Sunday, November 17, 2013

Peasant Dwellings

From Medievalists:
 Now we know that peasant housing was not universally badly built and incapable of surviving for a long time. The earliest dated house which is still inhabited and likely to have belonged to a peasant was built of timbers felled in 1262. With the full impact of dendrochronology a wave of building in both town and country can be identified which coincided with the ‘great depression’ of the 15th century. As well as telling us about the resources that peasants could afford to devote to building, houses can be compared with other types of expenditure – peasants could give priority to investment in production, or in spending on communal projects such as the parish church, or could choose to concentrate on food, drink and clothing. For a long time it was believed that peasants had a largely self-sufficient economy and would have built their houses themselves, using materials from local woods and quarries, with earth, turf and reeds from the village commons. Since the acceptance of the ‘commercialisation’ model, it is now possible to conceive that peasants employed artisans (carpenters, masons and roofers) and labourers, and bought building materials, even from a long distance. (Read more.)

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