View Full Version : Latrines

05-31-2009, 06:17 AM
Ok, I thought that would get everyone's attention. :)

I'm in the process of drawing up a fantasy castle, but it's fairly realistic fantasy. Roughly how many guarderobes/latrines does a castle need per occupant? Or should that be how many occupants per latrine?

What washing/bathing facilities (if any) should I include?

Should laundry be done in the kitchen? If not, where?

As you can see my historical knowledge is a little lacking, so I'd be grateful for any help on the practicalities of castle life. :)


05-31-2009, 06:38 AM
Not sure how many latrines there should be, but some of the larger castles had their own latrine towers. Also keep in mind a lot of people used chamberpots.

As for washing/bathing facilities: in Medieval times people mostly used bathtubs. The bathtub could be placed in a room (near a fire for example) or outside if it was good weather. Rooms set aside for bathing were pretty rare in castles I think, but it did happen.

Finally, the laundry. Keep in mind that people back then had less laundry. Clothes were very expensive and most of the time the outher clothing was never washed (it was brushed). The laundry in castles was done outside or in a designated room by laundresses.

05-31-2009, 09:29 AM
http://www.xomba.com/weird_histories_–_number_6_toilet_behaviour_mediev al_times_back_basics_bogs


gardez l’leau!

05-31-2009, 10:18 PM
According to ICE's Rolemaster supplement Castles and Ruins, there should be one latrine per 20 inhabitants, and a cesspit should have a volume of 10 cubic feet per latrine chute emptying into it.

If you can find a copy, I highly recommend that book. It's very well researched, and extremely useful for worldbuilding.

05-31-2009, 11:39 PM
You may find this thread useful as well:


06-09-2009, 01:22 PM
I think, in period, the question would be how many guardrobes can the building design support. The walls were thick but I imagine it was expensive, and even risky, to vary from solid dense wall.

I wonder if a latrine was preferred over a chamberpot. Presumably, anyone of power would have servants to deal with their waste. A warm little brass pot might be much more comfortable than a cold smelly stone chute.

Are you mapping Cisterns as well?

I'd love to see some maps when you're done.

06-10-2009, 02:25 PM
Cheers guys. Looking at your replies, I reckon I'm probably on the right lines except I've put the guarderobes on the ground floor. I'm not planning to map the plumbing in any detail, I just wanted to include the things - like I do in my starships! ;)

Some useful links there, and a local thread I missed.

Castles and Ruins, of course! I've got that somewhere. You buy these things, forget about them and then go reinventing the wheel...

06-10-2009, 02:54 PM
I remember posting this:


check the whole thread out actually. There was a good story of one of the most famous sieges which involved William the Conqueror somehow that they found an unattended latrine and some guys (boys I expect) climbed in and allowed them to break in. Its very rare that latrines are close to the ground. Theres a super one at Chepstow where its on the outer wall of the castle which is on the cliff face about a 100m up. Certainly a place to get dumped on from a great height !

06-10-2009, 05:54 PM
I've been to Chepstow Castle, about 20 years ago, but I can't say the latrine made enough of an impression to remember. ;)

That second pic seems to be at ground level, though.

06-17-2009, 03:50 PM
William the Conqueror somehow that they found an unattended latrine and some guys (boys I expect) climbed in and allowed them to break in.

People always underestimate the value of a trained monkey battalion. Every good army should have one. Especially where poo may be an issue. ;)