Tower Chambers - Traitors' Bridge

A Dictionary of London. Originally published by H Jenkins LTD, London, 1918.

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'Tower Chambers - Traitors' Bridge', in A Dictionary of London, (London, 1918) pp. . British History Online [accessed 24 April 2024]

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Tower Chambers

On the north side of London Wall at No. 118, at the south-east corner of Finshury Pavement, facing old Moorgate. Erected for offices and chambers, 1879 (P.O. Directory). In Coleman Street Ward.

Former name: "Tower Buildings," Collingridge, 1908.

The site was formerly occupied, first by Old Bethlehem Hospital, removed 1814, and afterwards by Albion Chapel, Moorfields (q.v.).

Tower Ditch

Made by the Bishop of Ely while King Richard was in Palestine (Strype, ed. 1720, I. ii. 9).

Land purchased temp. Ed. I. to enlarge the Tower ditch, vacant 1386 (Cal. L. Bk. H. p.283).

Houses and gardens on "le Tourdich," 1329 (Ct. H.W. I. 348, and S. 131). Drained, now dry.

Tower Dock

On Tower Hill, south from No.50 Great Tower Street to 46 Lower Thames Street (P.O. Directory).

Earliest mention: 1680 (Ct. H.W. II. 776).

Tower Hill

North and west of the Tower, west from the Minories and south to Tower Bridge (P.O. Directory). In Portsoken Ward in its original extent (S. 125), now in the Tower Liberties.

Earliest mention : " Tourhulle," 16 Ed. III. (Anc. Deeds, B. 2322).

Called "Great Tower Hill " from Trinity Square south to Thames Street (Lockie, 1810-1912).

The Abbey of St. Mary Graces was on Tower Hill and the Abbot was called sometimes the "Abbot of Tourhill"(Arnold's Chr.).

Encroached on in Stow's time by garden plots and houses (S. 131).

Separated from the jurisdiction of the City by Letters Patent, Jas. II. (Britton and Brayley, p.196).

Place of execution. Scaffold removed about the middle of the 18th century.

Widened and extended under Met. Streets Improvement Act, 1883, completed 1887.

George Street absorbed into it Dec., 1911.

See Little Tower Hill and Tower Liberty.

Remains of the old Roman Wall have been discovered here to the north of the Tower 110 ft. long and 25 ft. in height from the old surface level.

Tower Hill Passage

On Little Tower Hill (Dodsley, 1761).

Not named in the maps.

Tower Liberty

Tower and fortifications with Tower Hill of the ancient demesne of the Crown with jurisdiction and privileges distinct from and independent of the City.

Boundaries presented by a Leet Jury 1525 and again as surveyed by Haiward and Gascoyne, 1597, extended from the Water-gate next the Ram's Head in Petty Wales, north to the end of Tower Street and thence to the mud wall called Pike's Garden near the Crutched Fryers (by Muscovy Ct.), east to the Wall with 9 gardens above the Postern and the Broken Tower to the middle of Hog Lane (Royal Mint Street), and south to the stone corner and the Thames (Britton and Brayley's Tower of London, p.193-4). Letters Patent Jas. II. definitely separated the Liberty from the jurisdiction of the City, including within it Little Minories, Old Artillery Ground, and Well Close (Britton and Brayley, p.196, and Bayley II. cxviii.).

Tower of London

Situated at the eastern extremity of the City of London on the north bank of the Thames on Tower Hill (S. 45, and Bayley, ed. 1821, I. p. 1), on the-confines of Middlesex and Essex, 1315 (Cal. P.R. 1313-17, p.314).

The most celebrated fortress in Great Britain, not included within the City boundary.~ Oldest portion is the White Tower, built by William I. in 1078, Gundulph, bishop of Rochester, being the architect.

It was repaired by William Rufus and Henry I., and restored by Sir C. Wren (S. 45).

In 1190 the wall of the City from the postern to the Thames was broken down to enlarge the Tower and to make a ditch round it (ib.).

Fortified 1239 (S.47).

Wall and dyke erected round the Tower by Edward I., land being acquired by him for the purpose in East Smithfield from the Hospital of St. Katherine by the Tower (Cal. P.R. Ed. III. 1343-5, p.84).

Repaired 1532 (S. 49, and Bayley I. 117).

There were two chapels in the Tower, " St. John's Chapel" and " St. Peter ad vincula" (q.v.).

The records of the kingdom were kept in the White Tower until recent times.

Fortifications consisted of the Inner Ward or ballium, and the Outer Ward, together with the wide ditch, or moat, now dry. The Inner Ward was defended by 13 strong Towers, partly square, partly circular, strong and thick, while the Ballium wall was 40 ft. high.

The Towers were named: Bell, Beauchamp or Cobham, Devereux, Flint, Bowyer's, Brick, Jewel, Constable, Broad Arrow, Salt, Lanthorn, Record or Artillery and Bloody Towers (ib. 315).

The defences of the Outer Ward were: Bulwark Gate, Lion Tower, Martin Tower, Byward Tower, St. Thomas' Tower, Cradle Tower, Well Tower, Iron Gate Tower (Britton and Brayley, p.348).

The Tower is governed by a Constable and was in old days maintained by rents and profits received from tenements within the Tower precincts, tolls from boats and ships, and on fish caught in the Thames (ib. 197-8; and See L. and P. Ed. VI., etc., Vol. I. 1, p. 692).

One half of the Tower, the ditch on the west side and bulwarks, formed part of Tower Ward before the Tower was built (S. 131). The remainder of the precincts were in Portsoken Ward.

The Tower was said to be within the liberty and precinct of the liberty of the City (Cal. L. Bk. I. p.3, 1399-1400), and at an Inquest in 1321 the second gate of the Tower west is described as in the parish of All Hallows Barking in Tower Ward (ib. note). But it was and always remained outside and independent of the jurisdiction of the City.

Boundaries of the franchise set out in temp. Rich. II. (Lansdowne MS. 155, p. 54).

In later times this question whether the Tower and its precincts formed an independent Liberty was the cause of frequent disputes between the citizens of London, the King and the Officers of the Tower. The decision went against the City in 1555, and again in 1613 and 1679, when the Liberties were defined by Orders in Council. James II. confirmed these privileges by Charter, and again defined the boundaries (Bayley, II, 670-1, and App. cxviii.).

The Liberties set out in these patents included the Little Minories, the Old Artillery Ground, and Well Close (Bayley, II. cxviii.).

The circumference of the Tower is set out in this Patent, and some of the bounds indicated can be identified on the older maps.

See Tower Liberty.

Tradition says that there was a tower on this site in Roman times, and in 1772-7, when excavations were being made, the ruins of an old wall were found to the south-east of the White Tower, forming a portion of the old City Wall, and also some Roman coins. A portion of the wall of the Roman city was also found built into the Wardrobe Tower, the plinth of the existing wall being above the present level of the ground. The discovery of portions of the wall in this neighbourhood furnish evidence of the determination of William I. to erect his fortress within the City boundary as a sign and symbol of his authority

Roman remains have also been found near Cold Harbour Tower.

Tower Postern

North of the Tower, by George Yard, between that yard and the Tower Ditch, at the southern termination of London Wall (O. and M. 1677).

Originally built of Kent and Caen stone, perhaps at the time the City wall was broken down for the erection of the Tower.

Called "le Posteryn," 34 Hen. VI. (Cal. P.R. H. VI. 1452-61, p.280).

Subsequently undermined and partly broken down 1190 for the enlargement of the Tower.

Fell down 1440 and not properly rebuilt (S. 28).

Remains still standing 1691 (De Laune, p.11).

Taken down by 1720 (Strype, ed. 1720, I. i. 14).

Name derived from position near the Tower.

There seems to have been a spring by the Postern Gate, near Tower Ditch covered over with a pump in it in 1801 (Gent. Mag. Lib. XVI. 275).

Tower Royal

North out of Cannon Street, at No.75, to Budge Row (P.O. Directory). In Cordwainer Ward.

It formerly comprised the whole of College Hill, then called " La Reole " (q.v.), and in Strype's maps 1720 and 1755, as well as in Horwood, 1799, and the O.S. 1848-51, it extended from Cloak Lane north to Budge Row.

"Royall Streete " (Stow, 245-6). " Tower Royal Street " (Strype, ed. 1720, I. iii. 25). Tower Royal" (Rocque, 1746).

Named after the large messuage or tenement called " La Reole" and afterwards "Tower Royal." said by Stow to have been so called as pertaining to the Kings of England. But Stow is under a misapprehension as to this, for the name "Royall," which he uses, is a corruption of the original form of the word which was "Reole," "Ryole," or " la Reole," from the town of " La Reole " in Gascony.

In the earliest mention of it in 1276 it is described as a tenement in London, called "La Ryole," in the possession of Thomas Bat (Cal. Charter Rolls, II. p.202).

In 1331 certain houses in "la Reol" belonging to the King were granted to Queen Phillippa for life for her wardrobe (Cal. P.R. Ed. III. 1330-4, p.37).

In 43 Ed. III. the King gave it to his newly founded College of St. Stephen, Westminster (Tanner).

Prior to 1483 it was for a time in possession of Henry, duke of Somerset, called "la Toure" in parish of St. Thomas the Apostle (Cal. P.R. 1476-85, p. 411).

Strype says that Richard III. gave it to the Duke of Norfolk (ed. 1720, I. iii. p.6).

In 1529 the Tower or great messuage called "la Riall" alias " le toure in le Rioll in parish of St. Thomas the Apostle in the street called "le Riall "in the Ward of Cordyway Strete, was granted to R. Raddyff (L. and P. H. VIII. Vol. IV. Pt. 3, p.2348)

It seems to have occupied the northern end of "La Reole" and perhaps extended from Cloak Lane nearly to Budge Row.

Stow says that in his time it was divided into tenements and let to various people (S. 245-6).

Tower Royal Court

East out of Tower Royal, in Cordwainer Ward (O. and M. 1677-Boyle, 1799).

The site is now occupied by the western extension of Cannon Street.

Tower Royal Lane

In Budge Row (Strype, ed. 1755-Boyle, 1799).

Not named in the maps.

Tower Street

West from Tower Hill to Eastcheap and St. Margaret Pattens Church (S. 132).

First mention : " La Tourstrate," Is Ed. I. (Anc. Deeds, A. 1708).

Name derived from the Tower. Now called Great Tower Street (q.v.), and See Little Tower Street and Gally Row.

A mortarium found here near Allhallows Barking Church, at a depth of 10 ft. (Arch XII. 413).

Tower Subway

A circular iron tube under the Thames extending from Great Tower Hill on the north bank to Pickle Herring Stairs on the south bank

Opened 1870. Constructed, P Barlow.

Tower Ward

One of the twety-sex wards of the City (O.S. ).

With Aldgate Ward the most eastern within the walls.

Earliest mention: "Ward of Tower," 1283 (Cal L Bk A p 209).

Former names: "Ward of Wm. de Hadestoke," 1275-6 (R. Mem. p.5). "Ward of St. Dunstan," 15 Ed. II. (Cal. L. Bk. E. p.143). "Ward of John de Canterbury," 1291-2 (Cal. L. Bk. C. p.12).

Called "Thames Ward" 7 Rich. II. (Anc. Deeds, A. 1779).

Bounds set out (Strype, ed. 1720, I. ii. 37).

Derivation of name: So called from its contiguity to the Tower of London.

Contains three parish churches: All Hallows Barking; St. Olave Hart Street; St. Dunstan in the East.

Also famous buildings: Custom House; Clothworkers' Hall; Bakers' Hall.

Larger in extent in old days, when it included one-half of the Tower, the ditch on the west side, and bulwarks (S. 131).

Tower Wharf

South out of and fronting the Tower, from Tower Stairs west to Tower Bridge east. Entrance on the southern side of Tower Hill (O.S.).

First mention: "Towre Wharf," 19 H. VI. 1441 (Cal. P.R. H. VI. 1436-41, p.546).

Town Ditch

Shown to the north of Christ's Hospital (O. and M. 1677-Strype, 1755). The Ditch was actually covered over in 1552, after the erection of Christ's Hospital, as it was found detrimental to the health of the children (L. and M. Arch. Soc. Lecture, 3.3.13).

See Houndsditch.

Townesend Lane

South out of Thames Street to the Thames (Lond. Guide, 1758). In Queenhithe Ward.

First mention: "Townesende lane," 4 Eliz. (Cal. L. and M. Ft. of Fines, II. 118).

Richard Townsende owned a messuage and wharf in the parish of St. Michael at Queenhithe, 36 H. VIII. (L. and P. H. VIII. XIX. (2), 176). Now called Bull Wharf Lane (q.v.).


It is so universal a practice in the present day for all classes of trades to be carried on in the same street, that one is apt to forget that in early days it was the custom for men of a particular trade to congregate together and to have their special locality, street, or quarter in a town, as in the East at the present time, with the result that in course of time the street or quarter came to be designated by the name of the particular trade exercised there. These trade designations survive in London in Ironmonger Row, Wood Street, Milk Street, Poultry, etc. Trades in those days were in some ways more jealously regulated and guarded than they are now, and it was not possible for a man to engage in, a trade unless he had been carefully trained for it and was duly qualified to practise it. There was no place for bad or inefficient workmen, who would bring discredit on the trade. Hence the tendency for men of a particular trade to congregate together for strength and security.

The nature of a trade may have also sometimes made it desirable that it should be carried on in some particular locality, and certain methods practised in common. Thus we find in London the Goldsmithery, where the Goldsmiths practised; the Ironmongery, the quarter inhabited by the Ironmongers, now Ironmonger Row; the Poultry for the poulterers; the" bocherie "for the butchers at Eastcheap and at Newgate; the Ropary, and so on. It is possible that if the subject could be followed up more closely, the early records of the City would yield further interesting information and would show more clearly what were the localities occupied by the various traders at different dates.

Trafalgar Place

South out of Paul's Alley, in Cripplegate Ward Without (O.S, 1875-0).

Removed for the formation of Australian Avenue (q.v.).

Traitors' Bridge

At the Tower of London (Strype, ed. 1755~B0yle, 1799).

Not named in the maps.