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WE all know what delightful times the
mediæval times were. We all know, on
undeniable authority (if we would only believe
it and act accordingly) that to restore the
mediæval times is the only hopeful and
thoroughly sensible thing left us to do in
these degenerate days. Let us be middle-aged
or perish!

We will present the reader with a sketch
of Mr. Bull at Home, after the manner of the
Middle Ages. Mr. Bull's home shall be a
mediæval home; but our sketch of it shall
not be, after the manner of the middle ages,
false in drawing and extravagant in colour.
We will sketch correctly; coming fresh from
the instruction of an able master, Mr. Hudson
Turner, who has lately published an elaborate
work on the "Domestic Architecture of the
Middle Ages."

To begin with house-building. The Romans
in Britain scattered a few villas here and
there among our woods; but the Romans
were very far from British in their habits.
They were accustomed to the warm sky of
the south; but, for all that, they were John
Bullish, too, in one respect: what it was
the custom to do, they thought could not
be wrong. They built houses in Italy, of
which the grand apartment had no roof,
and had a rain-cistern in the middle of the
floor: with little bed-rooms, very much like
penitentiary cells, leading out of it. The grand
apartment was the sitting-room, and study,
and dining-room, and also kitchen: to do the
Roman justice, however, we must add a bath
to this ground-plan of his family mansion.
It is very doubtful whether the Romans in
Britain often allowed it to occur to them, that
in our climate a parlour without a roof is open
to wind, rain, fog, and other inconveniences.
Sometimes, no doubt, a spirited proprietor
roofed himself in; but we can imagine more
than a few Romans of the true hereditary
breed who scorned to let effeminacy lead them
to the breach of a time-honoured custom.
Roof or no roof to his hallatrium he called
itthe ground-plan of a Roman's house
remained the same, and it was always very solid
in its structure. The remains of Roman towns
and houses greatly edified the Saxons, whose
taste ran for a less solid kind of house property.
The Romans having made roads over
the country, conveyed stone from distant
quarries, to give strength to the massive
buildings, which the Saxons called  emphatically
works, and honoured with their
verbal admiration by such names as the
Ald-wark in York, and the South-wark in

The Romans gradually went, the Saxons
gradually came; and where the Saxon chieftain
found a Roman house vacant, he would
not object to become its tenant. Why should
he? He had been accustomed, in his home
by the Baltic, to a two-roomed establishment,
of which one was the cooking, feasting, and
promiscuous sleeping room; the other was the
private council chamber, and the place in
which he and his chief retainers were littered
down at night, in a more select and exclusive
manner. The old Roman house still left him
a feasting-hall, and gave him increased private
accommodation. The family mansion of a
Saxon thane was built of the same wood that
overspread the country, and was thatched
with reeds or straw, and roofed with wooden
shingles. It was the usual two-roomed "compact
residence;" there was the hall, with a
fire lighted in the centre, and a hole in the
roof above to let the smoke outthat is to
say, when the owner had a spice of foppery
about him: generally, the smoke found its
way out as it pleased. It was wood smoke,
of course.

Wood, and mud, and thatch, therefore, were
the building materials of our forefathers, the
Saxons; their chiefs may have added a few
daubs of paint, by way of ornament, or a little
gilding, and a few pinnacles. Moreover, in
the latter centuries of Saxon dominion, stone
buildings were raised, undoubtedly. Churchmen,
and traders out of England, saw the
world, and brought some wisdom home with
them. The clergy cried for "churches in the
Roman manner," and, being spoiled children,
of course got them. Mansions, however, in
the Roman manner, did not include chimneys.
In 1368, a Prince of Padua visiting Rome,
took with him masons, who built a chimney
in the inn at which he stopped, "because,"
says Muratori, "in the city of Rome they
did not then use chimneys; and all lighted
the fire in the middle of the house, on