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Tours > Ancient York > Clifford's Tower

David Ford, History Editor Ancient York
by David Nash Ford BA,
Editor, History on Britannia

Clifford's Tower
Surrounded by Tower Street

Clifford's Tower Sitting atop its impressive mound, Clifford's Tower is the only remaining medieval section of York Castle. It was named after the Lancastrian Roger Clifford who was hung in chains here after the Battle of Boroughbridge in 1322. The present keep was erected by King Henry III in the 13th century. It replaced a previous wooden structure which had a twin on Baile Hill over the river.

Clifford's Tower is notorious as the site of York's most shameful hour. The city's Jewish population took refuge there after being attacked by a local mob in 1190. They were offered baptism or execution, but chose a third option instead. They took their own lives in a mass suicide pact. A modern memorial records the event. The tower is owned by English Heritage and is open to the public. There are great views from the top.

Next Stop: York Castle Museum

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