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London: The Chapels Royal HM Tower of London

About the Tower of London:

One of the more sobering sites in London, the Tower of London was a place of imprisonment for various enemies of the Crown.

About the Chapels Royal:

It is in these chapels that many martyrs of the reformation are buried, and it is special to both Anglicans and Catholics, although it remains an Anglican chapel.

There are two chapels here:

St John’s chapel in the White Tower which was mostly reserved for the King or Queen and members of the Court.

The Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula would be for the Tower staff, including the soldiers stationed there.


Liondartois, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

There were many people imprisoned here, including Anne Boleyn (second wife of King Henry VIII), Sir Walter Raleigh and many others who crossed the King.  Probably the most widely known Catholic martyr imprisoned here was Saint Thomas More.  Once the King’s most trusted advisor, he fell out of favor when he refused to acknowledge that the King of England was the head of the Roman Catholic Church.  Arrested and tried on false charges, and without any evidence. he was beheaded here on Tower Hill, his body was thrown in the river, but his head was placed on a pike outside as a warning.  Later it was placed in the chapel as you can see by the plaque here.

Saint John Fisher, Bishop of Rocheseter, also refused to acknowledge Henry Vii as head of the Catholic Church and was imprisoned here around the same time, but not in the same cell.

We celebrate the Feast of Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher on the same date:  June 22.






Finding the Chapels Royal HM Tower of London:

Address:  London EC3N 4AB, UK

Tel:    +44 20 3166 6000

Click here for the official website of the Chapels Royal HM Tower of London.


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