of the Rich &
kings, thanes (lords) and bishops were very rich and powerful in the Dark
Ages. They often lived in big
wooden buildings known as 'Great Halls'.
- These were the equivalent of
mansions or palaces today. They looked a bit like huge barns.
- A great
hall is described in the 'Beowulf'
- They were built of big wooden
beams. The walls were filled in with either wattle & daub
(wickerwork covered in mud and animal poo!) or wooden planks or
- Some halls may have had an
upstairs (as shown on the Bayeux Tapestry). In late Saxon times, extremely rich
kings built them of stone.
- The roofs were thatched with
reeds or straw; or covered in wooden shingles.
- Lords had smaller great halls to
kings. A king might have two great
halls, one next to the other. Nearby were smaller buildings used for lots of different purposes. There would be a big wooden wall around
the lot, called a 'palisade'. Everything together made up an estate or
- Archaeologists have dug up great
halls in palaces at Cheddar (in Somerset) and Yeavering (in Northumberland).
- King Alfred of Wessex's palace
at Cheddar had one great hall. There were lots
of smaller buildings too. People lived there throughout the 9th and
- King Edwin of
palace at Yeavering had two great halls (see picture). Amongst other buildings,
there was also a 'corral' for keeping cattle in and a grandstand in
which to hold meetings. People lived there throughout the 7th century.
was it like inside a Great Hall?