Nursery Rhymes

Manor House

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

Manor House
The Medieval Manor House became a feature of England during the Middle Ages due to the emergence of Feudalism and Manorialism in the Norman era. The Manor House was built apart from the village and housed the Lord of the Manor and his family.

Manor House Rooms
The Medieval Manor House was built on a similar, but much smaller scale to the Medieval castles.

Some Manor Houses, such as the Manor House owned by Robert de Moyne and detailed below, even had a moat!

  • The Great Hall of the Manor House
    The hall was intended for the main meeting and dining area and used by everyone who lived in the Manor House
  • The Solar
    The room in the Manor House called the Solar was intended for sleeping and private sitting room and used by the Lord of the Manor's family
  • The Garderobe
    The Garderobe was intended for use as a toilet or latrine
  • The Kitchen
    The Kitchen was integrated into the Manor House - they included cooking ovens for baking and huge fireplaces for smoking and roasting food. The kitchens were often connected to rooms called the Buttery and the Pantry
  • The Buttery
    The room in the castle called the Buttery was intended for storing and dispensing beverages, especially ale
  • The Pantry
    The room in the Manor House called the Pantry was intended for the storage of perishable food products
  • Storerooms
    Their were often several Storerooms in the Manor House often located over the buttery and pantry. Used to store non-perishable kitchen items and products
  • The Chapel
    The Chapel was intended for prayer and used by all members of the household. The Lord of the Manor's family sat in the upper part and the serfs occupied the lower part of the chapel

Manor House Lighting
There were four types of methods used in Medieval Manor House lighting. 

  • Rush Dips - These were tapers made out of the stalks of rushes which had been dipped in melted fat and then dried. The rush dip was then placed into a receptacle called a 'Nip'. It provided a weak light which lasted about half and hour
  • Candles - candles were home made from animal fat. Placed in candle sticks they lasted longer than the rush dips
  • Torches - Torches were used in Manor House lighting to light the interiors of large areas such as the Hall
  • Lanterns - or 'lanthorns'. A candle was stuck into a metal frame with sides made of thin, transparent horns

Medieval Manor House Description
The following description of an English Medieval Manor House is taken from a document dated 1265 when a Manor House was granted to a vassal called Robert Le Moyne.

  • A sufficient and handsome hall well ceiled with oak
  • On the western side is a worthy bed, on the ground, a stone chimney, a wardrobe and a certain other small chamber
  • At the eastern end is a pantry and a buttery
  • Between the hall and the chapel is a sideroom
  • There is a decent chapel covered with tiles, a portable altar, and a small cross
  • In the hall are four tables on trestles
  • There are likewise a good kitchen covered with tiles, with a furnace and ovens, one large, the other small, for cakes, two tables, and alongside the kitchen a small house for baking
  • Also a new granary covered with oak shingles
  • And a building in which the dairy is contained, though it is divided
  • Likewise a chamber suited for clergymen and a necessary chamber
  • Also a hen-house
  • These are within the inner gate

The description of the Manor House continues with details the property outside of that gate:

  • An old house for the servants, a good table, long and divided
  • And to the east of the principal building, beyond the smaller stable, a solar for the use of the servants
  • Also a building in which is contained a bed
  • Also two barns, one for wheat and one for oats
  • These buildings are enclosed with a moat, a wall, and a hedge
  • Also beyond the middle gate is a good barn
  • And a stable of cows
  • And another for oxen, these old and ruinous
  • Also beyond the outer gate is a pigstye
Life in the Middle Ages
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