HALL (O.E. heall, a common Teutonic word, cf. Ger. Halle), a term which has two significations in England and is applied sometimes to the manor house, the residence of the lord of the manor, which implied a territorial possession, but more often to the entrance hall of a mansion. In the latter case it wastheone large room in the feudal castle up to the middle of the 15th century, when it served as audience chamber, dining-room, and dormitory. The hall was generally a parallelogram on plan, with a raised dais at the farther end, a large bow window on one side, and in one or two cases on both sides. At the entrance end was a passage, which was separated from the hall by a partition screen often elaborately decorated, and over which was provided a minstrels' gallery; on the opposite side of the passage were the hatches communicating with the serveries. This arrangement is still found in some of the colleges at Oxford and Cambridge, such as those of New College, Christchurch, Wadham and Magdalen, Oxford, and in Trinity College, Cambridge. In private mansions, however, the kitchen and offices have been removed to a greater distance, and the great hall is only used for banquets. Among the more remarkable examples are the halls of Audley End; Hatfield; Brougham Castle; Hard wick; Knole Stanway in Gloucestershire; Wollaton, where it is situated in the centre of the mansion and lighted by clerestory windows; Burton Agnes in Yorkshire; Canons Ashley, Northamptonshire; Westwood Park, Worcestershire; Fountains, Yorkshire; Sydenham House, Devonshire; Cobham, Kent; Montacute, Somersetshire; Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire (vaulted and with two columns in the centre of the hall to carry the vault); Longford Castle, Wiltshire; Barlborough, Derbyshire; Rushton Hall, Northamptonshire, with a bow window at each end of the dais and a third bow window at the other end; Knole, Kent; and at Mayfield, Sussex (with stone arches across to carry the roof), now converted into a Roman Catholic chapel. Many of these halls have hammer-beam roofs, the most remarkable of which is found in the Middle Temple Hall, London, where both the tie and collar beams have hammer-beams. Of other halls, Westminster is the largest, being 238 ft. long; followed by the Banqueting Hall, Whitehall, no ft; Wolsey's Hall, Hampton Court, 106 ft; the Egyptian Hall at the Mansion House; the hall at Lambeth, now the library; Crosby Hall; Gray's Inn Hall; the Guildhall; Charterhouse; and the following halls of the London City Companies Clothworkers, Brewers, Goldsmiths, Fishmongers. The term hall is also given to the following English mansions: Haddon, Hardwick, Apethorpe, Aston, Blickling, Brereton, Burton Agnes, Cobham, Dingley, Rushton, Kirby, Litford and Wollaton; and it was the name of some of the earlier colleges at Oxford and Cambridge, most of which have now been absorbed in other colleges, so that there remain only St Edmund's Hall, Oxford, and Trinity Hall, Cambridge.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)