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St Peter ad Vincula (Tower Green, Tower of London)
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The chapel's name refers to St Peter's first imprisonment under Herod in Jerusalem and translates as 'St Peter in chains'. Although the Tower has existed since the time of William the Conqueror, most people think of it in connection with the Tudors, especially with King Henry VIII. It is appropriate, therefore, that the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula, the Tower's parish church, should date from his reign: the present building was completed in 1520. St Peter's stands north of Tower Green, where executions took place, and so many famous victims of the block and axe were buried in the adjoining church. Queen Anne Boleyn and Queen Catherine Howard, the second and fifth wives of King Henry VIII, Lady Jane Grey and St Thomas More and St John Fisher, who became saints of the Catholic Church, all found a resting place there.

St Peter ad Vincula (Tower Green, Tower of London)

The two Tudor Lieutenants of the Tower commemorated here, Sir Richard Blount and his son, Sir Michael, would have witnessed many of the scenes that prompted Thomas Macaulay to say 'there is no sadder place on earth'.


The chapel consists of a nave and a shorter north aisle. The windows have cusped lights but no tracery: a common feature of late mediaeval Gothic. A diminutive, quoined tower, surmounted by a lantern bell-cote, stands at the west end. The chief features are the monuments. A substantial one, which stands in the sanctuary, commemorates Sir Richard Blount (died 1564; right) and his son, Sir Michael (died 1596), Lieutenants of the Tower. The kneeling figures are enclosed within arches supported by Corinthian columns. Another Lieutenant, Sir Richard Cholmondeley (died 1544), lies in effigy under the central arcade. Finally, in the north-west comer, a large monument commemorates John Holland, Duke of Exeter (died 1447), Constable of the Tower.

St Peter ad Vincula (Tower Green, Tower of London)

St Peter's from Tower Green: the four-centred arches of the windows are typical of Tudor design.



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