ONE of the most notorious events in English history is to be commemorated in a simple and moving ceremony on the site where it took place.

The shameful massacre of the Jews in York took place on March 16 in 1190, on the site now known as Clifford’s Tower.

On next week’s anniversary a lantern-lit commemoration event will recall the horrific events of the night when an estimated 150 Jewish residents of the city died.

Organised by the city’s Holocaust Memorial Day Steering Group, the formal civic event will include a statement about the events of 1190 as well as music and readings.

And Dr Sarah Rees Jones, professor of medieval history at the University of York will speak on the Jews of York at the time of the tragedy.

The date of the massacre is often referred to as the blackest day in York’s long history.

A mob went on the rampage after anti-Semitic feeling was whipped up by local gentry who were deeply in debt to Jewish money lenders.

The city’s Jews took refuge in what was then York Castle and for several days remained there safely - but then, fearing treachery, they locked the royal constable out of the keep.

The local militia were called and with the mob outside baying for blood the Jews inside could see no way out of their situation.

That night their rabbi called on them to commit suicide and the men killed their wives and children before setting the castle ablaze and killing themselves.

Those who chose to live ventured outside amid promises of mercy – but were fell upon and killed by the angry mob.

The Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Sonja Crisp said: “This event is a shared remembrance of the massacre of Jewish people at York Castle in 1190.

“It is important that we mark such an event on the site where it took place and everyone is welcome to come along and share in this simple, candle-lit ceremony of readings and prayer.”

Anyone who would like to attend the hour-long event is invited to meet at Clifford’s Tower at 6.30pm.