About seven minuets into this video he explains about the latrine in the castle and how it would be blocked up during a siege to keep people out. Is the historian correct in saying this? I was wondering if this was just a logical precaution, or whether they were adapting to data from previous castles and sieges. I wouldn't imagine that it would be any easier or effective than trying to take a ladder to the battlements, (especially when the latrine over hangs the river) unless they managed to do it without the defenders noticing.

Are there historic references to people breaking into a castle by coming up through the latrine?


1 Answer 1


Short answer: Yes.

One example:

The protruding shaft of masonry that made up the toilet was buttressed from below or might nestle in the junction between a tower and wall. Some waste shafts were short while others reached almost to the ground. In the latter case, that might prove a dangerous design feature if there were a siege of the castle. Indeed, besiegers used just such a latrine shaft in 1203-4 CE to gain entry to Chateau Gaillard on the River Seine in France, built by Richard I (r. 1189-99 CE) at the end of the 12th century CE. After the siege, to ensure no repeat of the trick, a masonry wall was built around the shaft exit.


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