Bisham Abbey is a Grade I listed manor house at Bisham in the English county of Berkshire. The name is taken from the now lost monastery; this original Bisham Abbey was named Bisham Priory, was the traditional resting place of many Earls of Salisbury. The complex surrounding the extant manorial buildings is now one of three National Sports Centres run on behalf of Sport England and is used as a residential training camp base for athletes and teams and community groups alike, it is a wedding venue with a licence for civil ceremony and is used for conferences, team building events, corporate parties and private functions. The manor house was built around 1260 as a community house for two Knights Templar. There was substantial rebuilding and alteration in centuries; when the Templars were suppressed in 1307, King Edward II took over the manorial rights, granting them to various relatives. In 1310 the building was used as a place of confinement for Queen Elizabeth of the Scots, wife of King Robert the Bruce, along with her stepdaughter Princess Marjorie and sister–in–law, Lady Christine of Carrick.
They had been captured on the Isle of Rathlin during the Scottish Wars of Succession, were placed in the charge of the King's Yeoman, John Bentley, for two years, until removed to Windsor. In 1335 the manor was bought by William Montacute, 1st Earl of Salisbury and in 1337 he founded Bisham Priory alongside, within the year of his death 1344, he was buried in the abbey. Henry VIII granted the manor house to Anne of Cleves as part of her divorce settlement from him, it was bought by the Hoby family, who lived there until 1768. Elizabeth I was a regular visitor in the time of the Hoby family. Bisham Priory was built for the Augustinian Canons; the foundation stone laid in 1337, the brass plaque once affixed to it, can still be seen at Denchworth. When the founder, the 1st Earl of Salisbury, died, he was buried at the priory, as were many Earls of Salisbury, including Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, buried in April 1471. Despite holding some relics of Saints Cosmas and Damian, the priory never became a centre of pilgrimage: many other churches held relics of the same saints, including two different locations which both claimed to have their skulls.
Bisham Priory was dissolved on 5 July 1537, but six months on 18 December, it was refounded as a Benedictine abbey. This was not to last though as it was dissolved on 19 June 1538; the abbot of Bisham, John Cordery, is said to have cursed the building thus: "As God is my witness, this property shall ne’er be inherited by two direct successors, for its sons will be hounded by misfortune", as he was dragged from it. Nothing remains of its associated buildings. William Montagu, 1st Earl of Salisbury Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick,'Warwick the Kingmaker' Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick. Alice Montacute, 5th Countess of Salisbury John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu and his wife Isabel Ingoldesthorpe John Montacute, 3rd Earl of Salisbury Eleanor Holland, Countess of Salisbury Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury Thomas Neville Simon de Montagu, 1st Baron Montagu William Montagu, 2nd Baron Montagu William de Montagu, 2nd Earl of Salisbury Catherine Grandison, Countess of Salisbury Thomas Montagu, 4th Earl of Salisbury The manor house is now run by Serco Leisure Operating Ltd on behalf of Sport England, is one of three National Sports Centres.
Gym membership is open to the public. The facilities include:- A £1.2 million international water based hockey pitch An indoor tennis centre featuring four tennis courts Four outdoor "French Court" clay tennis courts and four floodlit outdoor acrylic tennis courts A equipped elite strength and conditioning facility Sauna and steam room A large community gym with cardio and free weights and full fitness class timetable Two squash courts A remodelled nine-hole par three golf course A sports therapy performance centre which enables elite level sports science and medicine services to be provided on siteEngland Rugby had their training base at Bisham Abbey until 2005, when they moved to the University of Bath. Several football teams have trained at Bisham Abbey, most Barcelona and Portsmouth before their 2008 FA Cup victory. For the last few years Non-League Marlow United F. C. use the pitches as their home ground. The facilities are used by elite athletes and community groups for residential training camps such as the Rugby Sevens and England Hockey.
There is an International High performance Tennis centre based on site managed by WIN Tennis. Tennis players Tim Henman and Andy Murray train at Bisham Abbey; some professional rugby players use the gym facilities. In February 2006 the England futsal team played two international friendlies against Finland at Bisham Abbey. During the Nationwide Building Society's summer advertising campaign of 2010, when they were official sponsors of the England football team at the World Cup, one of their television advertisements featured the England team playing on one of the pitches at Bisham Abbey; the parish church was visible in the background. The ghost of Elizabeth Hoby is said to haunt the Great Hall. Legend says she wishes to repent the death of an unverified son she caused through punishment and neglect. Time-Life Books, Mysteries of the Unknown: Hauntings, 1989, ISBN 0-8094-6352-0 Royal Berkshire History: Bisham Abbey Official website
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand II, called the Catholic, was King of Aragon from 1479 until his death. His marriage in 1469 to Isabella, the future queen of Castile, was the marital and political "cornerstone in the foundation of the Spanish monarchy." As a consequence of his marriage to Isabella I, he was de jure uxoris King of Castile as Ferdinand V from 1474 until her death in 1504. At Isabella's death the crown of Castile passed to their daughter Joanna, by the terms of their prenuptial agreement and her last will and testament. Following the death of Joanna's husband Philip I of Spain, her alleged mental illness, Ferdinand was recognized as regent of Castile from 1508 until his own death. In 1504, after a war with France, he became King of Naples as Ferdinand III, reuniting Naples with Sicily permanently and for the first time since 1458. In 1512, he became King of Navarre by conquest. In 1506 he married Germaine of Foix of France, but Ferdinand's only son and child of that marriage died soon after birth. Ferdinand had a role in inaugurating the first European encounters in the future Americas, since he and Isabella sponsored the first voyage of Christopher Columbus, in 1492.
That year was the final victory in the war with Granada which defeated the last Muslim state in Iberia and all of Western Europe. This brought to a close the centuries-long Christian reconquest of Iberia. For that Christian victory, Pope Alexander VI, born in the Kingdom of Valencia, awarded the royal couple the title of Catholic Monarchs. At Ferdinand's death Joanna's son, Ferdinand's grandson, Charles I, co-ruler in name over all the several Iberian kingdoms except for Portugal, succeeded him, making Charles the first King of Spain. However, during the regency of Ferdinand, many called him the King of Spain as distinct from his daughter Joanna, "queen of Castile". Ferdinand was born in Sada Palace, Sos del Rey Católico, Kingdom of Aragon, as the son of John II of Aragon by his second wife, Juana Enríquez, he married Infanta Isabella, the half-sister and heiress of Henry IV of Castile, on 19 October 1469 in Valladolid, Kingdom of Castile and Leon. Isabella belonged to the royal House of Trastámara, the two were cousins by descent from John I of Castile.
They were married with a clear prenuptial agreement on sharing power, under the joint motto "tanto monta, monta tanto." He became jure uxoris King of Castile when Isabella succeeded her deceased brother in 1474 to be crowned as Queen Isabella I of Castile. The two young monarchs were obliged to fight a civil war against Joan of Castile, the purported daughter of Henry IV, were swiftly successful; when Ferdinand succeeded his father as King of Aragon in 1479, the Crown of Castile and the various territories of the Crown of Aragon were united in a personal union. The various states were not formally administered as a single unit, but as separate political units under the same Crown; the first years of Ferdinand and Isabella's joint rule saw the Spanish conquest of the Nasrid dynasty of the Emirate of Granada, the last Islamic al-Andalus entity on the Iberian peninsula, completed in 1492. The completion of the Reconquista was not the only significant act performed by Ferdinand and Isabella in that year.
In March 1492, the monarchs issued the Edict of Expulsion of the Jews called the Alhambra Decree, a document which ordered all Jews either to be baptised and convert to Christianity or to leave the country. It allowed Mudéjar Moors and converso Marrano Jews to stay, while expelling all unconverted Jews from Castile and Aragon. 1492 was the year in which the monarchs commissioned Christopher Columbus to find a westward maritime route for access to Asia, which resulted in the Spanish arrival in the Americas. In 1494 the Treaty of Tordesillas divided the entire world beyond Europe between Portugal and Castile for conquest and dominion purposes – by a north–south line drawn down the Atlantic Ocean. Ferdinand violated the 1491 Treaty of Granada peace treaty in 1502 by dismissing the guaranteed religious freedom for Mudéjar Muslims. Ferdinand forced all Muslims in Castile and Aragon to convert, converso Moriscos, to Catholicism, or else be expelled; some of the Muslims who remained were mudéjar artisans, who could design and build in the Moorish style.
This was practised by the Spanish inquisitors on the converso Marrano Jewish population of Spain. The main architect behind the Spanish Inquisition was King Ferdinand II. Ferdinand destroyed over ten thousand Arabic manuscripts in Granada alone; the latter part of Ferdinand's life was taken up with disputes with successive Kings of France over control of Italy, the so-called Italian Wars. In 1494, Charles VIII of France invaded Italy and expelled Alfonso II, Ferdinand's first cousin once removed and stepson of Ferdinand's sister, from the throne of Naples. Ferdinand allied with various Italian princes and with Emperor Maximilian I to expel the French by 1496 and install Alfonso's son, Ferdinand, on the Neapolitan throne. In 1501, following the death of Ferdinand II of Naples and accession of his uncle Frederick, Ferdinand signed an agreement with Charles VIII's successor, Louis XII, who had just asserted his claims to the Duchy of Milan, to partition Naples between them, w
Sir Clements Robert Markham KCB FRS was an English geographer and writer. He was secretary of the Royal Geographical Society between 1863 and 1888, served as the Society's president for a further 12 years. In the latter capacity he was responsible for organising the National Antarctic Expedition of 1901–04, for launching the polar career of Robert Falcon Scott. Markham began his career as a Royal Naval cadet and midshipman, during which time he went to the Arctic with HMS Assistance in one of the many searches for the lost expedition of Sir John Franklin. Markham served as a geographer to the India Office, was responsible for the collection of cinchona plants from their native Peruvian forests, their transplantation in India. By this means the Indian government acquired a home source from. Markham served as geographer to Sir Robert Napier's Abyssinian expeditionary force, was present in 1868 at the fall of Magdala; the main achievement of Markham's RGS presidency was the revival at the end of the 19th century of British interest in Antarctic exploration, after a 50-year interval.
He had strong and determined ideas about how the National Antarctic Expedition should be organised, fought hard to ensure that it was run as a naval enterprise, under Scott's command. To do this he overcame opposition from much of the scientific community. In the years following the expedition he continued to champion Scott's career, to the extent of disregarding or disparaging the achievements of other contemporary explorers. All his life Markham was a constant traveller and a prolific writer, his works including histories, travel accounts and biographies, he authored many papers and reports for the RGS, did much editing and translation work for the Hakluyt Society, of which he became president in 1890. He received public and academic honours, was recognised as a major influence on the discipline of geography, although it was acknowledged that much of his work was based on enthusiasm rather than scholarship. Among the geographical features bearing his name is Antarctica's Mount Markham, named after him by Scott in 1902.
Markham was born on 20 July 1830 at Stillingfleet, the second son of the Reverend David Markham vicar of Stillingfleet. The family were descendants of the Rt Hon. and Most Rev. Dr William Markham, a former Archbishop of York and royal tutor. Markham's mother Catherine, née Milner, was the daughter of Sir William Milner, 4th Baronet, of Nun Appleton Hall, Yorkshire. In 1838 David Markham was appointed rector of Great Horkesley, near Essex. A year Clements began his schooling, first at Cheam and at Westminster School. An apt pupil, he showed particular interest in geology and astronomy, from an early age he wrote prolifically, an activity which filled much of his spare time. At Westminster, which he found "a wonderful and delightful place", he developed a particular interest in boating acting as coxswain in races on the River Thames. In May 1844 Markham was introduced by his aunt, the Countess of Mansfield, to Rear-Admiral Sir George Seymour, a Lord of the Admiralty; the boy made a favourable impression on the admiral, the meeting led to the offer of a cadetship in the Royal Navy.
Accordingly, on 28 June 1844 Markham travelled to Portsmouth to join Seymour's flagship HMS Collingwood. Collingwood was being fitted out for an extended voyage to the Pacific Ocean where Seymour was to assume command of the Pacific station; this tour of duty lasted for four years. The ship reached the Chilean port of Valparaíso, the headquarters of the Pacific station, on 15 December 1844 after a cruise that incorporated visits to Rio de Janeiro and the Falkland Islands, a stormy passage in the Southern Ocean. Markham's social connections assured him of a comfortable time. After a few weeks' respite in Valparaiso, Collingwood sailed again, this time for Callao, the main port on the Peruvian coast, giving Markham his first experience of a country that would figure prominently in his career. During the next two years Collingwood cruised in the Pacific, visiting the Sandwich Islands and Tahiti, where Markham attempted to assist the nationalist rebels against their French governor. On 25 June 1846 Markham passed the examination for midshipman.
The long periods spent in Chilean and Peruvian ports had enabled him to learn Spanish. Towards the end of the voyage Markham experienced growing doubts about a conventional naval career. On arrival in Portsmouth in July 1848 he informed his father of his wish to leave the navy, but was persuaded to stay. After a brief period of service in the Mediterranean Markham experienced months of inactivity while based at Spithead and the Cove of Cork, which further diminished his interest in the service. However, early in 1850 he learned that a squadron of four ships was being assembled to undertake a new search for the lost Arctic expedition of Sir John Franklin. Markham used his family's influence to secure a place in this venture, in April 1850 was informed of his appointment to HMS Assistance, one of the squadron's two principal vessels. Sir John Franklin had left England in May 1845 with two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, in search of the Northwest Passage; the expedition was last seen on 29 July by whalers in the northern waters of Baffin Bay, moored to an ice floe and waiting for the chance to sail westward.
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was the King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizure of the crown on 22 August 1485 to his death on 21 April 1509. He was the first monarch of the House of Tudor. Henry attained the throne when his forces defeated King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field, the culmination of the Wars of the Roses, he was the last king of England to win his throne on the field of battle. He cemented his claim by marrying Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV and niece of Richard III. Henry was successful in restoring the power and stability of the English monarchy after the civil war, his supportive stance of the British Isles' wool industry and his standoff with the Low Countries had long-lasting benefits to all of the British economy. However, the capriciousness and lack of due process that indebted many would tarnish his legacy and were soon ended upon Henry VII's death, after a commission revealed widespread abuses. According to the contemporary historian Polydore Vergil, simple "greed" underscored the means by which royal control was over-asserted in Henry's final years.
Henry can be credited with a number of administrative and diplomatic initiatives. He paid close attention to detail, instead of spending lavishly he concentrated on raising new revenues and after a reign of nearly 24 years, he was peacefully succeeded by his son, Henry VIII; the new taxes were unpopular and two days after his coronation, Henry VIII arrested his father's two most unpopular ministers, Sir Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley. They were charged with high treason and were executed in 1510. Henry VII was born at Pembroke Castle on 28 January 1457 to Countess of Richmond, his father, Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond, died three months before his birth. Henry's paternal grandfather, Owen Tudor from the Tudors of Penmynydd, Isle of Anglesey in Wales, had been a page in the court of Henry V, he rose to become one of the "Squires to the Body to the King" after military service at the Battle of Agincourt. Owen is said to have secretly married the widow of Catherine of Valois. One of their sons was Edmund Tudor, father of Henry VII.
Edmund was created Earl of Richmond in 1452, "formally declared legitimate by Parliament". Henry's main claim to the English throne derived from his mother through the House of Beaufort. Henry's mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, was a great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, fourth son of Edward III, his third wife Katherine Swynford. Katherine was Gaunt's mistress for about 25 years, thus Henry's claim was somewhat tenuous: it was from a woman, by illegitimate descent. In theory, the Portuguese and Castilian royal families had a better claim as descendants of Catherine of Lancaster, the daughter of John of Gaunt and his second wife Constance of Castile. Gaunt's nephew Richard II legitimised Gaunt's children by Katherine Swynford by Letters Patent in 1397. In 1407, Henry IV, Gaunt's son by his first wife, issued new Letters Patent confirming the legitimacy of his half-siblings, but declaring them ineligible for the throne. Henry IV's action was of doubtful legality, as the Beauforts were legitimised by an Act of Parliament, but it further weakened Henry's claim.
Nonetheless, by 1483 Henry was the senior male Lancastrian claimant remaining, after the deaths in battle or by murder or execution of Henry VI, his son Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales, the other Beaufort line of descent through Lady Margaret's uncle, the 2nd Duke of Somerset. Henry made some political capital out of his Welsh ancestry, for example in attracting military support and safeguarding his army's passage through Wales on its way to the Battle of Bosworth, he came from an old, established Anglesey family that claimed descent from Cadwaladr, on occasion Henry displayed the red dragon of Cadwaladr. He took it, as well as the standard of St George, on his procession through London after the victory at Bosworth. A contemporary writer and Henry's biographer, Bernard André made much of Henry's Welsh descent. In reality, his hereditary connections to Welsh aristocracy were not strong, he was descended by the paternal line, through several generations, from Ednyfed Fychan, the seneschal of Gwynedd and through this seneschal's wife from Rhys ap Tewdwr, the King of Deheubarth in South Wales.
His more immediate ancestor, Tudur ap Goronwy, had aristocratic land rights, but his sons, who were first cousins to Owain Glyndŵr, sided with Owain in his revolt. One son was executed and the family land was forfeited. Another son, Henry's great-grandfather, became a butler to the Bishop of Bangor. Owen Tudor, the son of the butler, like the children of other rebels, was provided for by Henry V, a circumstance that precipitated his access to Queen Catherine of Valois. Notwithstanding this lineage, to the bards of Wales, Henry was a candidate for Y Mab Darogan – "The Son of Prophecy" who would free the Welsh from oppression. In 1456, Henry's father Edmund Tudor was captured while fighting for Henry VI in South Wales against the Yorkists, he died in three months before Henry was born. Henry's uncle Jasper Tudor, the Earl of Pembroke and Edmund's younger brother, undertook to protect the young widow, 13 years old when she gave birth to Henry; when Edward IV became King in 1461, Jasper Tudor went into exile abroad.
Pembroke Castle, the Earldom of Pembroke, were granted to the Yorkist William Herbert, who assumed the guardianship of Margaret Beaufort and the young Henry. Henry lived in the Herbert household
Tower of London
The Tower of London Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill, it was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite; the castle was used as a prison from 1100 until 1952, although, not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence; as a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion under Kings Richard I, Henry III, Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries; the general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite activity on the site.
The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times, controlling it has been important to controlling the country; the Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office, the home of the Crown Jewels of England. From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on the coronation of a monarch. In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower is in charge of the castle; this was a trusted position in the medieval period. In the late 15th century, the castle was the prison of the Princes in the Tower. Under the Tudors, the Tower became used less as a royal residence, despite attempts to refortify and repair the castle, its defences lagged behind developments to deal with artillery; the peak period of the castle's use as a prison was the 16th and 17th centuries, when many figures who had fallen into disgrace, such as Elizabeth I before she became queen, Sir Walter Raleigh, Elizabeth Throckmorton, were held within its walls.
This use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower". Despite its enduring reputation as a place of torture and death, popularised by 16th-century religious propagandists and 19th-century writers, only seven people were executed within the Tower before the World Wars of the 20th century. Executions were more held on the notorious Tower Hill to the north of the castle, with 112 occurring there over a 400-year period. In the latter half of the 19th century, institutions such as the Royal Mint moved out of the castle to other locations, leaving many buildings empty. Anthony Salvin and John Taylor took the opportunity to restore the Tower to what was felt to be its medieval appearance, clearing out many of the vacant post-medieval structures. In the First and Second World Wars, the Tower was again used as a prison and witnessed the executions of 12 men for espionage. After the Second World War, damage caused during the Blitz was repaired, the castle reopened to the public. Today, the Tower of London is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions.
Under the ceremonial charge of the Constable of the Tower, operated by the Resident Governor of the Tower of London and Keeper of the Jewel House, the property is cared for by the charity Historic Royal Palaces and is protected as a World Heritage Site. The Tower was orientated with its strongest and most impressive defences overlooking Saxon London, which archaeologist Alan Vince suggests was deliberate, it stood out to traffic on the River Thames. The castle enclosures; the innermost ward is the earliest phase of the castle. Encircling it to the north and west is the inner ward, built during the reign of Richard I. There is the outer ward which encompasses the castle and was built under Edward I. Although there were several phases of expansion after William the Conqueror founded the Tower of London, the general layout has remained the same since Edward I completed his rebuild in 1285; the castle encloses an area of 12 acres with a further 6 acres around the Tower of London constituting the Tower Liberties – land under the direct influence of the castle and cleared for military reasons.
The precursor of the Liberties was laid out in the 13th century when Henry III ordered that a strip of land adjacent to the castle be kept clear. Despite popular fiction, the Tower of London never had a permanent torture chamber, although the basement of the White Tower housed a rack in periods. Tower Wharf was built on the bank of the Thames under Edward I and was expanded to its current size during the reign of Richard II; the White Tower is a keep, the strongest structure in a medieval castle, contained lodgings suitable for the lord – in this case, the king or his representative. According to military historian Allen Brown, "The great tower was by virtue of its strength and lordly accommodation, the donjon par excellence"; as one of the largest keeps in the Christian world, the White Tower has been described as "the most complete eleventh-century palace in Europe". The White Tower, not including its projecting corner towers, measures 36 by 32 metres at the base, is 27 m high at the southern battlements.
The structure was three storeys high, comprising a basement floor, an entrance level, an upper floor. The entrance, as is usual in Norman keeps, was above ground
John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford
John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, the second son of John de Vere, 12th Earl of Oxford, Elizabeth Howard, a first cousin of John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk - 2nd creation, was one of the principal Lancastrian commanders during the English Wars of the Roses. He was the principal commander of King Henry VII's army at the Battle of Bosworth Field, again led Henry's troops to victory at the Battle of Stoke Field two years later, he became one of the great men of the King's regime. John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, was born on 8 September 1442, the second son of John de Vere, 12th Earl of Oxford, his wife Elizabeth Howard, the daughter of Sir John Howard and Joan Walton. In February 1462 the 12th Earl, his eldest son, Aubrey de Vere, Sir Thomas Tuddenham, the 12th Earl's former political opponent in Norfolk and now a fellow Lancastrian loyalist, were convicted of high treason before John Tiptoft, 1st Earl of Worcester, Constable of England, for plotting against King Edward IV; the 12th Earl was beheaded on Tower Hill on 26 February 1462, buried in the church of Austin Friars in London.
His son Aubrey had been beheaded on the same scaffold six days earlier. Pursuing a conciliatory policy with Lancastrian families, King Edward allowed John de Vere to succeed his father, on 18 January 1464 granted him licence to enter on his father's lands. On 26 May 1465 he was created a Knight of the Bath at the coronation of Edward IV's wife, Elizabeth Woodville, officiated at the ceremony as both Lord Great Chamberlain, in the absence of the office-holder, the Earl of Warwick, as Chamberlain to the queen. In November 1468, however, he was committed to the Tower, confessed to plotting with the Lancastrians against the King, he was released before 7 January 1469, received a general pardon on 5 April of that year. However, by early July 1469 Oxford had joined the discontented Yorkists led by his brother-in-law, the Earl of Warwick, King Edward's brother, the Duke of Clarence, for the Edgecote campaign. Following the loss at Edgecote on 12 March 1470, he fled overseas to the court of King Henry VI's wife, Margaret of Anjou.
In September 1470 he joined Warwick and Clarence in the invasion of England which restored Henry VI to the throne, on 13 October bore the Sword of State before Henry in a procession to St Paul's. He was appointed Lord High Constable of England, as such on 15 October tried and condemned for high treason the same Earl of Worcester who had in 1462 condemned Oxford's own father and brother. In March 1471, he prevented Edward IV's army from landing in Norfolk, was in command of the right wing at the Battle of Barnet on 14 April of that year, defeating the forces of Lord Hastings; however this early success in the battle turned to disaster. Oxford led his men back to the fight, but: they lost their way in the fog and emerged on their own army, who mistook the Vere star for Edward's sun in splendour, met them with a flight of arrows. Whereupon Oxford and his men cried "Treasoune! treasoune" and fled. After this defeat Oxford escaped to Scotland with 40 men, accompanied by his two brothers and Thomas Vere, the Viscount Beaumont.
From there he went to France, where he engaged in privateering. Although he was not attainted after leaving England in 1471, his lands were confiscated, his wife, Margaret, is said to have been subjected to great financial hardship. On 28 May 1473, Oxford attempted an unsuccessful landing at St Osyth in Essex. On 30 September 1473, he seized St Michael's Mount in Cornwall, where he was besieged for some months by John Fortescue. After most of his men had deserted and he had been wounded in the face with an arrow, Oxford was compelled to surrender on 15 February 1474, along with his two brothers and Beaumont. Oxford was imprisoned at Hammes Castle near Calais, was attainted early in 1475. At this time his mother, the 12th Earl's widow, was forced to surrender her property to the Duke of Gloucester. In 1478 Oxford scaled the walls of Hammes and leapt into the moat, though whether this was an attempt at escape or suicide is unclear; the new king, Richard III, ordered his transfer to England on 28 October 1484, but before the transfer could be effected Oxford had escaped, having persuaded the captain of Hammes, Sir James Blount, to go with him to join the Earl of Richmond.
It is said. Oxford returned to Hammes to bring the garrison there to join Richmond. Oxford commanded the archers and Henry's vanguard using the formation called the Oxford Wedge, which penetrated Richard's army in the shape of an arrow at the Battle of Bosworth, held Richmond's vanguard in fierce fighting in which John Howard, the Duke of Norfolk and the first cousin of Oxford’s mother, leading the vanguard of Richard III, was killed. To celebrate the Tudor victory at Bosworth, Oxford commissioned the building of the church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Lavenham. According to Gunn, Oxford was'immediately recognized as one of the great men of Henry VII's regime', his attainder was repealed, he was restored to his estates and titles, received many appointments and grants, including appointment as Lord Admiral on 21 September, chief steward of the Duchy of Lancaster south of Trent and Constable of the Tower of London on 22 September 1485. He was appointed the first Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard.
He was sworn of the Privy Council, recognized as Hereditary Lord Great Chamberlain of England. As Lord Great Chamberlain he officiated at the coronations of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, bearing the king's train at the coronation and setting the crown upon the king'