Mortimer’s Hole, Nottingham Castle

Mortimer’s Hole, Nottingham Castle

IN 1330, Roger Mortimer and Queen Isabella took refuge in Nottingham Castle, where they lived together flaunting all decorum and allocating to themselves regal powers to which they had no right.

Such a state of affairs could not be permitted to continue, and so the young King Edward III. headed a band of his faithful nobles and by means of a secret passage to the Castle succeeded in surprising the usurping pair, arresting Mortimer and leading him off to execution and dispatching Queen Isabella to an open and honourable imprisonment at Castle Rising in Norfolk.

There is a dispute as to the secret passage used upon this occasion, but whether Edward III. and his men entered the Castle through the passage way whose entrance is shown in the picture or not it does not very much matter, for it is of extreme interest and it must have been used as a sally port upon many occasions.

Probably it was constructed in order to allow the garrison of Nottingham Castle to have easy access to the waters of the River Leen, which Peveril had diverted from its original course, so that it flowed along the foot of the cliff in the Park, and was made to turn the mill which was situated somewhere at the foot of the Castle cliff.

A visit to this curious underground passage, which can so easily be made by applying to an attendant in the Castle Museum, is one of the most interesting that can be undertaken in Nottingham.