Village de WHARRAM PERCY - GB
Cracs de crucks
Le grand et sublime ouvrage humain de charpenterie domestique.
"Reconstruction drawing looking along one of the rows of village houses in about 1300, with a cutaway view of a typical peasant longhouse. © Historic England (illustration by Richard LEA)."
"Some of the earliest settlers at Wharram Percy were Neolithic farmers ; they had cleared the forest around the valley by 3500 BC. They probably used stone axes imported from the Lake District. While the exact site of their village is unknown they surely visited the great Neolithic ceremonial enclosure at Duggleby Howe about 3 miles from Wharram. This -- the second largest such circle enclosure in England -- must have been a major center of ritual life. During the Bronze Age -- 2300 - 700 BC -- and in the Iron Age -- 700 - 500 BC -- large boundary banks were constructed at Wharram which in the middle ages served also served as boundaries of the village. The earliest known houses at Wharram were in the Iron Age -- about 100 BC -- and they were the houses of a local chief defended by a large ditch. A hollow way provided easy access to water in the valley. There was probably a village on the plateau in the valley between the present cottages and St. Martin's church. The remains of a round house and an unusual crouch burial have been found."
"ALL THE VILLAGERS OF ELTON, FREE, VILLEIN, AND of indeterminate status, virgaters, half-virgaters, cotters, servants, and craftsmen, lived in houses that shared the common characteristic of impermanence. Poorly built, of fragile materials, they had to be completely renewed nearly every generation. At Wharram Percy, nine successive transformations of one house can be traced over a span of little more than three centuries. The heir’s succession to a holding probably often supplied an occasion for rebuilding. For reasons not very clear, the new house was often erected adjacent to the old site, with the alignment changed and new foundations planted either in postholes or in continuous foundation trenches. (1)
Renewal was not always left to the tenant’s discretion. The peasant taking over a holding might be bound by a contract to build a new house, of a certain size, to be completed within a certain time span. Sometimes the lord agreed to supply timber or other assistance. (2) The lord’s interest in the proper maintenance of the houses and outbuildings of his village was sustained by the manorial court. In Elton in 1306, Aldusa Chapleyn had to find pledges to guarantee that she would “before the next court repair her dwelling house in as good a condition as she received it.” (3)
Two years later, William Rouvehed was similarly enjoined to “repair and rebuild his dwelling house in as good a condition as that in which he received it for a gersum [entry fee],” (4) and in 1331 three villagers were fined 12 pence each because they did not “maintain [their] buildings.” (5) All the village houses belonged to the basic type of medieval building, the “hall,” as did the manor house, the barns, and even the church: a single high-ceilinged room, varying in size depending on the number of bays or framed sections. In peasants’ houses, bays were usually about fifteen feet square. (6)
The house of a rich villager such as John of Elton might consist of four or even five bays, with entry in the middle of a long side. Small service rooms were probably partitioned off at one end: a buttery, where drink was kept, and a pantry, for bread, dishes, and utensils, with a passage between leading to a kitchen outside. A “solar,” a second story either above the service rooms or at the other end, may have housed a sleeping chamber.
A large hall might retain the ancient central hearth, or be heated by a fireplace with a chimney fitted into the wall. Early halls were aisled like churches, with the floor space obstructed by two rows of posts supporting the roof. Cruck construction had partially solved the problem, and by the end of the thirteenth century, carpenters had rediscovered the roof truss, known to the Greeks and Romans. Based on the inherent strength of the triangle, which resists distortion, the truss can support substantial weight. (7)
A middle-level peasant, a virgater such as Alexander atte Cross, probably lived in a three-bay house, the commonest type. A cotter like Richard Trune might have a small one- or two-bay house. Dwellings commonly still lodged animals as well as human beings, but the byre was more often partitioned off and sometimes positioned at right angles to the living quarters, a configuration that pointed to the European farm complex of the future, with house and outbuildings ringing a central court. (8)
(1). BERESFORD and HURST, Deserted Medieval Villages, p. 122 ; Cantor, “Villages and Towns,” in Cantor, ed., The English Medieval Landscape, pp. 173-174 ; CHAPELOT and FOSSIER, Village and House, pp. 204-205 ; HURST, “The Changing Medieval Village,” p. 44.
(2). R. K. FIELD, “Worcestershire Peasant Buildings, Household Goods and Farming Equipment in the Later Middle Ages,” Medieval Archaeology 9 (1965), pp. 105-145.
(3). E.M.R., p. 115.
(4). Ibid., p. 151.
(5). Ibid., p. 300.
(6). BERESFORD and HURST, Deserted Medieval Villages, p. 104; HILTON, A Medieval Society, pp. 96-97 ; TROW-SMITH, British Livestock Husbandry, vol. 1, p. 114.
(7). WOOD, English Mediaeval House, pp. 300-302 ; CHAPELOT and FOSSIER, Village and House, pp. 284-314 ; COLVIN, English Farmhouse, pp. 21-36.
(8). BERESFORD and HURST, Deserted Medieval Villages, p. 105.
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