Wharram Percy/Living

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  1. Read the text.
  2. Do the interactive exercises.

Welcome to our house. I live here with my husband Henry. He's taking the oats to the mill[1] today as one of his services to the Lord of the Manor. We have two girls, Emily who is 8 and Matilda who is 6. They are out in the wood collecting fallen branches[2] for the fire.

The walls are made of Wattle and Daub. That's thin branches of wood woven together and then covered with Daub, a mixture of clay, oxhair and dung. The roof is thatched with straw that we are given by the Lord. It’s a bit leaky[3] now but it's the harvest soon and we will repair it then. It's a bit dark inside as there is only one very small window. Only the Manor House and the church can afford glass in their windows. We put up a wooden shutter to keep wind and weather out. We built the house with the help of our neighbours John the Carter and his wife Jane.

thatched Roof

Its smoky inside, there’s no chimney. Your eyes will get used to the light in a minute. Yes there's only the one room. A few of the villagers have two rooms in their house. It is a bit crowded especially in winter when we keep our cow at the end of the room. That's right: the floor is just flattened earth.

As you can see the room is very bare, some small wooden stools, a table and a wooden chest in which we keep all our belongings. That's the water jug on the table. I have to go and fill it about five times a day. It's quite a walk to the stream and back. We all sleep in the corner of the room on a bed of straw. Henry is going to build a bed when he has time so we don't have to lie on the floor. The smoke from the fire in the middle of the room is the worst thing, the children never stop coughing[4] in winter.

Interactive exercises

How did they live?

Peasant's life wasn't good. They worked hard and their house wasn't like our houses:
Their floor was just flattened earth.
The only room was bare - they had only some wooden stools, a table and a chest to keep their things safe.
It was also quite dark - there were no proper windows!
The roof had got only three layers of straw - normally it keeps the rain out - but it gets leaky after a time.


Not all the poor people had all of that, but find the pairs:

Liberty - Stool Thebes - 1884.jpg stool
Table axo.svg table
Treasure chest.svg chest
Caladrius.jpg bed
Clipart-shutter.svg shutter
Windsor Chair.svg chair
Clipart-bench.svg bench

"making" your bed

Put in the correct words in the gaps:

In the medieval ages people didn't have a bedroom. They were "making" their bed in the great hall of a manor or in the only room of a farm house.
When they were tired they put all the benches next to the wall and rolled out their bed rolls onto the floor.
Only the richest people had their own bed. It had four posts in all the corners and a panel on top of it. It helped against bedbugs falling from the ceiling.
On the side there were curtains which could be shut. This was important because the squires and knaves slept in front of the bed in the same room!

  1. mill = place where corn is ground into flour
    Poldermolen Zwaantje, Nijemirdum. 26-05-2020 (actm.) 06.jpg
  2. branches = Trees have got roots, a stem and branches with leaves. Fallen branches are dry and can be used for the fire.
  3. leaky = A roof is leaky, if it isn't waterproof and rain comes through
  4. to cough [kɒf] = If you can't breathe, you must cough (=husten)