Tower in the Thames

Has been described as a Certain Palace (Royal), and also as a Certain Fortified Town House, and also as a Possible Urban Defence

There are no visible remains

NameTower in the Thames
Alternative NamesFriars Preachers
Historic CountryLondon and Middlesex
Modern AuthorityCity and County of the City of London
1974 AuthorityGreater London
Civil ParishCity Of London

One other Tower there was also situate on the riuer of Thames neare vnto the said Blacke Fryers Church, on the west parte thereof builded at the Citizens charges, but by licence and commaundement of Edward the I. and of Edward the 2. as appeareth by their grantes: which Tower was then finished, and so stood for the space of 300. yeares, and was at the last taken down by the commaundement of Iohn Sha Mayor of London, in the yeare 1502. (Stow)

This Tower was large and magnificent, and such as was fit for the Reception of a King; and where King Edward I. intended sometime at his Pleasure to lye. It was not finished in the Beginning of his Reign. But gave Order for the finishing of it to the Maior, Sheriffs, and Citizens, out of the Three Years Toll he had granted them to take upon Commodities brought to the City to be sold, for the Reparation of the Walls; and particularly for finishing the Wall begun near the Black Friars, not far from which at the Thames, stood this Tower. And that we may see what it was, and what Opinion that King had of this Tower, and concerning the Situation, let us read his Letter to the City.

"Whereas we have granted you for Aid of the Work of the Walls of our City, and the Closure of the same, divers Customs of vendible Things, coming to the said City, to be taken for a certain Time, We command you, that you cause to be finished the Wall of the said City, now begun near the Mansion of the Friars Preachers, and a certain good and comely Tower at the Head of the said Wall within the Water of Thames there. Wherein We may be received and tarry with Honour, to our Ease and Satisfaction in our Comings there; out of the Pence taken, and to be taken of the said Customs, &c. Witness my self at Westminster, the 8th Day of July, An. 4. Which fell about 1276." (Lib.Horn.Fol.183) (Stype)


15 (1312) Grant, for one year, in enlargement of former grant, date 18 July, 4 Edward II., to the mayor, sheriffs and citizens or London, of murage upon all wares brought for sale into the city; they are to apply the money accruing therefrom to the construction of a tower next the dwelling-house of the Friars Preachers at Baynard Castle upon the bank of the Thames. During that term they are not to levy pontage upon goods passing over or under the bridge. By K., on the information of Edmund de Malo Lacu. (CPR p. 495-6)

In 1315 this murage was to be used for one year for the repair of Newgate (the gate and the jail). The murage was repeated in 1317 as the tower was 'lately begun and not yet finished'.

Gatehouse Comments

Presumably this was an extension of the city wall down to the Thames. The wall seems to take a dog leg here, to enclose Blackfriars, and this would put the tower at point just east of where the Fleet Ditch joins the Thames

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTQ316808
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Calculate Print


  • Renn, Derek., 2014, 'The other towers of London' in Hidden histories and records of antiquity; essays on Saxon and medieval London for John Clark, curator emeritus, Museum of London (London and Middlesex Archaeology Society Special Paper 17) p. 32-5


  • Stype, John, 1720, A Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster Vol. 1 p. 62 online copy
  • Kingsford, C.L. (ed), 1908, A Survey of London, by John Stow: Reprinted from the text of 1603 Vol. 1 p. 44-71 online copy
  • Agas, c. 1558, map of London


  • Davis, Philip, 2010-11, 'Crenellated town houses in Medieval England' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 24 p. 270-91
  • Clapham, A.W., 1912, 'on the topography of the Dominican Priory of London' Archaeologia Vol. 63 p. 61

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1894, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward II (1307-13) Vol. 1 p. 495-6 (murage grant) online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1898, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward II (1313-17) Vol. 2 p. 270 (mention in murage grant) online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1898, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward II (1313-17) Vol. 2 p. 654 (murage grant) online copy


  • McCann, W., 1993, Fleet Valley project interim report (MoLAS report)