The Tower Of London by W. Harrison Ainsworth

How Lord Guilford Dudley and Lady Jane were arraigned and attainted of High Treason; and how they were pardoned by Queen Mary

Of Jane’s Return to Sion House; and of her Endeavours to dissuade her Husband from joining the Conspiracy against Queen Mary

How Xit was imprisoned in the Constable Tower; and how he was wedded to the “Scavenger’s Daughter”

How Xit escaped from the Constable Tower; and how he found Cicely

Of the arrival of the imperial Ambassadors; and of the signing of the Marriage Treaty between Mary and Philip of Spain

By what Means Gardiner extracted the Secret of the Conspiracy from Courtenay; and of the Consequences of the Disclosure

Of the Insurrection of Sir Thomas Wyat

Of the Queen’s Speech in the Council-chamber; and of her Interview with Sir Thomas Wyat

The Siege of the Tower

How Queen Mary comported herself during the Siege; how Lord Guilford Dudley was captured; and how Sir Thomas Wyat and the Duke of Suffolk were routed

How Jane surrendered herself a Prisoner; and how she besought Queen Mary to spare her Husband

How the Princess Elizabeth was brought a Prisoner to the Tower

How Nightgall was bribed by De Noailles to assassinate Simon Renard; and how Jane’s Death-warrant was signed

How the Princess Elizabeth was confronted with Sir Thomas Wyat in the Torture-chamber

How Xit discovered the Secret of his Birth; and how he was knighted under the title of Sir Narcissus Le Grand

How Cholmondeley learnt the History of Cicely; how Nightgall attempted to assassinate Renard; and of the terrible Fate that befell him

How Jane was imprisoned in the Martin Tower; how she was visited by Roger Ascham; how she received Feckenham’s Announcement that the Time of her Execution was fixed; and how she was respited for three Days

How the Princess Elizabeth and Courtenay were delivered out of the Tower to further Durance; and how Queen Mary was wedded, by Proxy, to Philip of Spain

Of the Wedding of Sir Narcissus Le Grand with Jane the Fool, and what happened at it; and of the Entertainment given by him, on the Occasion, to his old Friends at the Stone Kitchen

Of the Vision seen by Mauger and Sorrocold on the Tower Green

Of the Union of Cholmondeley with Angela

The Execution of Lady Jane Grey





ON the 10th of July, 1553, about two hours after noon, a loud discharge of ordnance burst from the turrets of Durham House, then the residence of the Duke of Northumberland, grand-master of the realm, and occupying the site of the modern range of buildings, known as the Adelphi; and, at the signal, which was immediately answered from every point along the river where a bombard or culverin could be planted, from the adjoining hospital of the Savoy, the old palace of Bridewell, recently converted by Edward VI., at the instance of Ridley Bishop of London, into a house of correction, Baynard’s Castle, the habitation of the Earl of Pembroke, the gates of London-bridge, and, lastly, from the batteries of the Tower, a gallant train issued from the southern gateway of the stately mansion above named, and descended the stairs leading to the water’s edge, where, appointed for their reception, was drawn up a squadron of fifty superbly-gilt barges, some decorated with banners and streamers, some with cloth-of-gold and arras, embroidered with the devices of the civic companies, others with innumerable silken pennons to which were attached small silver bells, “making a goodly noise and a goodly sight as they waved in the wind,” while others, reserved for the more important personages of the ceremony, were covered at the sides with shields gorgeously emblazoned with the armorial bearings of the different noblemen and honourable persons composing the privy council, amid which the cognisance of the Duke of Northumberland—a lion rampant, or, double quevée, vert—appeared proudly conspicuous. Each barge was escorted by a light galley, termed a foist or wafter, manageable either by oar or sail as occasion demanded, and attached to its companion by a stout silken tow-line. In these galleys, besides the rowers, whose oars were shipped, and in readiness to be dropped, at an instant’s notice, into the tide, and the men-at-arms, whose tall pikes, steel caps, and polished corslets flashed in the sunbeams, sat bands of minstrels provided with sackbuts, shalms, cornets, rebecs, and other forgotten musical instruments. The conduct of the whole squadron was entrusted to six officers, whose business it was to prevent confusion, and who, in the small swift wherries appointed to their use, rowed rapidly from place to place, endeavouring by threats and commands to maintain order, and keep off the crowd of boats and craft of all sorts hurrying towards them from every quarter of the river. It was a brilliant and busy scene, and might be supposed a joyous and inspiriting one—more especially, as the object which had called together this assemblage was the conveyance of a young and lovely sovereign to her throne within the Tower. But it was not so. Young and lovely as was that sovereign, rich, richer, perhaps, than any of her sex, in endowments of mind and person, illustrious and royal in birth, professing and supporting a faith, then newly established throughout the country, and which it was feared, and with reason, might be greatly endangered, if not wholly subverted, if another and nearer claimant of the crown, the Princess Mary, had succeeded to the inheritance; still, with all these high recommendations, though her rights were insisted upon by the ablest and most eloquent divines from the pulpit, though her virtues, her acquirements, and her beauty were the theme of every tongue; as she was not first in the succession, and, above all, as she had been invested with regal authority by one who, from his pride, was obnoxious to all men, her father-in-law, the Duke of Northumberland, the Lady Jane Dudley’s accession was viewed by all ranks and all parties with mistrust and apprehension. In vain had the haughty duke brought her with a splendid cavalcade from Sion House to his own palace. No cheers greeted her arrival—no rejoicings were made by the populace, but a sullen and ominous silence prevailed amongst those who witnessed her entrance into the capital. It is true that her youth and surpassing beauty excited the greatest interest. Murmurs of irrepressible admiration arose at her appearance; but these were immediately checked on the approach of Northumberland, who, following closely behind her, eyed the concourse as if he would enforce their applauses; and it was emphatically said that, in pity of the victim of his soaring ambition, more tears were shed on that occasion than shouts were uttered. On the 9th of July, Lady Jane Dudley—better known by her maiden title of Lady Jane Grey—had been made acquainted with her exalted, but, as she herself (with a sad presentiment of calamity) pronounced it, her fatal destiny. Edward the Sixth had breathed his last, three days previously. His death had been kept carefully concealed by Northumberland, who hoped, by despatching false messages, to have secured the persons of the princesses Mary and Elizabeth. But intelligence of her brother’s death having been communicated to the latter, she avoided the snare; and the duke, finding further dissimulation useless, resolved at once to carry his plan into execution, and proclaim his daughter-in-law queen. With this view, and accompanied by several members of the privy council, he proceeded to Sion House, where she was then living in retirement, and announced to her that the late monarch had declared her by his letters-patent (an instrument which he had artfully obtained) his successor. Jane refused the proffered dignity, urging the prior claims of Edward’s sisters; and adding, “I am not so young, nor so little read in the guiles of fortune, to suffer myself to be taken by them. If she enrich any, it is but to make them the subject of her spoil. If she raise others, it is but to pleasure herself with their ruins. What she adorned but yesterday, is to-day her pastime: and if I now permit her to adorn and crown me, I must to-morrow suffer her to crush and tear me to pieces. Nay, with what crown does she present me? A crown which has been violently and shamefully wrested from Catherine of Arragon, made more unfortunate by the punishment of Anne Boleyn, and others who wore it after her; and why then would you have me add my blood to theirs, and be the third victim from whom this fatal crown may be ravished, with the head that wears it?” In this forcible and feeling language she couched her refusal; and for some time she adhered to her resolution, until at length, her constancy being shaken by the solicitations of her relatives, and above all by the entreaties of her husband Lord Guilford Dudley, to whom she was passionately attached, she yielded a reluctant assent. On the following morning, she was conveyed, as has been just stated, with great pomp to Durham House, in the Strand, where she received the homage of her subjects, partook of a magnificent banquet, and tarried sufficiently long to enable the duke to collect his retinue to conduct her in state to the Tower: it being then the custom for the monarchs of England to spend the first few days of their reign within this ancient fortress. It is with the moment of her departure for this palace and prison of crowned heads that this chronicle commences.

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