Corner of Yorkshire: Clifford’s Tower

It appears to be simply a benign and handsome tower in York city centre but, as with most medieval castles, Clifford’s Tower has seen its fair share of misery and death.

The tower was first built of wood in 1068 by William the Conqueror to act as the keep for York Castle. It was burned down the following year during a rebellion and then immediately rebuilt.

In 1190,150 local Jews taking refuge from a mob within the tower committed suicide by setting light to the building. The survivors were killed when they emerged the next day.

The tower was rebuilt of stone in the 13th century and used as a jail. It was named Clifford’s Tower in 1322 after Roger de Clifford was hanged there.

A huge explosion in 1684 destroyed all the interior walls and ceilings but the tower still remained in regular use until the start of the 20th century, when it became a tourist attraction.

Dave Lee


High res j-pegs here:


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