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Traitors’ Gate and Other Doorways to the Past

While passing under the London Bridge, the prisoners got their fist shock, as they had to face the terrible sight of the heads of the executed prisoners displayed on pikes beneath the bridge. Over the centuries, hundreds of prisoners passed through the gate and many of them never returned alive. In the midth century, the outer archway of the gate was renovated and bricked up because the water level had risen and the embankment works caused the river to run deeper.

In fact, prisoners of different status were treated in different ways. Rich and influential inmates were held in relative comfort, deprived only of their liberty. Some of them were allowed to bring personal servants and were even allowed to go out for hunting.

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However, those suspected or found guilty of treason or plotting against the monarch had to face the unavoidable sufferings. It was reported to have taken three strokes by the executioner to complete the beheading , James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth beheaded on 15 July , on Tower Hill - all had to enter the Tower by the fearsome Traitors' Gate, as they were brought by barge along the Thames. They were taken to the tower of London by barge and had to cross the entrance of the door of the traitors. Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII was stripped of her title as queen on 23 November , on the grounds of treason for committing adultery.

She was beheaded on 13 February, at the age of However, support for her half-sister Mary grew very quickly and most of Jane's supporters abandoned her. Her primary supporter, the Duke of Northumberland, was accused of treason and executed less than a month later. Jane was captivated as a prisoner at the Tower and was convicted of high treason in November Initially, Mary spared her life.

She was taken to the Tower on 18 March , by barge. She was aware that her mother, Anne Boleyn, had been executed on the Tower Green when she was only three years old.

It was raining heavily, when she was to land at the gate. At first, Elizabeth vehemently refused to land and angrily proclaiming that she was no traitor. However, finally she had to surrender helplessly, as she had no choice but to be led into the Tower.

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Nevertheless, subsequently she was released, as there was no evidence of Elizabeth's involvement in the plot. Imprisonment and execution at the Tower continued intermittently until the German spy Josef Jakobs was shot by firing squad in By Author. By Articals. Tower of London. Entry to Traitors' Gate.


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Author Details. Ex student of Scottish Church College. The water-gate under St Thomas's Tower has been known for over years as 'Traitors Gate' because of the number of prisoners, accused of treason, who have passed through it. The twenty-nine year old Queen of England was arrested on the charges of treason, adultery and incest. Never a popular Queen she had been reviled by the population with cries of "Witch" and "Whore" and detested by many courtiers.

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Her enemies moved swiftly against her and people started to disappear from court. On May 2 , the Queen herself was arrested at Greenwich and was taken to the Tower by barge along the same path she had travelled to prepare for her coronation just three years earlier. She passed through Traitors Gate and was met by William Kingston the Constable of the Tower at the top of the slippery steps leading from Traitors Gate.

Her first question was: 'Shall I go to some dungeon?

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She was executed on 19th May Her thoughts must have raced back to that of her mother, Anne Boleyn, who had also passed through Traitors Gate and had been executed at the Tower when Elizabeth was just three years old. The princess was terrified - she believed that she would never leave the Tower once she had passed through Traitors Gate. Elizabeth refused at first to land at the gate, angrily proclaiming that she was no traitor.

There was a heavy down pour of rain.

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Elizabeth had no choice but to be lead into the Tower. She was released 8 weeks later. The Tower of London. Castles Index.