Camelot International > Tower of London
Seven Tower Green
At a first glance from the outside number 7 Tower Green appears to be a quaint old building typical of what you would expect to see near any rural village green in England. As one would expect the view from its living room window overlooks the green itself but It is at this point that things take on a dramatic change from the norm. Among the nearest buildings that can be seen from the window is a beautiful Tudor house built by King Henry 8th as a royal palace for his wife Queen Ann Boleyn. It is possibly one of the oldest Tudor buildings in existence as most were destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666.
Directly ahead, a short distance across a beautifully mown lawn is a square with two public drinking fountains. A matter of a few feet away from the fountains is the scaffold area which still houses the Tower of London Executioners block. Notorious for the beheadings of the rich unfortunates found guilty of treason, heresy, witchcraft or simply being married to Henry the 8th the block is now a major albeit macabre attraction among tourists and is housed today in the White Tower.
Built around the mid-1600's Number 7 Tower Green has been occupied by Yeoman Warder Dave Bryan since 1990. Before that the house had endured a lengthy period of emptiness. When asked why he moved in Dave had this to say This is the house that nobody wanted for whatever reasons. I had a choice of living here or moving into a much smaller flat. As this is quite spacious I didn't hesitate when it was offered to me.
Indeed, the interior of the house is spacious in a rambling Disneyland Toon Town kind of way but it definitely has a slightly foreboding look about it. From its narrow winding stairway leading up from the front door, to the living area with its crooked misshapen windows and doors, to the disjointed layout of its rooms Dave Bryan immediately was quick to realise that his new home was no ordinary house. In his own words he explains Well, when I first moved in the house was in a hell of a mess mainly not having been occupied for a long time. In came the builders and decorators and a whole process of renovation and restoration began to take place. One bright and sunny day while the workmen were here I happened to be idly looking out of the then extremely grimy living room window and noticed some markings on the window pane. After wiping some of the dust away I noticed that scratched onto the corner of the window was the name Hannah. For some strange reason nobody had ever reported seeing this before so I started doing my own bit of research to try and establish if there was any relevance attached to the name. To my astonishment I found out that about three hundred years ago a Lady Hannah had lived in this house. Who knows what goaded her into engraving her name on the window but we do know of her existence and that she is buried in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula on Tower Green.
(The Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula is the small chapel on the corner of Tower Green closest to the executioners block).
Another interesting facet of the house is that a section of the interior, which is now used as a carpentry workshop by Dave Bryan was once part of Raleigh's Walk. During Sir Walter Raleigh's 13 year imprisonment at the Tower of London he was allowed to use a walkway for exercise purposes. After his execution in 1618 the walkway was nicknamed Raleigh's Walk and to this day it is still referred to as such. An interesting feature of what is now Dave's workshop was the discovery of a small hatch type window. A popular theory is that part of the building may have been used as a prison cell for Raleigh and the small window could possibly been used as a serving hatch for his food.
And so to the haunting of number 7 Tower Green. Dave Bryan Explains Long before I moved in I had heard eerie stories connected to the house. One such story surrounding the previous occupants of number 7 concerns the wife of a Tower of London reverend who lived here a few years ago. She became terrified of taking a bath because she claimed to have been physically touched by an entity that she believed was of a man from the time of Walter Raleigh. Although not in a sexual manner her clothing was moved and tugged and even though she never saw anything she felt it was definitely the presence of a man. Consequently, after a while she stopped using the bathroom altogether and took her baths elsewhere. In a way her claim is substantiated by the mere fact that she was a reverends wife and had never experienced anything like that prior to living in this house.
There is an even more bizarre story involving the family of four consisting of mother, father and two daughters, being the last people to live here before Dave Bryan. One of the daughters wore rather expensive contact lenses. One evening just before going to bed, a short while after moving in, the girl took her contacts out as she normally did and left them on the shelf above the sink in the bathroom.
The following morning, loe and behold the contact lenses were no where to be found. The whole family searched high and low but there was absolutely no trace of them anywhere. One evening about three weeks later they were all siting watching television when suddenly the daughter with the missing contact lenses let out a loud scream. The whole family were shaken by this outburst but none so shaken as their daughter who was white faced and trembling, for there in her lap were the missing contact lenses. The story goes that they plummeted down from the ceiling with hitting her on the shoulder before landing in her lap. During their short stay they experienced many other strange occurrences and as a result were quick to move on to another residency.
Missing or Mislaid
And so to the strange occurrences experienced by the current occupant or should I say victim of number 7 Tower Green. In his own words Yeoman Warder Dave Bryan explains Well, excuse the corny cliché but it all started one dark night soon after I had moved in. As one of my pastimes is carpentry the first thing I did was set up a workshop in the area that used to be part of Raleigh's walk. Almost immediately after I began, several of my tools went missing only to reappear in exactly the same place a short while later. To be honest, at first I thought it was one of two things, a the place is in such a mess that the tools in question were getting buried beneath other stuff, or b that I'm going off my rocker and I'm starting to imagine things. I pride myself at having always been stable and logical so at first, these disappearances were not much more than minor albeit baffling irritations to me. The day my feelings began to change was when several packets of large masonry screws went missing from the workshop. Apart from myself there were two workmen here at that time so, without making any accusations I asked if for any reason they had moved the screws and they both said no. With all three of us standing by the door of the workshop I pointed to where I had placed the screws and to my utter disbelief they were back, on the bench where I knew I'd left them in the first place. You can imagine how I felt at involving other people in what could easily be deemed as absentmindedness or plain nonsense, especially if you could have seen the looks they both gave me.
For Dave Bryan though, the disappearances of tools from his workshop was just the beginning and the events that followed would turn the most ardent disbelievers hair white.
During the evening Dave Bryan was alone in his new home, the workmen having left for the day. As he explained, I had never really taken stories of poltergeists and things that go bump in the night too seriously but because of the odd little incidents I was experiencing in this house my feelings were beginning to change. I have to say, on that evening in particular I felt quite ill at ease but as it was my decision to move in I felt I would just have to make the best of it. As I began to clean up the empty bedroom in preparation for the following days delivery of furniture I noticed that the atmosphere in the room seemed to be getting strangely heavy. Normally I would have dismissed it as my imagination, if it wasn't for what happened next. While vacuuming the carpet I began to feel as though someone was watching me. The feeling just kept getting stronger and stronger and I was becoming increasingly unnerved, especially knowing that I had to spend the night there on my own. As crazy as it may seem I decided to speak out and address whatever entity may be present. In a loud voice I introduced myself and said I was the new occupant. I then said, I don't know who you are but this is my home, we can either share it without any problems or if you persist in disrupting my life I shall call in the padre to exorcise the building. The instant the word padre passed my lips the vacuum cleaner stopped dead and despite several attempts at repairing it never ever worked again.
In The Heat of The Night
For Yeoman Warder Dave Bryan that night at 7 Tower Green was just the beginning of a regular succession of unexplainable incidents, each one progressively worse than the previous as he told us. Things took a turn for the worst literally from the first night I slept, or rather tried to sleep in that room. It all started very slowly on the night of my new bed arriving. On that night I woke up at 2am in the morning feeling uncomfortably hot, almost feverish and unable to breath or move. I was quick to realise that it was the room rather than myself that was giving of heat. The frightening aspect of what was happening was that although there was nothing to see, an enormous pressure was emulating from the area between the bathroom, the workshop and the bed. For the first time since moving in I had become really scared. Its safe to say I was frozen with fear to the point of actually being too frightened to look away from the bathroom door. This situation lasted for about two hours. (It has to be mentioned that the area in question forms a triangle with both doors and the bed being in very close proximity to each other).
Dave Bryan continues Well! After that night, every single morning for the next few months exactly the same thing happened and always at 2am. This was no laughing matter for me especially as I have to get up at 6am so you can imagine how I felt and looked. One of the duties of a Yeoman Warder is to look after the public in a pleasant and helpful manner and make their day at the Tower of London a memorable one. Smiling and being pleasant is not that easy when your red eyed and worn out from only getting about two hours sleep a night. Heaven knows what people must have thought of me at that time. Another thing that made matters worse was that I dare not tell any of the other Yeoman Warders or for that matter any one else in case they thought something was wrong with me. After all, nothing like this had ever happened to me before and to coin a phrase, I didn't want anyone thinking I was losing it so I had to suffer in silence.
Anyway, one night in particular, as had been for the past few months I woke up, immediately looked at my bedroom clock and saw once again that it was two o'clock in the morning. By now as I had become almost resigned to the situation I thought, here we go again, Walt is about to pay me his nightly visit. Over the months I had started calling him Walt, as in Walter Raleigh and even placed a portrait of the man above the bathroom door. I did this half out of fear and half as a sign of respect thinking maybe it would alleviate the situation but it didn't.
Being at the end of my tether I had by this time mentally prepared myself for some kind of confrontation so, I propped the pillow up, stared at the bathroom door and waited. Within a couple of minuets there was a loud click on my right hand side and the door leading from Raleigh's Walk to my bedroom slowly opened. (Part of Raleigh's Walk is now Dave Bryan's carpentry workshop). I can honestly say, I have never been more frightened in all of my life, I was terrified beyond belief and even now It's impossible for me to describe the feeling of fear I experienced when that door opened.
After the initial shock had worn off I thought there has got to be a logical explanation for this so I put all the lights on and mustered up the courage to go through the door and into the workshop. As the house was still going through a period of refurbishment I thought that maybe the workmen had left a window open to let out the paint fumes. There was no window open and no draft whatsoever so I clicked the door shut and tried to force it open from both sides of the room but it just would not budge. Consequently, I could not sleep for the rest of the night and was on tenterhooks looking and listening out for anything unusual, which luckily didn't happen. Early the following day I went to see the resident doctor to get something to make me sleep. Of course, he wanted to know what the problem was before he prescribed anything so I reluctantly told him, thinking he was going to phone the men in white coats to come and take me away. Instead, he listened to me very sympathetically and told me that he too had heard stories about number 7 Tower Green and suggested I pay a visit to a priest. For some reason I couldn't do it on that particular day so the following morning after another horrendous night I went to see one of the Tower padres who without hesitation came back to the house with me.
The first thing he did was wander round the house and look in every room presumably to get the feel of the place. He then sat in the living room and from his bible read some pieces from Mark and James and said a few prayers. We then both went into the bedroom where he placed his hand upon my head and recited a few more prayers.
People often ask me why I stay here but it is simply because I have turned this beautiful old house into my home. There is only a limited amount of accommodation for the Yeoman Warders within the Tower so I really don't have much of an alternative. Anyway, why should I be driven out by something that doesn't actually exist, it is my home and I'm staying put.
And indeed, why should he be driven out, but with Dave Bryan's brave words, a cup of cocoa and a goodnight kiss we conclude The Haunting of Number 7, Tower Green.
Goodnight, sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite.