Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

People Imprisoned in the Tower of London

« Back to Projects Dashboard

Project Tags

view all


  • Sir John Yorke, Master of the Mint (c.1500 - bef.1569)
    wikipedia Sir John Yorke (died 1569) was an English merchant who became Master of the Mint. He was third son of John Yorke, by his wife Katherine Patterdale or Patterdall. On 3 September 1535 he arr...
  • Sir John Perrot (1528 - 1592)
    John PERROT (Capt. Sir Knight) Born: ABT 1527, Haroldston, Pembroke, England Died: 3 Nov 1592 Notes: See his Biography. Father: HENRY VIII TUDOR (King of England) Mother: Mary BERKELEY Married: A...
  • Theophilus Clinton, 4th Earl of Lincoln (1600 - 1667)
    º%20E.%20Lincoln)In will of father called "«b»Sir Theophilus Fines, Lord Clinton and Say«/b»". Theophilus Clinton, 4th Earl of Lincoln was born circa 1600.«sup»3«/sup» He was the son of «u»Thomas Clint...
  • Sir Richard Vyvyan, 3rd Baronet (c.1681 - 1736)
    Richard Vyvyan of Trelowarren, 3rd Baronet (28 September 1681 – 1724) was a prominent Jacobite.Richard Vyvyan was born in Colan, Cornwall. In 1697 he married a distant cousin, Mary Vivian, of Trewan Ha...
  • Peter Shakerley, MP (c.1650 - 1726)
    Family and Education b. c.1650, 1st s. of Sir Geoffrey Shakerley† of Hulme by his 1st w. Katherine, da. of William Pennington of Muncaster, Cumb. educ. Brasenose, Oxf. matric. 28 Mar. 1667, aged 17; I....

Tower of London

Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England.

Image Right Geograph © Copyright Christine Matthews and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence.

It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill.

It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078.

The castle was used as a prison from 1100 (Ranulf Flambard), until 1952 (Kray twins) although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence.

The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times and controlling it has been important to controlling the country. 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 of the United Kingdom.

From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on the coronation of a monarch. In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower is in charge of the castle. This was a powerful and trusted position in the medieval period. 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 lagged behind developments to deal with artillery.

The peak period of the castle's use as a prison was the 16th and 17th centuries, when many figures who had fallen into disgrace, such as Elizabeth I before she became queen, were held within its walls. This use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower".

Seven people were executed within the Tower before the World Wars of the 20th century. Executions were more commonly held on the notorious Tower Hill to the north of the castle, with 112 occurring there over a 400-year period.

  • William, Lord Hastings (1483),
  • Queen Anne Boleyn (1536),
  • Margaret, Countess of Salisbury (1541),
  • Queen Katherine Howard (1542),
  • Jane, Viscountess Rochford (1542),
  • Lady Jane Grey (1554)
  • Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex (1601).


  • Margaret of Anjou Wife of Henry VI - 1471-1476. Captured at the Battle of Tewkesbury. After being kept at the Tower and other castles she was released on payment of a ransom and went into exile in France.
  • Sir Henry Arundell, 3rd Baron Arundell of Wardour Between October 1678 and February 1684 he was imprisoned in the Tower of london, along with other 'Popish' peers, on the accusation of Titus Oates.
  • John Arundell, MP
  • Sir Thomas Arundell (c. 1502 –1552) was an Cornish administrator and alleged conspirator. He was arrested and charged with conspiring to overthrow the government and murder John Dudley, Earl of Warwick. Arundell consistently protested his innocence, but was convicted, beheaded on Tower Hill on 26 February 1552, and buried in the church of St Peter ad Vincula.
  • Katherine Ashley (or Astley) née Champernowne (circa 1502–1565) was governess to Elizabeth I, known to the Queen as 'Kat'. On 21 January 1549, she was arrested and taken to the Tower for possible involvement in Seymour's activities. She told her story and was found to have done nothing treasonous and was released thirteen days before Seymour's execution
  • Anne Askew English Protestant - 1546. The only woman to have been tortured at the Tower, Anne Askew had been arrested under the charge of heresy, a result of her openly preaching her Protestant beliefs. She was imprisoned in the Cradle Tower and burnt at the stake at Smithfield.
  • Sir William D'Avenant Poet Laureate - 1650-1652. A supporter of the executed Charles I, D'Avenant was on his way from exile in France to the USA when his ship was captured in the English Channel. He was imprisoned in the Tower but later released.


  • Norman Baillie-Stewart was a British officer caught selling military secrets to Germany and served four years in the Tower in 1933 but was not executed because England was not at war with Germany.
  • John de Balliol King of Scotland -1296-1299. Captured by the English in Scotland in 1296, he was kept prisoner in different castles throughout England including three years in the Salt Tower. He was eventually released into exile to his estates in France.
  • Anne Boleyn Second wife of Henry VIII - 1536. Imprisoned in the Lieutenant's House by her husband Henry VIII for treason (adultery). She was beheaded using the French method of a sword instead of an axe. She was one of seven people who were given private executions on Tower Green, away from the eyes of the public. She is buried in the Tower's chapel, St Peter ad Vincula.
  • Sir George Boleyn, 2nd Viscount Rochford (Executed 17 May 1536) was an English courtier and nobleman, brother of queen consort Anne Boleyn. A prominent figure in the politics of the early 1530s, he was convicted of incest with Anne during the period of her trial for high treason. They were both executed as a result.
  • Jane Boleyn - Lady Rochford, sister in law to queen Anne Boleyn, held at the Tower before her execution with Catherine Howard.
  • John Bradford (1510–1555) was a prebendary of St. Paul's. He was an English Reformer and martyr. Bradford was in the Tower of London for alleged crimes against Mary Tudor for his Protestant faith. Bradford was burned at the stake on 1 July 1555.
  • William de Brereton a Groom of the Privy Chamber to Henry VIII. He was caught up in the accusations of treason and adultery against Anne Boleyn, tried for treason and executed on 17 May 1536.
  • Sir Francis Burdett 5th Baronet
  • Hubert de Burgh Earl of Kent - 1232-1234. Being regent to Henry III made de Burgh one of the most powerful men in the land but this didn't stop him being imprisoned in the Tower when he fell out of favour with Henry in 1232. De Burgh spent two years in the Tower and although he was eventually pardoned he never regained his former power after his release.


  • Roger David Casement (1864 – 1916) known as Sir Roger Casement Kt. CMG between 1911 and shortly before his execution for treason, when he was stripped of his knighthood[ — was an Irish nationalist, activist, patriot and poet. In the early hours of 21 April 1916, three days before the Easter Rising in 1916 began, Casement was arrested on charges of treason, sabotage and espionage against the Crown. He was taken straight to the Tower of London where he was imprisoned.
  • Giovanni Battista Castiglione (1516–1598) was the Italian tutor of Princess (later Queen) Elizabeth I. A humanist reformer, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1556 by Elizabeth's sister, Mary I. Later, he carried Elizabeth's letters when she herself was imprisoned in the Tower.
  • Cato Street Conspirators - Needs researching - reference''
  • Charles, Duke of Orleans - 1415-1440. Captured at the Battle of Agincourt. After a quarter of a century of imprisonment at the Tower and other castles he was released on payment of a ransom.
  • Lady Badlesmere, Margaret de Clare, first woman recorded as a prisoner of the Tower (1322) on account of having ordered an armed assault on Isabella of France, Queen consort of King Edward II of England.
  • Constance de France, comtesse consort de Toulouse (1124-1176) Imprisoned in 1150 on orders of Geoffrey de Mandeville.''
  • John de Courcy (also John de Courci) (1160–1219) was an Anglo-Norman knight who arrived in Ireland in 1176. Imprisoned in 1199 for rebellion in Ireland.''
  • Edward Courtney, Earl of Devonshire, was a cousin of the king and rival to the throne. He was imprisoned in the Tower aged 12 and stayed there for the next 15 years, most of which was under Edward VI. Imprisonment for long fixed terms was incredibly unusual in Tudor England.
  • Sir Henry Courtney 1st Marquess of Exeter In early November, 1538, Exeter, his wife Gertrude Blount and their son Edward Courtenay were all arrested and incarcerated at the Tower of London. On December 3, 1538, Exeter was put on trial in Westminster Hall. There was little evidence for his involvement in the so-called Exeter Conspiracy. But his correspondence with Cardinal Pole ensured his conviction for treason. He was executed by decapitation on January 9, 1539.
  • Thomas Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury - 1553-1554. Imprisoned in the Bloody Tower before he was taken to Oxford where he was burnt at the stake in 1556.
  • Thomas Cromwell Politician - 1540. Imprisoned by Henry VIII. He was publicly beheaded on Tower Hill.
  • Sir Thomas Culpeper (c. 1514 – 10 December 1541) was a courtier of Henry VIII and the lover of Henry's fifth queen, Catherine Howard. Implicated with Catherine Howard


  • David II King of Scotland - 1346-1356. Captured at the Battle of Neville's Cross in Durham. He was kept in the White Tower until he was moved to make way for an even more important prisoner, King John II of France. Moved to Odiham Castle in Hampshire, he was released on payment of a ransom the following year.
  • Sir Everard Digby. Gunpowder Plot conspirator, imprisoned in 1605 until hanged, drawn and quartered in 1606.
  • Francis Dereham (executed 10 December 1541) was a Tudor courtier whose involvement with Henry VIII's fifth Queen, Catherine Howard in her youth, was a principal cause of the Queen's execution.
  • Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex Essex was tried before his peers on charges of treason. on 19 Feb 1601. was found guilty and, on 25 February 1601, was beheaded on Tower Green, becoming the last person to be beheaded in the Tower of London.
  • Sir William Douglas "le Hardi" (the Bold), Lord of Douglas (born after 1243 – c. 1298) was a Scottish nobleman and warlord. Imprisoned on 12 October 1297 and meeting his end there in 1298 due to mistreatment.
  • Hugh Draper of Bristol (locked up as a suspected sorcerer in 1561), carved the incredibly intricate astronomical clock that can be seen to this day on the walls of his cell in the Salt Tower.
  • Edmund Dudley was imprisoned and charged with the crime of constructive treason. Dudley's nominal crime was that during the last illness of Henry VII he had ordered his friends to assemble in arms in case the King died, but the real reason for his charge was his unpopularity stemming from his financial transactions. Dudley and his colleague Empson were executed on 17 August 1510 on Tower Hill.
  • Guilford Dudley, Husband of Lady Jane Grey - 1553-1554. Executed on the same day as his wife, he was publicly beheaded on Tower Hill. He is buried with her in the Tower's chapel, St Peter ad Vincula.
  • Richard, Duke of York Brother of Edward V - 1483. Imprisoned by his uncle, the future Richard III, on the death of his father Edward IV. He was murdered with his brother, probably in the Garden Tower which has since become known as the Bloody Tower.


  • Edward V Uncrowned Yorkist King of England - 1483. Imprisoned by his uncle, the future Richard III, on the death of his father Edward IV. He was murdered with his brother, probably in the Garden Tower which has since become known as the Bloody Tower.
  • Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester (née Cobham; c.1400 –1452), Imprisoned 1441 on charges of treasonable necromancy and had to do public penance in London, divorce her husband and was condemned to life imprisonment.
  • Sir John Eliot (11 April 1592 – 27 November 1632) was an English statesman who was serially imprisoned in the Tower of London, where he eventually died, by King Charles I for advocating the rights and privileges of Parliament.
  • Princess Elizabeth Future Elizabeth I, Tudor Queen of England and Ireland - 1554. Imprisoned in the Bell Tower for eight weeks by her sister Mary I. She was transferred to Woodstock in Oxfordshire.


  • Guy Fawkes Gunpowder Plot conspirator - 1605-1606. Arrested during the night of November 4-5th whilst preparing to blow up Parliament during the next day's royal opening by the Catholic James I. He was kept at the Queen's House before being executed in front of the Houses of Parliament in January the following year.
  • Rannulf Flambard Bishop of Durham - 1100-1101. The first known prisoner of the Tower of London was sent there by Henry I. Flambard was also the first known to have escaped. Using sheets tied together, he climbed from his window in the White Tower and fled the stronghold.
  • Saint John Fisher No GENi profile found In March 1534b Parliament passed the First Succession Act, by which all who should be called upon to do so were compelled to take an oath of succession, acknowledging the issue of Henry and Anne as legitimate heirs to the throne, under pain of being guilty of misprision of treason. Fisher refused the oath and was sent to the Tower of London on 26 April 1534. Several efforts were made to induce him to submit, but without effect, and in November he was attained of misprision of treason a second time, his goods being forfeited as from the previous 1 March, and the See of Rochester being declared vacant as of 2 June following. He was to remain in the Tower for over a year, and while he was allowed food and drink sent by friends, and a servant, he was not allowed a priest, even to the very end. A long letter exists, written from the Tower by Fisher to Thomas Cromwell, speaking of the severity of his conditions of imprisonment. In May 1535, the newly elected Pope Paul III created Fisher Cardinal Priest of San Vitale, apparently in the hope of inducing Henry to ease Fisher's treatment. The effect was precisely the reverse:[5] Henry forbade the cardinal's hat to be brought into England, declaring that he would send the head to Rome instead. In June a special commission for Fisher's trial was issued, and on Thursday, 17 June, he was arraigned in Westminster Hall before a court of seventeen, including Thomas Cromwell, Anne Boleyn's father, and ten justices. The charge was treason, in that he denied that the king was the Supreme Head of the Church of England. Since he had been deprived of his position of Bishop of Rochester by the Act of Attainder, he was treated as a commoner, and tried by jury. John Fisher was found guilty and condemned to be hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn. King Henry commuted the sentence to that of beheading. His execution took place on Tower Hill on 22 June 1535.
  • Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat Scottish Jacobite - 1746-1747. Captured after the Battle of Culloden he became the last ever man to be beheaded in Britain when he was publicly executed on Tower Hill. He is buried in the Tower's chapel, St Peter ad Vincula.


  • George, Duke of Clarence Brother of Edward IV and Richard III - 1477-1478. He was imprisoned in the Bowyer Tower by his brother for treason. He was murdered at the Tower the following year, reputedly by being drowned in a barrel of wine.
  • John Gerard S.J., English Jesuit priest operating undercover during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, when Catholics were being persecuted. He was captured in 1594 and tortured and incarcerated in the Salt Tower before making a daring escape by rope across the moat in 1597.
  • Owain Glyndŵr or Owain Glyn Dŵr, (c. 1349 or 1359 – c. 1415) was a Welsh ruler and the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales. His family was imprisoned in the Tower in 1408, a year after Glyndŵr had been defeated by Henry IV.''
  • Lord George Gordon, instigator of the Gordon Riots in 1780, spent 6 months in the Tower while awaiting trial on the charge of high treason.
  • John Graham, Earl of Menteith (d. 28 Feb 1347) became Earl of Menteith by courtesy of his wife, Mary Menteith, Countess of Menteith in her own right, daughter of Alan Menteith, 7th Earl of Menteith. Taken prisoner, along with his sovereign, after the battle of Neville's Cross and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Drawn, hanged, beheaded and quartered.
  • Lady Jane Grey, Uncrowned Tudor Queen of England and Ireland - 1553-1554. Deposed and imprisoned in the Lieutenant's House by Mary I. Executed on the same day as her husband, she was one of seven people who were beheaded on Tower Green, away from the eyes of the public. She is buried in the Tower's chapel, St Peter ad Vincula.
  • Gruffydd ap Llywelyn Fawr ( fell 90 feet whilst trying to escape - 1244 )


  • Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer In 1714 he fell from favour following the accession of the first monarch of the House of Hanover, George I and was for a time imprisoned in the Tower of London by his political enemies.
  • William, Lord Hastings (1483), 1st Baron Hastings. Executed by beheading William Hastings fought to secure the throne for Edward IV and supported his sons the two little Princes in the Tower Robert Stephen Hawker.
  • Henry VI Lancastrian King of England - 1465-1470, 1471. Deposed twice by the future Edward IV he was imprisoned both times in the Wakefield Tower where in 1471 he was murdered while at worship.
  • Rudolf Hess Deputy Führer of Nazi Germany - held in the Queen’s House from 17-21 May, 1941. Captured in Scotland where he had flown to from Germany. He was kept in the Lieutenant's House for four days before being transferred to Mytchett Place, a country house in Surrey. He was the last prisoner held at the Tower of London.
  • Catherine Howard Fifth wife of Henry VIII - 1542. Imprisoned by her husband Henry VIII. She was one of seven people who were beheaded on Tower Green, away from the eyes of the public. She is buried in the Tower's chapel, St Peter ad Vincula.
  • Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey 1547 - Henry VIII, consumed by paranoia and increasing illness, became convinced that Surrey had planned to usurp the crown from his son Edward and had Surrey imprisoned - with his father - sentenced to death on 13 January 1547, and beheaded for treason on 19 January 1547
  • Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, 20th Earl of Arundel converted to Roman Catholicism. After Queen Elizabeth I heard of this she ordered Philip to house arrest. Philip tried to escape and flee to France in 1585. He was caught at sea and held as prisoner in the London Tower. He was condemned to indefinite imprisonment, in addition to a fine of 10,000 pounds. He died in the Tower of London on October 19, 1595.

See "The lives of Philip Howard, earl of Arundel, and of Anne Dacres, his wife" by Henry Granville Fitzalan-Howard, 14th Duke of Norfolk, 1815-1860, Publisher: London, Hurst and Blackett.

  • Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk Fell from favour in 1546, stripped of the dukedom and imprisoned in the Tower, avoiding execution when the King died. He was released on the accession of Queen Mary I.


  • Johan Anders Jägerhorn, an officer from Finland, Lord Edward FitzGerald's friend, participating in the Irish independence movement. He spent two years in the Tower (1799–1801), but was released because of Russian interests.
  • Josef Jakobs, a German spy, was executed at the Tower on 15 August 1941
  • James I, King of Scotland - 1406-1408. Captured at sea en route to France when his ship was blown ashore at Flamborough Head, Yorkshire. When his father, Robert III, heard of his capture he reputedly died of a broken heart. The new Scottish King was kept in the Tower for two years before being moved to Nottingham Castle. He stayed there until 1424 when he was released on payment of a ransom.
  • Judge Jeffreys Judge - 1688-1689. Notorious for his severity at dealing with opponents to the crown he was especially active during the reign of the Catholic James II. He dealt brutally with supporters of the Monmouth Rebellion in the West Country in what became known as the "Bloody Assizes". But when James II fled the country after the Glorious Revoluton of 1688 Jeffreys was imprisoned in the Tower, dying the following year in the Bloody Tower due to excessive alcohol consumption.
  • John II King of France - 1356-1360. Captured at Poitiers by Edward the Black Prince. He was imprisoned with his son in the White Tower. He was also kept for a time at other locations including at Hertford Castle in Hertfordshire. He was eventually released so that he could return to France to raise his own ransom, his son being kept in England as part of the agreement. But while in France his son escaped, breaking the agreement, and so John, seeing his honour at stake, returned to London in 1364, dying there the same year.


  • The Kray twins, were among the last prisoners to be held,[8] for a few days in 1952, for failing to report for national service.


  • General John Lambert English Parliamentary general and politician. Imprisoned in the Tower of London in March 1660
  • Walter Langdon
  • William Laud Archbishop of Canterbury - 1640-1645. Impeached by Parliament for being a threat to Protestantism he was imprisoned for treason and publicly beheaded on Tower Hill.
  • Henry Laurens American leader and president of the Continental Congress - 1781-1782. Captured on a diplomatic mission en route to the Netherlands during the American War of Independence. He was released in exchange for the British General Cornwallis who had surrendered at Yorktown in Virginia, the defeat which heralded the end of British involvement in America.
  • Gruffydd ap Llewelyn Fighter for Welsh independence - 1241-1244 . Using sheets tied together, he attempted to escape from the roof of the White Tower. The sheets didn't hold and he fell to his death.


  • Flora Macdonald Scottish Jacobite - 1746-1747. Imprisoned for helping Charles Stuart "Bonnie Prince Charlie" <Portrait> escape to the continent after defeat at the Battle of Culloden. She was released the following year.
  • Henry Mannox, had a sexual relationship with Catherine Howard around 1536, when she was about thirteen. He later gave evidence in the inquiry against her. Imprisoned according to
  • William le Marish - 1238 Ref.''
  • Duke of Marlborough Soldier and future commander of British forces during the War of the Spanish Succession and victor at Blenheim in 1704 - 1692. Imprisoned for suspicion of harbouring sympathies for the exiled James II. He was released after six weeks.
  • Sir Thomas More Politician - 1534-1535. Imprisoned by Henry VIII in the Bell Tower for high treason. He was publicly beheaded on Tower Hill. He is buried in the Tower's chapel, St Peter ad Vincula.


  • Sir Henry Neville, MP - 1601. involved with the Essex Rebellion of 1601 and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was stripped of his position and fined £5,000, which he agreed to pay in annual instalments of £1,000. After the death of Elizabeth I of England and the accession of James I a Royal Warrant was issued for his release
  • Sir Henry Norreys/Norris (c. 1482 –1536) Groom of the Stool in the privy chamber of King Henry VIII. While a close servant of the King, he also supported the faction in court led by Queen Anne Boleyn, and when Anne fell out of favour, he was among those accused of treason and adultery with her. He was found guilty and executed on 17 May 1536.


  • Domhnáill Ballaugh Ó Catháin, the last chieftain of Clan Ó Catháin died in the Tower in 1626.
  • Niall Garve O'Donnell, an Irish nobleman, a one-time ally of the English against his cousin, Red Hugh O'Donnell. Charged with complicity in Cahir O'Dogherty's rebellion in 1608, he and his son Neachtain were sent to the Tower of London, where they remained till their deaths.
  • William Fitz Osbert or William with the long beard (died 1196) was a citizen of London who took up the role of the advocate of the poor in a popular uprising in the spring of 1196. Imprisoned in 1196 for protesting taxation levied for rescue of Richard I.''
  • Sir Thomas Overbury was imprisoned in the Tower by King James I on 22 April 1613. He died on 15 September 1613 after being poisoned, and his murder resulted in one of the biggest scandals of the era.
  • Saint Nicholas Owen, S.J., (died 1606) was a Jesuit lay brother who built numerous priest holes during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England.[2] After his final arrest, he was tortured to death by prison authorities in the Tower of London. He is honoured as a martyr by the Catholic Church and was canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970.


  • William Penn Quaker founder of Pennsylvania - 1668-1669. Imprisoned for publishing controversial religious pamphlets. He was released after seven months.
  • Samuel Pepys Diarist - 1679. Imprisoned for maladministration in his job at the Admiralty. He was released after six weeks.
  • Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland KG (1564 – 1632) suspected of being part of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and spent the next 17 years as a prisoner. He also paid a fine of £30,000.
  • Margaret Plantagenet, 8th Countess of Salisbury (1473-1541) was imprisoned from 1539 until her beheading in 1541 for treason. Margaret Plantagenet Pole, Countess of Salisbury, was the 68-year-old niece of Edward IV. She was imprisoned for being part of a protest known as ‘The Pilgrimage of Grace’. Her son, Cardinal Reginald Pole, was the one who led the Catholic opposition against Henry VIII’s break with Rome and it is believed that she was accused and imprisoned for that reason alone. She was later executed on Tower Green 27 May 1541.
  • Sir William de la Pole (1478 - 1539), English lord, and Knight of Wingfield Castle in Wingfield, Suffolk. Held prisoner in Tower of London for 37 years till his death, longer than anyone else in history, for allegedly plotting against King Henry VII with his brothers Edmund and Richard, who fled the country in 1501, apparently after their conspiracy was detected.


  • Sir Walter Ralegh Adventurer - 1592, 1603-1616, 1618. In 1592 Ralegh was imprisoned in the Brick Tower by Elizabeth I for marrying one of her ladies-in-waiting without her permission. In 1603 James I accused him of treason and had him imprisoned for a second time, this time in the Bloody Tower. He spent the next 13 years there during which he wrote his bestselling "History of the World". He was released in 1616 to command an expedition to find gold in South America, but when this failed he was rearrested on his return to England in 1618 and put once more in the Tower. The same year he was beheaded in front of the Houses of Parliament.

Sir Walter Ralegh was able to live in relative comfort in the Bloody Tower with his wife and two children. For some of the time he even grew tobacco on Tower Green, just outside his apartment.

  • Lady Beth Ralegh Elizabeth Ralegh, wife of Sir Walter Ralegh, was never a prisoner of the Tower of London. She did, however, live with her husband for a time during his incarceration in the Bloody Tower with their two children – one of whom, Carew, was born in the Tower in 1605 and baptised in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula. They were allowed many luxuries and maintained a rather comfortable lifestyle complete with servants and frequent visitors. In the later period of Ralegh’s imprisonment, after the death of Prince Henry from typhoid in 1612, James I began to apply restrictions to the family’s luxuries. Elizabeth and her children were forced to leave the Tower and had to live on the reduced income resulting from the re-appropriation of Sir Ralegh’s estates by the king. Her husband was later executed in October 1618 in Old Palace Yard, Westminster.
  • Richard II Plantagenet King of England - 1399. Deposed by the future Henry IV, he was imprisoned in the White Tower. Forced there to abdicate, he was then transferred to Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire where he was murdered the following year.


  • James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth Son of Charles II - 1685. following the Monmouth Rebellion - imprisoned after being defeated at the Battle of Sedgemoor. He was publicly beheaded on Tower Hill. He is buried in the Tower's chapel, St Peter ad Vincula.
  • Adam Sedbar or Sedbergh (c1502-1537) was the 23rd and last Abbot of Jervaulx Abbey in Wensleydale, Yorkshire. Imprisoned in 1537 for taking part in the Pilgrimage of Grace, before being hanged, drawn and quartered.
  • Robert Shirley the fourth Baronet. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London by Cromwell and died there in 1656. On his death the title passed to his eldest son, the fifth Baronet. He died at an early age and was succeeded at birth by his posthumous son, the sixth Baronet.
  • Jane Shore Imprisoned 1483 - ref. '''
  • Mark Smeaton - 1535 musician at the court of Henry VIII of England, in the household of Queen Anne Boleyn. Smeaton, the Queen's brother George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford, Henry Norris, Francis Weston and William Brereton were executed for alleged treason and adultery with Queen Anne.
  • Lady Arbella Stuart Supported by conspirators as a rival to the throne of her cousin James I, Lady Arbella Stuart was arrested in 1611, along with her husband William Seymour, for marrying without the King’s permission. They were each able to escape from their holdings and had arranged to meet at Blackwall and sail to France. Arbella arrived in Blackwall, but Seymour was delayed for so long that she was forced to sail to Calais without him. Upon her arrival there, news of her escape had already spread and she was arrested and taken back to England. She was confined to her room within the Queen’s House, where the strict and rigorous guard caused malnourishment and a loss of sanity, and she died there in 1615. Arbella was buried, without ceremony, in a vault with Mary, Queen of Scots in Westminster Abbey. Her husband, William, was able to flee to Ostend without her and there he remained until James I gave him permission to return unharmed in 1616

The Duchess of Somerset, imprisoned at the Tower in 1551, lunched on mutton stewed with potage, boiled beef and mutton, roast veal, roast capon and two rabbits. For dinner she again ate mutton with potage along with sliced beef, roast mutton, two rabbits and a dozen larks, all washed down with either beer or wine at a weekly cost of 77 shillings.

  • Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, KG, (c. 1500 – 1552) Lord Protector of England during the minority of his nephew King Edward VI. He was imprisoned with and his steward Sir John Thynne. Arrested at Windsor on 11 October 1549,. Although Somerset was released from the Tower and restored to the Council, he was executed for felony in January 1552 after scheming to overthrow John Dudley, Earl of Warwick's regime.
  • Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Sudeley - Jane Seymour's brother. On the night of 16 January 1549 Thomas was caught trying to break into the King's apartments at Hampton Court Palace. He entered the privy garden and awoke one of the King's pet spaniels. In response to the dog's barking, he shot and killed it. The next day, he was arrested and sent to the Tower of London. The incident (being caught outside the king's bedroom at night with a loaded pistol) was interpreted in the most menacing light. On 22 February, the council officially accused him of thirty-three charges of treason. He was convicted of treason, and condemned to death and executed on the 20th of March 1549.
  • William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset, 3rd Earl of Hertford.

Seymour made a secret marriage at Greenwich on 22 June 1610 to Arbella Stuart, (above) daughter of Charles Stuart, 1st Earl of Lennox and Elizabeth Cavendish. Arbella was thirteen years his senior, and the marriage was disapproved of by King James I of England - the marriage of two potential Tudor pretenders to the throne, who were fourth and sixth in line to the English throne, could only be seen as a threat to the ruling dynasty. As a result, William was condemned to life imprisonment in the Tower of London, becoming the fourth of five generations of Seymours to spend time in the Tower.


  • Sir John Thynne (c. 1515 – 1580) steward to Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, above) Thynne was twice imprisoned in the Tower of London. On 13 October Thynne was sent to the Tower with William Grey, Sir Thomas Smith, Sir Michael Stanhope and Edward Wolf, these being described as the Duke's "principal instruments and counsellors... in the affairs of his ill government". In August 1550, he was pardoned and all his goods and offices were restored, but he was put into the Tower again on 16 October 1551. After Somerset's execution, like his other followers who were spared, but lost his offices and much of his land, and was heavily fined. He retired to Longleat and led a country life there.
  • Sir John Trelawny, 1st Baronet (24 April 1592 – 16 February 1664) was a Cornish baronet and soldier from Trelawne, Cornwall. He was High Sheriff of Cornwall. Committed to the Tower of London for failing to attend the House to explain himself and for this contempt of Parliament in failing to answer the summons.
  • Bishop Jonathan Trelawny -1688. Trelawny and the other bishops petitioned against James II's Declaration of Indulgence in 1687 and 1688, (granting religious tolerance to Catholics) and as a result he was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London on charges of seditious libel.


  • Anne Vavasour Her first lover was Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, by whom she had an illegitimate son – Edward. For that offence, both she and the earl were sent to the Tower of London in 1581 by the orders of the Queen.
  • Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford imprisoned from March to June 1581 for impregnating Anne Vavasour, one of the Queen's Maids of Honour, who had given birth to a son. Vavasour and infant were also imprisoned.


  • William Wallace Fighter for Scottish independence - 1305. Betrayed to the English, he was imprisoned in the Tower for a short time before being executed at Smithfield.
  • Sir Robert Walpole Future Prime Minister. - 1712. Imprisoned for corruption. He was released after six months and from 1721 until 1742 became Britain's first and longest ever serving "Prime Minister" under George I.
  • Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford (1641) On 25 November 1640 his preliminary charge was brought up, and he was sent to the Tower of London; on 31 January 1641, the detail were made known - that Strafford had tried to subvert the fundamental laws of the kingdom. He was executed on 12 May 1641
  • Sir Francis Weston gentleman of the Privy Chamber at the court of King Henry VIII of England. He was one of the men who were accused of high treason and adultery with Anne Boleyn, the king's second wife. Weston was condemned to death and executed on 17 May 1536, two days before the Queen.
  • Blessed Richard Whiting Abbott of Glastonbury Abbey was imprisoned in 1539 for a short time before being returned to Glastonbury to be hanged, drawn and quartered.
  • William of Mortain, Count of Mortain, 3rd Earl of Cornwall (bef. 1084–aft. 1140). Imprisoned 1106 after being captured at the battle of Tinchebray.
  • Nicholas Woodcock spent sixteen months in the "gatehouse and tower" for piloting the first Spanish whaleship to Spitsbergen in 1612.
  • William Wright, Jesuit priest who was arrested in the aftermath of The Gunpowder Plot.
  • Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl of Southampton imprisoned from October 1571 to May 1573, for his part in the Ridolfi plot to assassinate Elizabeth I and replace her on the English throne with Mary, Queen of Scots.
  • Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503 – 1542) was a 16th-century English ambassador and lyrical poet. He was briefly imprisoned in the Tower of London for his alleged relationship with Anne Boleyn.
  • Sir Thomas "The Younger" Wyatt, MP rebel leader during the reign of Mary I of England; his rising is traditionally called "Wyatt's rebellion". On March 1554, he was sentenced to death for high treason.

To participate in any project

- you do need to first be a collaborator - so please join the project using the request link under "actions" at the top right of the page. Visit Geni Wikitext, Unicode and images which gives a great deal of assistance. See the discussion Project Help: How to add Text to a Project - Starter Kit to get you going!

How to Participate

  • If you have any queries please start a discussion linked to this project. (See the menu top right).
  • Please add related projects to the menu on the right.
  • If you have links to related web pages that would be of interest to others please add them in the relevant section at the bottom of the page. In order to do this use the drop down menu at the top left of the screen and Join the Project. If this option is not available to you then contact a collaborator and ask to be added to the project. As a collaborator you will be able to edit this page.
  • Add any documents of interest using the menu at the top right of the page, and then add a link to the document in the text under the heading below. If you do not know how to do this please contact one of the other collaborators to assist you.

References and Further Reading