Murder Holes


Murder Holes

  • What was the Origin, Meaning or Definition of the Murder Holes
  • Description of a castle Murder Holes
  • What was the purpose of the Murder Holes?
  • How did Murder Holes help with Castle defenses?

Description of the Murder Holes

Murder Holes were holes in the ceilings of castle gateways, barbicans or passageways through which heavy missiles or dangerous substances could be thrown on the enemy.

They were quite literally Murder Holes! Murder Holes were also built into Machicolations which were projecting parapets or platforms designed to hang over castle walls - similar to a balcony. These holes gained the popular name of ‘Murder Holes’ also called Meutrieres.

Missiles dropped from Murder Holes
The Missiles dropped from ‘Murder Holes’ included heavy stones, hot sand, molten lead, boiling water and boiling tar or pitch. During siege warfare any rotting materials such as dung or dead bodies would also be dropped from the murder holes!

Murder Holes

Murder Holes
The Murder Holes were introduced with Norman and Plantagenet castles during the Medieval period 1066 - 1485. Facts and information about the many different parts of Castles! The Murder Holes were an essential Castle part for as a form of defence against intruders.

Murder Holes

Parts of a Castle

  • What were the purpose of the different parts of the Medieval Castle?
  • What was the difference between the parts of a castle called the Garderobe and the Wardrobe?
  • Identifying parts of a castle - Description, purpose and function of the Moat, Dungeon and Portcullis
  • Description, purpose and function of the Barbican, Gatehouse, Crenellations and Drawbridge
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