The Legends of Ghosts in The Tower of London

The Tower of London, standing majestically on the banks of the River Thames, is not just an iconic symbol of England’s history; it is also one of the most haunted places in the world.

With a history steeped in bloodshed, political intrigue, and royal drama, it comes as no surprise that this ancient fortress is said to be inhabited by several restless spirits.

In this article, we will delve into the long, gruesome history of the Tower of London and explore the eerie tales of the ghosts that call it home.

A history of bloodshed

The Tower of London’s history stretches back nearly a thousand years to its construction in 1066 by William the Conqueror. Initially built as a symbol of Norman power, it soon evolved into a notorious prison and place of torture and execution.

Over the centuries, it witnessed countless acts of violence and brutality, earning a sinister reputation.

Anne Boleyn’s ghost

One of the most famous ghosts said to roam the Tower’s corridors is that of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII. In 1536, Anne was arrested on charges of treason against Henry VII and subsequently executed within the Tower’s walls by being beheaded.

Her ghost is often reported near the site of her execution, known as Anne Boleyn’s Gate, where she is said to wander with her head under her arm.

Henry VI

He met his end as the result of a real-life game of thrones. Henry VI stood to inherit both the English and French thrones, but the House of York imprisoned him during the War of the Roses. Shortly after Edward IV seized the throne in 1471, Henry VI was stabbed while praying in Wakefield Tower, which his ghost haunts to this day. He appears at the last stroke of midnight.

Lady Jane Grey’s tragic tale

Another tragic figure haunting the Tower is Lady Jane Grey, who spent her final days imprisoned here in 1553. Crowned as queen for just nine days, Lady Jane Grey was later accused of treason and sentenced to death.

Her ghost is believed to wander the battlements, a specter of innocence lost to the political machinations of the time.

Margaret Pole

Margaret was a victim of one of the most gruesome, botched executions in history. When the Countess reached the scaffold where she was to be beheaded, she refused to kneel, saying, “So should traitors do, and I am none.” When the executioner raised his axe, she ran – and he chased her all around the scaffold, hacking at her until she died a gory death.

Her ghostly screams can still be heard on the Tower Green and a few visitors claimed to have seen a ghostly reenactment of the chase.

The mysterious figure of the white lady

The White Lady is a spectral presence frequently reported within the Tower’s White Tower. Her identity remains shrouded in mystery, but her appearance is unsettling—clad in a white gown, she has been sighted drifting through the rooms of the Tower, her purpose and history known only to the afterlife.

A few visitors report being tapped on the shoulder, only to turn around and see nothing but a wisp of white.

Sir Walter Raleigh

Sent to the Tower no less than three times, explorer Sir Walter Raleigh was imprisoned by both Elizabeth I and James I. He spent over 13 years in the Bloody Tower during one confinement, and attempted suicide. Sir Walter Raleigh’s last imprisonment at the Tower of London, in the Beauchamp Tower, took place in 1603, before he was beheaded outside the Palace of Westminster.

Following his execution, his ghost began wandering around the Bloody Tower (where he was imprisoned) as well as along the battlements now known as Raleigh’s Walk.

The haunting of the salt tower

The Salt Tower, known for its dark and oppressive atmosphere, is said to be the dwelling place of a particularly malevolent spirit. Guards have reported an overwhelming feeling of dread while patrolling this area, and some claim to have seen a phantom figure lurking in the shadows.

The headless haunter

The legend of a headless apparition is not limited to Anne Boleyn alone. It is said that a headless ghost, believed to be that of Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, also roams the Tower. Becket was brutally murdered in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170, and his spirit is rumored to seek solace within these ancient walls.

The grizzly bear

A number of spectral animals have been heard over the years, including monkeys, lions and horses, but only one has actually been seen. A guard at the Tower claimed a ghostly bear charged him. Though the guard attempted to bayonet the animal, which kept coming at him, soon the sword went through the animal. The guard was carried, senseless, to his quarters where he died two days later.


The Tower of London, with its long and gruesome history, stands as a testament to the tumultuous past of England. Its walls have borne witness to political intrigue, royal drama, and countless executions, and the restless spirits of those who suffered within continue to haunt its hallowed halls.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, there is no denying the eerie atmosphere that pervades this historic fortress, making it a must-visit destination for those intrigued by the paranormal and the darker side of history.

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