World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000665111
Reproduction Date:

Title: Garderobe  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Peveril Castle, Privy, Bretèche, Dinefwr Castle, Havelock Mills
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


The garderobe at Peveril Castle, Derbyshire, England

The term garderobe (French: "wardrobe") describes a place where clothes and other items are stored, and also a medieval toilet.[1] In European public places, a garderobe denotes a cloakroom, wardrobe, alcove, or armoire used to temporarily store the coats and other possessions of visitors.[1] In Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, German, Russian, and Spanish, the word garderobe can mean a "cloakroom". In Latvian it means "checkroom".

Historical use

According to medieval architecture scholar Frank Bottomley, garderobes were:

Properly, not a latrine or privy but a small room or large cupboard, usually adjoining the chamber or solar and providing safe-keeping for valuable clothes and other possessions of price: cloth, jewels, spices, plate and money.[2]

The term is also used for a medieval or Renaissance toilet and for a close stool.[1] A description of the garderobe at Donegal Castle indicates that during the time the castle garderobe was in use it was believed that ammonia would protect visitors' coats and cloaks, particularly from fleas.[3]

In a medieval castle or other building, a garderobe was usually a simple hole discharging to the outside into a cesspit or the moat, depending on the structure of the building. Such toilets were often placed inside a small chamber, leading by association to the use of the term garderobe to describe the rooms. Many can still be seen in Norman and medieval castles and fortifications, for example at Bürresheim Castle in Germany, where three garderobes are still visible today.[4] They became obsolete with the introduction of indoor plumbing.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Bell, Susan G. (2004). The lost tapestries of the City of ladies. Christine de Pizan's Renaissance legacy. University of California Press. pp. 38–39.  
  2. ^ Bottomley, Frank. The Castle Explorer's Guide. London: Kaye & Ward Ltd. 1979. p. 70
  3. ^ "An Asbo in 14th Century Britain". BBC. 5 April 2011. The name garderobe – which translates as guarding one's robes – is thought to come from hanging your clothes in the toilet shaft, as the ammonia from the urine would kill the fleas 
  4. ^ Bürresheim Castle in the Rhineland-Palatinate state of Germany has three garderobes: "...the rectangular castle keep dating from the 12th century, and raised in height to five storeys in the 15th century ...Only the fifth floor added in the late gothic period has rectangular windows and can be recognized as the dwelling for the tower watchman through its chimney and garderobe." Burgen, Schlösser, Altertümer. Burresheim Castle Koblenz, 2000. p. 22.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.