Many civilization imagine dungeons to it is in dank, dark and also deep vaults below a castle, where detainees were held – and also where the unluckiest among them to be tortured.

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However, this image doesn’t really host true. The castle dungeon evolved, strangely enough, from gift a jail within the tallest, most secure tower that the castle. Dungeons weren’t always underground!

To know the truth about dungeons, I’ll start off explaining the history and function of the an initial Medieval dungeons.

I’ll additionally describe a punishment even worse 보다 a dungeon – the oubliette – or the ‘forgotten chamber’, which was offered to keep prisoners in horrific captivity.

I’ll additionally take you on a tourism of few of the most feared dungeons in the entirety world.

A wooden skull, inserted to spook tourists in Prague Castle. Credit: Adam Jones CC-BY-SA-2.0

Originally, the an excellent Keep to be the many secure part of the lock – and, in beforehand Medieval times, nobles had tendency to live in the Keep, as it reflected your importance.

However, together time progressed, the nobles began to live in more comfortable and luxurious areas of the castle – in bedrooms designed for warmth and also luxury.

However, the great Keep stayed as the many secure ar at the heart of the castle. Beneficial items – such together jewels, money and also important prisoners – began to be stored in this secured tower.

In later on Medieval times, the principle of taking political prisoners came to be much much more common. Once Edward i was trying come subdue the constant rebellions in phibìc Wales, he witnessed the value of capturing and imprisoning the best trouble-makers.

Therefore, his new castles that the so late 1200s – consisting of Caernarfon, for instance – contained new prisons to store the rebellious Welsh in ~ bay.

Initially, this prisons were in towers – this were thought about to be the strongest parts of the castle, and the locations which could be best-defended if a prisoner want to escape. Eventually, these new prisons started to be dubbed ‘castle dungeons’, which was an English adaptation that the old French indigenous of ‘don-jon’.

Remember that ‘don-jon’, in middle ages times, just meant a secured tower, or good Keep.

A diagram of a lock oubliette. This was more comprehensive than many – a bell-jar prison, if friend like.

They would have actually been lowered into this column by a guardsman, and, when they reached the bottom, the rope would have actually been taken up and also the trap-door over them would have been closed.

Often, the shaft would have been therefore deep the there would have actually been no means to reach approximately the trap-door.

In the oubliette, the prisoner would have actually been required to continue to be standing, in the dark, till they were released – if ever.

Food and water might have been thrown under to lock if they were happy (or if your survival was checked out to be important), however it was, every in all, a truly awful punishment.

An example of one oubliette have the right to be found in the Bastile, in France.

The Most well known – and also Most infamous – lock Dungeons roughly the World

The infamous Dungeons the Pontefract Castle, England

“Pontefract lock dungeon to be so notorious, they were portrayed in Shakespeare’s play, Richard III.”

The most terrifying lock dungeons in the totality of England were undoubtedly those that Pontefract Castle, in Yorkshire.

Pontefract lock was a vast and fearsome fortress v a blood-curdling reputation – it was so notorious that that was portrayed in Shakespeare’s play, Richard III. In the play, Earl Rivers defines Pontefract (then Pomfret) as: “O Pomfret, Pomfret! O she bloody prison! Fatal and also ominous come noble peers”.

Pontefract lock was used as a prison in the 1300s, and also King Richard II that England was virtually certainly murdered in cold-blood in the lock dungeons.

The dungeons whereby huge, and extended across a number of different rooms, all approximately 35ft below the main bulk of the castle.

The wet dungeons the Chillon castle in Switzerland space brilliantly atmospheric. Credit: Ioan Sameli CC-BY-2.0

Bonivard was lashed come the 5th pillar the the dungeon, and also was to be kept imprisoned for his life as he was seen as a troublesome political dissident.

However – luckily because that him! – after four years the imprisonment Chillon lock was captured, and he was released and also able to totally free to safety.

Lord Byron was an extremely interested in the imprisonment that Bonivard – that fit right into his romantic ideals of an secluded voice trapped exterior cruel culture – and also wrote a poem around his time in the dungeon.

The dungeons themselves are at sea-level, with exceptional gothic arches which do anyone inside feeling helpless and also tiny in the face of such great power and architecture.

Click below to discover more about Chillon Castle. . .

The Tourist-Trap endure of the Dungeons that Warwick Castle, England

If you’re in search of a little of gory ‘fun’ (and historic accuracy isn’t too crucial to you!) then you could always take a pilgrimage to the dungeons of Warwick Castle, England’s most commercial legacy attraction.

Warwick lock is certainly one of the grandest staying castles in England, yet it’s presently owned by a theme-parks operator.

Warwick Castle’s dungeons space a theatrical experience. Credit: man W Schulze CC-BY-2.0

The result is a scare-fest dungeon that’s filled with macabre sightings, gory torture implements, and even its own in residence ‘torturer’, who pops up sometimes to scare tourists (into parting with even more money, presumably).

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All in all, it’s a funny twenty-minutes i beg your pardon recreates the feel of claustrophobia and also panic of gift trapped in a dungeon – but it’s no really one authentic historic experience.