Medievalism, Paganism, and the Tower Ravens


  • Boria Sax



The ravens in the Tower of London are allowed to move freely on the Tower Green, but their wings are clipped to prevent them from flying very far. They are widely believed to have been domesticated by Charles II in the seventeenth century, because of an ancient prophesy that Britain would fall if the ravens leave the Tower. In fact they were only brought to the Tower in the late 1900s, and the legend only dates from about the end of World War II. The Ravens appear to have been brought to the Tower by the Earls of Dunraven, probably because of an esoteric connection between them and the Celtic deity Bran, whose head, according to legend, is buried in the Tower. This article examines the legend of the Tower Ravens as a Pagan myth of the modern era, created when archaic beliefs, which were preserved as matrixes of motifs and associations, gradually resurfaced in a secular and Christian context.


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Guildhall Library
London EC2P 2EJ
United Kingdom

National Archives: Records of the UK from Doomsday to the Present
Surrey TW9 4DU
United Kingdom

The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth
Ceredigion SY23 3BU
United Kingdom

City of Westminster Archives
PO Box 240
Westminster City Hall
64 Victoria Street
London SW1E 6QP
United Kingdom

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How to Cite

Sax, B. (2007). Medievalism, Paganism, and the Tower Ravens. Pomegranate, 9(1), 62–77.