Living in Town

Elliott, Lynne
January 2004
Medieval Towns, Trade & Travel;2004, p8
This article describes how people lived in towns during the Middle ages, or the medieval period, in western Europe. Nobles and wealthy merchants lived in houses made of stone, while craftspeople and tradespeople lived and worked in smaller buildings made of wood or stone. Usually, craftspeople and tradespeople had their workshops in the main floors of their homes, and these buildings were extended upwards, by adding floors, in the event that the business or the family grew. The main room of a town home serves as both living room and dining room. Meals were cooked in open fireplaces and made from garden produce and animals kept by townspeople. Townspeople slept in bedrooms beside or above the main room. Bedrooms are bare except for a few chairs, cabinets or chests, and the straw bed itself. Towns in the Middle Ages were dirty and often smelled terrible because of animal manure and improper waste disposal. As a result, fleas, bedbugs, flies, rats and mice are common in medieval homes. Townspeople used rags soaked in honey to trap insects. They also set traps to catch rats and mice.


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