Your cheeky guide to the dynasty

A Not-So-Sweet Spot

Tower of London

Image via Wikipedia

Nestled on the inner grounds of the Tower of London is a darling little stretch of grass called the Tower Green. Today it may strike you as a cozy place to get a fresh air break during your tour of the Tower, but in the Tudor period it played host to a handful of beheadings.

Most of the poor souls who were beheaded at that time met their fate on Tower Hill, just northwest of the Tower of London and a place that today is…well, the Tower Hill tube station. But a few very special prisoners were given the gift of a private execution on the secluded spot within the Tower walls. “Private” was a relative concept, as there could have been a hundred or so people present. The seven “priviledged” victims of a private Tower Green beheading were:

  • William, Lord Hastings in 1483 (two years before the Tudor dynasty began)
  • Anne Boleyn in 1536
  • Margaret, Countess of Salisbury in 1541
  • Katherine Howard in 1542
  • Jane, Viscountess Rochford (Anne Boleyn’s brother’s wife, and royal busybody who arranged for Kitty Howard to get a bit on the side) in 1542
  • Lady Jane Grey in 1554
  • Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex (a former Liz I fave who became too big for his britches) in 1601

Today a plaque marks the spot where the Famous Seven lost their heads, the only grisly reminder in an otherwise sweet and seemingly-peaceful spot.


1 Comment

  Anne Barnhill wrote @

Ohh, I’d love to see that spot in person. Amazing how grizzly it all seems now but back then, executions were so common. They even tried to catch the blood of the victims for good luck. yuck!

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