When a hall was elevated to the top story, the floor was almost always timber, supported either by a series of wooden pillars in the basement below, as in Chepstow's Great Hall (pictured left), or by stone vaulting. The upper part of the room would have been open to the sky, with only a screen of wood or plaster between it and the weather.
The main source of heat for a castle was from fireplaces, which were usually located in the center of each hall. Wood was also used for cooking food, which was often stored in large underground kitchens called gibbets. When meat was being cooked, a small amount of water was added to help steam the food and make it taste better.
At night time, when fires were not allowed in castles due to the risk of them spreading flames through the building with disastrous results, there were lamps instead. These were usually made out of oil, but some were also fired with whale oil or even coal. There were three types of lamp available in the Middle Ages: the taper, the tankard, and the bow. The taper had a slender stick of wood with a bowl-shaped end where the light was placed. It could be either hot or cold. The tankard had a thick pillar of metal with a handle attached to one side. This was used for heating liquids such as soup or beer before they were served.
On the ground level, there was a kitchen and a storeroom. The Great Hall was placed in the rooms on the first floor (optional-would only be built if the location was of significant political or military importance and semi-permanent occupation of the castle was envisioned). A drawbridge allowed access across the moat to the main entrance gate.
There were also living quarters for servants below the hall. They would have had their own kitchen and storage area. A separate room would have been set aside as a chapel. In larger castles, there might have been a solarium or gallery above the storeroom that could serve as additional living space.
Ground floors often have large open spaces that are used for entertaining guests or for training horses. These areas need to be secure from intruders but also should provide easy access to allow people to move between them and the rest of the building without having to go through stairs or lift cases.
Castles came before cities when looking at layout so all the important rooms were located on the ground floor. It was here that soldiers could protect the gate while ladies waited behind curtains for their lovers' return.
Up until about 1600 years ago, most countries lived in villages rather than cities. Even now, many people live in rural areas where housing is not high density.
230. The Great Hall at Hampton Court is an exception to this norm, demonstrating that first floor areas were occasionally tiled but required the presence of a "large timber sub-floor" (Pg. 230). In other cases, the flooring were boarded with oak boards and plastered over. This was common in older buildings as well as newer ones.
Tudor floorboards were usually made of oak planks that were glued or fastened together with wooden pegs. If tiles were used instead, they would have been placed under the plank flooring and covered by a plasterboard ceiling. Both methods were employed during the Tudor period. Oak was widely available and easy to work with for a skilled carpenter or joiner. It's also worth mentioning that most houses built during this time weren't owned by one person but by several families within the same household structure. Each family would have had their own room which could be any size from just a few feet by several feet to a large apartment sized space. These rooms would have had doors that opened onto small internal corridors or passageways. There they would have met other families' rooms and perhaps even a kitchen or dining area. All of these components were included in homes built during this time period if they existed at all levels of the building. Only those who lived at the top would have had direct access to the roof where wood and coal were stored for heat and light during winter and summer, respectively.
Foundations For stone-constructed castles, the foundations would be built directly onto the bedrock wherever feasible. To make a sturdy foundation, the builders would dig a deep and broad trench, then fill it with debris that was packed down as tightly as possible. The compacted debris would be the foundation for the wall stones. A smaller amount could be done by using earth or rubble from building projects as well.
Where bedrock wasn't available, sites with soft soil might be used instead. These sites must be flat and level, with no serious dips in the ground where a person could fall over if standing up. They also need to be large enough to accommodate the foundation without being so big that they're impractical to build on.
In some cases, masons would build the foundation of wood, which would then be replaced with stone when the wall was completed. This is how Castles are built today in Europe and Asia. But back in the days when European castles were being built, all they had to work with often was stone. Thus, the stone foundation was the norm rather than the exception.
The depth of a foundation depends on several factors such as the type of soil at the site, how much weight the structure will bear, etc. Generally, a stone foundation is at least one foot deep, and sometimes as deep as six feet or more. This ensures sufficient stability even after other improvements are made to the castle (such as adding on new floors or walls).