Homes for the not so rich
Their wooden framed cottages with wattle and daub walls (see Norman poor homes) and thatched roofs remained very much the same through much of medieval times.
A fire in a hall, open to the roof, provided heat to cook and warm the house. The peasants' clothes would have reeked of smoke - a hole in the roof was the only form of chimney!
Two storey cottages would have bedrooms in enclosed galleries on the first floor, reached by means of a wooden ladder.
Why are these cottages set up on stones?
Click the picture for an answer.
Peasants trudged out to work from their simple wooden cottages as soon as there was daylight. They went to work on their own long strips of land, or to the lord of the manor's fields if he needed them that day.
Many of the towns, and cities, of today grew up in medieval times. Some developed from much older settlements, for instance at the crossing of a river.Others were laid out by the Normans below a castle.
Shops opened out on to the street with a flap down counter
Down the middle of the street ran a central drain into which everyone threw their rubbish.
There was no organised police force. If someone was seen stealing a 'hue and cry' was raised. Everyone able to do so chased after the villain.
Many towns had walls and gates which were closed at night. There was a curfew after a certain time when no one was expected to be on the streets without good reason.
Curfew comes from 'cover fire' (couvre feu) - a good idea when many of the houses were wooden!
Many of these wooden town buildings had overhanging upper parts. This protected shoppers underneath and gave extra floor space for the same amount of ground rent.
How did people advertise the goods they were selling?
The central focus of a town was the market selling goods brought in from the surrounding countryside or by pedlars and merchants.