A Dark Bit of History

York, Yorkshire, England, 6 June 2013.

We (Lisa, Ruth, Mike, and I) came down from the city wall, crossed the river, and approached Clifford’s Tower. In front of the tower we found this reminder of a dark event.

Massacre Memorial, York

Massacre Memorial, York

On the night of Friday 16 March 1190 some
150 Jews and Jewesses of York having sought
protection in the Royal Castle on this site
from a mob incited by Richard Malebisse
and others chose to die at each other’s
hands rather than renounce their faith.
[Let them give glory unto the Lord, and declare his praise in the islands.]
ISAIAH XLII 12

Clifford's Tower, York, Yorkshire

Clifford’s Tower, York, Yorkshire

Clifford’s Tower is a 13th Century addition to York Castle, roughly on the site of the massacre, a stone structure replacing the previous timber keep, which was seriously damaged. The massacre reflects a grim union of prejudice and greed under a veneer of Christian faith, which was not isolated to this event, this time, or this place. A brief summary of the massacre in its historical context can be found at ddickerson.igc.org/cliffords-tower.html

It should, perhaps, be pointed out that this massacre took place early in the reign of the “good king” Richard I (Coeur-de-lion, who ruled 1189-1199), and is at least partly connected to his need to raise large amounts of money and soldiers for the Third Crusade.

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