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Great Hall

Although this impressive medieval manorial hall has been altered, repaired and restored over the years, it still retains its basic original shape and many medieval features.

Great Hall at Smitills

The two stone walls with their large windows date from later rebuilding between the 15th and 17th centuries. In medieval times, dinner was taken before noon, with supper at about four o’ clock. These were formal occasions where the lord sat at a table on the raised platform, covered by a decorative canopy, whilst the rest of the household ate at trestle tables in the main part of the hall. In the mid-14th century, a concern to emphasise social status meant that noble families were increasingly reluctant to take their meals in the manorial hall with the rest of the household.

This can be seen where an extension to the eastern end of the great hall was built in the early 15th century to provide privacy for the lord and his family. Once the more substantial private quarters had been added, the small upper room (originally used as the lord and lady’s sleeping quarters) was used instead for the laying out of corpses before burial. It thus became known as the ‘Dead Room’ and for many centuries afterwards was considered to be haunted.