Castle Architecture

The Great Hall

Medieval feasts, wedding celebrations, receiving visiting nobles, and holiday festivities would all be celebrated in the castle's great hall. Elaborate tapestries and silks would line the walls and while Middle Age castles could be rather dark, the largest windows would be found here. Small wooden or stone benches were placed underneath these windows so guests could enjoy the view.

Great Hall furnishings could be sparse, but they were very practical. Long wooden tables and benches would be covered with white linene during feasts, but could be taken apart easily for dancing and entertainment. Castle lords and their families would be seated at a table on a raised wooden or stone dais at the far end of the hall.

Stone floors in the castle's Great Hall were rarely covered with carpets, though wealthy lords might cover them with tapestries. Straw and rushes were the usual coverings, but later in the Middle Ages herbs like majoram, camomile, basil, sweet fennel, mint, germander and lavender would be added to help with the aroma. These coverings were swept regularly, but new materials would be soon added to cover up the more nasty fragments on the floor: bone fragments, spittle, animal excrement, beer and grease.

Light for evening feasts and celebrations would be provided by candles and oil lamps. It was not unusual for guests to sleep in the hall after a night of merrymaking.