A lord often had a number of manors, so the manor house was not necessarily his primary residence. The Lord and his family would sit at one end on a raised portion. Castles exert a powerful hold on our imagination. In western France, the early manor houses were centered on a central ground-floor hall. Who actually farmed the land? It was quite common for the bath and bed to accompany the Lord on his travels. Colonial America also kept the kitchen away from the main plantatio … n house to prevent a fire from starting in the kitchen and spreading to the main house. Its magnificent wooden roof is one of the most remarkable in Britain.
Early castles were made of wood, and later ones made of stone. In 1821 the hall, still open to the rafters, was divided up into two separate court rooms and further alterations were made in 1858. But it was also the living quarters for the lord and his family, very likely along with a number of other people. In fact, servants were not usually allowed to use the same staircases as nobles to access the great hall of larger castles in early times; for example, the servants' staircases are still extant in places such as Muchalls Castle. Lighting was considered unimportant as most people tended to keep to the hours of daylight and if any lighting was necessary it was provided by means of smoky dips suspended over tallow.
In this part of the medieval castle were stables for horses, and Doves were kept in a building called The Dovecote. The Stables Horses were extremely valuable in Medieval times. The ceilings had to be high. Concentric castles represent one of the high points in Medieval military architecture. From the medieval castle a Lord was safe and able to plan his affairs, the Lord would keep law and order and would arrange tournaments and feasts in his medieval castle.
The lord's table was at the 'high' north end of the hall, and in later times was often raised upon a dais or platform. It was the place where formal functions happened, guests were entertained, and dinners were eaten. People ate there, sometimes slept there, and had meetings there. Even for people who were landless and without title, the Church strongly encouraged marriage and monogamy. Moats and Water Defenses Most British Castles are found in low-lying open areas and few had the chance to take advantage of natural defenses, such as perching upon rocky outcrops Goodrich Castle or Stirling Castle or being protected by sheer cliffs Dunnottar Castle. The smoke rose to a hole in the roof or high in the walls. As castles became more luxurious, their dungeons became associated with prison cells and often they were located underground.
The Medieval Feast The one thing that differentiated the medieval rich from the poor more than any other in terms of food was meat. In Scotland these devices are called a 's lug. Great Halls, unfortunately, fell into disrepair along with their medieval castles, but some fine examples do still survive, perhaps the best being the 33. The result was that there were no fireplaces in buildings before the 12th century, and very few after that in the Middle Ages. So most buildings, even castles and manor houses, did not have chimneys and fireplaces. The four towers are three stories high, and the roof is lined with battlements. Finally, meat pies, pastries and fritters were prepared, and there were fish pies, too.
As time went on, the Castle Hall became a much more important feature of castle design and became more commonly known as the Great Hall. Basically a prisoner was put in here, forgotten about and left to die. Turrets and Towers In the early stone castles, the keep was the biggest and most important tower, while the rest of the towers if there were any had a secondary role. Photo by Michael Kelly The finished entrance of Grizer Castle will open in the spring. The main entrance to the hall was monitored by an usher who controlled who came and went, especially after the accessibility to the lord became a privilege in itself. It passed out of the room through openings under the gables or in the roof. Spring water was of course ideal but more usual was a dug well.
Sandwich was a port town in Kent, the English county closest to the coast of France, and as such had a strategically important location. Designed, then, to impress, the Great Hall usually had a beautiful wooden beam ceiling or impressive stone vaults, decorative stonework, and large windows opening to the safe interior side of the castle which gave plenty of light. John of Gaunt's Cellar This medieval vaulted cellar is all that remains of a stone kitchen or chamber block at the 'low' south end of the hall. An alternate to a central fire was to have the hearth against a stone wall and have a smoke canopy over it to gather the smoke and vent it through the wall. In France early keeps were called donjons, in Germany they were called Bergfried.
A clay cover was put over the hearth at night to prevent any fire mishaps. To serve the lord, most castles would have been places of frenzied domestic activity. The castle walls usually had watchtowers where soldiers could watch out for enemies and visitors to the medieval castle. A parsonage would be one example of such a structure. It was in the Great Hall that the heart of medieval castle life was seen to beat most colourfully with the lord and his family, friends or guests taking food and wine here as well as being entertained, often on a lavish scale.