Paige asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

What did a ROYAL medieval bathroom look like?

I need to know this for a story my friend and I are writing and I can't seem to find the answer anywhere. I need to know what a Noble's bathroom would look like. Like, what would the tub look like, what the toilet would look like, I know the sink, if they had mirrors which I'm not too sure about, how the walls would look, how the floor would look and if there was a certain floor it had to be on. If you have ANY of this information, you are very much urged to tell me.


I understand that you're going to need know what time in the medieval ages. It's around the counter-reformation, so early/middle 1600s.

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    There were no "bath rooms," royal or otherwise until the 20th century. That's why, in Europe, they're called, "W.C.," water closet. Royals and others used "chamber pots." In modern hospitals, these are called "bed pans." Servants took them and emptied them out. In "Black Lamb and Grey Falcon," Rebecca West describes how the Empress Elizabeth of Austria-Hungary, as late as 1890 in Vienna, did her business in a hallway behind a folding screen while an armed soldier stood guard in front. Of course, West describes this as a humiliation that even the Habsburgs were obliged to undergo.

    While on a tour of Poland, I saw the 14th century castle of the Teutonic Knights. The "toilet" was in a tower, and "everything" ran down a trough to an opening, where it fell to the ground, hundreds of feet below.

    It is a complaint of sanitation in those times that every one threw the contents of chamber pots out of windows in large cities, and the waste flowed untreated down a channel in the center of the narrow streets.

    Servants would bring hot water to fill a tub. This was hard, so comes the story that Elizabeth I of England took a bath once a month, "whether she needed it or not." There were no sinks. People could get a pitcher of hot water and a bowl every morning to "wash up." In the U.S., this persisted into the 20th century. Walls and floors were not different. After all, one would have to be pretty dumb to spill something.

    To get an idea of a bath tub, you have to go on-line to see a painting called, "The Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat." Marat had psoriasis, so he sat in a tub up to his neck all day. He was one of the authors of the Terror during the French revolution (1790). Charlotte Corday, upset over the Terror, traveled from Cannes to Paris, got entry to him, and stabbed him to death.

  • manago
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Royal Bathroom

  • John B
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Of course the real question is what part of the middle ages are you talking about? In the early middle ages a bathroom for the royalty was most likely either a chair with a bowl underneath it or else it was a hole in a plank or in a stone seat that emptied into a cess pit below. The odors in the garter robes could be pretty bad but they had one interesting benefit. People would hang their clothes in the garter robe rooms (hence where the name comes from) and the ammonia from the cess pit would drive all of the vermin (bugs) out of the clothing. Since people had very few changes of clothing this could be a huge benefit. There were also many complaints during the post-1000 year era of the bad odors and smells from the garter robes and cess pits. It was not unusual for there to be only one or two garter robes in a castle with 50-100 people. Not fun. Some of them were two-holers, but that meant sitting directly next to someone else. They were not divided in any way.

    It is suggested that Queen Elizabeth I was the first person to have and use a flush toilet but that was not until the end of the 16th century. It emptied out directly into the Thames River. However, it is also suggested that she didn't care for it very much.

  • ?????
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    In the Bathrooms there were no toilets instead, they used garderobes. Garderobes would be built inside the castle wall over hanging the ground or water below. Some garderobes had wooden seats but most of them were made of stone. They put iron bars in them to keep armies from coming up through them. To take a bath there were wooden tubs with cloth padded on them. For privacy, they put a canopy or a tent of it. They placed the tub by the fire during the winter and outside during the summer. The lord would take the tub with him on his travels.

    Garderobes were medieval toilets in large public buildings and castles. They were often holes in the outer walls of these buildings which dropped into cess pits or moats (depending on the structure of the building involved.) Many can still be seen (from the inside and out) in Norman and Tudor castles. They became obsolete with the (re)introduction of indoor plumbing.

    Tubs and the Bathman

    Bathing was done in wooden tubs padded with cloth. Privacy provided by tents or canopies. When the lord traveled, the tub traveled with him, maintained by a bathman who was also responsible for heating the water. In warmer weather the tub might be placed outside near the garden while during the winter the bathing would be done close to a chamber fireplace.

    Some castles in the late Middle Ages engineered hot and cold running water to certain rooms in the castle, but these were rare. Other castles had permanent "bath rooms" with tiled floors.

    Medieval Garderobes and Gong Farmers

    Even the grandest castle didn't have bathroom facilities. Usually latrines or garderobes would be built into a castle wall overhanging the ground or water below. Some garderobes had wooden seats but many were simply carved into the castle stone. These could be quite uncomfortable, especially in the winter! Iron bars were placed on some garderobe chutes to keep invading armies from using them as a point of entry.

    Garderobes would be placed near bedchambers and other parts of the castle, some partitioned with screens for privacy, but many were rather exposed. Chamber pots were popular throughout the Middle Ages and straw was used as Medieval toilet paper. Larger castles had dedicated latrine towers, and the person with the unsavory job of emptying the latrine was called a gong farmer.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    in the mid-late 1500's and a bit through the 1600's a bathroom was a room with a box-y looking seat with a hole in the top. there wasn't a side on the back of it so the chamberpot could removed/placed back in. then once a noble/royal was finished someone was waiting next to then with a silk/cotton/other material towel so they could wipe their butts. the person standing next to them was the only other person apart from family who was allowed to be that close to the noble/royal. that person was usually someone the noble/royal trusted deeply.

  • 1 decade ago

    chamber pot and a tub that was filled by heating water and pouring it in

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I'll bet it had a naked hottie of a chambermaid in it at bathtime...

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.