Monday, May 15, 2006

England Excursion, Part Two: Tower of London

Here is the Tower of London Edition of Joe’s England Excursion!

First, a little history.

Following the Battle of Hastings, in which William, Duke of Normandy, defeated King Harold of England, William had himself crowned King of England on Christmas Day, in London, in 1066. Ever since then he has been known as William the Conqueror, and the event is called the Norman Conquest. William was descended from Rollo the pirate.
William built a castle in London by the Thames River. On the same spot Julius Caesar had built a fort, but it had disappeared; and Alfred the Great had built a castle there, but it, too, had disappeared. But the castle William built is still standing today. It is known as the Tower of London.

This is the moat around the entire Tower of London, outside the walls. Inside the walls are many separate castle-like buildings which comprise the entire Tower of London. The various portions were added on throughout the ages and the moat encircles all of it.

This is White Tower, the original Tower of London, the first part built by Willliam the Conqueror. The entire armory displays are housed in this part of the fortress.

Joe found out after he'd taken all the photos that he took inside the buildings, that indoor photography is strictly prohibited (due to copyright)! But he got away with it because of his Lucky Quarter, worn on a chain around his neck while in England, long story! So, relish these pictures, they were taken unlawfully, though innocently.

In the Royals' Apartments, right above Traitors Gate, are these steps which Joe went up and as he recalls, led to one of many chapels. They were steep! Most of the steps in the Tower of London, as in all castles, ascend clockwise. (These in the picture, are the exception.) The reason for the clockwise orientation of most staircases is so that if the castle were stormed, the defenders of the castle who would be higher on the stairs, could properly swing their swords in the air against the intruders, whose sword arms would bang into the wall.

This is one of many firearms displays which are in the lower levels of the White Tower. In case you didn't know, these are muzzle loading flintlock pistols.

More arms! Left to right: cutlasses and daggers, spears, muskets, more spears, and swords behind the circle of pistols which are like the ones in the above photo.

The higher in the tower you go, the older the stuff! This is a full suit of Gothic Plate Armor. Gothic Armor differs from older forms of armor because of its wrinkled look on the skirt, added for stiffness during the Gothic period. "Stiffness is goodness when it comes to getting hit by swords!" Joe tells me.

And that, my family and friends, is my Part Two! I hope you enjoyed it. I had fun getting this information from Joe. I have one more Edition for you, the York Edition. Then, I'm done. Summer is about here already, and things are beginnng to hop! We are already having to water our yard! It's only mid-May. Wowie!

Thanks for being so patient! Enjoy the changing seasons!

"The secret of overcoming mental dullness is to train yourself to say, "YES!!" instantly, whenever your impulse is to grumble, or to cry, "NO!" Welcome life in all its variety and challenges. Like the petals of a daisy, keep your heart open to life's experiences. Overcome within you the tendency to rejection and withdrawal." ~~~~~~ J. Donald Walters

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