Young Girls from the Middle Ages

Castle Life

bodiamMedieval castles were homes and fortresses. They were designed to protect the lord who became much stronger and longer-lasting when they were built with stone.

Within the castle, you might find a Guard Hall. The Guard Hall was where soldiers and servants would spend their time. It was often their living room, dining room, and bedroom all in one! Windows were usually covered with wooden shutters. Around the 13th century, windows began to have glass panes. There was usually a fireplace or hearth in the Guard Hall that was used for cooking and heating.

Castle Life - table
Castle life - hall

The Great Hall — or the Hall — was where the work of the rulers or lords took place. At one end of the room was a raised platform and a long table where the lord would conduct business. Feasts were usually held in the Great Hall. During the feast, the noble and his family were usually seated on the platform. Food was often cooked in the Hall over a central fire or over a fire in the fireplace. Fireplaces began to appear around the 13th century. Before the fireplace, fires were on a hearth in the center of the room. The hearth was usually surrounded by stone, brick, or slate. The smoke escaped through a structure in the roof. The Great Hall was most often on an upper floor of the castle, but sometimes it was found on the ground floor. Some Halls had a Minstrel Gallery that was raised above the room so that performers could be seen and heard.

The kitchen was where much of the food eaten in the castle was prepared. It was typically located near the Great Hall. The kitchen had a fireplace or hearth where the cooking was done. Utensils often hung from the walls. You might also find a table and some stools. For very large feasts, a temporary kitchen was sometimes set up near the garden.

Castle life - chamberChambers were the rooms used by the castle family and their guests. The Great Chamber — or Solar — was the private area of the lord and his wife. Sometimes there were upper chambers where other members of the family would sleep. The chambers were usually furnished with a bed that had a feather mattress, a chest that held clothing and personal items, and maybe a chair or stool.

Castle Liofe - GarderobeThe Garderobe was located very close to the chambers. The Garderobe was the toilet. It was usually built into the castle wall and waste drained into the moat or somewhere outside the castle.

Many castles also had a Chapel where the noble and his family would worship. The gardens were also special places within the castle grounds. Vegetables and flowers were grown there. Many plants were used for dye for materials and medicine, and plants like the flax were turned into material for clothing.

Build your own Medieval Castle

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