Rectangular chamber-towers and their medieval halls: A recent look at the buildings formerly described as “Hall-Houses”
MetadataShow full item record
This item's downloads: 166 (view details)
Dempsey, Karen. (2016). Rectangular Chamber-Towers and their Medieval Halls: a Recent Look at the Buildings Formerly Described as “Hall-Houses”. In Peter Ettel, Anne-Marie Flambard Héricher, & Kieran O’Conor (Eds.), Château Gaillard, Caen (Vol. n° 27 : Château et commerce, pp. 113-119).
The interpretation of the 13th-century castles formerly described as “hall-houses” has recently been a contentious topic in Irish (and Scottish) castle-studies2 . Little interpretive analysis of these buildings had been conducted before Tadhg O’Keeffe’s3 recent work and this author’s doctoral research entitled Medieval Halls and Rectangular ChamberTowers in Thirteenth-Century Ireland. Many scholars in Ireland labelled these 13th-century masonry structures as halls but also suggested that they were also used as residences; which of course, is a contradiction in terms4 . In studies of medieval architecture we understand that at their most basic function medieval chambers were “private” spaces and their associated halls constituted “public” spaces (in the sense of being places of communal gathering and feasting). Medieval understandings of “public” and “private” were certainly different to our understandings of these same concepts today; however, we can be certain that a hall, acting as a “public” building, could not be a residence of a lord. The focus of this short paper is to demonstrate that the revised understandings of Norman domestic planning5 in France and Britain are thoroughly applicable to the buildings mistakenly described as “hall-houses” in Ireland.