(canton de Caen, Calvados)
The work of Henry I, William the Conqueror's son, this great banqueting hall (aula) was known as the "Hall of the Exchequer" (Salle de l'Echiquier) from the 19th century onwards. Rectangular in shape (31m x 11m) it was a building with two floors and typical of 12th century palace architecture. Very few examples survive and the palace here in Caen castle is the oldest and best preserved in continental Europe.
The ground within the walls has been thoroughly investigated by archaeologists, but the Anglo-Norman levels (11th and 12th centuries) were only partially preserved. The archaeological work did however reveal that the ground floor had been used as a kitchen, while the floor above had served as a banqueting hall where the duke-king was able to receive his barons and the great and good of that time. Richard the Lion Heart, King of England and Duke of Normandy assembled his barons here before embarking on Crusade.
At the beginning of the 14th century, the building was transformed into a room with a single floor, much preferred by princes then. It lost its noble function at the end of the 15th century and became a stable for the garrisons and a forge. Badly damaged in 1944, the restoration work has integrated the result of the archaeological investigations.
- Mémoires du château de Caen / textes réunis
par Jean-Yves Marin et Jean-Marie Levesque. - Caen : Musée de Normandie. Paris
: Skira-Seuil, 2000. - 176 p
- Il castello di Caen in Normandia : Nuovi rilievi alle strutture architettoniche, contributi per il restauro e la valorizzazione / a cura di Luigi Marino. - Firenze : Università di Firenze, Dipartimento di Storia dell'Architettura e Restauro delle Strutture Architettoniche. Ville de Caen, Musée de Normandie, 2000, 31 p
- Le Château de Caen / Michel de Boüard. - Caen : CRAM, 1979, 149 p