Most of Tower hill was once part of the Tower Liberty, that is the area outside the walls which was under the jurisdiction of the Tower and independent of the City of London. It's boundary is now marked by thirty one boundary stones from tower pier around the Hill and down by St Katherine's Way to the Iron Gate Stairs near Tower Bridge. Each stone bears the broad arrow denoting royal ownership.Every third year the Tower's authority is reasserted in the ceremony of the Beating of the Bounds.
As you reach the subway leading to the underground station, you can see the excavated remains of a medieval gate, known as the Tower Hill Postern. Built soon after the completion of Edward I's new moat (circa 1300), the Postern was a subsidiary entrance into London through the city wall, a section of which you can see on the other side of the subway.
As you walk past the underground station you will see on the right the marked site of the scaffold of Tower Hill. Over one hundred and twenty prisoners were killed on the Tower Hill site most by beheading. This was the most honourable way to be killed if you were a noble or gentleman and thousands of unruly spectators would gather to watch the deaths.
If you were of a somewhat lowlier status you could expect a much worse death such as hanging, drawing and quartering, sometimes on the Hill but most often at Tyburn (near the site of Marble Arch). Not all who died on Tower Hill wee convicted traitors. some were burned as heretics, and others hanged as common criminals, as were the last to be killed on the Hill in 1780.