Other than the obvious main gatehouse and watergate (if built near water), were there any other entrances or exits to European castles? Were there commonly found secret escape tunnels, entrances for service workers, or other lesser-known access points? I'm looking to find a few more creative ways to get a character into a castle. It would be a well-fortifitied castle with an outer curtain wall, moat, etc. Not during a siege but during uncertain times.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Kinda need a bit more information on the castle. Can't plan a heist if we don't even know the building and a basic sense of where it is. There is a big difference sneaking into a wartime alert castle keep studded with towers built on a tall bluff with a huge moat versus an upgraded manor house with a small curtain wall in the countryside. $\endgroup$
    – yolo man
    Commented Aug 15, 2021 at 2:23
  • $\begingroup$ Who is the attacker: a rival lord? A thief? A spy? An attacking army? Rioters? $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Commented Aug 15, 2021 at 4:28
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    $\begingroup$ I suggest wandering around a physical castle if you can. Once you do, you'll realize how small they often are, how thick the walls are, how solid the ground is etc.How castles were in my head did not match up to reality when I got to Europe and saw some. $\endgroup$
    – sdfgeoff
    Commented Aug 15, 2021 at 6:09
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    $\begingroup$ If it's not wartime, you might disguise yourself as a servant, or hide under a cart delivering produce to the castle. $\endgroup$
    – causative
    Commented Aug 15, 2021 at 10:58
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    $\begingroup$ There are as as many entrances as your plot requires .If you need to name them, it can be a secret tunnel (overdone), or a sally port (which would be sealed unless needed, so someone on the inside would need to open it) $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Commented Aug 15, 2021 at 13:15

2 Answers 2

  • Sally port:
    A sufficiency large castle might have a door to let a small group of defenders out. To small for supplies, etc., and well positioned for counterattack.
  • Postern gate:
    More generally, a small secondary gate. This could include sally ports.
  • Bridge Castle:
    A castle combined with a toll bridge.

How many entrances did most European castles have?

There really is no single answer to this, it depends on the castle, who designed it, what for, how big a castle it is etc, no two castles are the same (well not many of them) so just pick a castle of suitable size & type for your purpose & use the number it has or make it up yourself.

Though obviously a working defensive castle should have as few as possible.

Here's an example castle for you Bodiam Castle

It has a single entrance now but a search for maps for it shows it originally had two.

Irrelevant sidebar: those trees around the moat wouldn't be there if it was in active use as a medieval fortification, they'd be cover & handy siege material for any attackers so wouldn't be allowed to grow.


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