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Castle Design

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Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:27 am
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Magestorrow says...

Castle Design

The next chapter chunk in my novel The Three Lockets involves the protagonist, Cass, being given a tour of a castle. The one problem I'm encountering while trying to plan out this tour is my limited knowledge of what every good castle should have. The one castle that I've visited was unfortunately much smaller and more modern than the one I have in mind, so I'm still trying to figure out what should be shown in the tour.

What should every good castle have? I'm mainly looking for different rooms and locations, but any suggestions would be appreciated! If it helps, the kingdom's colors are gold and purple, with an excess of golden decorations in the throne room.

Thank you for whatever help you can give!
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Wed Jan 30, 2019 3:12 am
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soundofmind says...

I'm no castle expert, but the first things to come to mind are rooms that showed up in like, Beauty and the Beast lol, or even the variety of rooms in clue, even though that takes place in more of a mansion.

There could be a ballroom, dining room, library, study, hall, kitchen, cellar/basement, or a conservatory/sunroom. I think different lounge rooms/living room-type situations. I picture rich people in fancy dresses sitting around to listen to somebody play a mediocre piano piece.

This site has some cool info and pics of castle floorplans and just how they're built and what they look like. Of course... I found it in a quick google search and only skimmed it, but the images at least look helpful LOL.

Normally castles have at least two levels, and generally, I figure the ones that would be used for hosting people would be down below and the more personal ones would be up top. Bedrooms are obviously included but maybe there's other kinds of rooms specific to your characters. I imagine that one scene in Pride and Prejudice where Elizabeth just walking through a room filled with statues/art. Sometimes people just have rooms to show off their nice/fancy things! Like a mini museum LOL!

Some castles have prison towers, or just towers in general, so you could also throw a tower in there.

At the moment that's all I got for ya but hopefully that gives you some?? Ideas?

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Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:44 pm
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Featherstone says...

*rubs hands together*

I'm no pro on castles but something that's often left out is the hunting aspect of royalty. That was a horrible sentence - basically, what I mean to say, is that hunting was huge for the nobles. So, aside from the stables, there'd probably also be a kennel and a mew (that'd be hawk chambers in case I haven't mentioned it before). I could go on for like a million years on medieval falconry and hawking but like, that stuff should be there if you're keeping accurate to medieval Europe.

Also the servant's quarters and the barracks would be in the mix, since soldiers and servants are a must-have in a big castle. Also, the kitchens! Seems obvious but because it's kind of minor I, at least, often forget it. Dining hall, too.

If I get more ideas I'll come back lol, that's all I've got for now.
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Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:29 pm
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AlexOfLight says...

I too am not an expert at castles, but medieval castles aren't palaces, they are actually fortresses and tend to be drafty, damp, and there isn't glass in the windows. They also don't look like the castle in Beauty and the Beast(That was a palace I think).

Here is a link to an article that goes more in depth: ... iddle-Ages
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Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:44 pm
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AstralHunter says...

I'm hardly an expert, but I'm happy to offer any help I can! If you have any specific questions, feel free to tag me and I'll respond. For now, I'll keep it simple, since I also have something else that I'd like to mention.

So, if you want to populate a castle with rooms, your first order of business should be to decide what kind of castle it is. All of them will have at least some fortifications if they're built in pre-modern times, but even so, those that are actually expected to defend against attacks will emphasise practicality over comfort (even though they could still be perfectly comfortable - just not as much as, say, a palace). In the latter case, I firstly recommend looking up fortifications, since all of these will have certain requirements.

The garrison could reside within the castle, but usually, the soldiers will stay in barracks outside it. They will also have their own armouries and supply buildings, but there will nevertheless be an armoury and probably supply rooms inside the castle as well. There will always be at least one cellar and pantry/storeroom, and these are always close to the kitchen. Any essential staff and important people will have their quarters inside the castle, but some of the staff may also live outside it.

Now, since this is both a castle wherein dignitaries (presumably the royal family) live and which must be defended in case of a siege, all the above-mentioned war-related rooms will be present. In addition to these, you will have a grand entrance hall, potentially with sweeping staircases leading to higher floors and such. From what I've seen, the entrance hall often leads to the throne room, but this is not a given. The many corridors running through the castle may be broader or narrower depending on where it is and how likely it is that an important person will pass through it. Do use antechambers where necessary, as a small room leading to a larger room is great for creating the impression of importance.

For the dignified inhabitants, you have a dining hall, although this might also just be the throne room. The soldiers have their own mess hall, and the staff usually eat in the servants' hall or in their quarters. It's essential to keep in mind that contact between the dignitaries and the soldiers and regular staff are to be limited as much as possible. However, also keep in mind that there might be smaller dining rooms for the guests and dignitaries to ensure privacy. This will be especially true for somebody like the king and queen.

There are many halls, parlours, and rooms of entertainment in a castle like this, but they may very well only be illuminated by artificial light. Castles can become cold and dark, so sunrooms or balconies will have to be present somewhere, and if it's too cold for either of those, then expect many fireplaces, hearths, and braziers.

There are some rooms I left out, but I'm sure you can find them when you research castles on your own. For now, my greatest piece of advice to you is to look into the staff of a Medieval manor as well. This will help you more than I can express! Ignore the administrative staff like reeves, since this focuses on a castle, not a manor/manor house, so look up the grounds and household staff instead. I'll enspoiler a summary of the most important roles.

Spoiler! :
First off, because a castle is massive, the king cannot oversee all its grounds and military staff. The captain of guards will be in charge of all military personnel and report to the king. The steward will act as head of the rest of the staff, with the grounds staff reporting to him, and reporting in turn to the king. The household staff also report to him, but depending on the queen's interest in her castle's affairs, they may report to her as well or instead.

Grounds staff
• head gardener - the person to whom all garderners report and who holds responsibility for the entire garden
• stable master - the person to whom people like stablehands report and who holds responsibility for the stables and horses
• gamekeeper - the person responsible for the nearby forest in which the king goes on hunting trips with his company, to whom the keepers of any animals used to assist in these hunts report

Household staff
• butler - the person to whom all footmen, hallboys, and valets (basically all male staff) report, and who holds responsibility for the dining room, wine cellar, pantry, and the main floor
• housekeeper - the person to whom all housemaids (parlour, chamber, laundry, etc.) report, and who holds responsibility for the cleaning of the residence
• cook - the person to whom all kitchen maids report and who holds responsibility for the kitchen

If you truly want to impress your readers, showing them that you know not only which rooms a castle has, but what staff it has too, will do the trick. Again, if you have any questions, ask away!

EDIT: I am not at all surprised two more people have posted since I started writing this. That's why I said I'd keep it "simple", but thought against promising "short". XD
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