Something is enticing about historical structures that they continue to intrigue us even today. Far removed from technological intervention, our ancestors built entire civilizations barefoot, leaving behind a legacy we can still marvel at. Back then, life was simple and minimalistic, an aspect visible in medieval houses. Constructed in varied styles according to the status of the owner and the location of the house, Medieval Houses were made of timber. They were usually two-storied, providing enough space for keeping livestock, practising the owner’s profession and a comfortable living space for the family members. It’s indeed interesting to know how people in the 5th century lived. Read the article to know everything about medieval houses, like how they were built, their structure etc.
Types of Houses in Medieval Times
Medieval architecture bore an intrinsic and exquisite look that distinctly belonged to that era. It’s easy to identify houses built during the medieval period through their particular characteristics.
Medieval houses were broadly classified into two types – Noble Houses and Peasant Houses. Back then, society at large was divided based on the strata.
The architecture during the medieval era changed through centuries as the requisites, purpose, values, and belief systems changed. But medieval houses remained divided into Noble and Peasant houses. During the early Medieval period, peasant houses were usually made of straw and sticks as they could not afford anything better.
The Medieval Noble houses were much more extravagant, as affordability was not an issue. The early Medieval houses were simpler, with two rooms, little exhaust facilities, and small windows. They were not as well equipped to bear the weather effect as the houses from the later Medieval era were made of bricks and wood. However, bricks were quite expensive then, so many homes were partly built with timber and half with bricks. The roof was built from tiles for better protection from the weather. These houses were usually two-storied with chimneys and glass windows. The servants slept on the first floor.
Noble Houses during the Medieval period
During the Middle Ages, a well-defined hierarchy started developing within the Noble class, with the Nobles and the Aristocrats vying to establish their dominance in the social order. This race gave rise to a need to reflect their wealth as much as possible through different means, and building luxurious homes emerged as one of the best ways of doing that. These houses were greatly ornamental, flamboyantly displaying the wealth of the owner.
During the early medieval period, nobles lived in a grand house, usually called the Manor House. They eventually fell after a certain period and were then abandoned by their families.
Houses were greatly upgraded during the later Medieval period. The houses comprised a Grand Hall, a Kitchen, Storerooms and Servant Quarters. The Great Hall was used for various purposes, including dining, social and official gatherings, recreational activities, etc. If the houses were built as Castles, they were usually quite huge, with several rooms of different sizes that housed the Noble family and the servants.
Peasant Houses during the Medieval Period
The Peasant Houses were simple, small and wore a shabby look as peasants could not afford anything beyond straw and sticks, especially during the early Medieval period. None of the peasant houses has stood the test of time and disappeared from history. The accounts and estimates of the current structures have been passed through oral records and examples.
The peasant class couldn’t afford to build houses with any other material. During the later Medieval period, the peasant houses evolved into structures made of Wattle and daub. This shift resulted from the Black Death in 1384, which killed a huge population of peasants, with only a handful left to work on farms. The nobles hired whoever agreed to do the menial jobs on higher salaries, increasing the living standard of the working class.
Interesting Medieval Houses Facts
- The medieval houses, especially peasant houses, were very basic. No material used to build our homes today was available back then.
- The peasant houses had only a pit as a toilet that the residents could use and bury it. Toilets in Castles were called garderobe and were simply vertical shafts with a stone seat.
- Medieval houses, especially those of the Nobles, were status symbols. The wealthier the owner, the grander the house would be
- The Medieval period was exciting and intriguing in many ways, especially how the houses stood as a living example of how society operated in a well-defined hierarchy. However, these houses continue to give us a sneak peek into the era that was.