During the Tudor period, especially in the time of Henry VIII, there was a significant boom in the construction of houses due to the rise of many wealthy trading families. This style of construction of houses came to be regarded as Tudor houses. The construction of houses during this period was marked by a unique style and outlook. Many houses from the Tudor era still exist today and are marked by certain features. For instance, most Tudor houses made use of wattles in construction. They were cemented with the help of a kind of daub and finally, painted over so that they gave the appearance of a black and white architecture.
Most of the old nobility in England had been deposed by the end of the Wars of the Roses. During Henry VIII’s reign, the other major source of power, namely the Catholic Church, was also suppressed and the lands and powers granted to monasteries were taken back. Henry VIII then gave this land to his courtiers, most of them being members of wealthy merchant families. And these courtiers constructed large houses to commemorate their ascent to wealth and influence. These houses came to be called Tudor houses.
One of the key materials used in the construction of the Tudor houses was wood. The frame of a house was mostly based on the wood of timber while the walls and other constructions were done using wattles. Wattles refer to an intertwined placement of wooden sticks. The wattles were smeared over by a daub, which was a mixture of clay, sand and dung. This daub helped keep the wattles in place and reinforced their strength. Limewash paint was also used on the daub to hide its colour and give the house a more uniform and pleasant outlook. On the timber wood, tar was used so that it could be safe from water and any other factors which may cause it to rot. The limewash and tar gave the houses their iconic black-and-white look.
Tudor houses are marked by a number of characteristics. They were built with specific construction materials and the extensive use of wood in such houses was done by using wooden pegs to keep the frame in place. Most Tudor houses were marked by a tall chimney which protruded above the steep roof. The roof itself was thatched in most constructions, although the use of tiled roofs was common among the more affluent. Gardens were also a common feature of most Tudor houses. Rich people afforded larger gardens embellished with fountains and other objects while poorer people had smaller gardens in their houses.
Despite the many innovative embellishments on the outside of most Tudor houses, such as tiled roofs and well-kept gardens, the interior of the house featured a dirt floor. Such floors were very hard to clean and were often unkempt in most houses. Some houses made use of reeds and other natural materials in lining the floors which gave them a better look. These materials were frequently replaced. Most Tudor houses didn’t have any in-house arrangements for a toilet, although richer Tudor nobility often had a rudimentary toilet adjacent to the main building of the house.
The manor houses of the rich during the Tudor era usually conformed to a certain construction pattern. In the middle of the manor houses stood a courtyard and the rooms were constructed around it. On one side of the constructions, a gate led the entrance to the courtyard. The main porch and hall were located at the opposite side of this entrance while the rest of the rooms were located along the other two sides of the courtyard. One of the prominent interior decorative features of manor houses was the side fireplace which grew intricate over time and was usually built into all the major rooms of the house.
The houses of the wealthy during the Tudor era comprised of a number of rooms and usually a Great Hall. The rooms included the bedroom of the lady of the house, two separate parlours for summer and the winter seasons, a private dining-room, a study-room and a larger number of other bedrooms. The interior of most rooms was set up with a fireplace while the ceiling of the hall was ornamented as well. The Great Hall was one of the main parts of a wealthy Tudor house and this was where most of the non-private affairs of the house went on.
Wealthier Tudor houses dedicated a surprisingly large number of rooms, or apartments, for the activities of the kitchen. Separate portions of the house, for instance, were used as wet and dry larders. A dedicated pantry accompanied the kitchen and the house included a pastry-room, wine-cellar, cheese-room, fish-house, brew-house, scouring-house, bakehouse, hophouse and other dedicated rooms. Most of these rooms were furnished with different materials and were also used as storage for specific items. Bakehouse, for instance, was the dedicated room for all activities related to baking while the brew-house was used for brewing purposes.
The houses of the poor contained little furniture but the richer houses of the Tudor era were set up with a number of furniture items. Key among these were beds, tables and stools. Chairs were a rare item. The dining table was often lined with stools on both sides while the head of the house occupied the solitary chair, a sign of authority and distinction. The stools, made of wood, were cushioned to make them somewhat comfortable. Most of the furniture was made of oak and although the furniture in the early Tudor era was plain, it began to be ornamented more intricately towards later Tudor times. The reign of Elizabeth I, specifically, marked excellent innovations in the designs and shapes of furniture.
The Tudor era gave rise to an all new class of wealthy citizens, usually merchants or courtiers. This class landed significant properties and built large houses on them. Since the style of these constructions was more or less similar, it came to be called the Tudor houses. Tudor homes were marked with a large courtyard and rooms built around it. Fireplaces, tapestries and carpets were used for interior decoration. Only necessary items of furniture were used and they were made out of oak wood. Timber wood was commonly used in construction of the houses, with walls made of wattles and daub.