feat. Charles II, Catharine of Braganza, the Duke of Buckingham, the Earl of Rochester, Nell Gwyn, Barbara Villiers, the Duke of Monmouth, Samuel Pepys, James II, John Dryden, the Earl of Shaftesbury and Oliver Cromwell.
Built for the third Earl of Shaftesbury in around 1700, it is thought to have acquired the name because Lord Shaftesbury was a noted philosopher and would regularly repair to the tower to do a spot of philosophising.
Lord Shaftesbury was a prominent English politician during the Interregnum and during the reign of King Charles II.
Shaftesbury was an outspoken supporter of the Exclusion Bill, although he also endorsed other proposals that would have prevented the Duke of York from becoming king, such as Charles II’s remarrying a Protestant princess and producing a Protestant heir to the throne, or legitimizing Charles II’s illegitimate Protestant son the Duke of Monmouth. The Whig party was born during the Exclusion Crisis, and Shaftesbury was one of the party’s most prominent leaders.
In 1681, during the Tory reaction following the failure of the Exclusion Bill, Shaftesbury was arrested for high treason, although the prosecution was dropped several months later. In 1682, after the Tories had gained the ability to pack London juries with their supporters, Shaftesbury, fearing a second prosecution, fled the country. Upon arriving in Amsterdam, he fell ill, and soon died, in January 1683.