Medieval furniture was initially light and portable due to
the constant movement of the Lords and Nobles of the land.
As time went by this lifestyle changed and castles were seen
as more permanent residences with a requirement for additional
luxury and comfort, although it was still customary to travel
the Country. There were basically four different types of
decorated and rich furniture used for show
to general opinion Medieval castles and their furniture were
were often decorated in bright colours!
wood was Medieval furniture made from?
Medieval castle furniture was made from wood. English medieval
furniture is commonly associated with furniture made from
oak but other woods were also used. The wood used for Medieval
castle furniture included the following types:
furniture was assembled with joints which were secured by
wooden pegs or iron nails. Glue was used to fasten canvas
or leather which was sometimes added as an exterior finish
Medieval furniture painted?
Yes! Medieval castle furniture was painted! Red and green
were the most popular colours used but there are also details
in Medieval accounting documents of white, yellow, and black
paint. It was fashionable to paint heraldic designs on special
pieces of furniture belonging to the Lord of the castle.
methods used to decorate Medieval Castle Furniture
Other methods used to decorate Medieval Castle Furniture including:
of Medieval furniture were covered in a variety of materials
Much of the Medieval furniture had to be light and portable
due to the constant movement of the Lords and Nobles of the
land. Furniture was designed accordingly. The portable castle
furniture was transported from one castle to the next in wagons.
The portable types of furniture included:
barrels used as baths
of the term travelling trunk. Early chests were required to
pack belongings when travelling about the land. The centre
was hollowed out from the trunk of a tree - giving the origins
of the word "trunk". The lid hinged with iron strap-hinges.
furniture - Permanent fixtures
Much of the Medieval furniture was built-in as permanent fixtures
of the castle. The built-in types of furniture featured strongly
in the Medieval Kitchens and included:
Chapel furniture - choir stalls etc
Having reached an understanding of the materials used in Medieval
castle furniture and their decorative qualities the easiest
way to consider the pieces of furniture required in a Medieval
Castle is to view each of the main rooms in the castle.
IN THE GREAT HALL
furniture in the room called the Great Hall was centred around
the dining arrangements. Individual chairs were quite a luxury
and wooden benches were more commonly used furniture to sit
on. Trestle tables were used for dining. There were some free-standing
tables which were occasionally covered with a linen cloth.
tables consisted of trestle-tables which enabled quick removal
after the meal to make room for entertainment or for the servants
with high straight backs and seats and arms, sometimes stuffed
with rushes, were used only by heads of households
types of chests - some designed for travelling some had a
permanent place in the castle. The chests used for travelling
were designed without feet or legs. The chests which had a
permanent place in the castle were designed with legs keeping
the chest away from the filthy rushes and sometimes vermin
infested castle floors. These chests also tended to be more
ornate and heavy
- these were a series of wooden planks with a number of stepped
shelves. The number of shelves indicated rank! The more shelves
the higher the rank. The 'Stepped Buffets' were covered with
rich drapes and assembled for use at Banquets and Feasts.
The Nobles finest plates of gold or silver were displayed
on the 'Buffet' and servants served from them. The 'Buffets'
were the predecessors of the 'sideboard' and the word 'Buffet'
is now commonly used to describe 'finger-food'
number of Carpets and mats were introduced to castle interiors
but floors strewn with straw or rushes were more commonly
used. Sweet smelling herbs such as lavender, camomile, rose
petals, daisies and fennel were added to disguise the bad
smells of the castles which were prevalent due to the inadequate
FURNITURE IN THE THRONE ROOM
room was a later addition to Medieval Castles and was designed
as a receiving room for the King or Queen. Thrones were usually
cushioned, sometimes upholstered and elaborate chairs. Thrones
were seen as symbols of authority and importance. The throne
was placed on a dais under a canopy and accompanied by a footstool.
FURNITURE IN THE SOLAR
furniture in the room called the Solar was intended for sleeping
and private quarters and used by the Lord's family. It also
became a private sitting room favoured by the family. The
furniture would therefore include beds, chairs and chests
- it is worth noting that beds sometimes doubled as chairs
FURNITURE FOR THE RICH NOBLES
or hung beds were a symbol of the status and importance. The
base of the bed was made of wooden frames with holes in them.
Rope was pulled through the holes in a criss-cross pattern
which formed the base of the bed. A mattress was usually made
of feathers and placed on top of the base. The bed canopy
assemblage consisted of a bed head, or tester, rising to a
suspended frame, which was covered and draped in fabric. The
bed would have sheets, quilts, fur coverlets, and pillows.
The whole bed could be enclosed by curtains. The four-poster
bed was eventually a requirement of every Medieval Lord
FURNITURE FOR THE POOR!
used by the poor were called pallets or trundles. The mattresses
were made of straw.
FURNITURE IN THE WARDROBE
room called the wardrobe was intended as a dressing room and
storage room for clothes and used by Lord of the castle. This
private room also became the storage room for costly, personal
items such as jewels, coins, furs, spices, and plates and
therefore would be furnished with various chests and coffers
FURNITURE IN THE BOWER
room called the Bower was intended for the Lady of the castle
and used as her private withdrawing-room. Chests for garments,
and a few benches and stools made up the furniture of the
IN THE CHAPEL
was probably the most elaborately furnished, rich in ornaments
church plate and embroidered vestments, having glazed windows
and colorful furniture. A chapel features would include a
painted rood-screen and an altar chest
IN THE ORATORY
was intended for use as a private chapel and would have an