Castle Learning Center Castle Halls
Castles of Britain


© 2000-2015 by Lise Hull
castle hall Castle halls were the all-purpose structure of the castle. Early halls were built of timber, although early stone halls were also built. Most were placed in the bailey against the walls of the castle, and some were placed over a storage basement. There are also free standing castle halls. The very first halls did not have a fireplace, and depended on an open hearth fire, in the middle of the floor, for heating.

Sometimes the kitchen and other service buildings would be located near the hall, or, incorporated into the hall. This allowed the servants to prepare a meal and serve it without the food becoming cold. The hall floor would be of beaten earth and covered with fresh straw or rushes. Only later did the hall have a paved or solid floor. The hall usually had large windows to provide plenty of light.

Also, some halls were located in the castle keep, or even in a smaller tower. These are referred to as a hall keep, and were longer and wider than they were high. Castle halls were often sparsely furnished. Some would have only two or three long wooden tables and benches. Simple tapestries may have been hung from the walls, and maybe a special table and chair for the lord would be placed on a raised platform at the front of the hall.

Even though meals were eaten in the castle hall, it also provided a place of entertainment, ceremonies, and a legal center. At times guests would sleep in the hall, or in the apartments provided over the hall.