The Castle keep was one of the most important parts of a medieval castle, it was usually located in a safe area, commonly in a central location on the castle grounds. kings and lords lived in these strongholds in their own quarters usually located at the top, other important people lived below, because of its importance, the keep was the most protected part of a medieval castle.
Royalty and Nobility would commonly live at the top of a Castle Keep in the best part, with the best rooms, there would be living and sleeping quarters.
The Lord of the castle would control the castle and his kingdom from his quarters. From the medieval castle, a Lord was safe and able to plan his affairs, the Lord would keep law and order and would plan battles, feasts, and tournaments from the safety of the castle keep.
Medieval Castle Life *The Great Hall
Below the living quarters of the Lord in the medieval castle keep was the Great Hall. In the Great Hall of a medieval castle, the Lord would entertain his guest with lavish feasts and banquets.
Life in a Medieval Castle *Chapel
On the same floor, as the Great Hall would often be a Chapel where people could pray, this was usually decked out in the same way as a small medieval church.
You would often find medieval soldiers walking up and down the castle steps often on their way to the roof of the castle where they would be on the lookout for enemies in the distance. The castle guards also had their own eating area inside the castle and their own toilets.
Most of the servants and service staff were located at the bottom of the castle and the kitchen was usually below the Great Hall, all the food for a medieval banquet was prepared here and taken up to guests in the Great Hall.
Below the medieval castle kitchens was usually a storeroom that was in the cool part of the castle. The medieval castle storeroom was where all the food was stored before being prepared and cooked in the medieval castle kitchens
Most medieval castles especially in the later medieval periods had a dungeon, where most criminals were held which commonly included religious and political prisoners.
Prisoners held in medieval castle dungeons were sometimes tortured and released and other times tortured to death.
Castle Dungeon Entrance
Areas around the Castle Keep
There was a lot of activity going on in the area that surrounded the castle keep tower. In this part of the medieval castle were stables for horses, military personnel patrolling the grounds, water wells and carriers, blacksmiths fitting horseshoes, and even a building called a ‘ Dovecote’ where doves were kept.
Castle Tradesmen *Life in a Castle
A number of skilled craftsmen were on hand for any work that needed doing in the medieval castle in the area around the castle keep tower, craftsmen such as Blacksmiths, Knife Grinders, and even Bakers could be found in this part of the castle going about their business.
Medieval Castle Layout
Important parts of the medieval castle that needed protection were the drawbridge and Gatehouse at the front of the castle. A moat was usually the first line of defense for a medieval castle. The castle walls usually had watchtowers where soldiers could ‘watch out for enemies and visitors to the medieval castle.
There was usually an outer bailey courtyard and an inner bailey courtyard. Usually right in the center of the layout of the medieval castle was the castle keep in which the medieval lord lived.
Medieval Castle Life Summary
As we can see there were numerous parts of a medieval castle that went to make a complete castle structure, each part of the castle was very important, and also the people and tradesmen who lived in and around the castle served important purposes of keeping the castle running smoothly.