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Pictures of Clifford's Tower

a Castle in the town of York, in the county of North Yorkshire

About Clifford's Tower

Apart from York City's lovely old Minster church, there is little in the town to rival the sheer drama of Clifford's Tower in its lofty hilltop setting, casting from its ramparts unrivalled views over York.

Following William the Conqueror's invasion of England, he sought to overthrow the North, so he built a castle here in 1086. This was later burned by rebel forces and a new wooden fortress was built. It is this that was to witness one of the most heinous crimes in York's proud history and a Memorial Tablet on Clifford's Tower commemorates this most horrific event of the year 1190.

A huge, out of control mob rioted against York's Jewish citizens, of these 150 managed to seek sanctuary inside the castle, but the relentless mob, ever thirsty to spill more blood turned towards the castle. Many of the Jews committed suicide rather than be captured, but the remainder died when the mob set fire to the building. Those unfortunates who did try to escape were slaughtered.

In the 13th century a new building was put up, this later blew down and in 1270 Henry III ordered a stone castle to be built. It was here that Roger de Clifford was executed in 1322 for treason against Edward II. In the barbaric manner of the times, he was hung in chains from the walls of the tower. Thus, ever since the tower has been styled "Clifford's Tower".

It was not until the 17th century that the tower lost its roof through fire and today it still remains open to the elements with walks around the 13th century walls.

Apart from the tower there is a Female Prison, Debtors Prison and Assize Court to be seen, these were additions of the 17th century and together with the dungeons give the lower part of the tower a very eyrie feel. The climb to the top is via around 100 steps, but once mastered, however breathless, the view is a rich reward.

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