This is how people lived in a castle in the middle ages

This is how people lived in a castle in the middle ages

Image: wewi-creative /

Castles can be very fascinating structures. They are so simply designed and yet they have something mystical about them. Even today, there are still some opportunities to visit castles, possibly even with a guided tour. They were the home of many people back then, they offered Protection from enemies. The medieval castles also had a lot of personnel, such as cooks, blacksmiths, maids, servants, stablemen, maids and some more.

There was a castle garden with fruit trees, a throne room, a chapel, a beer cellar, a torture chamber and a treasure chamber, which was always very well guarded. What was life like in a castle?? Here are 11 insights into life back then.

11. It was teeming with people

This is how people lived in a castle in the middle ages

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You might think that life in a castle was quite lonely, but that was by no means the case. There were always hundreds of people on it. If only for the reason that people used to have very large families. The lords of the castle also needed a lot of soldiers to guard that medieval building around the clock.

Of course, at that time a lot of servants could not be missing either. Usually the owners of the castle had visitors for several days and the whole family came with them. Then the area of the castle was even more crowded than it already was.

10. In the dungeon it could get quite uncomfortable

This is how people lived in a castle in the middle ages

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Had one Crimes committed, so one was thrown immediately into the own dungeon of the castle. People often lived here for ages horrible circumstances. In the dungeons themselves, there were usually Torture chambers, which were also put to use at the pleasure of the lords of the castle.

Dungeons were windowless and often so cramped that it was impossible to lie down. For the most part, this was so atrocious that it was Equal to the death penalty is. Often starved one simply and had a lot of rats in his dungeon and, as is well known, are Rats devastating carriers of diseases, especially at that time.

9. Rats were not limited to the dungeon only

This is how people lived in a castle in the middle ages

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Castles were very dark and damp. Hygiene was not very important, because in those days people often did not know how to keep things as clean as possible. The perfect Ambience for rats and other vermin. In the Middle Ages, however, it was something quite normal,

to have rats in one’s house, but even then people were quite afraid of them. They were Carriers of the plague and were carriers of fleas, lice and mites. Their bites can cause various diseases and in the Middle Ages medical care was scarce.

8. Bathing in peace? Impossible

This is how people lived in a castle in the middle ages

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In the Middle Ages, it was not natural for the population living outside the castle to bathe regularly. Water was scarce and hygiene was not yet too important. However, the people living in the castle, bathed regularly, Which, however, was by no means pleasant for them. The water condition was already an ordeal in itself and this then also had to be heated by the servants.

All the people bathing took turns bathing and everyone used the same water. During bathing there was no privacy, because everyone who was in the room could stare at the body of the person bathing. Bathing was therefore not only extremely unpleasant because of all the looks, but also unhygienic.

7. There were probably no late risers

This is how people lived in a castle in the middle ages

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In the Middle Ages, people, especially domestic servants, were particularly productive. Since in the Middle Ages it was still no electricity If there was no privacy, one had to use the daylight to the fullest extent. Already at sunrise one began with the work, in order to be finished in time before dawn.

Some servants even had to get up well before sunrise, because they had to make fire, prepare breakfast for the lords of the castle and get ready for the day. The cooks had a lot to do, because as already mentioned, there were many people living in the castle. Cooking had to be done for all of them. For the most part, this took several hours.

6. Just cold

This is how people lived in a castle in the middle ages

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Castles were built of stone and something like a Insulation did not exist for a long time. For this reason, it was always very cold in the castles. It protected them from attacks, but not from the cold. In cold and wet regions, this was especially problematic, because the cold stayed inside the walls of the castle and there was no chance to warm them up.

In certain parts of the complex there were windows, but they were very small. From time to time a few rays of sunlight entered the interior of the castle, but this did not have much effect. For knights, who had to stand still for several hours, this was particularly unpleasant.

5. No possibility to retreat

This is how people lived in a castle in the middle ages

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Nowadays it is taken for granted that everyone has his own four walls, where he can simply be for himself. However, in the medieval castles only the castle lord with his lady an own bed chamber. Since the castles were designed very openly, the servants had no possibility to retreat.

They squatted on each other day after day. Servants shared sleeping quarters, dining rooms, bathrooms, and more. People were the exposed to constant interaction, which was not particularly conducive to their psyche. They could never switch off because someone was constantly looking at them or talking to them.

4. Status quo was emphasized

This is how people lived in a castle in the middle ages

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In the banquet halls of a castle was always eaten together, but everyone had his specially provided seat. According to their importance the inhabitants of the castle sat down at the table. At the head of the table sat the lord of the castle with his lady and they also got the food first.

For all of them it was clear that they are the most important personalities of their castle. The people with the lowest ranks in the castle were served last. But these were still more senior than the field workers of the castle. Important for the lord and lady of the castle was the Taster. He had to distort their food first and so prove that it was not poisoned or moldy.

3. The walk to the loo was not very relaxing

This is how people lived in a castle in the middle ages

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These days, every bathroom is locked and you’re alone for a little while to do your business. However, in those days at the castles this luxury did not exist. One sat down on wooden benches, into which a hole was made. This is with a Outhouse comparable. The castle dwellers’ business done fell into a cesspool.

Later they transported the feces into the moat, if it was available. The toilets were usually not separated and so one had not even during the loo go his rest. You could almost look the person sitting next to you directly in the eye.

2. Dishes like the king

This is how people lived in a castle in the middle ages

Image: Nejron Photo /

You might think that no one lived as sumptuously as the king and queen. Wrong thought! The lords of the castles also lived in full splendor. You got served several courses, sometimes also meat, what one would not eat today necessarily, namely peacock, porpoise and swan.

The upper class of the castle did not particularly like to eat vegetables, but rather meat. This led to numerous health problems, which was not at all harmless at the time. They preferred to eat their meat in thickly seasoned sauces. Mostly they drank water and beer. Wine was consumed rather rarely.

1. No sterile operating conditions

This is how people lived in a castle in the middle ages

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Operations in the Middle Ages are not even remotely comparable to those of today. They often ended in death, because they didn’t know anything about bacteria or microorganisms yet. Doctors did not wash their hands and clothes before treating the patient. During surgical procedures, such as leg amputation, the people to be treated were sitting on a chair and their eyes are covered with a cloth to spare them the sight of the carnage.

However, it is known that penicillin was probably used as early as the Middle Ages. Doctors at that time had no classical medical education. They were mostly skilled craftsmen With a completed journeyman exam. There was a large number of different doctors.

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