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CLIFFORDS TOWER

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A castle keep, known as Clifford's Tower, built between 1245 and 1272 for Henry III. It stands on a motte, which was originally larger and surrounded by a deep moat. The stone-built tower is quatrefoil in plan and is entered through a buttressed forebuilding to the south. Spiral staircases set within the thickness of the walls once led to the upper floors and the wall walk. The original forebuilding contained a chapel, which documents indicate was reroofed in lead in 1312. The tower was repaired in 1360-65, after subsidence caused cracks to appear in the masonry. The building was allowed to fall into disrepair over the 15th and 16th centuries and the upper portion of the tower was demolished in 1596 by a gaoler, who dismantled it in order to sell the stone. The forebuilding was largely rebuilt between 1642 and 1643 while the tower was garrisoned by the Royalists. The tower was damaged during the seige of 1644 and repaired in 1652, but was gutted by an explosion in 1684 and largely abandoned. By the 18th century, the keep had become an ornamental feature in the grounds of a large house to the north east and in 1818, parts of the structure were altered to serve as dovecotes. In 1825, the tower was included in the grounds of a new prison. Restoration work was carried out in 1902-3, 1915, 1920-23 and 1936.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.