The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
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The Medieval Hall

The basis of secular domestic life, 600-1600 AD
Michael Thompson

While the medieval hall had an existence far beyond castles and palaces all castles and palaces had, at their core, at least one hall. An understanding of how the castle functioned requires an understanding of the various functions of the hall. Thompson's text goes beyond a mere physical description and starts to explore function.
Thompson and many historians of his generation have regular experience of medieval halls in the Cambridge University colleges where they teach. This experience is almost always of those halls being used for dining. This has lead, in my opinion, to a bit of an over emphasis on medieval halls as the centre of feasting. Feasting and other high status social activities such as dancing did occur in medieval halls but, certainly in major buildings, halls were also the centre for political and judicial activities where people of less elite social status would be present. For some of the grandest castles, those centres of county administration such as Norwich Castle, these judicial and political activities would have been foremost and it would be good to see at least one reconstruction drawing of a great hall that showed it in use as a legal court house rather than the current universal view as a feasting hall. (Philip Davis 2016)

Published by Scolar Press (1995; Aldershot)
ISBN: 978-1859280812

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Last updated on Friday, March 10, 2017