EBK Activity Sheets

 


Inside a Great Hall
What was it like?
  • Inside a British Lord's Great Hall -  Nash Ford PublishingBritish & Saxon Great Halls are sometimes called 'aisled halls' because of the way they were built. They had two rows of big wooden columns down the centre to hold up the roof. Either side were 'aisles,' like open corridors. You still get aisles in churches today.
  • British halls were often divided into two rooms at one end.
  • The smaller of the two rooms was probably either a bedroom for the lord and his family or a barn-room for animals.
  • Saxon halls often had a separate building nearby for the lord and his family called a 'bower'.
  • The main room in the hall took up most of the building. It was the 'feasting hall'. It was a place to eat and to relax. This is described in the Saxon poem, 'Beowulf', and the British poem, 'Y Gododdin'.
  • The lord and his family sat at a long table at one end. They ate and drank from fine pottery and glassware imported from the Mediterranean. His warriors sat at similar tables down each side.
  • They would gather here to eat and drink, hold wrestling matches, sing songs and exchange jokes. A minstrel might be hired to tell them stories.
  • The floor might have been covered in rushes or straw.
  • There would be wall hangings for decoration and to keep the room warm; and perhaps flaming torches or lamps too.
  • Extra warmth and light came from a fire in the centre. It would have been very smokey in the Great Hall!
  • The cooking was either done here or in a separate building nearby.
  • The warriors slept on the floor in the feasting hall. This is also described in the 'Beowulf' poem.
  • Activity Sheet available.

   

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