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Inner Curtain Wall, with Mural Towers The New Armouries The Queen's House Tower Green, Tower Hamlets

Description: Inner Curtain Wall, with Mural Towers The New Armouries The Queen's House Tower Green

Grade: I
Date Listed: 30 November 1989
English Heritage Building ID: 206500

OS Grid Reference: TQ3353880586
OS Grid Coordinates: 533538, 180586
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5084, -0.0772

Locality: Tower Hamlets
County: Greater London
Country: England
Postcode: EC3N 4EE

Incorrect location/postcode? Submit a correction!

Listing Text

TQ 3380
21/885 Inner Curtain Wall,
with Mural towers, The
Queen's House, Nos 1,
2, 4, 5 and 7 Tower
Green and the New


Inner curtain wall and towers. Bell Tower and curtain wall (of which lower
courses remain) to Bloody Tower built c.1170; Wakefield Tower, Lanthorn
(demolished and rebuilt in C19) and curtain wall and postern between them built
c.1220-40 for henry III; watergate, later incorporated into Bloody Tower, also
built c.1220-40; curtain wall and towers from Devereaux Tower in north-west
corner to Salt Tower in south-east corner built 1238-75; west side of curtain
wall, including Beauchamp Tower, built 1275-85 for Edward I; southern side of
curtain wall heightened and crenellated 1339; Bloody Tower remodelled 1360-1362.
Restored in C19, principally by A Salvin in 1840s to 1860s. Squared and coursed
ragstone with ashlar dressings; lead and copper roofs to towers. Curtain Walls:
gunports, loops and crenellation reworked in C19; west side of curtain wall has
fine continuous line of embrasures, built in late C13 brick, to loops. Towers
described in clockwise order from Bell Tower: c.1190-1200. Octagonal plan to
ground floor, and thereafter cylindrical. 2 storeys above solid base with ashlar
plinth. Restored loops; early C18 keyed square-headed architraves to upper
windows; late C17 wooden bell turret. Interior, with access from The Queen's
House (qv): ground floor has irregular-shaped lobby, with C18 brick round-arched
entry to inner chamber with garderobe in recess, original splayed embrasure to
south and pointed barrel vault; skewed 2-centred arch to vaulted pentagonal-
shaped chamber with pointed embrasures and acutely pointed vault with foliate-
carved boss and square ribs springing from corbels with flattened stiff-leaf
carving; pointed-arched doorway to upper room, with vice to roof, blocked
pointed-arched doorway to east (to constable's house, on site of Queen's House
(qv)), and skewed stone-flagged passage to barrel-vaulted garderobe chamber in
thickness of main wall; circular main room has moulded rere-arches to windows,
blocked wall passage to south-west, C14 square-headed cupboard in north wall, C14
fireplace (hood removed) in east wall, and heightened C17 domed roof (ring beam
of original roof visible beneath).

Beauchamp Tower: c.1281; restored by Salvin 1851-3. D-shaped 3-storey tower,
with rectangular turrets to north and south. Restored loops; east elevation has
pointed-arched doorway, mid C19 two-light Decorated-style window, two 2-light
trefoil-headed windows and Caernarvon-arched 2-light window; C19 square-headed
2-light windows to west elevation. Interior: notable for survival of late C13
brick; ground-floor chamber has C13 pointed brick arches to 5 embrasures with C19
fireplace to south-west embrasure, pointed-arched north doorway to passage ending
in garderobe, similar doorway leading to vice in south turret; pointed-arched
doorway from vice to first-floor chamber with 5 similar embrasures including late
C13 square-headed fireplace (hood removed) to south-west pointed-arched north
doorway and pointed barrel-vaulted passage, leading to garderobe; pointed-arched
doorway to south wall walk.

Devereux Tower to north-west corner: 1238-75. Irregular D-shaped plan with
south-east staircase turret. Much rebuilt from mid C18 in brick, including
2-storey, 3-window range south front with keyed segmental arches over sashes and
C20 door; beneath this elevation is pointed-arched doorway, hidden by early C16
vaulted brick casements with smoke vents, bordered on east side by early C16
stone wall with offset buttresses, blocked doorway to canted corner and 2 wide
Tudor-arched entries (formed east elevation of ordnance office vacated in 1672
and demolished in 1714). Interior: ground-floor chamber, of 2 bays with quadri-
partite and tripartite vaults with chamfered ribs, has C20 replacement of C13
fireplace, pointed-arched doorway to vice with garderobe at mezzanine level, and
3 late C13 round-headed embrasures; pointed-arched doorway from west wall walk to
first floor; upper level modified as gun platform in 1683 and 1715 when second
floor inserted.

Flint and Brick Towers, each rebuilt mid C19 and of D-plan with square-headed
windows, pointed-arched doorways and corbelled parapets, flank Bowyer Tower of
1238-75, refaced in mid C19: D-shaped plan with south turret. 2 storeys.
Original loop to west of ground floor; mid C19 two-light windows and pointed-
arched doorway. Interior: quadripartite vault with chamfered ribs to ground-
floor room, which also has pair of C15/early C16 square-headed cupboards, arched
recess to blocked C13 fireplace to west and pointed-arched doorway to vice in
south turret.

Martin Tower, in north-east corner: 1238-75 much altered and refaced in brick in
late C17/C18. D-plan angle tower with 2 rectangular turrets to west and north.
2 storeys, heightened to 3 in late C17. Restored loops and mid C19 two-light
windows; west elevation has sash windows and widened Tudor-arched doorway beneath
arch carrying C18 external stairs to door of c.1725, with 6-panelled door set in
keyed semicircular arched architrave with fan-light over bracketed flat hood;
sundial set above pedimented doorway of c.1725 to south wall walk. Interior:
pointed-arched doorway to garderobe in north turret and altered C15 doorway to
vice in south turret. Hexagonal-shaped ground-floor room with 5 embrasures.
First floor entered from vice and widened embrasure with hollow-moulded rere-
arch; pointed-arched doorway to garderobe in north turret and barrel-vaulted
passage to west wall walk; 5 embrasures widened into window openings from early
C18 and cut across by late C17 mezzanine floor with turned balusters to stair and
balcony and bolection-moulded panelling.

Constable Tower: 1238-75, rebuilt mid C19. D-shaped plan, with similar features
to Brick Tower and Flint Tower (qv).

Broad Arrow Tower: 1238-75; restored by Salvin 1855-7. D-shaped plan with
rectangular turrets to north and south. 2 storeys, with second floor added in
late C19. Restored loops; mid C19 two-light windows; restored west window of one
trefoil light; Caernarvon-arched west doorway to north turrets; pointed-arched
doorway and ancient door to south wall walk; late C19 pointed-arched doorway to
north wall walk. Interior: ground-floor room with pointed embrasures and
timbered ceilings; C13 dog-leg stair in north turret. First floor has hooded C20
fireplace (in place of original), pointed-arched mural passage and 3 embrasures.

Blocked segmental-pointed arch of 2 orders to postern adjoining Salt Tower:
1238-75. Three-quarter cylindrical-plan angle turret with remains of cross wall
extending east to outer curtain wall (qv) built to bar inner ward. Basement and
2 storeys, with inserted upper floor. Restored loops and restored pointed-arched
doorways to curtain wall walks; west window of 2 trefoiled lights, quatrefoil
above 2-light trefoil-headed window to first floor, and similar restored 2-light
window and lancet. Interior: short mural passage to restored pointed-arched
doorway in north-west corner to pentagonal-shaped room with 5 embrasures.
Square-headed doorway from vice to mural chamber in east curtain. First floor
has pentagonal-shaped chamber with C13 hooded fireplace in south wall and
garderobe a few steps up vice.

Lanthorn Tower: rebuilt 1883, with lancets and 2-light windows.

Wakefield Tower: built 1220-40 as "donjon circulaire" for Henry III, including
his privy chamber at first floor; restored in 1866-9 by A Salvin. 2-storey
cylindrical tower, with ashlar plinth. Square-headed east door; late C19 doorway
to wall walk; transomed first-floor east window has 3 Caernarvon-arched lower
lights and 3 trefoil-headed upper lights; similar late C19 one and 2-light tran-
somed windows to west; C20 square-headed doorway to north. Interior: octagonal
ground-floor room with tall chamfered round-arched loops to south recesses; mid
C20 timber ceiling is reconstruction of original. Octagonal first-floor room is
entered through tall arched passage and east recess; has aumbry, piscina and
round-arched sedilia indicating its original use as an oratory; north-west recess
made into doorway c.1870; restored hooded fireplace; blank north-east recess
(probably for chair of estate); C19 vault sprung from C13 wall shafts, with
moulded capitals framing oratory.

Bloody Tower: 1220s watergate, with vault and upper stages built 1360-62;
interior divided in 1603; top parapet and windows restored in 1868-9 by Salvin.
Rectangular plan with south-east stair turret. 2 storeys. South elevation has
early C13 chamfered pointed-arched entry, portcullis, similar arch and C16
studded doors; mid C14 two-light trefoil-headed window to east. North elevation
has two mid C14 chamfered pointed arches, each of 2 orders and separated by port-
cullis slot; two late C19 two-light windows above and to east. West elevation
has early C17 two-light chamfered stone-mullioned and transomed window and C17
studded door set in C14 double-chamfered pointed arched doorway. Interior: fine
1360s vault to entrance passage has lions' heads and lions' masks to corbels; C14
pointed-arched doorway to early C13 porter's lodge to east, which has flattened
barrel vault, remains of small rectangular window and original entrance doorway
to north and C16 cupboards inserted in south and east walls. C14 pointed-arched
doorway from west wall walk to first floor: small south apartment, with C16 port-
cullis and lifting machinery and Caernarvon-arched doorway to vaulted garderobe
and vice (with C17 plank door), is divided by early C17 partition with horizontal
planking and door from main room which has 1360s patterned tile floor, and mid
C14 square-headed fireplace with original bread oven.

The following buildings are attached to the inner sides of the curtain wall.

No 8 Tower Green: Pair of semi-detached houses. Warders Quarters of 1866-9 by
A Salvin. Red brick with half-timber to attic storey; cross-gabled old plain
tile roof; brick stacks. Double-depth plan. Domestic Revival style. 2 storeys
and attic; 3-window range to double-gabled elevation. Bracketed pentice roof
over two plank doors to centre. Segmental brick arches over one to 3-light case-
ments with horizontal glazing bars; carved pendentive to carved wood barge-
boards. Interior noted as having been remodelled in mid C20.

No 7 Tower Green: two houses, now flats. That to left is early C18 with possible
earlier origins. Flemish bond brick; plain tile gambrel roof; brick lateral
stack. Double-depth plan. 3 storeys and attic; 2-window range. 6-panelled door
with overlight set in moulded wood architrave with brackets to flat hood. Flat
brick arches over mid C19 horned 12-pane sash to right and early C19 twelve-pane
sashes; stone-coped parapet; 6-pane sash to dormer. Interior not inspected but
likely to be of interest. House to right is early/mid C17, with later alte-
rations. Probably timber-framed; gabled front has plaster gable over mid C18
brick cladding; gabled plain tile roof. Double-depth right-angle plan.
2 storeys and attic; one-window range. Flat brick arches over late C19
half-glazed door and one-light window with glazing bars; timber lintel over late
C19 three-light casement with glazing bars; 2-light casement to attic.

The Queen's House: Lieutenant's lodgings, now house of the Resident Governor and
offices. c.1540; late C17 and C18 additions and alterations. Timber-framed,
with ogee-bracing to square panels; late C17 and C18 brick facing to ground floor
and to rear; cross-gabled old plain tile roof; brick ridge, end and rear lateral
stacks. L-plan. 3 storeys and attic; 4 gabled bays to each range with west bay
of south wing obscured by west wing. Brick ground floor has one-storey extension
of 1663 in angle of wings, with segmental brick arches over 8-pane sashes with
thick glazing bars and early C19 twelve-pane sashes, and C18 six-panelled door
set in moulded mould architrave. Late C17 stucco facing to 3 first-floor bays of
west wing, with pedimented cornice over early C19 twelve-pane sashes. C18
panelling; early C19 stick-baluster staircase from ground to first floor, whence
it continues as late C17 open-well staircase with ramped handrail set on turned
balusters with finely-carved brackets to treads, and bolection-panelled dado;
first-floor room to east has large arched kitchen fireplace. Mid C16 first-floor
hall to penultimate western bay of south range, which was floored in early C17
when upper floor inserted: the second-floor room has mid C16 3-bay roof, which
had queen posts, lateral bracing and braced tie beams removed for early C17
chamber, which has elaborate memorial tablet by fireplace erected 1608 to
commemorate defect of Gunpower Plot. Noted as having queen-post roofs with butt
purlins. Access to mural passages of inner curtain wall and to Bell Tower (qv).
Basement of south range has medieval masonry associated with the constable's
house built 1361-1366 on the same site.

Nos 4 and 5 Tower Green: Two houses. Late C17, with possible earlier origins.
English bond brick; cross-gabled old plain tile roof; brick ridge and end
stacks. Double-depth plan. 3 storeys and attic; 5-window range. Segmental
brick arches over late C18 six-panelled door with overlight to left and late C19
six-panelled (2 glazed) door to right. Segmental brick arches over 2 early/mid
C18 twelve-pane sashes with glazing bars to left and early C19 twelve-pane
sashes; second and gabled attic storeys have flat brick arches over late C19 2 to
3-light casements with glazing bars. Raised storey bands. Interior not
inspected but likely to be of interest.

No 2 Tower Green: House. c.1700-1720. Flemish bond brick; hipped old plain tile
roof; brick lateral stack. Double-depth plan. 4 storeys and basement; 3-window
range. Carved brackets to segmental hood over segmental-arched doorway with C18
fielded 8-panelled (2 glazed) door. Segmental brick arches over early C19 eight-
pane sashes and 9-pane sashes to upper storey. Raised storey bands; stone-coped
parapet. Interior not inspected but likely to be of interest.

No 1 Tower Green: House. Mid C18. Flemish bond brick; hipped old plain tile
roof; brick rear lateral stacks. Double-depth plan. 3 storeys; symmetrical 5-
window range. C18 six-panelled door with overlight set in pedimented doorcase.
Flat brick arches over early C19 twelve-pane sashes and 6-pane sashes to upper
storey. Raised storey bands; stone-coped parapet. Interior not inspected but
likely to be of interest.

The New Armouries: Small arms store, now museum and offices. 1663-4. English
bond red brick; half hipped old tile roof; brick stacks. U-plan with projecting
wings flanking central range. 2 storeys and attic; 8-window range of 2:4:2
fenestration. C20 Heraldic cartouche set in finely-carved trophy above stone
doorcase with Doric entablature and engaged half-columns to bolection-panelled
double doors; 6-panelled doors with overlights to inner sides of wings. Cambered
gauged brick arches over early C19 twenty-pane ground-floor sashes and 16-pane
first-floor sashes. Raised brick string course; moulded wood coved cornice,
continued across fronts of wings; moulded wood cornices over flat-roofed
dormers. 4-bay side walls with similar fenstration; right-side wall has two fine
reset carved trophies, of 1780 with kettledrums, guns etc around cartouche
holding Ordnance Coat of Arms. Interior: main space to centre has central row of
timber posts braced to main beams of ceiling which has joists of large scant-
ling. Museum houses fine carved stone pediment by John Young from the late C17
Grand Storehouse, destroyed in fire of 1841.

Listing NGR: TQ3353880586

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.