The more affliction we endure

Queen’s House, Tower of London

I thought it might be interesting to share some photographs of Tudor graffiti in the Tower of London. I should point out that I am in no way a photographer, and the photos below were taken inside the Beauchamp Tower with an iPhone. As such the quality is quite poor. However the photos do convey a sense of the incredible graffiti carved into the walls; there is something very moving about these personal imprints, carved during a time of fear and, often, abject despair.

Beauchamp Tower stands adjacent to the above building in the Tower complex. Its proximity to what had been the Lieutenant’s Lodgings made it an ideal place to hold high-profile prisoners in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Some of its more famous occupants include Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, imprisoned for a year in the Tower in 1553, and Sir Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, who died at the Tower after ten years of incarceration. The upper and lower floors of Beauchamp Tower are littered with personalised graffiti, now carefully preserved behind perspex screens.

Beauchamp Tower
Robert Dudley’s initials?
Earl of Arundel

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  • Martin
    April 26, 2012 - 10:44 pm | Permalink

    That bad, huh?

    Well, it had me going for a while, then again I’m more a Brakspear than Shakespeare type.

    Thanks for your prompt feedback!


  • April 26, 2012 - 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Dear Martin

    I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I’m afraid I’m not convinced your friend *is* channelling Shakespeare from beyond the grave. When Shakespeare communicates from beyond the veil, he often confesses to being the Earl of Oxford. Perhaps your friend has inadvertently tuned in to the ghost of Adrian Mole.

    Best wishes


  • Martin
    April 26, 2012 - 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Greetings Dainty Ballerina

    I have a question – and as this post is labelled “curiosities” hope that this might be a good place to ask it….

    My question concerns this – written by a friend of mine. I know nothjing of the provenance of this writing. Aside from his reference to a nocturnal meeting, he has not volunteered any other explanation, and nor have I asked him for one. No doubt he will volunteer to tell me, if he chooses to.

    Yet the writing itself…. is it? Could it be….?

    I’d be sincerely interested in learning your opinion.

    Hope you get to see this message and thank you in anticipation of any feedback you might leave here.



  • March 26, 2012 - 11:01 pm | Permalink

    Since prisoners tend to fall off the face of the earth and even memory of them is obliterated, what is left but to make a mark on the walls of their prison. It may have been the only “record” of their miserable lives and even worse deaths. Thankfully the marks are now protected.

  • March 25, 2012 - 10:29 am | Permalink

    I have to say I’m impressed by the skill and precision, even allowing for the fact that they had a lot of time on their hands

  • March 19, 2012 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

    They had a lot of free time on their hands…

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