Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Cliffords Tower (York)

Clifford's Tower is one of the many historic buildings in the ancient cathedral city of York.

It is on the site of one of the two wooden castles built in York by William the Conqueror to overawe the citizens after the North had risen up against him. The site of the other is now known as Bail Hill.

The original wooden tower was deliberately burnt down in 1190. The city's Jewish population had been herded into the tower and they were all burned alive.

The existing Clifford's Tower was built between 1245 and 1272. It has a quatrefoil plan, unique in England.

The name Clifford's Tower derives from Roger de Clifford, who was hung in chains from the top of the tower in 1322. The Cliffords were its hereditary constables.

It was accidentally blown up in 1684. This killed a number of soldiers.

The Castle Museum now stands in the castle bailey, in the former prison building.

Clifford's Tower is now in the care of English Heritage.

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