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The Castle

            There aren't to many castles on our shores. Yet, everyone knows exactly what they looked like, and housed. The castle was built to be the icon for wealth and security. I will describe the parts of the castle, their origin, and their peacetime uses.
             The first part of the castle is the hall. In one sentence you can call the hall, the standard living element to the castle. It is a large one-room structure with a high ceiling. In early castles the floor was the bare land it's self. Early halls were aisled like a church, with rows of wooden posts or stone pillars supporting the timber roof. Windows were equipped with wooden shutters secured by an iron bar. By the 14th century glazed windows were common. Carpets were used on walls, tables, and benches, but not used as floor coverings in Britain and northwest Europe until the 14th century.
             The entrance to the hall was usually in a sidewall. And when the hall was on an upper story, the entrance was reached by an outside staircase next to the wall of the keep. Lighting was by rush lights or candles, of wax or tallow impaled on vertical spikes.
             The only further advancement in castle design came in heating with the invention of the fireplace. The fireplace provided heat both directly and by radiation by passing heat through the castle walls. .
             In the 13th century the castle kitchen was built solely off wood with a central fireplace or several others where food was prepared in a cauldron. Eating utensils were washed outside. Temporary extra kitchens existed when cooking had to be dialed up for feasts. In a room called the bailey near the kitchen, the castle garden was usually planted with fruit trees and vines at one end, and plots of herbs, and flowers at the other. There would also be fishponds that were home for live fish that was to be cooked.
             Water for washing and drinking was often available at a central drawing point on each floor. Besides the well inside or near the keep, there might be a cistern or reservoir on an upper level whose pipes carried water to the floors below.

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