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Rich vs. Poor Homes

By Madeline | January 13, 2008

As you can imagine, there was a vast difference between the homes of the nobles and the homes of the poor, but what exactly were they both like?  Well, let’s start with the poor since it’s probably more interesting.  Usually these homes contained at most three rooms.  Only half of the home was the structured timber and the rest was made of wickerwork and plaster.  The roof was thatched and had a hole cut out at the top for the fireplace.  Usually the poor possessed little furniture as it was terribly expensive and probably never owned a chair as chairs were considered an extreme luxury; the usually sat on stools or benches.  For the ones who were fortunate enough to own a bed, it was usually strung across with ropes and held a straw stuffed mattress.  Lacking the funds to obtain windows as they were terribly expensive, window openings were covered with linen soaked with linseed oil.  Again, as furniture was terrible expensive, they were usually heirlooms that were passed down through generations.  There was certainly no, “Honey, I’m bored with this bedroom set, let’s get another one.” Certainly not like today.

Now, the rich were certainly in a much better standing when it came to their homes.  Tudor homes were lined with oak paneling on the inside to help keep out some of the cold and some of them were even well off enough to place wallpaper on the walls, which usually was just yards and yards of fabric plastered onto the wall.  It was very helpful in keeping out the cold, drafty English weather.  Many well off families also had windows which were basically small pieces of glass held together with bits of lead.  As windows were very expensive, it was not uncommon for the rich to bring their windows with them if they moved.  Once chimney’s came about in the 16th century, it enabled the rich to create more rooms in their home as they were able to build more stories onto their homes.  As furniture was still very expensive, much of theirs was still passed down through generations as well.

All in all, the rich were certainly much better off with their feather stuffed pillow mattresses and the warmer homes containing chimneys.  Looking back on what few possessions even the wealthy had, it’s amazing how much one family can possess in today’s modern world.  Before we had our daughter, my husband and I moved about once a year going from one home to another and every time we ended up having a garage sale with ridiculous amounts of things to sell.  Now that our daughter’s been born we’ve actually been more grounded and have lived in our home for two and half years.  I cannot even imagine what we’ve accumulated in that two and a half years.  It’s amazing to think how we just take it all for granted.

Topics: Tudor Era |

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