Understanding 'Hall-Houses': Debating Seigneurial buildings in Ireland in the 13th century
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Dempsey, Karen. (2017). Understanding ‘Hall-Houses’: Debating Seigneurial Buildings in Ireland in the 13th Century. Medieval Archaeology, 61(2), 372-399. doi: 10.1080/00766097.2017.1375183
THE SEIGNURIAL HALL and chamber have been assumed, in both Britain and Ireland, to be typically located in the only building to generally survive on medieval residential sites. In England this idea has seen some revision, but in Ireland there has been little recent scholarship on medieval residential spaces. As a consequence, the term 'hall-house' is still used by Irish scholars as a label for some two-storey, 13th-century buildings, providing both a description and interpretation. The inference is that these buildings acted as both halls and elite residences at the same time during the High to Late Middle Ages. This contradicts what we know of the complex social codes of the time. Drawing on new empirical research, this article challenges the 'hall-house' classification, and explores different ways in which the spaces of these Irish medieval buildings can be better understood.