Tower Hill was a large area of open ground north and west of the Tower of London. In Stow’s time Tower Hill also included land to the east of Posterngate, now called Little Tower Hill. By 1598, Stow reports that Tower Hill had become
greatly streightned by incrochmentes, (vnlawfully made and suffered) for Gardens and Houses(Stow).
Tower Hill is most famous as a place of execution; there was a permanent scaffold and gallows on the hill
for the execution of such Traytors or Transgressors, as are deliuered out of the Tower, or otherwise to the Shiriffes of London(Stow). The gallows initially caused great controversy. Set up in 1464 by officers of King Edward IV, there was discussion about whether the gallows fell within the jurisdiction of the City of London or were part of a liberty. King Edward sent out a royal proclamation stating that the gallows were set up for his use without his consent and were
in derogation and preiudice of the liberties and franchises of this cittie(Stow). He made sure it was known that this disregard for jurisdictions was not characteristic of his relationship with the City of London. The gallows were finally removed in the mid-eighteenth century after many years of use (Harben).
Tower Hill is labelled
Towre hyllon the Agas map northwest of the Tower of London and features an illustration of the gallows in the northwest corner.
- Harben, Henry. A Dictionary of London. London: Henry Jenkins, 1918. British History Online. Reprint. Open.
- Stow, John. A Survey of London. Reprinted from the Text of 1603. Ed. Charles Lethbridge Kingsford. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1908. Reprint. British History Online. Subscription. [Kingsford edition, courtesy of The Centre for Metropolitan History. Articles written 2011 or later cite from this searchable transcription. In the in-text parenthetical reference (Stow; BHO), click on BHO to go directly to the page containing the quotation or source.]
Mentions of this place in Internet Shakespeare Editions texts
- tribulation of Tower Hill, or the Limbes of Limehouse, (Henry The Eighth (Folio 1, 1623))
Last modification: 2016-05-27 14:37:29 -0700 (Fri, 27 May 2016) (tlandels)