I'm looking for a name for the rooms that you'd find overlooking a castle's great hall.

Somewhere between a balcony and a viewing gallery. Examples can be found in the top right and left of this image.

enter image description here

Any help would be really appreciated!

  • Welcome to Writing.SE! Unfortunately, I think this question would be better-suited to English.SE.
    – F1Krazy
    Aug 15, 2019 at 19:20
  • 1
    Welcome to Writing.SE, Eli! Since you're looking for an existing term, your question is better suited for English Language & Usage than for us. (There is an architectural term for those galleries, I'm just not sure what it is.) Take a look at our tour and help center pages, they can guide you through our site. I'll flag this question for migration, but I hope to see you sticking around with questions that are more within our scope. :) Aug 15, 2019 at 19:21
  • Thanks folks! I can't keep track of all the different Stack Exchange sites these days! Lol thanks for flagging it!
    – Eli Nathan
    Aug 15, 2019 at 19:28
  • @EliNathan In general, go to the Help center of a site (on web, by clicking the question mark in the upper right corner and selecting "Help Center"), then under the "Asking" heading you'll find "What topics can I ask about here?". That will take you to a page detailing each site's subject scope.
    – user
    Aug 15, 2019 at 19:33
  • Guys...we got 2 identical questions here. This one was migrated from Writing.SE. Aug 16, 2019 at 21:50

1 Answer 1


A lot depends upon the construction type and specific of the castle, but where such a room or passageway occurred, the most appropriate terminology could be:

Screens Passage - a passageway which connects to (and sometimes wraps around) the Great Hall

Arcade - a passageway with broad openings separated by columns ( or arches cut into a wall) with a significant overlook

Gallery - a covered passageway open to one side, or narrow balcony or platform running the length of a wall

Note that in most castles there was no such easy overlooking of the Great Hall for simple defensive reasons - it would have allowed too easy a line of attack on the resident noble at a high angle of inclination - ideal for archery.

There were in later centuries wooden screens hiding the passages to kitchens and other support / utility spaces, and in some cases wooden ladders or step up to private rooms on upper floors - and later even than that there were specific private dining and meeting rooms called withdrawing rooms which the resident noble might use for greater privacy and ease of use....

Hope this helps.

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    Wasn't there a sort of balcony for minstrels and such? I distinctly remember seeing something like that in some Highlands castle. Aug 15, 2019 at 20:07
  • Thanks Gerard! I think gallery or arcade might be the one. When traveling in India we saw similar rooms in old palaces that women were made to stay in away from the main hall (not in modern times of course).
    – Eli Nathan
    Aug 15, 2019 at 20:14
  • @Galastel - yup, and those were almost always Galleries! Aug 15, 2019 at 20:17
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    @EliNathan - now that I've seen your image, I can tell you the relevant descriptor is for the space in your image is definitely arcade; also, that image appears almost as likely to to be of the nave and narthex of a cathedral, versus the Great Hall of a castle to my eye. Aug 15, 2019 at 21:48

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