"Clifford's tower" Clifford's Tower Tip by iandsmith
Clifford's Tower, York: 55 reviews and 127 photos
For the sheer drama of its setting and, its chequered history, there is little in York to rival Clifford's Tower.
The tower stands on a high mound erected by William the Conqueror as part of his campaign to overthrow the North. It's not that far away to where King Harold repelled the Vikings before he had to head south to try and stop William.
William threw up two mottes (mounds) with wooden keeps on top - one became Clifford's Tower and the other, Baille Hill, can be seen on the side of the river, although the tower there has long since disappeared, being razed as a protest.
The inhabitants of old Northumbria did not abandon York to its fate. There were several uprisings against the Norman invaders. Aided by King Sweyn of Denmark, the north rose in revolt, defeated the Norman garrison and sacked York.
William retaliated with an unprecedented savagery. He retook York, and for the next two years laid waste to the country, burning crops, and destroying villages and farms.
The Domesday Book, compiled almost twenty years after William's "Harrying of the North", records that the population of Yorkshire fell from 8,000 to 2,000. More tellingly, it described the region between York and Durham as wasteland.
The city of York emerged from this devastation as a phoenix rising from the ashes. The city walls were rebuilt and strengthened, and the old woden Viking buildings were reconstructed in stone. Four new fortified gates, or "bars", were built to regulate traffic through the walls. The Foss was diverted to feed the moats of both Norman castles.
York blossomed under the Normans, and quickly regained its economic importance in the north. This prosperity in trade and commerce is reflected in the imposing Merchant Adventurers' Hall and the Guildhall.
Address: Tower Street
Directions: Opposite the Castle Museum
othercontact: OPEN: Daily Jul 17-Aug 31 9.30am
Phone: 01904 606940
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