Carlisle Castle Restores 15th-Century Carvings Believed to Be by Prison Guards

Carlisle Carvings - Carlisle Castle Restores 15th-Century Carvings Believed to Be by Prison Guards
The Carlisle carvings – Probably dating back to the 15th century they show support for the ruling family of the time, the Dacres, and include images of their crests.

In a painstaking restoration project, workers at Carlisle Castle in England have managed to uncover carvings that are thought to have been created by prison guards in the 15th century.

The castle, which was built in 1092 by William II, is known as the most besieged site in the British Isles. It has been attacked by Scottish armies no less than 26 times, and has withstood numerous sieges over the years. The carvings, which were hidden beneath sediment and water damage for centuries, can now be seen clearly. Thanks to the hard work of the restoration team, this important piece of history will now be preserved for future generations.

Now that they have restored these carvings, we can learn more about who created them and what their purpose was. There are over three hundred carvings, depicting dolphins, horses, boar, salmon, mermaids, George and the dragon, and a fox preaching to some chickens, which is believed to be a 500-year-old warning not to trust people in authority.

“They are a nice snapshot, which you don’t normally get going around castles, of what was in people’s minds in the 15th century,” said Mark Douglas, an English Heritage property curator.

Mark Douglas, an English Heritage property curator

In addition some of the carvings are thought to depict scenes from daily life at the castle, including prisoners being guarded and tortured. This is an important discovery, as it provides us with a unique glimpse into life in a medieval prison.

“Someone stood here and carved these images on the wall and I’m now standing in front of them and I can bring my own imagination to what they mean. Anyone can stand in front of these carvings and get a feeling for another human being making pictures hundreds of years ago.”

Juliet Fellow-Smith, property manager at the castl

The restoration project was funded by English Heritage, and it is hoped that visitors to the castle will be able to see the carvings up close once they are put on display.

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