How did they look, how did they build.
The most houses had roofs made of reed. The passage between the houses was small.
Medieval towns were created at different ways, for example that they are along the water or at important roads. Also at important churches, trading places and at a castle, were towns built. The people of a town paid the stones where the walls were built of.
Until the 13th century, there are 2 different types of houses known. Simple houses with planks or wattle walls and big castle-like nature stone houses.
The poor people eating porridge, bread, fish and vegetables from the own kitchen garden. Fruit, meat, birds and some fish (for example oysters) are luxe foods. Beer in the town is drink number 1, ground- and drinking water are so dirty, that it isn’t drinkable.
Kings and nobles lived mostly in castles. Knights with a little bit less money lived mostly in country houses. Knights lived together with their family, pages and squires, soldiers, clerks, cooks and grooms. People with less money lived mostly on the farmland in a hut or little house.
The Middle Ages was a man’s world where women were not taken serious. People became not so old, most only 40 years! People were not hygienic. They don’t worry about the dirt that there was and the dirty smells that there hung. The toilet was a kind of hole where you must sit on. This hole came out in a canal or cesspool.
In the Middle Ages, clothes were very important. The rich people dressed themselves very neat and beautiful to show to everybody how rich and beautiful they were.
What did they eat?
Bread was the main feed, followed by other grain products like porridge and pasta. Meat was more expensive and more luxurious than grain or vegetables. At special occasions, the nobility let slaugh a monkey. Pork and chicken were the most eaten, beef was very, very expensive and that’s why it isn’t much used. Cod and herring were much used in the Northern countries, there were eaten a lot of fresh and salt water fish. Almonds, were full used as decoration, or crushed as a fattening in soups and sauces. Almond milk was very popular.
By the slow transport, was trade in food over large distances not possible. Only rich people can import ingredients, like spices. Because of that, had their kitchen a bigger foreign influence than that from poor people.
In times that famine was normal, was food an important characteristic of a social rank. There were no luxury products like spices.
What did they wear?
In the Middle Ages you can see the position of a person by how they were clad. The most farmers wore - for example – simple clothes. The clothes of the nobility, the rich part of the population, were mostly made of the most beautiful draperies and were sometimes decorated with emeralds.
The poor people spun or wove the drapery and made their clothes. The men wore a tunic until above their knees. Underneath that was a legging or a tight. Over the head and shoulders, a sort of hood was worn for protection against the wind and rain. Women wore a longer tunic than men, the children wore usually the same clothes as the parents.
The clothes of the poor people actually had no fashion, the nobility did. Throughout Europe, the noble people with their beautiful costumes and suits, usually made of expensive materials such as silk and velvet. The men and women of the nobility wore coats or capes. In the garments were holes so the clothes underneath were also good to see. The dresses and skirts of the women ranged always up to the ankles and usually married women covered their hair.
The clothes of the people in the Middle Ages told not only about their wealth and power, but also about their work. A monk wore a habit, because of that you could see he was a monk and lived in the convent, a blacksmith wore a leather vest, so iron residues couldn’t come on his clothes, farmers wore normal but functional farm clothes, it was not quick dirty and it was not torn so quickly.
The guild system.
A boy (no girls) joined the guild as an apprentice, that was between the ages 8 and 14. He worked as an apprentice, without wages, for about 5 years. His master taught him his craft, and fed and housed him, that was mostly left-over food and a straw mattress on the kitchen floor.
After that, he became a companion or journeyman. He could not set up business on his own. He had to work for a master, for wages. To become a master, you had to do 2 things: Make a masterpiece. It was examined by the masters of the guild, if this was good enough: he had to pay a fee. Sometimes, these fees were high that a journeyman would never make enough money.
When was the city a real town?
When a city gets city rights, is it a real town.
Examples of city rights:
- City wall
- Coin rights (sometimes)
Document with the city rights of Utrecht in 1122
The most houses in Medieval Towns had roofs made of reed, the passage between the houses was small. Bread was the main feed, followed by other grain products like porridge and pasta. The poor people spun or wove drapery and made their clothes. The men wore a tunic until above their knees. Women wore a longer tunic than men, the children wore usually the same clothes as the parents. The clothes of the nobility, the rich part of the population, were mostly made of the most beautiful draperies and were sometimes decorated with emeralds. First your are a apprentice then a journeyman and then a master (if you have enough money and if you are good enough). When a city gets city rights, is it a real town.