Views of Peasant Houses
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" or 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.
An artists conception is shown below.
Here, you can see the great crucks arching over the floor. The cattle occupy the foreground space. At the other end of the building, you can
see the half-height room (bags are stored on its roof). You can also see meat drying in the smoke above the hearth. The floor is earthen, hard-packed
and well swept.
How Peasant Houses Were Constructed
Peasant houses had low foundations of chalk blocks; indeed, at House Site 6 the chalk had been quarried in the croft of the house site itself --
out of the peasant's front yard, so to speak. 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. Basically,
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. Here is a picture of a peasant house model showing the wattle and daub construction.