posted 12-25-2002 09:47 PM
Firstly Amber, peasants did not live in castles. Many castles were built more for defence against the local peasants than any foreign threat. Castles were built in times of feudal 'government', where most of the land was held by the local feudal lord and the peasants worked his land.
To help keep the locals civil, castles often had the only rights to milling grain or baking bread, and sometimes stored all the grain from the fields within it's walls.
The peasants were less likly to try and attack, no matter how they disliked their situation, if much of their food, or the ability to make it edible, was being held within the castle.
Shops as such were not common, especially in the early middle ages and even less so in villages.
People relied on regular market days to trade or purchase goods, but mostly people were fairly self sufficient. These markets were often held at the castle (whether inside or outside it's walls I don't know), in some cases it was law that the market must be held there.
OK, the bailey. What you see in many castles today is an open space which now only contains the ruins of the former inner buildings, the domestic buildings, as Deborah said.
The bailey of a larger castle would have housed kitchens, storage buildings(food, hay wood, animal feed, weapons), stables, black smith's shop, bakery and so on. Some of these functions were often incorporated into the main buildings such as the keep and towers and then did not require a seperate building.
The inside of the walls often had buildings built up against them and on many you can still see the rows of holes where roof beams were inserted to make a 'lean to' type roof.
Open areas would have been used for training of knights, receiving guests, storing stones and seige engines for times of siege, growing herbs and anything else that did not require a building.
Many people sometimes worked within a castle and especially in the early middle ages they did not have their own accommadation, but slept where they worked. The stablehand would have slept in the stable with the horses. This may seem strange to you, but was in fact done on farms in Europe until not long ago.