THE DARKER side of Warwick’s history will be revealed on Victorian Evening.
Visitors are invited to follow in the footsteps of prisoners down the well-trodden steps to the 17th century dungeon housed under The Old Shire Hall.
It was used to incarcerate those awaiting trial, thought to include Catholic priests, Quakers and army deserters.
Nearly 60 prisoners could be held at one time.
They would be forced to lay down on their side around a cesspit in the centre. Their feet were bound and connected by a single chain thread through iron rings on posts. Not surprisingly, many died before their trial date.
The dungeon – known as a ‘honey pot’ – is dome shaped with a grate in the ceiling and was prone to flooding having being built over a spring. It is one of three similar dungeons still in existence.
It was finally closed in 1797 by social reformer John Howard.
Visitors will also be able to look around The Great Hall, the former courtrooms and the judges’ house, with its extensive portrait collection.
Victorian Evening, when the town’s Christmas lights will be switched on, is on Thursday November 29.
Entry to The Great Hall, courtrooms and judges’ house, is free. Adults will be charged £3 to view the dungeon. Children under 16 accompanied by an adult go free. Dungeon visits must be booked in advance. Visit times include 4.45pm, 5.15pm, 5.45pm and 6.15pm. The rest of the venue will be open from 4.30pm to 8.30pm.
Email [email protected] to book a dungeon visit.
Visitors should note the dungeon is not accessible for pushchairs, wheelchairs or people with limited mobility.