Hugh Draper: Magic at the Tower of London

Hugh Draper was a wealthy innkeeper from Bristol.  He was popular with his neighbours and was quite an ordinary person. 

So how did he end up in the Tower of London?

Hugh was interested in sorcery and the occult – these are theories about magic.

Just like today, in centuries past, some people have found it interesting to think that they might be able to predict the future or cast spells. 

The difference being that it was thought people practicing magic could cause serious harm to others – and if those people were rich or powerful you could expect a harsh punishment.

Hugh, with some other men, was accused of casting spells against two members of Queen Elizabeth’s Court and he was imprisoned in 1560. 

Although he pleaded his innocence and had burned all his magic books, whilst he was in the tower he carved many strange symbols on the walls of his cells, which you can see to this day if you visit the Salt Tower.

The strangest thing of all is that, other than his imprisonment, we don’t know what happened to Hugh Draper after that. 

There are no records of his release, or his execution, and there is no trace of or where he went, or how he lived out his life. 

The Lieutenant of the Tower, William Warner was thought to be too lenient to prisoners, and had previously disobeyed his orders so perhaps he allowed Hugh Draper to escape… or perhaps Hugh cast a spell and really did disappear in a puff of smoke!