• Overground/underground - a caving archaeology project in the Yorkshire Dales

    1st June 2-4pm at Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes.

    Click here for more

Medieval binge drinking

Peter Burgess

New member
The Barons' Cave in Reigate is a bit of an enigma. There is no firm evidence to suggest why it was dug, deep beneath the Norman Reigate Castle. However, I have added a new idea to the several we already have.

It may have been a wine cellar for the Earl of Warrenne who owned it thoughout the middle ages.

I have worked out that it would have been possible to line up 22 tuns of wine side by side. A tun is a barrel-shaped vessel very approximately 1 metre in diameter and 1.2 metres long.

22 tuns would have held approximately 20,000 litres of wine! That's some party!

:beer: :D :kiss2: :confused: :mad: :chair: :yucky: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep:

Peter Burgess

New member
Here's a picture.



>>A tun is a barrel-shaped vessel

Isn't it a barrel-shaped barrel?  :) :coffee:
AFAIAA there were no other options - all large containers like that were constructed as casks?
And in the above picture imagine it with wood panelling along the sides...

Peter Burgess

New member
I may be going out on a limb here, not having checked my facts, but I understand that a barrel is a measure of vessel size, a bit like in wine bottles, you get magnums, etc.

A barrel is, I think a specific size of cask. A tun is another specific size.


New member
"Barrel" is both a generic term for a barrel shaped container and a specific term for certian quantities:

A barrel of crude oil, for example is 42 US gallons (158.97 litres). More importantly a barrel of beer is 31 Imperial gallons or 117.335 litres. (or two "kegs").