Saturday, July 7, 2012

ENGLAND TRIP: Day 4: Part 14: London Bridge

We didn't get a chance to walk across Tower Bridge, but we did take our pictures in front of it while standing at one of the walkways in the Tower of London. The Tower Bridge, however, has an interesting history.

Rob with the Tower Bridge in the background

London Bridge refers to several bridges that have spanned the River Thames between the City of London and Southwark, in central London. The current crossing, which opened to traffic in 1973, is a box girder bridge constructed from concrete and steel. It replaced a 19th-century stone-arched bridge, which in turn superseded a 600-year-old medieval structure.

IS LONDON BRIDGE HAUNTED?  - Remember in the last blog about the Traitor's Gate that as Queen Catherine Howard was passing London Bridge, she saw her adulterous lover's head on a spike at the bridge? Well, according to Haunted Happenings U.K. there's a lot of skulls that were once on spikes (who had been executed and had their heads cut off) that are now in the waters beneath the bridge. Many bones have been excavated, including many skulls with holes in them (from the spikes).

Tom with the Tower Bridge in the background
A second happening is also responsible for ghostly cries heard beneath the bridge. In 1290, King Edward I expelled Jews from England. Many jews were loaded on a barge that was beached on a sandbar in the middle of the river. The captain had the jews disembark and stand on the sandbar. As the tide came in, the captain returned to the ship and left the people to drown. Their cries are said to be heard today, according to Richard Jones, owner of "Walking Haunted London." 
Aside from the gloomy feeling of despair and heaviness in the air (from the emotional fear, most likely), footsteps and even children's voices are heard on the Bridge.

While Catherine Howard (one of Henry VIII's wives) was still quite young, she was sent to live with her step-grandmother, who was not so watchful over her staff.  It was said that the ladies of the household would have men back to their dormitory in the evenings.  It was during this time that Catherine, as part of her education, was tutored by one Henry Manox.  Manox had an affair with the very young Catherine, though he was not executed because sexual relations could neither be proven, nor did either of them admit to the affair; although the step-grandmother had walked in on them several times.
Catherine Howard also had an affair with two other men, Francis Dereham and Thomas Culpepper.  There is some belief among historians of the time that Francis and Catherine really did love each other, although their love letters to each other were intercepted and burned by the step-grandmother. 
FURTHER: Francis Dereham and Thomas Culpepper were tried at Guildhall at the same time on December 1, 1541. Francis was found guilty of high treason; not because he had slept with the Queen after her marriage, but because his appointment to Catherine’s household was seen as intent to continue the affair at the risk of the succession of the crown of England. Both Francis and Thomas were sentenced to death by hanging, drawing and quartering. Both men appealed to the King for their sentences to be commuted; only Thomas Culpeper was granted a beheading.  Francis Dereham died a full traitors death by hanging, drawing and quartering on December 10, 1541. Both of their heads were mounted on London Bridge with Culpeper’s; Catherine would have passed them on her way to the Tower via the Traitor's Gate in February 1542.


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Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next