"Clifford's Tower" Clifford's Tower Tip by Sjalen

Clifford's Tower, York: 55 reviews and 127 photos


Clifford's Tower is from mid 13th century and is sadly the only standing remains of York's medieval castle. It is however one of the most emotional parts to stand since it is the castle keep, rebuilt in stone during the threat of a Scottish invasion some years after York's Jews commited mass-suicide here in 1190 and then also set fire to the original wooden keep. When faced with having to convert to Christianity during the great European persecution of Jews in the 12th century, many took this drastic measure after seeking shelter in the castle but facing defeat. This as "thanks" after they had bailed out Richard I from his captivity in the German lands...After this event, the castle was used by various regents but somehow was allowed to fall into disrepair. Richard III ordered it to be renovated but died at the Battle of Bosworth before this was carried out. There are debates whether the originally named King's Tower is now named after Roger de Clifford who was a nobleman hung here as a traitor in 1322, or Henry Clifford, Earl of Cumberland and the last sheriff of the castle (during its royalist Civil War times). Henry is in any case the one whose coat of arms still hang above the entrance and someone we know tried to strenghthen the castle during the Civil War. Nevertheless, the castle still suffered greatly from bombardment. The rest of York was not that damaged which is thanks to the parliamentarian troops being led by Lord Fairfax who was from York and had no intention of ruining his city.

Today you can visit this "four clover structure" by climbing the many stairs up it. You're not really rewarded with anything interesting inside, but it gives a nice view of the surroundings. In recent years, the tower has been threatened by a car park by the ever non-York council workers but luckily, a campaign stopped the madness. Enough York history is being torn down these days!

Address: Tower Street
Directions: Near the Castle Museum.
othercontact: http://www.yorkcastle.com/
Phone: 01904 606940
Website: http://www.cliffordstower.com/

Review Helpfulness: 3 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 15, 2006
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