The Tower Hill Scaffold Site

Posted By on November 4, 2010

I’m so glad that you all enjoyed my recent post on Anne Boleyn’s Execution Site and the scaffold memorial. Thanks for all your comments and emails and I’m pleased that I’ve been able to help those of you planning a visit to the Tower.

It suddenly struck me that some of you visiting the Tower of London may miss out on seeing the scaffold site on Tower Hill because this is actually outside the Tower of London, so I just wanted to remind you to visit that before or after you have a look around the Tower.

The Tower Hill scaffold site is where a permanent scaffold was located. This permanent scaffold was erected in 1485 for public executions and was the scaffold on which the likes of Edward Stafford (Duke of Buckingham), Thomas More, John Fisher, Thomas Cromwell, Edward Seymour, Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger, Thomas Howard (4th Duke of Norfolk) and the Duke of Monmouth were executed. It is now a cobbled square area which has plaques listing some of those who died on that spot. It also has a plaque which reads:-

“To commemorate the tragic history and in many cases the martyrdom of those who for the sake of their faith, country or ideals staked their lives and lost. On this site more than 125 were put to death, the names of some of whom are recorded here.”

It is sobering to read through the names and to stand on a spot of such violence and tragedy. Please make sure you visit it and pay your respects. Here are my photos of the plaques:-

You can see the location of the Tower Hill scaffold memorial at

Note: Do remember that Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, Jane Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, Margaret Pole and Robert Devereux (the Earl of Essex) were not killed on this spot, but were given private executions within the Tower grounds.

12 thoughts on “The Tower Hill Scaffold Site”

  1. Tess says:

    Wonderful article!!! I wish i could travel there see it all for my self, thank you for working so hard on this site!!! Poor Anne, I always feel so sorry for her, she was lied to and killed over Henry’s lust, she never deserved this fate!!

  2. Sheena says:

    To think of all the unecessary blood shed in that singular spot. So sad!

  3. Andrea says:

    I often go to this spot and am appalled at how many people walk by, shouting profanities to each other, thoughtless and apathetic about things generally, when men of conscience, and men of power, were killed here in the past. Very few people stop and think about the great sadness and huge historical importance which occurred in this area, and that makes me rather disheartened at the society in which we now live. Thank you for posting this and all the other great works you’ve done on this site to remember the past. It warms my heart to know there are people as passionate and devoted to history as I am. 🙂

    1. Alexander Morana says:

      Take heed. Shouldn’t you think we put the Tower back in use again for what it was used for? We can start with past and present Ministers of Education for wrecking the whole Ed. system, albeit producing the types you encountered?

  4. Eliza M. L. says:

    I agree with Andrea; although I have never been to the Tower, I have seen this behavior at sites that are meant to be respectful. That marker isn’t there to be pretty; it isn’t there to be ignored; it’s there to mark a place were the innocent as well as the guilty met cruel fates at the hand of cruel leaders. It’s common decency to be respectful and not shout curse words around the marker, regardless of how you felt about the people killed there.

  5. Marilyn R says:

    The white structure on the first photo is the memorial to the 24,000 (actually it was nearer 32,000) merchant seamen and fishermen who lost their lives bringing us supplies in the two world wars and reads,


    The Tower Hill site to the high-profile 125 who ‘staked their lives and lost’ is very moving, but the 32,000 ‘ordinary’ heroes who had no choice are just as deserving of our attention, though I wonder how many people give it a thought as they picnic and fool around next to their memorial.

    Andrea – I couldn’t agree with you more.

    1. Andrea says:

      I agree, Marilyn, and like yourself and a few others, I do take time to reflect on those brave people who died for something greater than themselves. We are now living in a world of “me” and “because I’m worth it” when true satisfaction comes from acts of selflessness for the greater good. In my opinion, anyway. 🙂

  6. Wendy says:

    Whenever I pass this site, I’m always disappointed that George Boleyn’s name is not on one of the plaques.

  7. Helen Reynolds says:

    this is great and the pics r wonderful.Thank you for sharing this.

  8. Yonita Fairfax says:

    Anne Boleyn and the Countess of Salisbury Margaret Plantagent and the others you mention are actually remembered by a very lovely glass cushion that Queen Victoria had made and erected on the actual spot where they were executed within the grounds of the Tower.
    It is well worth a vist and is close to St. Peter ad Vincula, almost opposite where I think they were first buried, and is fairly near the White Tower.

    1. Claire says:

      The glass memorial is actually modern, it was unveiled at the Tower in 2006 and replaced the Victorian plaque which commemorated those who’d been executed at the Tower. We know that Anne Boleyn wasn’t executed on that spot because of contemporary reports of her execution. Her scaffold stood on what is now the parade ground between the entrance to the Crown Jewels and the White Tower.

      Yes, St Peter ad Vincula is a beautiful chapel, very peaceful. Anne and George were buried in the chancel area there, as were Margaret Pole, Catherine Howard,Lady Jane Grey and various other important people executed for treason. Others were buried in the church graveyard which no longer exists.

  9. Guada says:

    I write from Argentina, I plan to visit London soon. How can I get to this memorial? Do you have any address? I have no idea how to get there. Thank you in advance.

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