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Medieval Period



No evidence remains relating to the houses of the poorer sectors of the community, but archaeological evidence from other medieval towns suggests that the poor tended to live in single-cell buildings about 3 metres (10 feet) square, with internal partitioning to divide them into a living area and a bedchamber.

In general, medieval cottages were dismal, depressing, unhealthy, foul-smelling and short of head room. Higher-quality cottages had a strong wooden framework. Pairs or curved timbers, known as crucks, were set up at either end of the structure to make two heavy archways. These were joined at the top by a heavy ridge pole, half-way down by purlins, and at the bottom by sills, and the whole cage-like framework was strengthened by pegging shorter uprights and cross-pieces to the main timbers by means of stout oak pins. A doorway and one or two small window-frames were put into position, and walls were made by tightly packing daub, a mixture of clay, dung and straw onto a frame of wattle laths. Roofs were usually thatched with rye or wheat straw.


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