in 1460, and more recently the Record Tower, from the
use to which it has been put), is one of the oldest in the
fortress, and though not coeval with the White Tower,
dates back as far as the reign of William Rufus, by whom
it was erected. It contains two large octagonal chambers
— that on the upper story being extremely lofty, with
eight deep and high embrasures, surmounted by pointed
arches and separated by thin columns, springing from
the groined arches formerly supporting the ceiling, which
though unfortunately destroyed, corresponded, no doubt,
with the massive and majestic character of the apartment.
In this room tradition asserts that
the aspiring blood of Lancaster
Sank in the ground : —
468 THE TOWER OF LONDON.
it being the supposed scene of the murder of Henry the
Sixth by the ruthless Gloster. And whatever doubts
may be entertained as to the truth of that dark legend, it
cannot be denied that the chamber itself seems stamped
with the gloomy character of the occurrence. In recent
times it has been devoted to a more peaceful purpose,
and is now fitted up with presses containing the most
ancient records of the kingdom. The room on the base-
ment floor is of smaller dimensions, and much less lofty.
The recesses, however, are equally deep, though not so
high, and are headed by semicircular arches. At high
tides it is flooded, and a contrivance for the escape of the
water has been made in the floor.
Passing through an arched doorway on the east of
this structure, where the entrance to the Record Office
now stands, the officer conducted his prisoner up a spiral
stone staircase, and left her in a small antechamber, while
he announced her arrival. The unhappy lady still kept
herself closely muffled. But though her features and
figure were hidden, it was evident she trembled violently.
In another moment, the officer reappeared, and motion-
ing her to follow him, led the way along a narrow pas-
sage, at the end of which hangings were drawn aside by
two ushers, and she found herself in the presence of the
Mary was seated at a table, near which stood Gardiner
and Renard, and at the new-comer's appearance she
The interview about to be related took place in the
large octangular chamber previously described. It was
sumptuously furnished : the walls were hung with arras
from the looms of Flanders, and the deep recesses
occupied with couches, or sideboards loaded with costly
cups and vessels.
Hastily advancing towards the Queen, the lady pro-
strated herself at her feet, and throwing aside her dis-
guise, revealed the features of Jane. She extended her
hands supplicatingly towards Mary, and fixed her stream-
THE TOWER OF LONDON. 469
ing eyes upon her, but was for some moments unable to
"I am come to submit myself to your Highness's
mercy," she said, as soon as she could find utterance.
« Mercy ! " exclaimed Mary scornfully. " You shall
receive justice, but no mercy."
" I neither deserve nor desire it," replied Jane. " I
have deeply, but not wilfully — Heaven is mj^ witness ! —
offended your Majesty, and I will willingly pay the pen-
alty of my fault."
" What would you with me ? " demanded Mary. " I
have acceded to this interview in consideration of your
voluntary submission. But be brief. I have important
business before me, and my heart is steeled to tears and
" Say not so, gracious madam," rejoined Jane. " A
woman's heart can never be closed to the pleadings of
the unfortunate of her own sex, still less the heart of one
so compassionate as your Highness. I do not sue for my-
" For whom, then ? " demanded the Queen.
" For my husband," replied Jane.
" I am about to sign his death-warrant," replied Mary,
in a freezing tone.
"I will not attempt to exculpate him, madam," re-
turned Jane, restraining her emotion by a powerful
effort, " for his offence cannot be extenuated. Nay, I de-
plore his rashness as much as your Highness can con-
demn it. But I am well assured that vindictiveness is
no part of your royal nature — that you disdain to crush
a fallen foe — and that, when the purposes of justice are
answered, no sentiments but those of clemency will sway
your bosom. I myself, contrary to my own wishes, have
been the pretext for the late insurrection, and it is right
I should suffer, because while my life remains, your
Highness may not feel secure. But my husband has no
claims, pretended or otherwise, to the throne, and when
1 am removed, all fear of him will be at an end. Let
470 THE TOWER OF LONDON.
what I have done speak my sincerity. I could liave es-
caped to France, if I had chosen. But I did not clioose
to accept safety on such terms. Well knowing with
whom I had to deal — knowing also that my life is of
more importance than my husband's, I have come to
offer myself for him. If your Highness has any pity for
me, extend it to him, and heap his faults on my head."
" Jane," said Mary, much moved — " you love your hus-
" I need not say I love him better than my life, madam,"
replied Jane, " for my present conduct will prove that I
do so. But I love him so well, that even his treason to
your Highness, to whom he already owes his life, cannot
shake it. O madam ! as you hope to be happy in your
union with the Prince of Spain — as you trust to be blessed
with a progeny which shall continue on the throne of
this kingdom — spare my husband — spare him for my
"For your sake, Jane, I would spare him," replied
Mary, in a tone of great emotion, " but I cannot."
" Cannot, madam ! " cried Jane " you are an absolute
Queen, and who shall say you nay ? Not your Council
— not your nobles — not your people — not your own heart.
Your Majesty can and will pardon him. Nay, I read
your gracious purpose in your looks. You will pardon
him, and your clemency shall do more to strengthen your
authority than the utmost severity could do."
" By St. Paul ! " whispered Renard to Gardiner, who
had listened with great interest to the conference, and
now saw with apprehension the effect produced on Mary,
" she will gain her point, if we do not interfere."
" Leave it to me," rej^lied Gardiner. " Your Majesty
will do well to accede to the Lady Jane's request," he
remarked aloud to the Queen, " provided she will comply
with your former proposition, and embrace the faith of
"Ay," replied Mary, her features suddenly lighting
up, " on these terms I will spare him. But your recon-
THE TOWER OF LONDON. 471
ciliation with our holy Church," she added to Jane,
" must be public."
" Your Highness will not impose these fatal conditions
upon me ? " cried Jane distractedly.
" On no other will I accede," replied Mary peremp-
torily. " Nay, I have gone too far already. But my
strong sympathy for you as a wife, and my zeal for my
religion, are my inducements. Embrace our faith, and I
pardon your husband."
" I cannot," replied Jane, in accents of despair ; " I
will die for him, but I cannot destroy my soul alive."
" Then you shall perish together," replied Mary fiercely.
" What ho ! guards. Let the Lady Grey be conveyed to
the Brick Tower, and kept a close prisoner during our
And, waving her hand, Jane was removed by the at-
tendants, while Mary seated herself at the table, and took
up some of the papers with which it was strewn, to con-
ceal her agitation.
" You struck the right key, my lord — bigotry," observed
Renard, in an undertone to Gardiner.
HOW THE PRINCESS ELIZABETH WAS BROUGHT A PRISONER
TO THE TOWER.
Charged with the painful and highly-responsible com-
mission imposed upon him by the Queen, Sir Henry
Bedingfeld, accompanied by the Earl of Sussex and three
others of the Council, Sir Richard Southwell, Sir Edward
Hastings, and Sir Thomas Cornwallis, with a large retinue,
and a troop of two hundred and fifty horse, set out for
Ashbridge, where Elizabeth had shut herself up previ-
ously to the outbreak of Wyat's insurrection. On their
arrival, they found her confined to her room with real or
472 THE TOWER OF LONDON.
feigned indisposition, and she refused to appear ; but as
their mission did not admit of delay, they were compelled
to force their way to her chamber. The haughty Princess,
whose indignation was roused to the highest pitch by the
freedom, received them in such manner as to leave no
doubt how she would sway the reins of government, if
they should ever come within her grasp.
" I am guiltless of all design against my sister," she
said, " and I shall easily convince her of my innocence.
And then look well, sirs — you that have abused her au-
thority — that I requite not your scandalous treatment."
" I would have declmed the oflfice," replied Bedingfeld ;
" but the Queen was peremptory. It will rejoice me to
find you can clear yourself with her Highness, and I am
right well assured, when you think calmly of the matter,
you will acquit me and my companions of blame."
And he formed no erroneous estimate of Elizabeth's
character. With all her proneness to anger, she had the
strongest sense of justice. Soon after her accession, she
visited the old knight at his seat, Oxburgh Hall, in Nor-
folk—still in the possession of his lineal descendant, the
present Sir Henry Bedingfeld, and one of the noblest
mansions in the county — and, notwithstanding his adhe-
rence to the ancient faith, manifested the utmost regard
for him, playfully terming him " her jailer,"
Early the next morning Elizabeth was placed on a lit-
ter, with her female attendants ; and whether from the
violence of her passion, or that she had not exaggerated
her condition, she swooned, and on her recovery appeared
so weak that they were obliged to proceed slowly.
During the whole of the journey, which occupied five
days, though it might have been easily accomplished in
one, she was strictly guarded ; — the greatest apprehension
being entertained of an attempt at rescue by some of her
party. On the last day she robed herself in white, in
token of her innocence ; and on her way to Whitehall,
where the Queen was staying, she drew aside the curtains
gt Jier litter, and displayed a countenance, described ift
THE TOWER OF LONDON. 473
Renard's despatches to the Emperor, as " proud, lofty, and
superbly disdainful — an expression assumed to disguise
her mortification." On her arrival at the palace, she
earnestly entreated an audience of her Majesty, but the
request was refused.
That night Elizabeth underwent a rigorous examina-
tion by Gardiner and nineteen of the Council, touching her
privity to the conspiracy of De Noailles, and her suspected
correspondence with "Wyat. She admitted having re-
ceived letters from the French Ambassador on behalf of
Courtenay, for whom, notwithstanding his unworthy
conduct, she still owned she entertained the warmest
affection, but denied any participation in his treasonable
practices, and expressed the utmost abhorrence of Wyat's
proceedings. Her assertions, though stoutly delivered,
did not convince her interrogators, and Gardiner told her
that Wyat had confessed on the rack that he had written
to her, and received an answer.
" Ah ! says the traitor so ? " cried Elizabeth. " Con-
front me with him, and if he will affirm as much to my
face, I will own myself guilty."
" The Earl of Devonshire has likewise confessed, and
has offered to resign all pretensions to your hand, and to
go into exile, provided the Queen will spare his life,"
" Courtenay faithless ! " exclaimed the Princess, all her
haughtiness vanishing, and her head declining upon her
bosom, " then it is time I went to the Tower. You may
spare yourselves the trouble of questioning me further,
my lords, for by my faith I will not answer you another
word — no, not even if you employ the rack."
Upon this, the Council departed. Strict watch was kept
over her during the night. Above a hundred of the guard
were stationed within the palace-gardens, and a great fire
was lighted in the hall, before which Sir Henry Beding-
feld and the Earl of Sussex, with a large band of armed
men, remained till daybreak. At nine o'clock, word was
brought to the Princess that the tide suited for her con-
474 THE TOWER OF LONDON.
veyance to the Tower. It was raining heavily, and Eliza-
beth refused to stir forth on the score of her indisposition.
But Bedingf eld told her the Queen's commands were per-
emptory, and besought her not to compel him to use
force. Seeing resistance was in vain, she consented with
an ill grace, and as she passed through the garden to the
water-side, she cast her eyes towards the windows of the
palace, in the hope of seeing Mary, but was disappointed.
The rain continued during the whole of her passage,
and the appearance of everything on the river was as dis-
mal and depressing as her own thoughts. But Elizabeth
was not of a nature to be easily subdued. Rousing all
her latent energy, she bore up firmly against her distress.
An accident had well-nigh occurred as they shot London
Bridge. She had delayed her departure so long that the
fall was considerable, and the prow of the boat struck
upon the ground with such force as almost to upset it,
and it was some time before it righted. Elizabeth was
wholly unmoved by theu' perilous situation, and only re-
marked that " she would that the torrent had sunk them,"
Terrible as the stern old fortress appeared to those who
approached it under similar circumstances, to Elizabeth it
assumed its most appalling aspect. Gloomy at all times,
it looked gloomier than usual now, with the rain driving
against it in heavy scuds, and the wind, whistling round
its ramparts and fortifications, making the flagstaff and
the vanes on the White Tower creak, and chilling the sen-
tinels exposed to its fury to the bone. The storm agitated
the river, and the waves more than once washed over the
sides of the boat.
" You are not making for Traitor's Gate ? " cried Eliza-
beth, seeing that the skiff was steered in that direction ;
"it is not fit that the daughter of Henry the Eighth
should land at those steps."
" Such are the Queen's commands," replied Bedingfeld
sorrowfully. " I dare not for my head disobey,"
"I will leap overboard sooner," rejoined Elizabeth,
" I pray your Highness to have patience," returned Bed-
THE TOWER OF LONDOJ^. 475
ingfeld, restraining her. " It would be unworthy of you
— of your great father, to take so desperate a step."
Elizabeth compressed her lips and looked sternly at the
old knight, who made a sign to the rowers to use their
utmost despatch ; and, in another moment, they shot be-
neath the gloomy gateway. The awful effect of passing
under this dreadful arch has already been described, and
Elizabeth, though she concealed her emotion, experienced
its full horrors. The water-gate revolved on its massive
hinges, and the boat struck against the foot of the steps.
Sussex and Bedingfeld, and the rest of the guard and her
attendants, then landed, while Sir Thomas Brydges, the
new lieutenant, with several warders advanced to the top
of the steps to receive her. But she would not move, but
continued obstinately in the boat, saying, " I am no traitor,
and do not choose to land here."
" You shall not choose, madam," replied Bedingfeld
authoritatively. " The Queen's orders must, and shall be
obeyed. Disembark, I pray you, without more ado, or it
will go hardly with you."
" This from you, Bedingfeld," rejoined Elizabeth re-
proachfully, " and at such a time, too ? "
" I have no alternative," replied the knight.
" Well then, I will not put you to further shame," re>
plied the Princess, rising.
" Will it please you to take my cloak as a protection
against the rain ? " said Bedingfeld, offering it to her.
But she pushed it aside " with a good dash," as old Foxe
relates ; and springing on the steps, cried in a loud voice,
" Here lands as true a subject, being prisoner, as ever set
foot on these stairs. And before Thee, O God, I sj)eak it,
having no other friend but Thee."
"Your Highness is unjust," replied Bedingfeld, Avho
stood bareheaded beside her ; " you have many friends,
and amongst them none more zealous than myself. And
if I counsel you to place some restraint upon your conduct,
it is because I am afraid it may be disadvantageously re-
ported to the Queen."
476 THE TOWER OF LONDON.
" Say what you please of me, sir," replied Elizabeth ;
" I will not be told how I am to act by you, or any one."
" At least move forward, madam," implored Bedingfeld ;
"you will be drenched to the skin if you tarry here
longer and will fearfully increase your fever."
" What matters it if I do ? " replied Elizabeth, seating
herself on the damp step, while the shower descended in
torrents upon her. " I will move forward at my own
pleasure — not at your bidding. And let us see whether
you will dare to use force towards me."
" Nay, madam, if you forget yourself, I will not forget
what is due to your father's daughter," replied Beding-
feld, " you shall have ample time for reflection,"
The deeply-commiserating and almost paternal tone in
which this reproof was delivered touched the Princess
sensibly ; and glancing round, she was further moved by
the mournful looks of her attendants, many of whom were
deeply affected, and wept audibly. As soon as her better
feelings conquered, she immediately yielded to them ; and,
presenting her hand to the old knight, said —
" You are right, and I am wrong, Bedingfeld. Take me
to my dungeon."
HOW NIGHTGALL WAS BKIBED BY DE NOAILLES TO ASSAS-
SINATE SIMON RENAED ; AND HOW JANE's DEATH- WAE-
KANT WAS SIGNED.
The Tower was now thronged with illustrious pris-
oners. All the principal personages concerned in the late
rebellion, with the exception of Sir Peter Carew,
who had escaped to France, were confined within its
walls ; and the Queen and her Council were unremit.
tingly employed in their examinations. The Duke of
Suffolk had written and subscribed his confession, throw-
ing himself upon the royal mercy ; Lord Guilford
THE TOWER OF LONDON. 477
Dudley, who was slowly recovering from his wound, re-
fused to answer any interrogatories ; while Sir Thomas
Wyat, whose constancy was shaken hj the severity of the
torture to which he was exposed, admitted his treasonable
correspondence with Elizabeth and Courtenay, and
charged De Noailles with being tne originator of the plot.
The latter was likewise a prisoner. But as it was not
the policy of England, at that period, to engage in a war
with France, he was merely placed under personal re-
straint until an answer could be received from Henry the
Second, to whom letters had been sent by Mary.
Well instructed as to the purjjort of these despatches,
and confident of his sovereign's proieotion, De Noailles
felt little uneasiness as to his situation, and did not even
despair of righting himself by some master-stroke. His
grand object was to remove Renard ; and as he could not
now accomplish this by fair means, he determined to have
recourse to foul ; and to procure his assassination. Con-
fined, with certain of his suite, within the Flint Tower,
he was allowed, at stated times, to take exercise on the
Green, and in other parts of the fortress, care being taken
to prevent him from holding communication with the
other prisoners, or, indeed, with any one except his at-
tendants. De Noailles, however, had a ready and unsus-
pected instrument at hand. This was his jailer, Lawrence
Nightgall, with whom he had frequent opportunities of
conversing, and whom he had already sounded on the
subject. Thus, while every dungeon in the fortress was
filled with the victims of his disastrous intrigues ; while
its subterranean chambers echoed with the groans of the
tortured ; while some expired upon the rack, others were
secretly executed, and the public scaffold was prepared
for sufferers of the highest rank ; while the axe and the
block were destined to frequent and fearful employment,
and the ensanguined ground thirsted for the best and
purest blood in England ; while such was the number of
captives that all the prisons in London were insufficient
to contain them, and they were bestowed within the
478 THE TOWER OF LONDON,
churches ; while twenty pairs of gallows were erected in
the public places of the city, and the offenders with whom
they were loaded left to rot upon them as a terrible ex-
ample to the disaffected ; while universal dread and
lamentation prevailed — the kno^vn author of all this
calamity remained, from prudential reasons, unpunished,
and pursued his dark and dangerous machinations as
Oae night, when he was alone, Nightgall entered his
chamber, and, closing the door, observed, with a mysteri-
ous look, — " Your Excellency has thrown out certain dark
hints to me of late. You can speak safely now, and I pray
you do so plainly. What do you desire me to do ? "
De Noailles looked scrutinizingly at him, as if he feared
some treachery. But at length, appearing satisfied, he
said abruptly, " I desire Renard's assassination. His de-
struction is of the utmost importance to my king."
" It is a great crime," observed Nightgall musingly.
" The reward will be proportionate," rejoined De
" What does your Excellency offer ? " asked Nightgall.
" A thousand angels of gold," replied the Ambassador,
*' and a post at the court of France, if you will fly thither
when the deed is done."
" By my troth, a tempting offer," rejoined Nightgall.
*' But I am under great obligations to M. Simon Renard.
He appointed me to my present place. It would appear
ungrateful to kill him."
" Pshaw 1 " exclaimed De Noailles contemptuously.
" You are not the man to let such idle scruples stand in
the way of your fortune. Renard only promoted you be-
cause you were useful to him. And he would sacrifice
you as readily, if it suited his purpose. He will serve you
better dead than living."
" It is a bargain," replied Nightgall. " I have the keys
of the subterranean passages, and can easily get out of the
Tower when I have despatched him. Your Excellency
can fly with me if you think proper."
THE TOWER OF LONDOI?. 479
" On no account," rejoined De Noailles. " I must not
appear in the matter. Come to me when the deed is done,
and I will furnish you with means for your flight, and
with a letter to the King of France, which shall insure you
your reward when you reach Paris. But it must be done
« It shall be done to-morrow night," replied Nightgall.
" Fortunately, M. Renard has chosen for his lodgings the
chamber in the Bloody Tower in which the two princes
" A fitting spot for his own slaughter," remarked De
" It is so, in more ways than one," replied Nightgall ;
" for I can approach him unawares by a secret passage,
through which, when all is over, escape will be easy."
" Good ! " exclaimed De Noailles, rubbing his hands
gleefully. " I should like to be with you at the time.
Mortdieu ! how I hate that man. He has thwarted all my
schemes. But I shall now have my revenge. Take this
ring and this purse in earnest of what is to follow, and
mind you strike home."
" Fear nothing," replied Nightgall, smiling grimly, and
playing his dagger ; " the blow shall not need to be re-
peated. Your Excellency's plan chimes well with a
project of my own. There is a maiden whom I have long
sought, but vainly, to make my bride. I will carry her
off with me to France."
" She will impede your flight," observed De Noailles
hastily. " On all difficult occasions, women are sadly in
" I cannot leave her," rejoined Nightgall.
" Take her, then, in the devil's name," rejoined De
Noailles peevishly ; " and if she brings you to the gallows,
do not forget my warning."
" My next visit shall be to tell you your enemy is no
more," returned Nightgall. " Before midnight to-morrow
you may expect me." And he quitted the chamber.
While his destruction was planned in the manner above
480 THE TOWER OF LONDON.
related, Simon Renard was employing all his art to crush
by one fell stroke all the heads of the Protestant party.
But he met with opposition from quarters where he did
not anticipate it. Though the Queen was convinced of
Elizabeth's participation in the plot, as well from Wyat's
confession, who owned that he had written to her durino;
his march to London, offering to proclaim her Queen, and
had received favorable answers from her — as from the dec-
laration of a son of Lord Russell, to the effect, that he had