The birth of the stairs occurred when people were no longer satisfied with one-story dwellings.
Initially, a notched tree trunk had to be used to reach the upper floor. However, in the long run this solution was too primitive. Consequently, the concept of the stairs was invented, first made of wood, then of stone.
The constructions gradually became more daring, and some even famous, such as the wide staircase of Wells Cathedral, which leads from the choir’s northern side aisle up to the chapter house.
In some monasteries, the so-called “night stairs” connected the Dormitory with the choir, to facilitate the way for the monks to pray for the Hours.
Equestrian stairs had rather flat steps. In the early modern period, these could even lead to the tops of towers, such as in the Round Tower of Copenhagen, but in that case as a riding ramp without steps. A similar system was established in so-called “donkey towers”. In the winding corridor, goods were carried on the backs of these animals.