Ravens, legends and bad omens for England|GianFranco Belloli|KnowLedge World Network|Activities|KNOWLEDGE CAPITAL

  • 2021.03.05
  • Ravens, legends and bad omens for England
It may seem like just an unimportant legend of the past but the Ravens of the Tower of London are a group of at least 6 ravens that live in captivity inside the Tower of London and, according to a superstition dating back to the time of Charles II, their presence protects the British Crown and the Kingdom of England.
The legend goes that if the ravens were to leave or die, the Kingdom would fall and, with it, Great Britain itself.
For many centuries the historic Tower of London, built in 1078 under the reign of William the Conqueror, has been ‘guarded’ by a small flock of ravens and although ravens in the past were widespread throughout Britain, today they survive in the tower only with the help of man, more specifically of a dedicated person called the Ravenmaster whose job is to feed them and take care of them.
This legend is still taken very seriously today and seven crows (six plus one spare) live in captivity in the Tower so to prevent them from straying too far, their wing feathers are (sadly) cut off.
It’s a true cruelty but, at least, they live a blissful life, they are fed an appropriate diet based on fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs and meat.
You can call British people superstitious and old-fashioned but it’s true that anything linked to royalty and the royal palaces here in England it is taken quite solemnly.

Everything was going smoothly until about a month ago when the queen of the ravens of the Tower of London went missing…
Despite all the Covid 19 madness and the British variant news, the bird disappearance has made the news on television and earned some major headlines in the newspapers too.
The bird has been described as a bird with an independent personality and since it has not been seen for several weeks in the historic tower that is located on the north bank of the river Thames the Ravenmaster believes she might be dead.
This bird was apparently the most famous female crow among the ones traditionally present in the ancient London royal complex and when she didn’t return to sleep in the evening next to her fellow ravens the Ravenmaster knew something was wrong.
The bird cannot fly since her wing feathers are trimmed and it could be hard for her to fetch her own food in nature.
After all these birds are large unpredictable creatures with powerful beaks, free to roam anywhere and with the ability to leave at any time they wish.
Merlina, the bird’s name, was described to be, among other things, as the most autonomous, energetic and courageous one in the flock.
She is (hoping she is still alive) thirteen years old and she was probably born in Wales where she was found by a bird recovery centre manager when she wasn't even a year old by the side of a road.

This is worrying news because, according to the abovementioned legend, if all the crows were to follow her example and leave the tower, the kingdom would collapse and the country would plunge into chaos.
And, well, to be honest, we are not so far from a plunge into chaos already given the Covid 19 pandemic - made worse by the British variant which has seen all flights out of England cancelled and more restrictions put into place which now make England look like a lazaret.
Not to mention Brexit, which has thrown the country into a serious confusion of laws and which has divided people even more politically and put even more distance between people than social distancing already had.
Even the royal family is not thriving in this historical period as our Majesty the Queen had to see her beloved grandson leave the royal family to ‘migrate’ to America to follow her spouse ‘abandoning’ the royal family life…After all doom does seem to be waiting at the corner all over our gloomy England.





1. Despite the great diet the ravens eat from the bins sometimes
2. Ravens sign
3. Tower of London
- All photos were taken by me in 2019 before the Covid 19 situation and lockdowns -

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  • GianFranco Belloli
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I moved to London over 2 years ago but only last year I started writing for a local newsletter for Expats in London telling about my experience in this big city and giving advice to newcomers. London is a very dynamic city and has a lot for everyone but it’s important to have a local point of view to navigate it without getting lost. Let me be your guide to hidden London!

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