The Chapel Royal & Royal Peculiar of St Peter ad Vincula: Audio-Guided Tour

By Historic Royal Palaces

Alfred Hawkins, Assistant Curator

Assistant Curator, Alfred Hawkins in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula (2023)Historic Royal Palaces

Meet Alfred Hawkins

The Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula is  Alfred Hawkins' favourite place at the Tower of London.

Alfred is Assistant Curator at Historic Royal Palaces. Join him on this audio-guided tour of this beautiful chapel nestled in the heart of London's ancient fortress.

The Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London (2013) by James BrittainHistoric Royal Palaces

The Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula

The Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula is the parish church of the Tower of London. There has been a church in this location for approximately 1,000 years. 

On this Streetview tour, use the arrows and click-and-drag functions on your device to have a look around. Let's step inside.

The Chapel's heritage

The first chapel that originated here was a house church in the 9th Century.

The building we see today is likely the fourth Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula to stand here. It has served as the place of worship for the Tower of London community since the 16th Century.

The Chapel's role at the Tower

This chapel holds the unique position of being solely used as a place of faith throughout the centuries. It has been a backdrop to the more macabre moments in the Tower's history.

All the other Tower buildings have served multiple purposes as storehouses, prisons and offices.

The Tudor ceiling

Look up at the exposed Tudor ceiling built of Spanish Chestnut. It is said that the wood was chosen so that Katherine of Aragon could pray beneath the trees of her homeland.

The nave and memorial pavement

At the end of the nave is the sanctuary. You can glimpse the high altar and memorial pavement. 

The pavement was installed in the 19th Century to commemorate the royal internments in the Chapel, including the two executed queens of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard.


This chapel is more than the myths that it is most associated with, such as a mausoleum for executed traitors.

In fact, the Chapel is a reflection of community in the fortress and has been a place of worship and celebration at the centre of the Tower for centuries.

The organ

This organ, from 1699, was built by Bernhardt Schmidt for the Banqueting House in Whitehall when it was converted to a Chapel Royal following the Whitehall Palace fire.

It was moved to this location in the 1890s.


The Chapel has a wonderful collection of monuments and memorials dating from the 15th Century to present day.

Sir Richard Chomondeley, a former Lieutenant of the Tower, helped to build this building and is entombed here in alabaster, amongst other Tower parishioners.

Entrance to the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London (2014) by Richard Lea-HairHistoric Royal Palaces

My favourite building

The chapel is an exceptional survival of the Tudor period that holds monuments and heart-wrenching stories related to the Tower's history.

Find out more about the Chapel's history and myths, in Alfred's 'A Space I Love' podcast. Available wherever you get your podcasts.

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