Medieval Houses

Medieval houses that peasants lived in were usually dark, damp and cold places in Medieval times and sometimes depending on the weather it could actually be warmer and lighter on the outside than on the inside of a medieval house .

This was not the case for wealthier members of medieval society such as nobility & Lords and even some people in the lower peasant classes of medieval society such as Reeves, who were basically village managers, had quite well built and furnished medieval houses.

Medieval Home Interior

The inside of a medieval home

Peasants Medieval Houses

The earliest forms of Medieval Housing were the weakest due to design flaws and the materials that peasants used, these houses were very easy to get into and to set ablaze and they usually offered very low protection against the weather.

Once early medieval houses had been built, they were not usually upgraded and eventually fell into disrepair and were abandoned if they were not burnt down first. Peasants were not happy with their medieval homes and could only look with envy at the well-built medieval houses of the nobility and the manors and castles of the Royals.

The Black Death and Medieval Housing

In 1348 the Black Death swept across the country killing many millions of people, so many in fact that this led to a shortage of peasants and serfs this led to a large number wealthy landowners being desperate for people who could work the land.

For the first time in medieval history, the Serfs and Peasants had the upper hand as there was a shortage of supply for workers and the demand was high.

Not having enough workers to work the fields led landowners to start hiring more and more able peasants and for the first time peasants could work for whoever was paying the most coin or offering the best deals.

This led to the peasants having more coin to spend and automatically led to happier times for them and one of the major changes that happened with this increased wealth was that peasants and serfs improved their medieval homes.

Better Medieval Houses for Wealthier Peasants

Better Medieval housing was one of the first things on the list of things to buy for these wealthier Peasants and Serfs. New medieval houses were in demand for the lower classes after the Black Death and new House building techniques were introduced that produced much better houses.

New building methods created more advanced Medieval Houses

A building style called wattle and daub was invented that allowed peasants to build taller and wider medieval houses than previously. These new medieval houses were made of simple sticks, mud and straw. These Medieval houses not only provided more room but they offered protection against the weather and peasants could finally implement fires inside their own homes.

The framework was constructed of timber, and the filling of the spaces was with wattle (woven twigs) these twigs were daubed in mud which when it dried made a strong hard wall. The peasants would also make a hole in the top of the houses thatched roofs so that the smoke coming from the fire in the middle of the house could go out. This fire provided warmth, could be used for cooking and although the peasants reeked of smoke because only one hole in the roof acted as a chimney, their lives were greatly improved by the changes made in medieval housing design.

Because of the strengthened structure that could now be built using the wattle and daub building method for medieval house design, the first two story medieval cottages started to appear on the medieval landscape with the second floor being reached by Ladder.

A Medieval Peasant Family of Farmers

A Peasants Farmers home in Medieval times

Superior Medieval Houses of the Noblemen

The Nobility of those times lived in much better medieval houses and had easier lives in their homes and the fact that some of their houses are still standing today proves the superior quality of the build.

The Medieval houses of Noblemen were made of stone, unlike the peasant’s houses built from simple twigs, straw and mud. The earliest forms of medieval cottages that were built for the Nobles was from the around 13th century.

Many splendid cottages in which very famous lords lived in the past have been reconstructed and enhanced in recent times and can be seen in all their splendor at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum in Sussex England.

Early Medieval Houses for Nobility

The first medieval buildings housed the lord of the manor and his family, all sleeping in one room and using the second room for heat, preparing meals, eating and similar.

Unlike the peasants, the animals that the nobles owned were locked away in primitive barns outside the house and the crops were enclosed in a different area near the house.

Because the buildings were made of stone, they offered excellent protection against everything especially against fires and weather.

Later Medieval Houses for Nobles

The upgraded versions of the early medieval house came in the later medieval period and were made of bricks. Even though bricks were a very expensive commodity that did not stop most nobles from furnishing their medieval houses with a layer of bricks that were used for the walls and strong sturdy timber used for support and the interior.

A Medieval Manor

A manor in Medieval times – listing of all the buildings in the Manor

Medieval Tudor Houses for less wealthy Noblemen

There was also a second medieval housing option for less wealthy nobles during Tudor times with the invention of Tudor Housing. Tudor medieval houses were half-timbered houses made of strong wood, which was used for both the walls and the interior. Roof tiles first started making an appearance in the Medieval Tudor Period and chimneys were added to medieval houses to take away the smoke fumes.

Glass windows could be seen on almost every Medieval Tudor house, which led to different types of windows with frames that could be covered in resin, and tallow soaked fabric was used that would allow light inside but would keep out drafts and could be removed in good weather, an early form of curtain.

Tudor Medieval Houses usually had another floor just for the servants or a separate building built to house them, usually built close to the Tudor houses of the noblemen.

Medieval Housing throughout the Medieval Period

In summary, big advances in house design during the medieval period led to the improvement of medieval houses for peasants and nobility, constant advancement was due to improved knowledge and building techniques.

One of the main drivers of change was the Black Death that created a situation in which peasants became wealthier and had more money to spend on medieval houses.

From early medieval times when peasants had to build their own homes from simple twigs, mud and straw to the grand medieval houses built by wealthy noblemen later in the medieval period this was a very busy period of history for medieval house builders and the Craftsmen of the medieval era.

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