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John Stow: A Map of the Tower Liberty

Map: LDN5477
Cartographer: John Stow
Title: A Map of the Tower Liberty
Date: 1754
Published: London
Width: 14 inches / 36 cm
Height: 11 inches / 28 cm
Map ref: LDN5477
The Tower of London is to this day one of the most iconic buildings in British History. Stow honours this castle and fortress with a complete chronological text of its history. ‘in a fayre Register booke containing the acts of the Bishops of Rochester, set downe by Edmond de Hadenham, that William the first, surnamed Conquerour, builded the Tower of London, to wit, the great white and square Tower there, about the yeare of Christ 1078.’ The White Tower which gives the entire castle its name was built by William the Conqueror in 1078. As can be seen in this map, 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, mainly in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. From this point the general layout is established despite later activity on the site. 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 and, despite attempts to refortify and repair the castle, its defences became dated. The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. Controlling it had become key to controlling the rest of the country. Yet not only a power house the Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public records office, and the home of the Crown Jewels. ‘This tower is a Citadell, to defend or commaund the Citie: a royall place for assemblies, and treaties. A Prison of estate, for the most daungerous offenders: the onely place of coynage for all England at this time: the armorie for warlike prouision: the Treasurie of the ornaments and Jewels of the crowne, and generall conseruer of the most Recordes of the kings Courts of iustice at Westminster.’ Today the Tower of London is one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. It is cared for by the charity Historic Royal Palaces and is protected as a World Heritage Site. [LDN5477]