Clifford’s Tower a Haunted Massacre Site: Ghosts of York, England

Clifford’s Tower a Haunted Massacre Site: Ghosts of York, England

Clifford’s Tower

York is claimed by many to be one of the most haunted cities in England. It is a place filled with history from a dark past, yet there is one site that is far bloodier than the rest. Clifford’s Tower is a massive stone edifice that watches over York from the height of a great mound. The tower is actually the old keep of York Castle and originally built in 1068 under the orders of William I to keep control over the old Viking city of Jórvik.

Haunted Clifford's Tower in York, England.
Standing outside of one of the most haunted places in York, England.

1190 was to see one of the worst riots followed by a massacre to ever occur in York, all centered around the tower. An angry mob gathered with the purpose of eradicating Jews within the city. Fearing for their lives a number of Jewish people took shelter, gathering inside the safety and strong walls of York Castle’s keep. Sadly, as tensions rose the people trapped within the keep were forced to choose between taking their own lives or surrendering to the angry mob who would then kill them. The choice was made and fire was set to the tower. This was a way to destroy the bodies within and avoid them being left open to mutilation by the mob. Most of those within the tower actually chose to take their own lives to avoid burning, while some surrendered to the mob only to then be murdered. The end result of this tragedy was that around 150 Jewish people lost their lives.

Views of York from the top of Clifford's Tower.
View from the top of the haunted Clifford’s Tower.

Following this terrible massacre, the tower was rebuilt in wood and height was added to the structure. Later again in the 13th century, Henry III rebuilt the tower once again, this time using stone. As time passed, the tower would fall into disrepair and function as a prison. It even gained its name, Clifford’s Tower, for holding a rebel leader in chains from the structure, Roger de Clifford.  It saw further damage in the 1600s when it was damaged extensively by a great explosion. Today, the site remains a rich piece of history, though many claim it to be an extremely haunted place.

Stone tower stairs in York, England.
Stairway inside the historic and haunted stone tower.

Ghosts of Clifford’s Tower

There are countless stories of the paranormal associated with Clifford’s Tower. These are believed to be linked to the dark past the building and land has endured. One of the most prevalent stories is of the tower having bleeding walls. Soon after the older wooden towers were replaced with the stone tower that exists today, deep red stains began to appear sprawled across the grey stones. Because of the appearance of these stains, many claimed that it was symbolic of the terrible massacre that had occurred there years earlier.

Haunted building in York.
Looking down into the courtyard of York’s Clifford’s Tower.

It turns out that these stains were actually caused by iron oxide rust developing across these stones. Many have been quick to point out however, that this same red stain has not seemed to develop on any of the other stones that were mined from the same place. It seems that these same red stains tend to mostly appear on the anniversary of the massacre. Could this still be a paranormal occurrence, or has it already been debunked?

Ghosts in York.
Looking for the ghosts of Clifford’s Tower in York, England.

Plenty more paranormal type activity is also reported within Clifford’s Tower. Staff have claimed to hear the sounds of knocking coming from the ceilings of rooms, which is something they are unable to explain. In addition this, they have also heard what resembles children running through the courtyard despite no one being around. Ghostly footsteps have also been reported all throughout the building and some have even claimed to sight and capture ghostly figures in photographs.

Haunted places in York.
Another view of the haunted tower’s spiral staircase.

Visiting the Haunted Clifford’s Tower

Clifford’s Tower remains open to the public as a historic museum. Tickets for a self-guided tour can be purchased online or at the entrance to the tower. You will be able to spend as long as you want to explore the different levels of the tower. Make sure to take in the amazing views of York from the top of the tower.

Massacre at Clifford's Tower.
Plaque commemorating the terrible massacre that occurred at this site in 1190.

If you enjoyed this article you might also like to check out the haunted York Minster.

Thanks for reading!


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About Amy

Amy is a world traveller and explorer of creepy locations. She has visited some of the most famously haunted places around the world in search of evidence of the paranormal. Follow Amy's Journey:

Comments (2)

  • carmen mireles

    Posted by carmen mireles on September 21, 2020

    Amy! Been following you for a while now, love the channel and share it and your iPhone apps as often as I can, I’m even using it in my haunted home to help get your channel and app out there! Love you n Jarad..keep up the great investigations and lolove your locations! The history is on point too! God bless and keep you guys safe! Much respect from Carmen in beautiful Colorado


      Posted by Amy on October 13, 2020

      Thank you so much Carmen, you are too kind. Your support is much appreciated.

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