The guardians of the Tower
‘If the ravens leave the Tower, the kingdom will fall…’
Legend of the ravens
Legend says that the kingdom and the Tower will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress. It was Charles II, according to the stories, who first insisted that the ravens of the Tower should be protected.
This was against the wishes of his astronomer, John Flamsteed, who complained that the ravens impeded the business of his observatory in the White Tower.
Despite their having one wing trimmed, some ravens do in fact go absent without leave and others have had to be sacked. Raven George was dismissed for eating television aerials, and Raven Grog was last seen outside an East End pub.
There are seven ravens at the Tower today (the required six plus one spare!). Their lodgings are to be found next to the Wakefield Tower.
These magnificent birds, large members of the genus Corvus, the crow family, respond only to the Raven Master and should not be approached too closely by anyone else.
The ravens preside over four different territories within the Tower precincts.
Biscuits and blood
‘The ravens eat 170g of raw meat a day, plus bird biscuits soaked in blood.’
Source : Historic Royal Palaces
On my visit, I was only able to spot three of the magnificent creatures.
Clipping one of their wings and feeding the Ravens does tip the scales in the Royal’s favour and assures in legend, if nothing else that the Tower will never fall…