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The Crown Jewels
 
 Colonel Thomas Blood Attempts to Steal the British Crown Jewels

Colonel Thomas Blood Attempts to Steal the British Crown Jewels Colonel Thomas Blood was an Irishman with a colourful history. He fought for Oliver Cromwell's Parliamentary forces during the English Civil War.

 In 1663, Thomas Blood and his colleagues raided Dublin Castle and attempted to kidnap the Lord Lieutenant, the Duke of Ormonde. This attempt failed, but seven years later, Blood again tried to capture the Duke. This time the Duke was in London, and Blood did seize him but released him soon afterwards.

 The Plot to Steal the British Crown Jewels

 About the 6th May, (1670?) Thomas Blood and a woman posing as his wife visited The Jewel House in the Tower of London. Soon after arriving the woman appeared to be taken ill.

 The newly appointed Master of the Jewel House was a retired servant Talbert Edwards.  Edwards, who was living on the premises with his wife, took the ill woman upstairs into his quarters so that Mrs Edwards could attend to the ill woman.

 On the 9th May, at seven o'clock in the morning Colonel Blood, dressed as a parson and three well-dressed young men, visited the Martin Tower to see the regalia.

 Blood brought a present for Mrs Edwards as a thank you for her attentions to his own wife. When the group entered the jewel chamber, Blood pulled out a mallet from under his cloak and struck Edward's on the head. His accomplices bound and gagged Edwards.

 Colonel Blood took the King's Crown and started to flatten it with the mallet so as to get it into his cassock pocket. An accomplice put the Orb into his breeches. The other men filed away at the sceptre trying to cut it in half.

 Edward's son Wythe arrived unexpectedly on leave from military service abroad.  He found his father lying unconscious on the floor, bleeding from the head wound. Blood and his gang fled the scene, but three of the gang were caught as they tried to get out the Tower, and the jewels were recovered severely damaged.

 King Charles sent for Blood for private interrogation. Far from being punished, Blood was pardoned, awarded a pension of 500 a year, and made welcome at court!!

 Shortly after Blood's pardon the diarist Evelyn met him at Whitehall, and later wrote down his opinion: 'How he ever came to be pardoned and ever received into favour, not only after this but several other exploits almost as daring, both in Ireland and here, I never could come to understand. This man had not only a daring, but a villainous unmerciful look, a false countenance, but very well spoken, and dangerously insinuating.'

 The Jewel-house Master, Talbot Edwards was awarded a grant of 200 but it proved so hard for him to get the money that he sold his right to it for the amount in cash, and died in misery in 1674. Since Blood's foiled attempt during that fate-full day in the 1600's there has been no further threat to steal the jewels.

 The attempted robbery led to a severe tightening up of security and the procedure for displaying the Crown Jewels, including the posting of an armed guard by the door of the chamber in the Martin Tower. The jewels remained in the Martin Tower until 1841 when following the great fire at the Tower a new secure building was constructed to house them.

 An attempt to rob the Royal Treasury in 1303 led to its removal from the Abbey Church of Westminister to White Tower in the Tower of London. When James II came to the throne, he found the Crown of England was so battered and so many gems pilfered from it to have been replaced by imitation gems that the repair and replacements cost 12,000

 


 


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