Life in a Medieval Castle (Medieval Life)


Life in a Medieval Castle: Medieval history comes alive in Joseph and Frances Gies’s book, used as a research resource by George R. R. Martin in creating the world of Game of Thrones.

Newly reissued for the first time in decades, Life in a Medieval Castle is the bestselling classic that has introduced countless readers to the wonders of the Middle Ages. Focusing on a castle called Chepstow on the border between England and Wales, acclaimed Medievalists Joseph and Frances Gies offer an exquisite portrait of what day-to-day life was actually like during the era, and of the key role the castle played. The Gieses write eloquently about the many people whose lives revolved around the castle, from the lord and lady to the commoners of the surrounding village. We discover what lords and serfs alike would have worn, eaten, and done for leisure; the songs sung; and the codes of sexual conduct that maintained order. We learn of the essential role of honor in medieval culture, the initiation process undertaken by knights, and how castles attempted to keep the constant threats of outside violence at bay.

Exhaustively researched and as engaging as any novel, Life in a Medieval Castle is the definitive text for anyone wishing to learn more about this fascinating era.

Editorial Review

Joseph and Frances Gies’s ‘Life in a Medieval Castle’ is a captivating journey back in time, skillfully weaving the tapestry of medieval life with meticulous research and a compelling narrative. This book is a must-read for history enthusiasts and anyone seeking to immerse themselves in the world of knights, nobles, and the enigmatic aura of medieval castles.

The authors’ attention to detail is nothing short of remarkable. With vivid descriptions and an engaging storytelling style, they transport readers to a bygone era, shedding light on the everyday lives of both the aristocracy and the common folk. From the architectural marvels of castles to the social intricacies of feudal society, ‘Life in a Medieval Castle’ leaves no stone unturned.

One of the book’s standout qualities is its accessibility. The Gies duo manages to strike a perfect balance between scholarly rigor and readability. They take complex historical information and present it in a way that is both informative and engaging, making it a valuable resource for students, researchers, and casual readers alike.

Furthermore, ‘Life in a Medieval Castle’ serves as a testament to the power of meticulous research. Joseph and Frances Gies draw from a wealth of primary sources to paint a comprehensive picture of medieval life. Their dedication to accuracy and authenticity is evident on every page, enhancing the book’s credibility.

In a world filled with historical texts, ‘Life in a Medieval Castle’ stands out as a timeless classic. It not only educates but also entertains, making the distant past come alive with all its grandeur and challenges. Whether you are a history buff or just curious about the Middle Ages, this book will transport you to a world where chivalry and intrigue reigned supreme. It is a masterpiece that continues to enrich our understanding of a fascinating era.

Life in a Medieval Castle by Joseph Gies and Frances Gies
Genre: Non-Fiction
Age Range: Adult
Start Rating: 4.2
Publication Date: 6th October 2015
ISBN13: 978-0062414793

Author: Joseph and Frances Gies

Joseph & Frances Gies

Joseph & Frances Gies

Joseph and Frances Gies were a husband-and-wife duo renowned for their contributions to medieval history and literature. They dedicated their lives to researching and writing about the Middle Ages, leaving an indelible mark on the field.

Joseph Gies, born in 1916, was a prolific writer and historian. He served in World War II and later pursued a career in journalism. Together with his wife Frances, he embarked on a literary journey to bring the medieval past to life through their meticulous research and engaging writing style.

Frances Gies, born in 1915, was a gifted writer and collaborator. Her passion for history, combined with Joseph’s expertise, resulted in a series of critically acclaimed books that explored various aspects of medieval life, including castles, daily life, and feudal society.

The Gies couple’s most notable work includes “Life in a Medieval Castle,” “Life in a Medieval Village,” and “Life in a Medieval City,” among others. These books have become enduring classics, valued for their accessibility and scholarly rigor. They made the complex world of the Middle Ages accessible to a wide audience, from scholars to enthusiasts.

Joseph and Frances Gies’s dedication to historical accuracy and their ability to transform academic research into engaging narratives have left an enduring legacy. Their works continue to inspire and educate readers about the rich tapestry of medieval history, ensuring that their contributions to the field remain highly regarded and cherished.


  • Life in a Medieval City Summary | SuperSummary. (2023). SuperSummary.

  • Gies, F., & Gies, J. (2010). Life in a Medieval City. Harper Collins.

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