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Atgxtg

Manor Houses

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Does anybody have a good idea as to the size and layout of a knight's manor house? I've looked online but most links are to castles. I've seen a couple of images for a Norman manor house, but it was of stone. I've also found some info on Medieval Hall house, including some layouts, but they seem to be for commoners, not knights.

Most generic fantasy manor houses are either too grand or too "modern" (i.e servants all have their own bedrooms, fireplaces all have chimneys) to fit Pendragon.

I'd like to do up a printable map for play, but want to be sure I'm going down the right path. 

 

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I found a miniature of a timber manor house. Not sure how accurate it is but it seems simple enough for your average vassal knight.

Related image

Seems like the general layout is simple enough, kind of a castle's great hall in minature. Big room around a hearth with tables that can double as beds for guests, children and some servants. The knight and his family would either live in a separated room, or with some twine screens to provide privacy. Add some ladders for the upper floors to use as much space as you can and you're good to go.

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Thanks. That seems similar to what I've found. Roughly it looks like it's broken into three sections:

  • A "lower end" , consisting of the Pantry (food storage) and Buttery (drink storage)
  •  The "Hall" with the open hearth
  • A "upper end" or Parlour, a private space for the knight and his family. 

There is usually one or more open passageways throughout the house, both to provide access and to heat the whole place from the central hearth.

Two storey halls would add:

  • An unspecified room above the lower end.
  • A Solar, above the upper end. This was the private bed chamber and day room or rooms above the Parlour for the knight and his family. 

 

Wikipedia's entry for a Hall House provides a few layouts and images. I guess I'll use one of those to base my Pendragon maps on. I'll try to do a couple of sizes and some on wood and some in stone. 

Edited by Atgxtg

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I managed to find this after poking around for a bit:

http://medievalaccommodation.com/manor/

Although as it says in the later history, most of the fireplaces and spiral stairs are from the start of the 17th century. But might do for a more expensive stone manor house in later periods?

Some more examples of the larger, stone ones...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ightham_Mote

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markenfield_Hall

But yeah, the Wikipedia page on Hall House ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hall_house ) that you mentioned seems like a nice resource, too.

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I found a link on the old Nocternal site where they discussed this in detail.

http://nocturnalmediaforum.com/iecarus/forum/showthread.php?2969-What-would-an-early-manor-hall-look-like&highlight=manor+house

One point I would note - while Greg said that wattle & daub was not used by a lord on his manor, that would be incorrect-ish. A peasant would use wattle and daub. A lord would use timber beams - with wattle and daub between them - and plaster or lime/higher quality clay over the wattle and daub.

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Ah the old KAP forums. I hope they eventually port over all the good stuff from there. And thanks.

I found a few more links too. I'm starting to get a consistent picture here. Generally two storeys, broken up into two or three sections. It looks like wooden and stone manors had the same basic layout. Larger and more expensive manors might add another room or two, and a manor could later be expanded by adding another room or two (and after the Middle Ages, whole wings). 

I'll mess around with my mapping program and see what I can throw together.

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41 minutes ago, ChalkLine said:

Here's one. 

Fortified Manor.pdf

Uh, I don't think that is something you can post on the forum, since it' looks like its from Harn, and has copyright notices at the bottom of the pages. I appreciate the thought, but I don't want anyone to post something that they or this site could get in trouble for. It's probably best that you remove it, unless you actually happen to be the one who holds the copyrite for it. 

Now, as I didn't know what it was until after I clicked on the link, I did get a peek at it and it's much larger, grander and more expensive than what a typical vassal knight could manage in Pendragon.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, ChalkLine said:

It was a free download from the Harn site but I'll delete it if it's not okay

Best to do so just to be safe. But if it was a freebie post the link.

I do appreciate the help, but I think we''d best play it safe with anything copyrighted for the sake of the guy who operates this website. I don't want Triff to loose his house just so my PKs can have one of their own;)

 

 

Edited by Atgxtg
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On 2/20/2019 at 8:14 PM, Ravian said:

Seems like the general layout is simple enough, kind of a castle's great hall in minature. Big room around a hearth with tables that can double as beds for guests, children and some servants. The knight and his family would either live in a separated room, or with some twine screens to provide privacy. Add some ladders for the upper floors to use as much space as you can and you're good to go.

And per custom folks just ignored inconvenient noises. Privacy? Not so much. 

Also: the loo. Outside. When nature called after a night of feasting you'd creak up off the board and gingerly step around the body parts and dogs, hoping the rushes (and whatever else) on the floor would keep you from waking your mates (the servants aren't worth the thought); then shove the door open a crack and totter off to do your business.

Or just use a chamber pot. Ladies did so a lot but then again skirts have an advantage, there.

Storage? The walls would probably be hung with stuff, plus things tied to the rafters. Household knights might be given a chest with or without a lock, along one wall and probably covered with a throw cloth to serve as an extra stool when not accessed. (Practical speculation).

Light would mainly be from the hearth, backed up by torches or, if you were quite wealthy, candles. For defensive purposes the hall would not have windows on the lower floor. This is why the solar was so important for the ladies trying to do needlework: it was arranged specifically for extra light over defense.

 

--Khanwulf

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Here is a first draft of the rough layout of  the ground floor a small wooden manor house. Areas are labeled,  but without any doors or furniture.  The grid is set to 1 inch = 1 yard, as that would seem to be the best scale for Pendragon movement. 

image.thumb.png.cfe7a94b30c3be9f6cdad342945dcf11.png

Edited by Atgxtg

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1 hour ago, Khanwulf said:

Wouldn't the door open directly into the hall for dramatic entrances?

Yes, but there are no doors on the map yet. Or, to be more accurate there aren't doors on the map anymore. The mapping program I used is set to 5 foot squares and the doors got messed up with I rescaled things to 1 yard squares to better match KAP. But the carpenter assures me that the doors will be replaced once I figure out how to scale the object properly. I might just have to do it in another program.

 

 

1 hour ago, Khanwulf said:

And the kitchen, where is it?

There isn't one. At least not what we would consider to be a kitchen. Most of the the food is kept in the pantry, and drinks in the buttery. I suspect the prep work for cooking would be done there as well, with the cooking done in hearth inside the great hall. Not that there couldn't be a kitchen. I'll  put a kitchen in the large manor house. Oh, and this is just a sample, there are bound to be differences between manors. But for sake of a generic manor house I figure I can do a large and small manor in wood and than just swap out the wood for stone to get the stone versions.  Maybe I can do a alternate version or two, but the small halls are pretty basic.

If you want a kitchen though, I could modify the manor to add one. Moving walls and adding a kitchen is easy. It's doors that give me trouble. Hmm, maybe I can copy the door rename it, and then import it back in s a new object at the 3 foot scale? 

 

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Interesting. You're actually probably right: the main cooking would take place over the fire that serves to centrally light and heat the manor. Otherwise you're wasting wood, which is arguably one of the most precious resources available (moreso than labor).

I need to research some of these aspects. How basic things get done is an essential pointer to layout and structure. 

Another example of this: all those white castles in medieval literature? Whitewashed plaster over wood, apparently. Stone being more expensive than trees, and all that, they'd build them out of wood and cover in plaster to keep the fire risk down. Made them more imposing, too, since you could build larger and taller without dedicating as much space to load-bearing walls.

--Khanwulf  

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2 hours ago, Khanwulf said:

Interesting. You're actually probably right: the main cooking would take place over the fire that serves to centrally light and heat the manor. Otherwise you're wasting wood, which is arguably one of the most precious resources available (moreso than labor).

As far I know they cooked over the central Hearth. It was a pretty basic design. The house was built around the fireplace. 

2 hours ago, Khanwulf said:

I need to research some of these aspects. How basic things get done is an essential pointer to layout and structure. 

Another example of this: all those white castles in medieval literature? Whitewashed plaster over wood, apparently. Stone being more expensive than trees, and all that, they'd build them out of wood and cover in plaster to keep the fire risk down. Made them more imposing, too, since you could build larger and taller without dedicating as much space to load-bearing walls.

--Khanwulf  

Yeah part of the difficulty is that people don't bother to keep record on things that "everybody knows". Today, we don't do things the same way and so we don't know what everybody knew back then. 

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Your best sources for how things were done will be the various Arthurian tales, but also things like Beowulf and the Viking Sagas. They often mention little deals, like a scene in one of the sagas which describes the hero coming in to visit a neighbor, who is described sitting at a table but more importantly also describes what else is happening in the manor.

 

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