleyn, Queen of England, took place in 1536. Although charged with adultery, treason and incest her real crime was to be in the way of her husbands lust for another woman. It is said that the ghost of Anne, with her head under her arm, still haunts the grounds.
The description of Anne's beheading was grusome. Seems as how, as the axe descended toward her long, graceful neck, she jumped up and bolted for the sanctuary of the church. She was chased by the axeman who just kept hacking away at her.
Sir Walter Raleigh was imprisoned in the Bloody Tower with his wife and two children from 1603 to 1616, 13 years.
The future queen Elizabeth I was imprisoned for two months. The longest held prisoner was Sir William de la Pole. He was imprisoned for 37 years for supposedly plotting against Henry VII.
The Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, such as the official queen's crown below, have been kept at the Tower of London since 1303.They are protected by Beefeaters guards.
The caution given by the beefeaters to visitors viewing the crown jewels include the notice that if the glass of the jewel enclosure is so much as touched, the building will then be AUTOMATICALLY locked down for 24 hours during which time everyone present would be stripped searched.
Although not guarded by the Beefeaters, today Julie and I possessed a treasure more precious to us than the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.Julie and I both have had the flu for over a week now, Julie much worse than me. Our jewel tonight has curly hair, a michieveous grin and sparkling eyes. The jewel is named Carla Ludwig, pictured below with a good luck cake for me.
She is my "go to girl" in all of my foolishness, which can be often and much, and she is an up close and personal confident of Julie's.
To encourage her two sick friends Carla brought a pot of steaming hot, homemade, chicken noodle soup and a still-warm loaf of bread she had just baked.
The Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom are priceless. Just as rare and more valuable to us are friends who, like Carla, are beyond price.
We are thankful for all our blessings, including the blessing of friends.
"A true friend unblossoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeable"