So, there I was, in the very centre of the great capital, near the Tower of London.
While strolling around a small place called the Trinity Square I stumble upon this little memorial on the ground, just a cobbled square, really, with some shrubbery around and several plaques.
I came closer. Blimay! I happened upon the Tower Hill scaffold site!
It looked very peaceful and even serene, but this place is where a permanent scaffold was located for many years. This permanent scaffold was erected in 1485 for public executions (before that the scaffolding had been temporary? – because the first deaths indicated on the tablets at the memorial was dated earlier the that – 1381)
It looks like at those times even the executions could be either private or public (don’t know how they allocated the status). High profile people such as Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, Jane Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey all had their heads chopped off within the Tower walls, but others – perhaps not so much privileged? – met their end here.
There were several plaques with the names of famous people executed here – Thomas More, John Fisher, Thomas Cromwell, Edward Seymour, Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger, Thomas Howard (4th Duke of Norfolk)… A Lord Lovat was the last man to be beheaded in England in 1747 on this very spot.
Hmmm… Who was this Lord Lovatt anyway and why was he beheaded?
Ok, I looked him up.
He was born Simon Fraser and was not really entitled to this title (ha!) by birth, but rather got it by an unusual way. He kidnapped and married the widow of the previous Lord Lovat, but her poweful family , angered obviously, prosecuted him. He had to flee the country. Fraser was convicted in absentia, attained and sentenced to death. But later he was pardoned for some service to the crown.He still wasn’t the Lord Lovat though!
Now, he kind of applied for the confirmation of this title (?!) and got it! Wow! Was he good or what?
But our restless Simon didn’t enjoy his newly obtained title for long. In 15 years he took part in some Scottish uprising against the Crown and was sentenced to death. He met his end here on this very spot. He was 80 years old.
By the way, his titles were forfeit.
Anyway, there were over 100 people beheaded on this spot, but now it is just a little cobbled square in the Trinity gardens and try as you might you won’t see all the blood that was streaming under these cobbles so many years ago,