Last Wednesday I visited the Tower of London to commemorate the 460th Anniversary of the execution of Lady Jane and Lord Guildford Dudley.
On arrival at the Tower we joined the Yeoman Warder tour. The tour differed slightly in content from the last few I have been on and it was nice to hear some different information.
At the beginning of the tour, our guide mentioned the execution of Guildford Dudley and pointed out the area on Tower Hill where the scaffold had stood.
We were also shown the location of the house on Tower Green where Jane was imprisoned. Lady Jane was held in the house of Nathaniel Partridge (the Gentleman Gaoler) which was between the Lieutenant’s Lodging (now the Queen’s House) and the Beauchamp Tower (where the Dudley brothers were held). The current house is a later building.
It was not mentioned on any of my previous tours, so it was nice to finally be sure where it was.
Due to the very cold wind, we didn’t spend long at the memorial on Tower Green but were ushered into the Chapel of St Peter Ad Vincula earlier than normal on the tour.
Not that I complained about this! It meant that we spent longer in the Chapel, while the Yeoman Warder told us about the executions of Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard. He also indicated whereabouts under the altar they were both buried along with the possible locations of Jane and Guildford.
I had a seat in the second pew, so had a clear view of the plaque commemorating Lady Jane and Guildford Dudley.
At the end of the tour, I asked the Yeoman Warder if I could leave my flowers for Lady Jane (and that I had done the same for the 450th anniversary). He very kindly said yes, so I left them with him.
After the tour, we visited the Beauchamp Tower. On the ground floor there is an exhibition which features Jane.
Climbing the steps to the first floor we entered the room where the Dudley brothers and many others were imprisoned over the years.
There are three carvings that could be related to Lady Jane. There are two separate carvings of the word ‘Jane’ and an elaborate carving of the Dudley coat of arms.
Eric Ives writes, ‘Now, with the hours ticking away, she turned for refuge to the one reality which had given her identity and never let her down. The result was a series of epigrams, the first in Latin, the next in Greek and the last in English.
‘If Justice is done with my body, my soul will find mercy in God
Death will give pain to my body for its sine, but the soul will be justified before God.
If my faults deserve punishment, my youth at lease, and my imprudence were worthy of excuse; God and posterity will show me favour.’
(p. 275, Ives)
Thanks to Lara Eakins at Tudor History for letting me use her photo of the plaque commemorating Jane and Guildford.
Ives, E. (2009) Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery, Wiley-Blackwell.