Castles

Whether on the mote, inside the walls of the keep, or as a separate building, the living space of a castle were very basic. The hall, was a large one room structure with a loft ceiling, the hall was sometimes on the 1st floor, but sometimes it was raised to the second story for greater security. Early halls were ailed like a church, with rows of wooden posts or stone pillars supporting the timber roof. Windows had wooden shutters held on by an iron bar, but in the 11th and 12th centuries were rarely glazed. By the 13th century a king or great baron might have colored glass in some of his windows.
In a ground floor hall the floor was packed dirt, stone or plaster, when the hall was elevated to the upper floor the floor was always timber, supported either by a row of wooden pillars in the basement below, or by stone vaulting. Carpets, also used on walls, tables, and benches, were not used as flooring in England and northwest Europe until the 14th century.
Entrance to the hall was in a sidewall near the lowest end of the hall. An outside staircase next to the wall of the keep reached when the hall was on an upper story. The castle family sat on a stage of stone or wood at the upper end of the hall at the other end than the door to keep away from drafts. The lord sat in a huge chair. Everyone else sat on benches. Most dining tables were set on temporary stages that were taken between meals. A permanent table was another sign of wealth. But all tables were covered with white cloths. Candles made of animal fat lighted the hall.
The fireplace provided heat throughout the whole castle. What was used instead of a fireplace was the central open pit, used in ground level halls. Square and circular the fire pits were surrounded by stone or tile and sometimes had a back of brick or stone. Smoke rose through a hole in the roof with side openings that were covered with sloped boards not letting in rain or snow, the hole could be closed by pull…

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