Tower of London

Castle building was an essential part of the Norman Conquest; when Duke William of Normandy invaded England  in 1066 his first action after landing was to build a castle.After his coronation in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066, William ordered the construction of a castle in London for his triumphal entry. nitially the Tower had consisted of a modest enclosure built into the south-east corner of the Roman City walls, but by the late 1070s, with the initial completion of the White Tower, it had become the most fearsome of all. Nothing had been seen like it in England before. It was built by Norman masons and English (Anglo-Saxon) labor drafted in from the countryside.  It was intended to protect the river route from Danish attack, but also and more importantly to dominate the City physically and visually.The White Tower was protected to the east and south by the old Roman City walls (a full height fragment can be seen just by Tower Hill underground station), while the north and west sides were protected by ditches as much as 750m (25ft) wide and 3.40m (lift) deep and an earthwork with a wooden wall on top. It is important for us today to remember that the functions of the Tower from the 1070s until the late 19th century were established by its Norman founders. The Tower was never primarily intended to protect London from external invasion, although, of course, it could have done so if necessary. Nor was it ever intended to be the principal residence of the kings and queens of England, though many did in fact spend periods of time there. Its primary function was always to provide a base for royal power in the City of London and a stronghold to which the royal family could retreat in times of civil disorder.

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