Monday, April 5, 2010

Medieval Dungeon Darkness

Say the word 'dungeon' and it conjurs up an instant notion of darkness and fear. Well it should too! Dungeons were an integral part of many medieval castles, particularly those castles built in areas of political and social unrest.

Take Carlisle Castle for example. Located on close to the border of England and Scotland, it has been a target for attack at different times in its turbulent 900 year history - from William Wallace to Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite rebellion. It is not surprising, therefore, that when you visit Carlisle Castle, the dungeons at the base of its great keep make a strong and memorable impact upon the mind of the visitor. They are cold, damp and dark; their atmosphere is unique and difficult to convey in words. Suffice it to say, as you stand there absorbing this 'environment', it is easy to imagine the terrible plight of anyone who was imprisoned there. It is no surprise to learn that the medieval dungeon was also known as an oubliette - from the French oublier (to forget) and meaning a place where people were left to be forgotten and eventually die.

Read more about medieval dungeons and view pictures of carlisle castle's dungeons which we took on one very memorable visit.

We also have more about castle keeps.

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