Castle Toilets

Toilets are one of the most important features of any medieval castle. Here is a look at some of the more interesting ones:

Three latrine chutes at Harlech Caslte, WalesThis in the south wall of Harlech Castle.  It's a bit hard to see, but the photo shows three garderobe chutes, two on the left built into the castle wall and one in the turret on the right.  The one on the right is of special interest to castle historians: it is called a corbelled (that is, built out) latrine turret and is similar to those found in castles of the Savoy (an old region where Switzerland, France, and Italy now intersect). 

Corbelled Latrine Turret at Harlech Castle, Wales Here's a better view of the latrine turret, facing west towards the sand dunes and sea. The design is unusual and shows the great pains Master James took to provide some comfort for the guards stationed there.

Conisbrough Castle--Watch Out!!

This wall is part of the tower keep at Conisbrough Castle in northern England.  Two latrine chutes are clear.  One at the bottom of the photo, one (that looks more like a small fireplace) near the top.  Both sent waste to the base of the keep outside the castle. 

 

 

A garderobe at Conisbrough CastleThis is what the seat looked like at the garderobe near the top of the tower before it was remodeled in more recent times.

 

"The Throne" at Conisbrough Castle

 

This is what the garderobe at Conisbrough looks like today. The view looking down through the toilet seat is still breathtaking.

 

Chinon Castle 

Chinon Castle in the Loire Valley of France is rich with history. Joan of Arc, for example, was once imprisoned there, though not in this building (which is the gatehouse). But enough about history, let's move on to the garderobes. You can see a nice one on the right of the wall facing you (next to the lower pair of windows).

 

Closer view of Chinon latrine

 

Here's a closer view of the garderobe. It was corbelled out from the wall and designed so that the waste just barely fell outside the castle wall.

 

Garderobe with a View This garderobe can be found at St. Andrews Castle in Scotland. Thoughtful of the poor cesspool cleaners (but ignorant of sea creatures), this toilet emptied directly into the sea. The bars were added to stop tourists from falling into the sea.  But nothing stops the wind from whistling up through the stone seat. And it's quite a windy place, too!

 

CASTLE STORIES AT jamesmdeem.com

Castle Story 1: The Deadly Siege of Kildrummy Castle

Castle Story 2: The Deadly Siege of Rochester Castle

Castle Story 3: Master James of St. Georges 

 

 
 

 

Unless otherwise noted, all contents ŠJames M. Deem, 1988-2013. 

For permission to quote from or reproduce this material, please contact James M. Deem.

Be sure to visit James M. Deem's other website, The Mummy Tombs, for the most mummy information on the Internet.

About this site