A team working at Clifford’s Tower have discovered the remains of a huge flagpole which soared above the site in Victorian times.
Archaeologists came across the find while at the tower as part of English Heritage’s ongoing conservation project.
The flagpole dates from a time when the medieval tower and its mound were enclosed within the city’s prison buildings.
Only a handful of images of the flagpole exist in the York archives. And the new evidence helps historians to understand exactly where it sat within the tower.
Andrea Selley, English Heritage’s territory director in the North of England, said: “As we continue with our project at Clifford’s Tower, we are learning more and more about this fascinating building each day, and the many periods of which make up its long history.
“Our team had seen images of the flagpole in the archives, and we were therefore delighted to uncover evidence of the original wooden pole which loomed over the tower and surrounding prison during the late Victorian period.
“It is exciting to be able to touch this piece of history for the first time in more than a century, and to see the original piece of 19th century timber which almost certainly formed the base of the flagpole, and still sits within its original lead collar, which has protected it for more than a century.”
English Heritage’s project to undertake conservation works and visitor improvements at Clifford’s Tower is due to be completed by the summer.