Saturday 15 December 2018

Clifford's Tower in York

Clifford's Tower is almost all that remains of York Castle, built by William the Conqueror. The castle was a fortified complex comprising, over the last nine centuries, a sequence of castles, prisons, law courts and other buildings on the south side of the River Foss. The keep of the medieval Norman castle, referred to as Clifford's Tower, together with two buildings that serve as the York castle museum and the Crown Court is all that remains today.

The 11th century timber tower on top of the earth mound was burned down in 1190, after York's Jewish community, some 150 strong, was besieged here by a mob and committed mass suicide. The present stone building was probably used as a treasury and later as a prison. The tower was rebuilt shortly after the fire.


Lawrence Stephen Lowry, Clifford's Tower, York, 1952-53.

Lowry painted this unusually sparsely populated painting of the Tower. I love the bent figures going up the steps.

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