Hardey, Thor, Odin, Gwyllum, Cedric, Hugine and Munin
Unkindness of Ravens
Cawed the raven as he tap tap tapped on the castle door.
You cannot escape from my justice of beak and claw.
Kings, queens, princes, men of wisdom and power.
Have lost there heads at The Bloody Tower.
Ravens times six there must always be,
Forever living there for all to see.
For if raven should die or fly from the towers wall,
The White Castle will crumble and England will fall.
So send for the yeoman, axeman and hangman to.
Let the entertainment begin for the ravens to view.
Black of eye, feather, beak and talon,
The ravens of death at the
Tower of London.
Tracey Owen & Brian Rueby
copyright aug 2011
The Bloody Tower was built in the 13th century. It was originally known as the Garden Tower. It got its name The Bloody Tower in the 16th century because of all the murderous things that happened there. Wild ravens are thought to have inhabited the Tower for many centuries, supposedly first attracted there by the smell of the corpses of the executed enemies of the Crown.
Legend says that if less that 6 ravens live at the Tower of London terrible things will happen such as the White Tower will crumble and England will fall. Seven ravens live at the Tower of London today Their wings are clipped to stop them flying away. Each Tower raven has a different coloured band on one leg, to make it easier to identify individual birds. The Ravens names are Hardey, Thor, Odin, Gwyllum, Cedric, Hugine and Munin. Ravens in captivity in the Tower grounds have had lifespans of over 40 years. The Raven Master Derrick Coyle is a Yeoman Warder or 'Beefeater' dedicated to caring for the Tower's unique Unkindness of Ravens Today.
The Tower ravens are enlisted as soldiers of the Kingdom, the ravens can be dismissed for unsatisfactory conduct. Raven George lost his appointment to the Crown, and was sent to Wales for having attacked and destroyed several television antenna repeatedly. Despite having their flight feathers clipped on one wing, ravens have been known to desert their posts. In 1981, Grog the raven decided to leave the surroundings of the Tower for those of an East Enders pub.
Another story concerns the two ravens named "James Crow" and "Edgar Sopper". James Crow was a much-loved and long-lived raven. When he died, there was a big commotion around his dead body. Edgar Sopper noticing this and he decided to play dead to get more attention. His trick was so successful that the Raven master fully believed that Edgar Sopper had died. When the master picked up his dead body, the raven bit the man's finger and flew off croaking raven laughs.
Since 1987, the Tower ravens have been the subject of a successful breeding program 17 chicks were successfully hatched and raised by a pair of ravens known as Charlie and Rhys. Charlie came to an unhappy end, he bit a security bomb sniffing dog (who was also named Charlie), and the dog grabbed the raven with his teeth killing the bird.
Vladimir Putin at that time, President of Russia, on a state visit is reported to have been impressed by the birds' verbal skills. One of the ravens greeted each person in his entourage with a "Good morning!".