Crime & Punishment: Tower of London to St. Paul’s
Summary of Area
The Tower of London has stood as a powerful symbol of crime and punishment for nearly 900 years. In this walk, you will follow in the footsteps of condemned prisoners up to Tower Hill, gaze at the royal jewels and hear the Tower’s guards weave centuries’ worth of fascinating tales. You will then make your way through London’s busy financial district and criminal courts to contemplate the many crimes committed through the centuries for wealth and greed. Your tour terminates at St. Paul’s cathedral, where you will have leisure to ponder God’s grace and mercy that takes even the vilest repentant sinner and washes him white as snow.
- Starting Point: Tower Hill (underground station: Tower Hill)
- Finishing Point: St. Paul’s Cathedral (underground station: St. Paul’s, Mansion House, Blackfriars Station)
- Days to Avoid: None, but note the City is deserted on weekends
- Length of Walk: 2.5miles
- Time Needed: 4 hours at Tower of London + 2 hours for other sites
1. Tower Hill. With no TV or radio, executions were the popular entertainment in the Tower’s heyday. A bell rang one hour before the execution and crowds would rush to watch the gruesome proceedings on Tower Hill, where all but the highest profile prisoners would meet their fate.
2. Tower of London. William the Conqueror built the Tower in the 11th century as a way of showing his strength and cowing his enemies. It has been a place of torture, confinement and execution for the most innocent and infamous prisoners of British history – from Nine Days’ Queen Jane Grey, whose only crime was being on the wrong side of the royal family tree, to the notorious criminal Jack the Ripper.
3. The Monument. This 202-ft-tall monument designed by Sir Christopher Wren commemorates the place where the Great Fire of London began in 1666. If the monument were laid flat in a westward direction, it would end at the spot where the fire broke out in a bake shop on Pudding Lane.
4. Financial District. At the heart of the original Roman settlement of Londinium, where later during the Middle Ages wealthy and powerful merchants gathered into guilds, lies the vibrant modern business district of the City of London. Today’s Royal Exchange has been transformed into a luxury shopping center but its neighboring Bank of England, nicknamed The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, still busily carries out its original mission and purpose.
5. Old Bailey. The Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, nicknamed Old Bailey, treats London’s major criminal cases as well as major cases from other parts of the country. It has been featured in literature such as Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities and more recently has appeared in movies such as Witness for the Prosecution and Patriot Games.
6. St. Paul’s Cathedral. Sir Christopher Wren’s great church and monument, St. Paul’s is one of London’s most beloved places of worship. Lady Diana Spencer chose this church in which to wed Prince Charles in 1981, although traditionally royals had given precedence to Westminster Abbey for their nuptial ceremonies. The present cathedral was built 300 years ago but there has been a church on the site for 1,400 years.
*As mentioned in a previous blog, this manuscript is a work in progress. Each highlight above currently links to Internet sites providing general information. Eventually they will link to relevant sections of PrayerWalk London.