Named after William of Wakefield, King's Clerk in 1344, and the second largest tower in the fortress, the White Tower being the largest, it has much thicker walls than the other Towers because it was built by Henry II
in 1222-40 to contain his private apartments and to protect the inmost ward as well as guarding the 'Bloody Tower' watergate and the private postern gate on either side of it. The construction of the outer ward and St Thomas's Tower forty years later reduced its strategic importance however, it did continue to form part of the palace complex. Henry VI was imprisoned here by Edward IV
and murdered on 21 May 1471 while at prayer in the oratory. The Ceremony of the Lilies and Roses commemorates the event every year.
State record had been kept at the Tower of London since the reign of Edward I, initially in the Wakefield Tower, but the quantity increased to such an extent, especially during the 16th century that for a period it was known as the Record Tower. After a while the White Tower was also used for this purpose. After the construction of the Public Records Office in the 1850s, the removal of the record took place and the tower was adapted to house the Crown Jewels. Due to the massive increase in tourism to the Tower of London since World War Two, the creation of a new Jewel House in the Waterloo Block took place during 1967. The Wakefield Tower was then restored to its original early-thirteenth-century appearance.