The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 33 The Tower and Tower Hill

Banqueting Floor

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From the south-west corner of the Small Arms Room a staircase ascends to the second or BANQUETING FLOOR. Beneath the staircase, farther down, the supposed bones of the little princes were found in the reign of Charles II. On the second floor we enter ST. JOHN'S CHAPEL, the oldest church in London and a splendid example of pure Norman architecture; it is the largest and most perfect chapel in any existing Norman keep. It is 55+ feet long, 31 feet wide, and 32 feet in height; at one time it was richly decorated. In the adjoining Sword Room are collections of cavalry helmets; Stuart souvenir swords (Central Case 56); two German executioners' swords, 'maingauches' or fencing daggers, 'cinquedea' or short swords, finely chased rapiers (Upright Case 53); hunting-knives and a modern trench-dagger, swords of Allied officers, Spanish blades (Case 91); modern helmets. In the case by the north window are two daggers (on loan) that belonged to Colonel Blood. The Weapon Room, formerly the banqueting hall, contains a large number of hafted weapons, maces, axes, and other weapons of offence, arranged round the room in stands. In the first wall-case (on the left) are the partisans carried by the Tower warders on ceremonial occasions. In the corner, on the right, rude weapons used at the battle of Sedgemoor (1685), a cresset, and a 'catchpole'; in the desk-cases, combined weapons and a 'gunner's quadrant' (16th century). In the central glass-case are cross-bows and (at the top) two long-bows (16th cent.). By the left wall, figures of an archer and an arquebusier (16th century); by the right wall, tilting lances, including the great lance said to have belonged to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.