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Murder holes at Bodiam Castle

A murder-hole or meurtrière is a hole in the ceiling gate through which the defenders can fire, throw or pour dangerous or noxious substances at attackers. As a result, the defenders would be able to rain rocks and arrows down on the attackers' heads. They also allowed water to be poured onto fire started within the gate passage. Similar holes, called machicolations, were often located in the curtain walls of castles, fortified manor houses and city walls. The parapet would project over corbels so that holes would be located over the exterior face of the wall, and arrows could be shot at, rocks dropped on, or boiling water poured over, any attackers near the wall.

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