Thursday, November 17, 2005

2of4: At the Castle

Clifford's Tower
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

This is Robin at the bottom of York Castle - which is known as Clifford's Tower. This structure was built between 1245 and 1265 replacing a wooden castle built by William the Conquerer in the previous century.

That castle was burnt down in 1190 when the following tragic story unfurled (taken from Wikipedia).com:

Richard de Malbis of York was a debtor of Aaron of Lincoln, an influential Jewish banker of the late 12th century. When a fire broke out in the city of York, De Malbis used the opportunity to incite a mob to attack the home of a recently deceased agent of Aaron of Lincoln named Benedict of York, killing his widow and children and burning the house. Joce (Joseph) the leader of the Jewish community of York obtained the permission of the warden of York Castle to remove his wife and children and the rest of the Jews into the castle, where they were probably placed in Clifford's Tower. This was surrounded by the mob, and when the warden left the castle the Jews in fear would not readmit him. He appealed to the sheriff, who called out the county militia; and Clifford's Tower was surrounded for several days. On 16 March 1190 the Tower was set on fire, and many Jews either perished in the flames or took their own lives rather than be attacked by the mob, those who did surrender were killed. In all around 150 Jews died.

Quite a chilling history. They still have memorial services to this day and Jewish groups have fiercely opposed redevelopment of the site.

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