Lieutenant of the Tower of London

The Lieutenant of the Tower of London serves directly under the Constable of the Tower. The office has been appointed at least since the 13th century. There were formerly many privileges, immunities and perquisites attached to the office. Like the Constable, the Lieutenant was usually appointed by letters patent, either for life or during the King’s pleasure.[1]

The Tower of London seen from the Thames

The Lieutenants had custody of many eminent prisoners of state, including Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas More, Lady Jane Grey, Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth I) and Sir Walter Raleigh. At least five of the Lieutenants, Sir Edward Warner,[2] Sir Gervase Helwys,[3]Isaac Penington,[4]Colonel Robert Tichborne,[5] and Sir Edward Hales,[6] themselves later became prisoners in the Tower.

. . . Lieutenant of the Tower of London . . .

The earliest known Lieutenant was Giles de Oudenard at the beginning of the reign of Edward I, while Anthony Bek, later Bishop of Durham, was Constable. The next recorded Lieutenant was Ralph Bavant, who served during John de Crumwell’s tenure as Constable.[7]

  • 1239: Giles de Oudenard
  • 1327: Ralph Bavant [7]
  • 1415: Sir Roger Aston [7]
  • 1420:
  • 1424: Sir Robert Scott [8]
  • 1471: Richard Haute [9]
  • 1485: Sir John Digby [7]
St. Peter ad Vincula, a chapel on Tower Green, is the resting place of several of the Lieutenants of the Tower.

. . . Lieutenant of the Tower of London . . .

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. . . Lieutenant of the Tower of London . . .