What are Cruck Houses?
Cruck or Crook frame is a curved timber which is one of the two that supports the roof of a building which was particularly used in Middle Ages of England. Cruck Houses were the most useful and ideal building for peasants or serfs who lived and worked for the manor. These cruck houses were cheap and easy to use because nearly all the materials needed to make this house was in the forest or Woods. The first cruck framed building in England was actually a Barn or a tithe barn built in 1326 by Winchester College. The barn was for storing one tenth of a farmer’s produce which was given to the Church. Then after a while peasants were building more barns because it was really useful and easy to build. And because they were so good they started building houses to with the same materials that they were using for the barns. A few years later Cruck houses, wooden hut or wooden framed, houses was the most useful shelter for peasants around England.
Describe life in a Cruck house
Life in a cruck house would’ve been okay because this was all that they could afford. Cruck houses were small so the repairs were cheap and easy to do. The roofs were thatched about every 10 years or less or else they will turn soggy and fall in. There would be little furniture inside the cruck house and straw would be used for the floor for insulation in Winter. The houses would’ve probable been very hot in summer and very cold in winter. Windows were just holes in the walls because glass was very expensive and doors would be covered with a curtain rather than having a door as good wood might be expensive. At night, any animal that are owned would be brought inside the house for safety. Firstly because, wild animals roamed the countryside and England still had wolves and bears in the forests besides they have can easily take a pig, cow or chicken(s). The loss of any animal could be a disaster but the loss of valuable animals such as an ox would be a catastrophe. If left outside at night they could also have been stolen or have wander off. If they were inside your house, none of these would happen. However, they must have made the house even dirtier than usually. They would have also brought in fleas and flies too. Moving on with the unhygienic nature of the house, none of the houses had things we wouldn’t accept as a normal today such as: no running water, no toilets, no baths and washing basins. Soap and shampoo was unheard of. People would have been covered with dirt, fleas and lice also beds were simply straw stuffed mattresses and these would have attracted lice, fleas and all types of bugs and your toilet would have been a bucket which would have been emptied into the nearest river at the start of the day.
How were they constructed and materials needed?
Medieval peasant homes were simple wood framed houses. They had wooden frames filled in with wattle and daub (strips of wood woven together and covered in a plaster which made out of animal hair and clay). However in some parts of the England, huts were made of stone. Peasant houses were either whitewashed or coloured in bright colours. All these materials didn’t cost that much because they could get it from the forest or woods. Some of the peasant houses were A-frame building because the skeleton of the side of the building is an A also with the A formation the house was easier to build. It is easy to distinguish between peasant houses and manor houses by their roofs because peasant houses have thatched roofs. Thatch is simply straw and it keeps the people warm inside. The poorest peasants lived in one-room huts but slightly better peasants lived in houses with one or two rooms. There was no glass in the windows only wooden shutters, which was closed at night. The floors were hard earth but sometimes it was covered in straw for warmth. Peasant houses would’ve been quicker to build from other houses because it was simple each house would have probably taken 2-4 months. The tools were basic like hammers, shovels, wood chisel, axe, hand saw, livestock to pull objects, etc.
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