Medieval Life

Medieval Homes

Medieval city homes between the rich and poor differed little form the outside, each being made of the same stone brought in from nearby quarries. But the inside accommodations were far more telling. A poor family might be cramped into one room, faring little better than peasants in the country, while rich "burger" families might occupy four floors, from cellar to attic, complete with servant quarters.

Comfort was not always easy to find, even in the wealthiest of households. Heating was always a problem with stone floors, ceiling and walls. Little light came in from narrow windows, and oil and fat-based candles often produced a pungent aroma. Furniture consisted of wooden benches, long tables, cupboards and pantries. Linen, when afforded, might be glued or nailed to benches to provide some comfort. Beds, though made of the softest materials, were often rife with bedbugs, lice and other biting insects. Some tried to counter this by tucking in sheets at nighttime in hopes of smothering the pests, while others rubbed oily liniments on their skin before retiring.


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