Talk:White Tower (Tower of London)

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Significance:[edit]

The White Tower has no significance at and is merely a figment of the human imagination, although it may be seen with the naked eye it is just a myth of what actually was and what may or may not be real. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pudge0426 (talkcontribs) 20:17, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Richard I[edit]

This text was removed from the article with the comment "rm tangential material riddled with inaccuracies and misunderstandings"

In the 12th century, King Richard the Lionheart enclosed the White Tower with a curtain wall,[1] and had a moat dug around it filled with water from the River Thames. The works were considered inadequate by the reign of Henry III. He left Richard's walls as an enceinte and constructed an new outer ring of curtain walls protected by large bastions and a much deeper moat which replaced the former inadequate one that had failed to flood.[2]

notes
  1. ^ Tatton-Brown 1990, p. 1.
  2. ^ Carpenter 1996, pp. 199,200.


What are the inaccuracies and misunderstandings? -- PBS (talk) 03:10, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

  1. Richard did not build the stone curtain wall, it was William Longchamp during Richard's reign. Longchamp was disliked and the citizens of London celebrated set backs during building.
  2. The implication of the first sentence is that before Richard's reign the White Tower was unenclosed. This was of course not the case.
  3. It was stated that the moat was filled with water from the Thames, but two sentences later it is stated that this early moat had failed to flood. Which is it?
  4. Enceinte is jargon that most readers will not understand. Some terms are inescapable, and I try to introduce terms such as "ward" into articles in a context which will explain them to the reader as these are terms which they are likely to encounter in other castle-related texts. It is quite possible to explain what happened without using "enceinte", especially when Wikipedia's article is referenced to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
This demonstrates the importance of using top-quality sources rather than those which mention the Tower tangentially. Small inaccuracies may be acceptable when the mistake is not the subject of the article, but not here. There is information here which is not directly about the White Tower. By all means, it can provide context by the quality of information is poor. Nev1 (talk) 11:22, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

The wording above was a replacement put in place by me for the previous wording.

In the 12th century, King Richard the Lionheart enclosed the White Tower with a curtain wall and had a moat dug around it filled with water from the River Thames. The moat was not successful until Henry III, in the 13th century, employed a Dutch moat-building technique. Henry refurnished the Chapel and had the exterior of the building whitewashed in 1240, hence its name.

"In the 12th Century during the reign of Richard I" should cover the point. As for the implication that can be fixed by adding the word "new". (Although the sources says "This tower and the contemporary curtain wall running east from it, was originally built along the waterfront of the Thames. It possibly sits on and replaces the late Roman riverside wall, but all the visible masonry, including that uncovered in the magnificent plinth, is clearly late 12th century in date." and does not explicitly say that there was an earlier wall, although I agree it would be very unlikely that there would not have been a ward around the keep enclosed with a perimeter defence). "In the 12th Century during the reign of Richard I the White Tower was enclosed with a new curtain wall". I'm not much fussed about the sentence on the moat. As you can see the contradiction exists because I chose not to remove the previous sentence but added a sourced new sentence to replace the bit about Dutch Engineers (they may well have done it but not in the sources I found). The older moat would have had to go anyway because the new outer walls would have enclosed it/sat on top of it.

So perhaps the first sentence can read:

  • "In the 12th Century during the reign of Richard I the White Tower was enclosed with a new curtain wall and ditch (that failed to fill with water from the Thames as intended).

The advantage of links is that if someone does not know what an "enceinte" is they can follow the link, and then they have learnt something. You state it is jargon but so is the word "bastion(s)" so were does one draw the line? It seems to me that if someone is interested in castles then they will be interested in knowing terms like enceinte and bastion, bailey etc. The second and third sentences can then read:

  • "The works were considered inadequate by the reign of Henry III. He left Richard's walls as an enceinte and constructed an new outer ring of curtain walls protected by large bastions and a much deeper ditch that was filled with water creating a moat".

--PBS (talk) 23:31, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

It was shit and no amount of lawyering will change that. Give me a day or two and I'll either redraft the article completely or redirect it to the Tower of London article which deals with the White Tower much more effectively. I contemplated doing that a year ago but had hoped someone would come along and improve this article. Sadly that has not happened. Nev1 (talk) 23:38, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Are you referring to the above paragraph or something else? Given the changes above can the paragraph be put back, or do you have some further suggestions to make over the content of that paragraph? -- PBS (talk) 07:04, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

a tower?[edit]

The White Tower is a central tower, the old keep, at the Tower of London.
A tower? To me it seems a building with four towers. It isn't even claimed that White Tower would be just one of the four towers in the building. 85.217.15.230 (talk) 19:06, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

See http://books.google.com/books?id=jeeGAAAAQBAJ&pg=PT3633#v=onepage&q&f=false WikiParker (talk) 21:22, 5 March 2014 (UTC)
Huh? You cite me a quote from "An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language"? That is just what it is, an etymology of a word. And etymology article has this: Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time. By an extension, the term "the etymology of [a word]" means the origin of the particular word. 82.141.73.182 (talk) 23:54, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
It is routinely referred to as a tower in all the source literature. Nev1 (talk) 11:40, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

Bricked-up window[edit]

The fifth picture shows a bricked-up window. Does anyone have a good source that confirms (or refutes) that it's that specific window which was used by Gruffydd ap Llywelyn Fawr in his escape attempt? I ask in part because our article on that person states that the window was 27m above ground level, but this article states that the Tower was 27m tall. --NellieBly (talk) 18:59, 20 May 2014 (UTC)

I just double checked what Parnell said about the height of the Tower in his 1993 book for English Heritage and he says it is 27m high "to its battlements". I suspect that means the top of the battlements rather than the bottom, but even if it's the latter there is a gap of several metres between the battlements and the next row of windows. In short, Gruffydd's article has got the length of the drop wrong. I checked for details of Gruffydd's imprisonment in both Parnell and Brown's books but to no avail. They're very strong on structural history, and with a site with such a varied and detailed past some aspects are given less weight. If that's the right window, I don't know, but it's likely that's the level from which Gruffydd made his escape.
Nearly 150 years earlier Flambard – a portly man – was imprisoned in the White Tower and made his escape by climbing out of a window. Though his rope wasn't long enough and the final drop winded him, he fared better than the Welsh prince. Flambard anchored one end of the rope to the dividing pillar in one of the windows, which would help explain why he exited from the gallery level rather than one floor lower in the hall where he was most likely confined. As a high-status prisoner the prince was treated well and most likely given rooms fitting his status, most likely in the White Tower itself. His ODNB only says "He tried, however, to escape, on the night of 1 March 1244, having made a rope from his linen, and broke his neck in the attempt, as he was a very tall and heavy man." So I wonder if the Wikipedia article has been embellished. There's no indication, for instance, that the window was blocked as a result of Gruffydd's escape attempt. Nev1 (talk) 19:29, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
While it's very likely the prince was held in the White Tower, the sources available don't seem to state as much. It's not uncommon for this kind of information to be unknown; in cases where contemporary documents record people as being imprisoned at a castle, it's often without clarifying which part. Nev1 (talk) 19:34, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for the reply. If you haven't yet, I'll edit Gryffydd's article right now to add a cn tag and remove the exact height of the drop, and search for a reference. If it is an embellishment, it long predates the article or Wikipedia itself; I first heard the bricking-up story at the Tower itself in the 80s, and the story has made its way into many pre-Wikipedia (and pre-Internet) novels. I suspect that some reliable source somewhere discusses it; I'll do some searching and see what I find. Many thanks again. --24.78.195.88 (talk) 03:38, 21 May 2014 (UTC) Why does it log me out at the most inopportune times? --NellieBly (talk) 03:40, 21 May 2014 (UTC)