Medieval Castles - The Chapel

The chapel was an essential part of any medieval castle and was used every morning for mass. It would, typically, be close to the hall and the bed chamber. Later castles would often have the chapel relocated to the castle keep, bailey or even the gatehouse.

It was quite common for the castle chapel to be accompanied by a crypt.

Another contemporary association with the castle chapel would be a priest hole. Religious tolerance was not very common and if the Lord of the castle worshipped against the wishes of his Regent then he would need somewhere to hide his priest as well as any sacred ornaments and bibles. Many priest holes were built as an offshoot from the chimney or behind panelling. Tragically a priest could die of starvation whilst the "pursuivants" or priest hunters conducted exhaustive searches for them. There are many castles today still with their priest hole in tact and sometimes on show to visitors. Whenever people see a priest hole they are usually amazed at the cramped space and can readily imagine how difficult it must have been to hide there for long.

Read more about medieval worship and medieval churches