Medieval cottages

Published: Monday, 13 May 2013

Medieval cottages were dismal, depressing, unhealthy, foul-smelling and short of head room, although, partly because of poor nutrition, people were generally quite a few inches shorter than we are now. Often people lived with their animals inside the house. This kept them safe from theft and warm in cold weather.

The rich lived in strong cruck houses and later open hall houses some of which were strong enough to survive many hundreds or years in one form or another.

The poor often lived in single-cell buildings about 3 metres (10 feet) square. Some had an internal partition to divide them into a living area and a bedchamber.  There aren\'t many of these left partly because they weren\'t really worth keeping and when people later built on the same sites they kept very little of the houses, but also because some of them were so flimsy they just fell down. Of course, at some points in history the rich landlords drove the poor peasants off their land and let the houses just fall down.

Frequently these small houses were too small to have a fire inside so often the only fire would be outside the front door.

Although you won\'t see many complete, small medieval cottages anymore, there are many brick houses that started off as medieval timber framed buildings. Most of these are little houses in old towns with tiny winding streets. Maybe you live in or know a town like that?