Clifford’s Tower, York.
Clifford’s Tower is what remains of York Castle, during the 11th Century, the Tower acted as the Keep – type of fortified tower within a Castle. York was the Viking Capital of England in the 10th Century, and as such was a key location within the Country. In 1068 during Norman the Conqueror’s first expedition of England’s Northern reaches he constructed varies castles across the area – including two in the City of York– some of which were built in alarming haste; it is rumoured that York Castle itself was constructed in its entirety in only 8 Days! However, very soon afterwards the Danish, who were supported by the people of York itself, burned down both castles. It was then that Clifford’s Tower was constructed as part of a larger Fortress, which was defended on either side by two separate rivers; The Ouse and the Foss.
Since being completed in approximately 1272, the Tower has survived numerous trials and tribulations; including the siege of York in 1644, a massive explosion in 1684 which ripped apart the roof , floor and central pillar – looking back it is believed that this explosion was caused purposefully by locals unhappy with Charles II’s hugely unpopular garrison of troops.
Latterly it has had various uses – many of which unsavoury, these include; an extremely unfit for purpose prison (8 inmates suffocated in one night alone in 1739), a site for execution during the 19th century , a military prison in the early 1900’s. Since 1915 however it has been open to the public and is now (somewhat ironically given it’s past), a much loved part of the city, and a huge Tourist Attraction.