Dungeon Tower

Peer down at our Prisoner John Whithorn and learn about the medieval basement dungeon.

Dungeon Tower, Pembroke Castle

Situated in the Castle’s Inner Ward, is Dungeon Tower, built during the 13th century.  Inside, you can see one of the few remaining authentic medieval gaols.  The dungeon of Pembroke Castle is in the form of an oubliette, from the French ‘oublier’ meaning ‘to forget’.  The sole access to the basement dungeon was through a hatch in the floor, where prisoners were thrown into and forgotten, their only source of light coming from a narrow slit in the east wall.

In the 1440, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester & Earl of Pembroke, unfairly imprisoned John Whithorne in the tower to gain control over Whithorne's land on the Isle of Wight.  There was such a lack of food, clothing, and light in the dungeon that John Whithorne went blind and 'suffered other incurable ills'.

John Whithorne, Dungeon Tower