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London and Its Environs by Adam and Charles Black

London and Its Environs by Adam and Charles Black

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Excerpt from London and Its Environs

On quitting the armoury we shall have an opportunity of examining the exterior of the lite Tower, which, as already mentioned, was originally built in the time of the Conqueror, but it has been much repaired at various times since. It measures externally 116 feet from north to south, and 96 feet from east to west, and its height is 92 feet. There are turrets at the angles. The north-eastern is circular, and was used by the king's astrono mer as an observatory before the building at Greenwich was erected, contains within it a stair-case communicating with all the floors. The external walls are from ten to twelve feet thick. The original grand entrance was on the north side, where the remains of an archway may be traced. Internally each floor is divided into three rooms, by walls seven feet thick. On the first floor is Queen Elizabeth's armoury, previously described and on the second floor is the chapel of St. John the Evangelist, but from this excellent specimen of Norman architecture the public are excluded. Here is an apsis and twelve massive round columns with arches supporting a gallery. Records were, until lately, deposited here. At the foot of the stair-case leading to the chapel some bones were found, which were supposed to be those of the hundred princes, and by Charles the Second's order they were removed to Westminster Abbey. The council chamber of our early kings is on the third floor it has a dark massive tim ber roof. Here Richard II. Resigned his crown to Bolingbroke in September 1399, saying, as Froissart reports, I have been King of England, Duke of Aquitaine, and Lord of Ireland, about twenty-one years, which signory, royalty, sceptre, crown, and heritage, I clearly resign here to my cousin Henry of Lancaster, and I desire him here, in this open presence, in entering of the same possession, to take this sceptre. In the White Tower John King of France was lodged. Amongst the inscriptions in the vaults is one cut by Fisher, Bishop of Rochester.

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Adam and Charles Black
Forgotten Books
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London and Its Environs

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