UK “Real” Estate: Tower Hill

The traditional East End of London plays a role in my latest Work in Progress, a cozy mystery with lots of twists and turns. Tower Hill is important to the story’s climax. Tower Hill is an elevated spot northwest of the Tower of London, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, just outside the City of London boundary.

Depiction of the 1685 execution of Sir James Scott at Tower Hill in a popular print.

Depiction of the 1685 execution of Sir James Scott at Tower Hill in a popular print.

It was formerly an extra-parochial area known as Great Tower Hill. Historically it was the site of countless public executions and today it is notable for being the site of the Tower Hill Memorial.

The area is served by Tower Gateway DLR station and Tower Hill tube station. A road named Tower Hill forms a short stretch of the A3211 route between Byward Street in the west and a junction with Minories and Tower Hill Terrace in the east.

One of the oldest parts of London, archaeological evidence shows that there was a settlement on the hill in the Bronze Age and much later a Roman village that was burnt down during the Boudica uprising. A nearby church, All Hallows-by-the-Tower, is known for fragments of Romanesque architecture dating back to AD 680; the church itself dates from 675.

Local Government
Great Tower Hill was an extra-parochial area within the Tower Liberty, under the direct administrative control of the Tower of London and outside the jurisdiction of the City of London and the county of Middlesex. In 1855 the area became part of the district of the Metropolitan Board of Works. The “District of Tower” became part of the Whitechapel District, under the authority of the Whitechapel District Board of Works. This was ambiguous and The Great Tower Hill Act 1869 was required to explicitly interpret it as Old Tower Without, including within it Great Tower Hill. The Tower Liberty was abolished in 1894 and incorporated into the County of London.

Public executions of high-profile traitors and criminals were often carried out on Tower Hill, including:

1381 – Simon Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury (beheaded by an angry mob)
1381 – Sir Robert Hales
1388 – Sir Simon de Burley
1388 – John de Beauchamp, 1st Baron Beauchamp
1397 – Richard Fitzalan, 11th Earl of Arundel
1440 – Rev. Richard Wyche, Vicar of Deptford
1462 – John de Vere, 12th Earl of Oxford
1462 – Aubrey de Vere, eldest son and heir of John de Vere, 12th Earl of Oxford
1462 – Sir Thomas Tuddenham
1462 – William Tyrrell
1462 – John Montgomery
1470 – John Tiptoft, 1st Earl of Worcester
1495 – Sir William Stanley
1497 – James Tuchet,a commander of the Cornish Rebellion of 1497
1499 – Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick
1502 – James Tyrrell
1510 – Edmund Dudley
1510 – Sir Richard Empson
1521 – Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham
1535 – John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester
1535 – Sir Thomas More, ex-Lord Chancellor
1536 – George Boleyn, brother of Anne Boleyn
1537 – Thomas Darcy, 1st Baron Darcy de Darcy
1538 – Henry Courtenay, Earl of Devon
1540 – Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex
1547 – Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey
1552 – Sir Ralph Vane
1552 – Sir Thomas Arundell of Wardour Castle
1552 – Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset
1554 – Sir Thomas Wyatt
1554 – Lord Guildford Dudley
1572 – Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk
1601 – Sir Christopher Blount
1615 – Sir Gervase Helwys
1631 – Mervyn Tuchet, 2nd Earl of Castlehaven
1641 – Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford
1645 – William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury
1651 – Christopher Love, Presbyterian minister
1662 – Sir Henry Vane
1683 – Col. Algernon Sidney
1685 – James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth
1716 – James Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Derwentwater
1746 – William Boyd, 4th Earl of Kilmarnock
1746 – Robert Boyd (of Clan Boyd)
1747 – Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat

About reginajeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and historical romantic suspense.
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