Medieval Technology, Peasant Houses

Each peasant house at had a small yard surrounding it called a toft and a croft which served as a small garden to supply the family with root crops, legumes and, perhaps, grain. The basic peasant house in the 13th century was about 15 feet wide and might be twice the length, houses of the 14th century were about 20 feet wide and 80 feet in length.

This latter type, the long house had an attached byre (barn) which might have housed farm animals or could have been used for storage. The central room was long and open with no partitions. There would have been an open fire pit with a smokehole in the roof above.

At the end, farthest from the byre, there frequently was a separate half height room used, probably, for sleeping. Peasant houses had low foundations of chalk blocks, the crucks rested on large padstones built into the foundations. Between the crucks, the walls were generally wattle and daub, daub was a mizture of mud and straw.

Another possible wall covering was called "cob" which was 3 parts chalk and 1 part clay mixed with straw. The wall was a frame with small vertical posts woven with smaller, flexible sticks to form a base for the daub. This woven frame is the wattle. The daub was then plastered on the wattle, inside and out.


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