Every castle had a chapel as the Church was an integral part of daily life. But originally the chapel was set up in a modest chamber. As time went on the chapel became more ornate, sometimes with a crypt to celebrate the lord's ancestors, and became part of his display of status and wealth. From the 11th century onward, the chapels were specially built and often had vaulted ceilings, which were beautiful to look at but very difficult to build.
|Oystermouth Castle Chapel|
The chaplain was in charge of the chapel, and led Mass there every morning. He also said grace before every meal. He saw to the spiritual needs of the castle community and because he was literate, the chaplain acted as secretary to the lord, dealing with his correspondence and keeping records. Under the chaplain was the almoner, whose duty it was to distribute food to the poor. This consisted of the scraps left over after every meal, but it was also the almoner's job to remind the lord to be generous.
|Vaulted ceiling of the Chapel of our Lady of the Castle|
|Keystone from a vaulted ceiling|
|Rib vault in Bethanie Chapel Hong Kong|
|Notre Dame Cathedral before and after the fire 2019|
[adapted from The Medieval Castle Haynes Manual by Charles Phillips]
Ann Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, and book two Alien Secrets, are out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz