Tudor gatehouse discovered at the Tower of London

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Extensive archaeological remains of an old guard house dating to the Tudor and Jacobean periods have been uncovered at the Tower of London.

Staff were relaying a cobblestone path across Tower Green to conform with disability regulations when they found evidence of walls, which turned out to be the remains of a substantial building.

“The work we were doing was resurfacing for compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act,” explained Jane Spooner, Historic Buildings Curator at the Tower.

“There were some 19th century cobblestones put down in a crazy paving style so we were taking them out and relaying them in a more even way, so we were doing very shallow excavations.”

“On day two we found a wall at a very shallow level, about 20cm below the old surface. Whilst we knew about it from discoveries made in 1975 we hadn’t anticipated finding it so close to the surface.”

Historic views and plans of the Tower show a building in this location from at least 1570, variously known as the ‘Old Main Guard’, the ‘Warders’ Guardhouse’ or the ‘Warders’ Houses’, likely to have been used by soldiers and the predecessors of today’s Beefeaters.

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