From the 11th century the Constable of the Tower was appointed by the monarch as
their most senior officer at this most important site.
The Constable is responsible for the operation and security of the Tower. He also obtained a number of important legal and financial privileges in the city of London.
There have been Constables of the Tower for over 900 years, since Geoffrey de
Mandeville was first appointed by William the Conqueror in 1078. Nominally responsible for running the site, they also acquired various legal and financial privileges.
These included collecting tolls on selected goods from ships entering London, regulating Jewish affairs until the Jews’ expulsion from England in 1290, and exercising legal authority in the adjoining neighbourhood known as the Tower Liberties.
Many Constables retained an interest in management of the site and its buildings, and have directly concerned themselves, particularly with matters of security.
The Constable of the Tower is the King or Queen’s representative, with lots of privileges. Even today any horse, ox, pig or sheep falling off London Bridge into the River Thames becomes the property of the Constable.