Myths abound about the medieval period, and some of them seem logical enough…yet they turn out to be untrue. One such is that spiral/newel staircases were built to be advantageous to those who use their right hand.
So, as the majority of the human race is right-handed, this seemed a good, sensible idea. Yes? Well, on the whole but perhaps not for those who are left-handed. Encountering a foe on such a staircase, and requiring to use a sword was supposedly advantageous to the right-handed. That is, if you were further up the steps. Hard luck if you were the one further down. No advantage then, because it would be better to be left-handed. Yes? Oh, I don’t know, the only sword I’ve ever wielded was a wooden toy when I was about six!
If you look at the photographs above, you’ll see examples of these staircases winding in both directions….not at the same time, of course, but you know what I mean. The photographs are from this article which blows the myth apart. Medieval spiral staircases could go either way. Theory exploded.