Two new ravens have been born at the Tower of London, and there’s a chance for the public to chose a name for one of them.

They were born in March this year to the Tower’s resident breeding pair, Huginn and Muninn, who take their names from the ravens of the Norse god Odin. The first of the two, a male, has been named Edgar, while the second – a female – is still in need of a name. The name is also to be chosen from a shortlist, so Raven McRavenFace will not be an option.

I am sure you will know the legend that if the ravens ever leave the Tower, then the Kingdom will fall. Unsurprisingly, the Tower keeps at least six ravens in the Tower as an insurance policy.

Obviously, it’s just a bit of silly fun. However, there’s more to the story than it seems at first glance. While most reports will say the story that keeping the ravens at the Tower dates back to the restoration of the Monarchy some 300 years ago, Matt Brown found that the earliest record of the legend dates back only as far as 1944, when the ravens that lived around the tower anyway had declined to just one, and in 1946, to none.

The ancient legend proven to be fallible is also shown to be far less ancient than thought.

But, people love a legend, and facts be damned, people will still talk about the dire consequences that could befall the Kingdom if the ravens leave the Tower.

So, make your mark in legend and help choose a name for a raven.

The shortlist is:

  • Matilda
    Named after fearsome medieval monarch Empress Matilda, who battled her cousin Stephen of Blois over her claim to the English throne in the 1130s and 40s.
  • Branwen
    Named after the deity from Celtic mythology, whose name translates as ‘Blessed Raven’.
  • Brontë
    Named after 19th-century literary legends the Brontë sisters, who authored some of Britain’s best-loved Gothic novels including Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.
  • Winifred
    Named after Winifred Maxwell, Countess of Nithsdale, remembered for plotting her husband Lord Nithsdale’s escape from the Tower in 1716 disguised as a woman.
  • Florence
    Named after Florence Nightingale, pioneering British nurse and social reformer, and namesake of the UK’s NHS Nightingale critical care hospitals during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The name receiving the most votes will be announced as part of the Tower’s reopening on 19th May.

To vote, go here.

(c) Historic Royal Palaces

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8 comments
  1. Brian Butterworth says:

    Surely Matilda is from the Roald Dahl book?

  2. Lisa Hirsch says:

    That photo looks like Ravenmaster Chris Skaiffe and the sadly-disappeared Merlina.

    Edgar – something to do with Edgar Allan Poe, perhaps!

  3. Dan Wound says:

    Surely Phillipa. How has this passed you by??

  4. Ruth Eastwood says:

    Matilda

  5. Andy says:

    “Raven McRavenFace”…..Just knew that was going to feature somewhere when asking to name something.

  6. Sharon Wise says:

    Florence

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