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Medieval lighting

Medieval wooden frame buildings came in many sizes and shapes over a number of centuries. They were often built to a kind of kit formula that changed in different parts of the country. Richer homes often had large tapestries and well made furniture although few had paintings. The poorest houses were often little better than shacks.

Many medieval houses were damp and draughty and glass was almost unheard of. We take electricity for granted, so it is hard for us to understand how different the light, heating and atmosphere in these houses was from ours today. Open hall houses didn't have chimneys so at first better houses had a large fire in the middle of the main hall, poorer houses couldn't even afford candles. Lighting fires was hard so people tried hard not to let them go out.

A good example of how the living quarters of a medieval shop was lit is here 2.9Mb flash movie. You can see more about historic lighting here.

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