Many nobles lived in castles. The great hall was the centre of a castle and the walls were decorated with tapestries. Everyone except the lord sat on benches. There was a minstrel gallery for musicians and singers. At night, the servants slept on the floor.
The great hall would have at least one fireplace with a chimney. This was a Norman invention and stopped the room filling with smoke.
The lord had his own room, called the solar, and his own four-poster bed, with curtains for privacy.
At the top of the castle, the lady would have a day-room for herself and her maids-in-waiting. This had the largest windows and the best views. After 1200, castles had panes of glass in the windows.
The toilet, called the 'garderobe', was usually a chute straight into the moat. One way to capture a castle was to climb up the chute, keeping your fingers crossed that the toilet wasn't occupied!
Life inside a castle
A young nobleman would join the household of another lord. He would serve there as a page, learning how to carve and fight on horseback. He would then serve as a squire until he was about 18 years old, when he would go through a religious ceremony and become a knight.
Meals had many courses. Each course consisted of many kinds of meats including swan, peacock, magpie, porpoise and boar. This was served on a thick bread 'trencher' and eaten with a knife and the fingers. Nobles ate few vegetables. If the lord was entertaining guests, he might impress them by gilding the food with gold leaf, or serving a pie full of live frogs.
Contrary to Hollywood films, a tournament was usually a mock battle known as a melée. Knights did take part in jousts, but these only became common after the 12th century. Almost every lord loved hunting.
Fashions became more extreme as time went by, and included huge sleeves, shoes and codpieces. Men's fashions were just as colourful and gaudy as women's.
Towards the end of the Middle Ages, knights were obsessed with chivalry and courtship.