Did you know that many of the rooms in today’s modern homes have their origins in the medieval period? Although some tweaks and changes have been made, many of the rooms in a medieval castle still have their counterparts in our homes today. For instance, kitchens, pantries, and larders are still as important now as they were back then, and cellars keep our wine as safe as ever. Even the bed chambers have evolved into the modern-day bedroom, and the latrines are now the fancy-sounding lavatories and bathrooms.
The Architecture of Medieval Castle Rooms (1)
Medieval castle rooms were designed with both functionality and aesthetics in mind, with unique and distinctive architectural features that set them apart from other castles. Castle rooms were renowned for their resilient stone walls, which were built for defense against intruders. These walls were often several feet thick and were lined with arrow slits, allowing archers to defend the castle from the safety of the rooms.
Castle rooms were made with high ceilings, which gave a sense of grandeur, improved air circulation, and kept the rooms cool in the summer. Castle rooms also featured big stone fireplaces, generally positioned on the room’s exterior walls, which were used for both heating and cooking. The fireplaces allowed smoke to escape via a chimney or roof vent, keeping the space smoke-free and pleasant.
But, the most intriguing features of castle rooms were the secret passageways and doors, which were hidden behind tapestries and bookcases. These passageways often served as safe exits for the castle residents during sieges.
Types of Medieval Castle Rooms
Let’s have a look at the different types of medieval castle rooms:
1) The Great Hall
The Great Hall was a grand, lavishly decorated room with high ceilings and walls covered with beautiful paintings and tapestries. The size of the hall was quite huge, with the length almost double the width of the room. The Great Hall was located on the ground floor at the entrance of a castle. It also featured a beautifully carved fireplace and a table long enough to feed more than 30 people at a time.
2) Bed Chambers & Solar
Bed Chambers & Solar or modern-day bedrooms were often located on the upper floor and were private rooms used for sleeping. They were decorated with silk curtains and canopies to create a cozy and luxurious atmosphere. And attached to the bed-chamber was the Solar, a small chamber where the residents could unwind, read, write, or paint. Solars were made for relaxation and often had a window with a beautiful view. Solars were frequently furnished with ornamental woodwork upon which decorative statues were showcased.
3) Bathrooms, Lavatories, and Garderobe
Bathrooms, Lavatories, and Garderobes – The Garderobes were basically the modern-day toilets. They were frequently located in a tower; it was just a hole in the floor with a chute running to the outside. However, it wasn’t the most opulent spot to do your business, but when you gotta go, you gotta go! Bathrooms and Lavatories, on the other hand, were more upscale than the garderobes, and they were often located in the lord and lady’s private chambers. The bathrooms featured a large tub filled with hot water for bathing, while the lavatories had a basin for washing hands and face.
4) Kitchens, Pantries, Larders, and Butteries
Kitchens, Pantries, Larders, and Butteries were usually less fancy than the Great Hall, but they were still important. They had big wooden tables, shelves full of pots and pans, and delicious aromas wafting through the air. Kitchens were the busiest rooms in the castle, where cooks and servants worked tirelessly to prepare meals for the lord and lady and their guests. The kitchens were usually big, with open fires and huge cauldrons bubbling away. The pantries were used to store bread and other dry goods, while the larders kept meats and cheeses cool. The buttery was where wine and ale were stored.
5) Gatehouses and Guardrooms
Gatehouses and Guardrooms – The Gatehouse and Guardroom were any castle’s first lines of defense. They were heavily guarded, impressive to look at, and functional. The Gatehouse was the main entrance to the castle, and it was heavily guarded. It had big, heavy doors often reinforced with iron bars to keep unwanted visitors out. The Guardroom was where the soldiers and knights would hang out and watch out for potential attackers.
6) Chapels and Oratories
Chapels and Oratories were important places of worship and reflection in medieval castles. They were often small and cozy rooms with simple but elegant decorations: thick stone walls, wooden benches, and a beautiful altar. Some chapels even had stained glass windows, making the room come alive with color when the sun shone through them.
7) Cabinets and Boudoirs
Cabinets and Boudoirs were the fanciest rooms of any medieval castle. The Cabinets and Boudoirs were often decorated with luxurious fabrics, like silk, velvet, plush cushions, ornate mirrors, and fancy wall paintings. The Cabinets were small private rooms used for private conversations or intimate gatherings. On the other hand, Boudoirs were luxurious small rooms where the residents could get ready and often get their portraits painted.
8) Storerooms, Undercrofts & Cellars
Storerooms, Undercrofts & Cellars were often dark and damp, with low ceilings and rough stone walls. They were not the most glamorous castle rooms, but they were undoubtedly important. These rooms were all about storage. They were used to store all sorts of things, from food and drink to weapons and armor. Storerooms were used to store grains, vegetables, and other food items, while the Cellars were used to store wine and beer. The Undercrofts were often used for weapons and armor storage and as a place for servants to work. These rooms were all about storage. They were used to store all sorts of things, from food and drink to weapons and armor. Storerooms were used to store grains, vegetables, and other food items, while the Cellars were used to store wine and beer. The Undercrofts were often used for weapons and armor storage and as a place for servants to work.
Medieval Castle Rooms Interesting Facts
Here are a few interesting facts about Castle Rooms:
- Castle rooms were not well-lit, so occupants often used candles made from animal fat or beeswax. These were expensive and only affordable by the wealthiest occupants.
- Castle rooms often had a “Mazer” – a wooden drinking bowl carved from a single piece of wood. These were highly valued and often passed down through generations.
- Some castle rooms had a “Mortsafe,” which was a metal cage or grating used to protect the coffins of the deceased from grave robbers.
- The floors were typically made of dirt or stone and covered with straw, rushes, or animal skins. It was considered a luxury to have a wooden floor or carpet.
- Some castle rooms had a “murder hole” above the entrance, which allowed the defenders to pour boiling oil or rocks on attackers trying to enter the room.
The enduring appeal of medieval castle rooms in modern-day interior design is a testament to their timeless elegance and functionality. From the grandeur of the great hall to the cosy intimacy of the bedroom chambers, these historic spaces offer a wealth of design inspiration that continues to captivate designers and homeowners alike.