Mess-room in the Beauchamp Tower. — George Cruikshank. June 1840 number. Forty-first illustration and twenty-third wood-engraving in William Harrison Ainsworth's The Tower of London. Tailpiece for Book the Second, Chapter X. 7.6 cm high x 9.2 wide, vignetted, bottom of p. 182. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]

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Passage Immediately above the Illustration

After a brief pause, Gardiner arose, saying, "the conference is ended, daughter. You are at liberty to depart. If I listen longer," he added, in an under tone to his companions, "I shall be convinced against my will."

"Then you acknowledge your defeat, my lord," said Jane, proudly.

"I acknowledge that it is in vain to make any impression on you," answered the bishop.

"Jane," cried her husband, advancing towards her, and throwing himself on his knees before her, "you have conquered, and I implore your forgiveness. I will never change a religion of which you are so bright an ornament."

"This is indeed a victory," replied Jane, raising him and clasping him to her bosom. "And now, my lord," she added to Gardiner, "conduct us to prison or the scaffold as soon as you please. Death has no further terrors."

After a parting embrace, and an assurance from her husband, that he would now remain constant in his faith, Jane was removed by her guard to the Brick Tower, while Lord Guilford was immured in one of the cells adjoining the room in which the conference had taken place. [Chapter X. — Of the Conference held between Bishop Gardiner and Lady Jane Grey in the Beauchamp Tower," p. 182]


The interview concluded, Jane marches off (or is marched off, under guard) to house arrest in the Brick Tower, firmly believing that she has bested Mary's ecclesiastical appointees in religious disputation. Both she and her interlocutor, Bishop Gardiner, believe that she has ably defended the tenets of Protestantism, and, indeed, so effective has she been in the extended debate that her husband, tempted to recant in order to save his own life, now affirms that he will remain constant in his Protestant faith. As the disputation adjourns and the chapter comes to an end in the June 1840 instalment, Cruikshank has provided a tailpiece that reminds the readers what they would see if they were to visit the basement floor of the Beauchamp Tower, namely the warders' messroom. Jane and her husband would have passed out the arched doorway, right rear, having descended the spiral staircase from the tower's principal chamber.

Located in the middle of the western side and functioning at the time of the story as the main entrance to the precincts of the Tower of London, the Beauchamp Tower is semicircular, projecting 5.5 metres beyond the line of the wall. The middle of its three storeys is on a level with the rampart, upon which it originally opened when King Edward I built it. However, the present-day brickwork dates from the reign of Henry VIII. The spacious middle chamber, which a large widow illuminates, is accessed by a wide, circular staircase from ground-level. On the walls of the Beauchamp a host of prisoners have commemorated their tedious stays in a variety of inscriptions in the chambers, the entrance way, and on the passage up the staircase; the most celebrated of these is the ornate coat of arms which John Dudley, fifth son of the Duke of Northumberland, executed during his incarceration in 1553-54.


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Last modified 13 October 2017