Medieval Houses

Peasants such as serfs lived in very simple and basic homes that were made from natural products wood (sticks and mud) that were available in the countryside, this technique of building was called the ‘wattle and daub’ system.

Medieval Serfdom - Bedroom and living area of a medieval serf

Peasants Homes

The framework of a peasant’s house was made 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 house’s thatched roofs so that the smoke coming from the fire in the middle of the house could go out.

viking life cooking food

This fire provided warmth and could be used for cooking and although the peasants reeked of smoke because only one hole in the roof acted as a chimney.

using the wattle and daub building method for medieval house design allowed two-story medieval cottages to be built with the second floor being reached by a Ladder.

Peasant houses commonly had beds and tables in the main area, an adjacent area in which farm animals were kept, and an area for food storage in the inner roof areas that was reached by a ladder.

A Medieval Peasant Family of Farmers

Peasants Homes

The most common medieval peasant was the Serf who worked on the land of the manor estate that was in the control of a high-ranking noble such as a lord. A manorial estate might be the whole of a small village or a section of a larger village.

The Lord commonly lived in a very grand house within the manor estate, which was called a ‘Manor House’, the Lord was known as the ‘Lord of the Manor’.

Feudal Manor

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 could only look on with envy at the well-built medieval manors of the nobility, grand houses of merchants, and the castles of Royalty.

Medieval Manor House of a Lord

Medieval Manor House of a Lord

Homes of Nobility

Medieval manor houses were usually very grand imposing buildings, in accordance with the wealth of the Lord who owned it.

Typically, a manor house had a

  • Great Hall
  • Kitchen
  • Storerooms
  • Servants’ Quarters

The dining area of a manor house was usually found in the Great Hall as it was where meetings were held and generally used by everyone who lived in the manor.

Learn more about Medieval Manors

Medieval Manor

Medieval Manor

Homes of Royalty *Castles

Medieval kings lived in Castles, important Nobles could also live in a castle or a Manor houses with their families.

Castles were huge buildings. Large numbers of staff usually lived and worked in and around the Castle of a King. 

Kings usually lived in a central secure location within the castle called a castle keep, this was a stronghold of the castle.

Medieval Castle Keep View

Medieval Castle Keep Seen from Steps looking up

Learn more about Medieval Castles