Clifford’s Tower is the castle keep and originally it was surrounded by a moat fed by the river  Foss.  It has three essential parts:

  • The grass-covered earth mound which dates from William the conquerors reign
  • The stone keep that was built on the orders of Henry III in the mid-thirteenth century
  • The gatehouse that was erected in the seventeenth century to replace an earlier entrance

The English Heritage guide book gives a brief summary:

Clifford’s Tower is the central strong-hold of York Castle.  The castle was first built by William the Conqueror to secure his hold on the north of England.  It featured earthwork defences, a timber tower on top of the mound or motte, and domestic buildings in the courtyard (now occupied by the law courts and museum).  Over a century after its construction, in 1190, the Jews of York took refuge from a murderous mob in this tower.  This tragic episode ended in their mass suicide, during which the tower was consumed by flames.

It was rebuilt in stone by Henry III between 1245 and 1272, and has since survived floods, fire and partial destruction.  Little now remains, however, of the curtain walls, towers and gates of the courtyard or outer bailey.


Rose Coloured Tint

The Tower at Dusk

14 Comments CherryPie on Jun 24th 2010

14 Responses to “Clifford’s Tower”

  1. Denise says:

    Oh yes we have passed this many times on route for a cuppa! Love the composition of the last picture in particular!

  2. It’s been too long since I was in York (apart from passing through on business)

  3. jameshigham says:

    Imagine being in the tower at that time.

  4. Ginnie says:

    I must say, Cherie…it would take a lifetime to see everything worth seeing in that country of yours. A gold mine around every corner!

    • CherryPie says:

      Thanks for that :-) I was wondering when wrote the post who the tower was named after, but didn’t have time to do any research on it.

  5. I have always, at least as long as I can remember, had an interest in families associated with Yorkshire. And the Cliffords are as big as they come. More here…