The Tower of London was extremely important during the Middle Ages. William the Conqueror started building on the site soon after the Norman Conquest, and was often enlarged and modified by subsequent English monarchs, in the Middle Ages and later as well. It served as fortress and arsenal to protect and control the city of London, royal residence, prison, and symbol of royal authority.  It had other, miscellaneous functions as well- for example, the Lion tower housed the royal menagerie until 1834.

Though the large Norman keep, called the White Tower, retains many of its original architectural features, the rest has been so enlarged, modified, and restored that it is hard to make generalizations about its architecture. Below is a general map  showing some of the main medieval building campaigns. However, since the problem is so complex, it should be used only as a very general indication- if you are interested in the details, please look at some of the works in the bibliography below.

Adapted from the The Tower of London, Ministry of Public Building and Work London, Her Majesty's Stationary Office, 1967  using a 1821 engraving from John Bayley, The Histories and Antiquities of the Tower of London with Biographical Anecdotes of Royal and Distinguished Persons. London: T. Cadell, 1821.  Click here to get the original version of the 1821  map (Note- it is a very large file and will take a long time to load).

Key showing colors indicating extant structures from various medieval building campaigns:
Pink  - William I & II ( 1066-1100)
Purple -  Richard I and John (1189-1216)
Green -  Henry III (1216-72)
Yellow - Edward I (1273-1307)
Blue - Edward III & Richard II (c. 1350-99)
Turquoise- Henry VIII 1509-47

Click on one of the following to see more images of parts of the tower

The White Tower

Other Tower Structures

Preliminary Bibliography:

Bartholomew, James. Inside the Tower : a comprehensive guide / James Bartholomew with additional text by Julia MacKenzie. New York : New Amsterdam, in association with H.M. Tower of London, 1990. LC Call Number: DA687 T7B29 1990

Bell, Walter George. The Tower of London  London: Duckworth, 1935 Historic Buildings Series

Brown, R. Allen (Reginald Allen). Tower of London, Greater London / R. Allen Brown and P.E. Curnow.London : H.M.S.O., c1984. LC Call Number: DA687.T7 B76 1984 Butler, Thomas, Sir Her Majesty's tower of London / Sir Thomas Butler. [London : Pitkin Pictorials, c1971] Pride of Britain Series. LC Call Number: DA687.T7 B8 1971 ISBN: 85372024X

 Clark, George Thomas. Some particulars concerning the military architecture of the Tower of London. London, 1860

Dixon, William Hepworth. Her majesty's tower / by William Hepworth Dixon London : Bickers, 1885.

Great Britain. Dept. of the Environment. The Tower of London. London : H.M.S.O., 1974. LC Call Number: NA970 .T737 1974

Hammond, Peter.Her Majesty's royal palace and fortress of the Tower of London.  London : Department of the Environment, 1991 1987

 Hibbert, Christopher. Tower of London, by Christopher Hibbert and the editors of the Newsweek Book  Division.New York, Newsweek [1971] LC Call Number DA687.T7 H5

Minney, Rubeigh James. The Tower of London / R.J. Minney. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice-Hall, c1970.
 ISBN:0139257683 LC Call Number: DA687.T7 M55 1970

 Parnell, Geoffrey. The Tower of London : the official illustrated history   London : Merrell Holberton,  2000. ISBN:   1858941067

  The Tower of London : its buildings and institutions London :  H.M.S.O. [for the] Department of the Environment,   1978  ISBN SBN:  0116703474 :

Wilson, Derek A. The Tower of London / Derek Wilson ; foreword by W.D.M. Raeburn. New York : Dorset, c1989. LC Call Number:DA687.T7 W5 1989


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Last updated by:JV Date: 05/00