I had a really nice visit with the students at Grandview Hills Elementary this past week. Everyone seemed to enjoy the visit and paid close attention to my presentation called “The Medieval Life of Sir Kaye,” where I talk about a few details of day to day life during the middle ages. So today I thought I’d share a few photos from the visit and some fun facts from the presentation.
→ Every castle had a great hall where everyone – lords, ladies, guests, and servants – ate together. People ate off of plates called trenchers. Trenchers could be made of metal, wood, or even big slices of stale bread that would soak up the juices of the food. Sometimes after a meal, the used trenchers made of stale bread were given to the poor for them to eat.
→ Beds were very valuable possessions in the middle ages. They were usually owned by the wealthy and were made so they could easily be broken down, moved, and reassembled by their owners. This was helpful for people who owned more than one castle, because as they moved from castle to castle, they could take their bed with them. Beds were often mentioned in people’s wills, and passed down through several generations of a family.
→ Plumbing is of course a delicate but necessary subject. Many times an indoor toilet in a castle was simply a seat above a shaft that led straight down into a pit at ground level. This pit periodically had to be cleaned out, and the poor man who had to do that job was called a gong farmer. I’m not sure why he was called a farmer, but I did learn that the word “gong” comes from an Anglo-Saxon word which also eventually gave us the word “going.”
And on that note, I think it’s time to stop, because that’s enough medieval trivia for today! Here are a few fun, friendly, and fantastic faces from Grandview Hills: