Castles of England/Domestic Area Design

Castles of England/Domestic Area Design

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This chapter describes the primary options of a citadel that served its home function. All true castles would have all of those options, albeit of various dimension and elegance.

Above Floor[edit]

Warkworth Fort, exhibiting the situation of the foremost rooms

The principle home areas of the citadel have been on the higher flooring of the citadel away from the noise (and smells!) of the extra public areas under. The plan to the correct reveals the structure of the principal rooms in a typical citadel:

  1. The vestibule
  2. The corridor
  3. The chapel
  4. The good chamber
  5. The kitchens
  6. The pantry and buttery

The Vestibule[edit]

A vestibule is a room or area between the doorway and the primary correct room of the citadel. It gives an “airlock” between the skin and the interior areas of the citadel.

The Corridor[edit]

The Nice Corridor of Durham Fort. Durham Fort is of Norman design, though the corridor was not added till the 14thcentury, the big 19th century window being extra typical of this era. The ceiling is 14m excessive and the corridor 30m lengthy.

The corridor (or nice corridor if there was a couple of corridor within the citadel) was the primary room of the citadel. The corridor was used for consuming, sleeping and conducting the enterprise of the citadel and its estates.

The standard design was an oblong room with a excessive ceiling. One finish of the corridor would have had a dais the place the citadel proprietor and household would have dined. The nice chamber was generally situated instantly behind or above the dais. Initially the corridor was utilized by each the proprietor, his family and the servants for consuming and sleeping, however in later castles the servants made use of a subsidiary corridor and the proprietor had moved to the nice chamber.

The corridor was normally on the primary or second ground of the preserve, with the area under used for cellars. The corridor normally occupied two “flooring” of the preserve, having a double peak ceiling. The higher degree would generally have a mural gallery, a walkway by the wall. Home windows could be place excessive as much as present mild – the later the design of the citadel, the larger the home windows.

The scale of the corridor meant that generally the span of the ceiling was too nice to be supported by the aspect partitions alone. In these instances a supporting wall bisecting the corridor might need been constructed.

The corridor was the place the place the proprietor entertained his company, so it was as splendidly adorned as he might afford. The partitions would have been plastered or whitewashed then adorned. The very wealthy would have had adorned glass home windows, though in contrast to as we speak these have been made to be detachable so the proprietor might take them with him on his travels spherical his estates as they have been extraordinarily costly.

The Chapel[edit]

The chapel of Carisbrooke Fort

Faith permeated each side of medieval life, so the chapel was an integral and necessary a part of each citadel. Most castles would have had no less than two chapels – a personal one, close to the corridor or nice chamber, for the usage of the proprietor, and one other for the remainder of the citadel’s inhabitants. The general public chapels have been usually situated within the bailey.

A chapel would have been aligned with the altar to the east and the doorway to the west, the traditional follow for Christian church buildings. Additionally like church buildings of the interval, the chapel would have been richly adorned, maybe with tapestries masking the partitions.

In addition to conducting spiritual ceremonies, the chaplain would have been concerned within the administrative work of the citadel. This was as a result of chaplain being one of many few individuals within the citadel who was doubtless to have the ability to learn and write.

The Nice Chamber[edit]

The nice chamber was the personal room of the citadel’s proprietor and, generally, his speedy household. It allowed him to sleep and eat individually from the remainder of the family. The use and design of the chamber advanced over time. Because the citadel turned extra of a house than a defensive fortification, the chamber elevated in significance. Ultimately it might become a collection of rooms. In early designs, the chamber would have been heated by braziers, later designs incorporating fireplaces.

The chamber additionally served as a treasury, so it needed to be in a safe location. In Norman castles the chamber is normally positioned subsequent to the corridor and in later designs instantly above the corridor, accessed by a stairway. The Chamberlain was accountable for the treasury.

Furnishings was comparatively uncommon in early castles. Nonetheless, the chamber would have a four-poster mattress, with curtains to cut back the draughts, chests, chairs and, presumably, a free standing wood bathtub or wash stand.

The Kitchens[edit]

A typical citadel kitchen, though that is from Doune Fort in Scotland.

The citadel kitchen was normally in a separate constructing slightly than the primary preserve, albeit joined by a lined passageway to permit meals to carried rapidly and simply to the corridor. The calorie consumption of a typical man in medieval instances was prone to be a lot increased than as we speak. Virtually no matter their career, they’d have been concerned in exhausting bodily labour. This meant that the manufacturing of huge portions of meals was important in a citadel, that means a big kitchen.

The principle characteristic of the kitchen would have been its fireplaces. These would have given off an infinite quantity of warmth making the kitchen very uncomfortable to work in. The fires have been the explanation the kitchen was normally in a special constructing – there was an excellent likelihood that the constructing could possibly be burnt to the bottom. The kitchen would both have a effectively or the effectively could be close by exterior to offer a provide of unpolluted water for cooking.

The kitchen ground would in all probability have been stored lined with straw or an analogous materials to take in spillages. On the finish of every day these would have been swept down a waste chute into the moat or collected up if no chute was offered.

Ovens to bake bread would normally be situated subsequent to the fireplaces. The oven was heated by filling it with burning wooden till the bricks have been heated proper by. Then the oven was swept clear and the meals put inside – the retained warmth within the bricks cooking the meals.

The Pantry, Larder and Buttery[edit]

The pantry was the storage and preparation room for common provisions that weren’t being ready within the kitchen. The identify derives from the French phrase for bread, ache. The pantler was accountable for the pantry.

The larder was underneath the management of the larderer and was used to retailer meat and fish.

The buttery was for the storage of “butts” of ale and different alcohol. It was the duty of the butler. Because the storage and management of alcohol was crucial, probably the most reliable servant was put in cost. This result in the butler taking the function of head of the home family.

It was pretty typical for the buttery and pantry to be constructed on the reverse finish of the corridor to the nice chamber. For storing costly items, like spices, an ambury (a cabinet constructed into the wall) was used.

The Brewery[edit]

Water was not normally drunk because it was typically unsafe, significantly close to a citadel the place the watercourses have been prone to be contaminated with illness pathogens from sewage and different waste. The brewing course of removes impurities and destroys dangerous micro organism, making ale protected to drink. As such it was the drink of selection for all however those that could not afford it. Later, ale was flavoured with hops producing beer. Given the excessive demand for ale and beer each main citadel would have had its personal brewery to offer for the residents.


The dovecote from Newark Fort, in Scotland

Castles would have stored doves for the meals from the birds themselves, their eggs and for carrying messages. The earliest recognized proof of dove retaining in an English citadel was within the Norman interval (across the 12th century) with Rochester Fort having nest-holes within the preserve. The primary identifiable dovecote is considerably later, across the 14th century.

Beneath Floor[edit]

The Cellars[edit]

The citadel cellars have been normally underneath the nice corridor (which was on the primary or second ground of the preserve). It was used for common storage in addition to these issues usually anticipated in a citadel – weapons, armour and different navy provides. The citadel designers would have tried to make sure the cellar was fireproof as its destruction, with its giant provides of meals, might have result in the fast defeat of the citadel garrison.

The Dungeons[edit]

It might be shocking, however truly only a few castles have been constructed with a dungeon. The underground areas seen in castles and chateau ruins as we speak have been practically all the time cellars or different storage areas. The rationale there have been no dungeons was as a result of there have been no prisoners. The prison justice system of the interval tended to result in individuals being discovered not responsible, or being hung. Cells or dungeons have been solely required if for some cause a suspected prison wanted to be held pending trial, however this was slightly uncommon.

Later, because the prison justice system developed, underground areas of castles have been generally become prisons. These cellars have been not required for his or her authentic function because the citadel was not required to carry shops in opposition to an extended siege. So that they made handy locations to carry criminals.

Design Options[edit]


A garderobe, this one is in Chirk Fort, Wales

A garderobe was the medieval equal of a rest room. There was normally a number of in every of the primary citadel rooms. Sometimes they’d be positioned subsequent to or inside the citadel partitions. If the citadel partitions weren’t thick sufficient to comprise the garderobe, it might be constructed on brackets exterior the wall, hanging instantly over the ditch or moat. The method to a garderobe was dog-legged to cut back the quantity of odour escaping again into the citadel. There was little sophistication to a garderobe – it was only a gap, lined with a wood bench that both opened on to the skin or to a chute. Whatever the methodology of disposal, the deposits needed to be recurrently cleared away – presumably probably the most disagreeable job in a citadel.


A typical citadel staircase in turnpike design, this one is at Foulksrath Fort

As castles are normally constructed on a number of ranges, staircases are an necessary part of the design. The defensive power of a citadel might be considerably affected by the design and positioning of the staircase. The place a staircase is contained in the citadel wall, it creates a weak level that may be focused by siege engines. To keep away from making a thinner wall, staircases have been generally constructed exterior the tower or preserve.

A second consideration was the route of a spiral staircase. As soon as an enemy had entered the citadel, the staircases could possibly be made simpler to defend by making them spiral. In what is called a “turnpike” association, the steps spiral so {that a} defender increased up the staircase is free to make use of his sword arm whereas the attacker has restricted motion.

Lastly, staircases could also be positioned on alternate sides of the construction (for instance, from floor to first ground the staircase is on the north aspect, from first to second ground, it’s on the south aspect). This association means the attackers must battle their manner throughout the ground to succeed in the subsequent staircase. In some designs, the rooms could be cut up in half with a wall and doorway creating an additional defensive level.


In early castles, warmth was offered by free-standing braziers and central fireside fires. The fireside was developed in round 1100 and commenced to be included in citadel design from that time onwards. The fireside result in a serious change contained in the citadel because it eliminated the central fires, making a wider, open area and decreasing the quantity of smoke and soot. This in flip result in the growing ornament of the necessary rooms, just like the corridor and nice chamber.


A donkey wheel operated effectively at Carisbrooke Fort

It’s a elementary design tenet or a citadel that it wants to have the ability to survive a protracted siege. The availability of a dependable supply of ingesting water contained in the citadel is due to this fact important. The effectively must be positioned so it couldn’t be captured whereas different areas of the citadel continued to withstand the attackers. Which means no less than one effectively would usually be contained in the preserve itself. A further effectively would usually be positioned close to the kitchen.

Nonetheless, provision of wells was a major downside for a lot of castles. A citadel was usually constructed on excessive, usually rocky, floor, making it tough to sink a effectively. Additionally the effectively needed to be deep sufficient in order that it could not be contaminated by sewage or waste from the citadel. In some designs, the higher elements of the effectively have been stone lined to attempt to stop contamination and plenty of would have had a canopy for after they weren’t in use.

When the effectively was significantly deep, lifting ample water for the citadel inhabitants would have been a back-breaking process. To mitigate this, donkey wheels have been generally put in to offer energy for the lifting mechanism.

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