Castle Learning Center Wells
Castles of Britain


well © 1998-2016 by Lise Hull
Wells were essential in castles. Take away the drinking water and you've captured a castle. Sometimes castles had more than one well, and most commonly they were placed in the courtyard of the castle.

A well-house, normally made of timber, covered the well, which connected to the kitchen by a timber passage. Even inside a keep, the wells were placed near the kitchen. Sometimes, a well was dug in the basement of the keep, but this was inconvenient, so different methods were devised to make life easier.

A windlass, running through a trap door in the wooden floors above, often provided access to the well. Sometimes, a pipe carried water up the wall to the upper floors. They also channeled the water to local areas around the castle or to stone tanks.

Wells varied in depth from 11ft. to over 200ft. (Beeston Castle has a well nearly 400ft deep).

Here are some castles with the depths of the wells.
Castle Well depth
Bamburgh 145ft.
Beeston 400ft.
Bodiam 11ft.
Carisbrooke 145ft.
Conisbrough 105ft.
Conwy 91ft.
Dover 350ft.
Newcastle 94ft.
Pevensey 50ft.
Pickering 75ft.
Windsor 165ft.