During the Tudor era, affluent people's homes consisted of many rooms and a large hall. The rooms featured the lady of the house's bedroom, two separate parlours for summer and winter, a private dining-room, a study, and a number of smaller bedrooms. There was also a large kitchen and pantry.
The main room of the house is likely to have been the hall. It would have had a table set in the middle of the floor with chairs around it. Guests would have sat on chairs outside the door while the host or his wife received them from a chair by the entrance. If the host was not at home, a visitor would have had to wait until he returned.
In larger houses, the hall might be divided into two parts: an inner hall with doors opening out onto the garden and an outer hall with doors leading into other parts of the house. Both halls would have had their own kitchens.
People used to think that queens could only give birth in bed but this isn't true. Queen Elizabeth I gave birth in the sitting-room of her first-floor apartment at Whitehall Palace. She must have been very comfortable there because they built more apartments like this one after she died. In fact, there were so many new rooms being built at the palace during Elizabeth's time that they had to put up signs saying "You can't go there"!
The principal rooms of medieval castles and huge manor homes are listed here.
Medieval Castle Rooms
In the Middle Ages, a great hall was the main room of a royal palace, castle, or a big manor house or hall house, and it was still erected in country homes of the 16th and early 17th centuries, albeit by then the family used the great chamber for dining and lounging. As time passed, the great chamber became more dedicated to hospitality, while the dining room began as a separate room next to the great chamber but eventually it became part of the great room.
Today, both terms are applied to a large public room where food is served. But their origin remains unchanged: "dining room" came first, before "great room" existed as we know it today.
During the Middle Ages, Europe's monarchs lived in palaces where they received guests for meals that often lasted several hours. The great room was the place where everyone gathered to eat and talk about important matters regarding the kingdom. Only people of rank were allowed into the private chambers where the king or queen slept at night; servants had to bring their masters' meals to them in the morning.
Since nobody could write down recipes back then, menus were fixed menus usually consisting of three courses: soup, meat, and pudding. Each course was accompanied by wine or beer. Water was considered unfit for drinking except when produced by a brewery and meant only for washing dishes and clothes. Milk was consumed mainly as cheese.
The manor house in the 11th century was normally a modest group of buildings encircled by a wooden fence or stone enclosure; there would have been a hall with lodging, a kitchen, a chapel, storage rooms, and even agricultural buildings. In time, these functions were divided up among the staff, so that the master of the house didn't personally spend all his time making cheese and brewing ale.
The word "manor" comes from Latin mansus, meaning "owned property." A manor could be anything that is owned: a house, land, animals. But most commonly it means a large estate, such as a dukedom or kingdom. Thus, a "manor house" is really just a great estate built by a nobleman.
In addition to being rich, old families often needed to show they were important, so they built big houses with many rooms, called chambers. For example, the White House has over 100 rooms! This is because people used up space living together, so they needed more room themselves.
A family name is something like an identity card for people. When you see someone's name on a list of guests at a party, he or she can go by that one identity. Names are very important in societies where people don't know each other well, so they use names to recognize each other easily.
In a castle, bedchambers are the Lord's bedrooms. Bed Chambers were the lord's and lady's private chambers, with easy access to the main hall and kitchens. Many castles were able to restore such chambers to a near-perfect replica of the originals. Others made do with less and included sketches and plans for building similar rooms for their guests. Still others turned to modern technology and built sleep-in-a-box accommodations for their more active travelers.
Around 1150, the lord and lady of the castle would have gone to bed in their royal chambers. First to enter the room would be the lady, who would have been given a key to lock the door behind her. She would then have had a series of corridors and staircases to pass before reaching her own chamber. The king would have followed, also having to go through many doors and passages before finally coming to his bedchamber.
Now back to our story: the king and queen were tired after a long day of traveling and went to bed early. But first they stopped at the Lord's bedroom to pray over his body before leaving him in peace. Then they came to our heroine's room where they found her sleeping too. Our queen woke up the sheriff and told him what had happened and asked if there was anything he could do. He replied that there was not since all appeared to be normal in the Lord's bedroom.