Houses in the Middle Ages
Written by Simon Newman
History - Middle Ages
One thing that is forever changing is the architecture of our homes. The Middle Ages houses are one of the most interesting style homes that were ever created throughout history. Try watching a movie that takes place during the Middle Ages. None of the homes look very attractive or particularly comforting.
They all seem to be kind of dark and dank and were rather uncomfortable. There are a lot of issues that were created during the construction of Middle Ages homes, and that is why certain precautions had to be taken in order to prevent damage or issues down the road.
Many of the things that we take advantage of today were quite expensive during the Middle Ages or were just simply not available for the average home. Glass was one of these items. Homes did not use glass to block up their windows. They were little more the cutouts in the wall, and they were often small, sparse, and would be boarded up in the evening.
While people did not really fear break-ins or robberies like they do today, but wild animals and bad weather are what threatened the homes. There was also the threat of pillagers and windows were kept small so that the people that lived in the home could see what was outside, but it would be difficult for those outside to see into the home.
The average Middle Ages houses were extremely small and housed the entire family. They rarely had completed floors, many of them having dirt or straw floors that added to the dampness. Most homes only consisted of a couple of rooms in which the entire family resided. This was not only their sleeping quarters, but their cooking, resting, and area in which they had family time.
Most family time was extremely limited since most of the homes of peasants contained both the parents and the children, the whole family worked in order to help support the entire family. This meant that it was generally early to bed and early to rise, and left little time in between to try and work on their schooling or bond with their family.
The wealthy homes were a vast difference from the peasant homes. Since the Middle Ages houses that were owned by the wealthier people would sometimes be visited by royalty they were often a great deal larger than those of the peasants. Many of the wealthier titled families were often even appointed homes by the royal family, and since the homes often went with the title the homes were extremely large and well developed including large windows, tiled floors, and often furnished with gorgeous furniture. These homes often had servants quarters on the premises or the homes were built with an area in which could house servants in the interior of the home.
There were no kitchens in the homes of a peasant. The average home had little more than what was like a fire pit in the middle of the room. This was used to help keep the chill out of the home as well as the main area for cooking. Most of the cooking was done either on a stake or in a pot. There were few options for meals in a peasant home. Most food was provided by what the family was able to raise, grow, or find. This meant that the majority of meals were a lot of like and there were few variations for someone that lived in a poor household.
The wealthier families had large kitchen areas in which they would be able to cook a great deal of food for the inhabitants as well as the guests. Hotels did not exist the way that they do today, and home construction was not as easy as today either. This meant that more often than not extra family members were staying of living in a home of a wealthy family. It was quite often that many family members would come and stay for months at a time, and this meant that there was a great deal of food that would need to be prepared. The kitchens were often well stocked with breads, meats, and vegetables that were as fresh as possible.
One of the most unfortunate things about Middle Ages homes is how the waste was disposed. Homes did not have running water so toilets were pretty much out of the question. Peasant homes basically had a pit in which they would dispose of their waste and bury it. This often meant that most peasants had to leave the home in order to use the restroom, and would dump the waste from cooking outside as well.
Most people used all that they could of their food and there was little waste from cooking. Food was often difficult to come by for peasants and that meant that they tried to use every bit of it that they possibly could.
Most wealthy families knew that they did not have to worry about their waste. It was often taken care of by the servants. They would have chamber pots or areas of the home that they could go such as a bathroom in which they would be able to rid their bodies of waste, and then it would be left up to the servants to dispose of the waste. The servants would often dump the waste into pits just like a peasant would, but it was left up to the servants to handle so that the wealthy people of the home did not have to bother themselves with it.
Midddle Ages homes often varied greatly in their size and appearance. While many of the peasants homes are no longer standing due to poor construction and lack of upkeep, but many of the wealthier homes are still standing today. Some are little more than tourist attractions while others actually have people still residing in them. There have been adjustments made to modernize many of these homes, but the classic appeal still remains intact.