It might surprise you to know that many of the castles built were built by Syrian masons. It took an extreme level of expertise and the bests of the bests had reputations that made them the key “go to” people regardless of which country a castle was to be built in. Considering what these masons accomplished without the modern tools of today, I find it absolutely amazing how they did what they did.
Castles served a range of purposes, the most important of which were military, administrative, and domestic. As well as defensive structures, castles were also offensive tools which could be used as a base of operations in enemy territory. As William the Conqueror advanced through England, he fortified key positions to secure the land he had taken. Between 1066 and 1087, he established 36 castles such as Warwick Castle, which he used to guard against rebellions in the English Midlands. - Wiki
Castles were private residences and the size of the household was what determined how many people would work there. It wasn’t out of the norm for a small castle to be defended by a garrison of three knights and ten men-at-arms (much smaller than I thought). Larger castles could hold a few hundred knights and soldiers. I don’t know about you but I thought there would be more military than this but it all boiled down to money. The lord of the castle had to pay for protection and many of these lords might have lived in a castle but it didn’t mean they were well off financially (relatively speaking), especially with liquid cash. Their wealth was generally tied to the structures and land they owned so without tax money they wouldn’t have anything at all to pay the people who worked for them. Some things never change.
Most of the people who worked in the castle who had good jobs (not the ones who were in charge of getting rid of waste), were tied to the people who lived there like family, friends, etc., because they were paid positions. The largest amount of staff were focused on dining which back then was a way more meaningful event than it is today. There was someone who worked closely with the cook to source the supplies that would be needed for the meals. There were hunters who would go out and kill/trap the animals. There was one main cook with the appropriate amount of helpers. There were those designated to serve the meals (usually the more attractive people). In a few cases there were even food tasters who would check the king’s food and drink to make sure it wasn’t poisoned (what a great job). But the most powerful person of them all was the “Constable” who was responsible for running the entire castle. He was the one who had the king’s or lord’s ear so some people feared him while others used him for their own agendas (once again, some things never change).
Anyhow, like I said, I’ve always been intrigued by castles and I hope you too found this article interesting. Take care and make it a great day!