How was is to build a house in the middle age in europe? Where did people get the materials from? How long did it take? What were the differences between building outside the city and in the city? How many people did it take to build a house?

  • 2
    Welcome to History.SE. Your question is too broad -- where in the world, and what class of persons makes a huge difference in the style, size and materials of housing. Think Africa vs Europe or even Greece vs Scandinavia, royalty vs peasant, etc. If you have a specific region or culture in mind, do searches for websites that reference open-air museums that highlight the historic buildings.
    – bgwiehle
    Mar 4 '16 at 22:53
  • I took the liberty of starting a new question for commoners in medieval England specifically: history.stackexchange.com/questions/27918/…. If you'd prefer, you could edit your question to similar specificity and, if it's reopened, I could answer here instead.
    – user4139
    Mar 13 '16 at 11:09
  • Hey, I edited my question, so it's now focused on europe. I don't know if that's still to broad though. Mar 13 '16 at 12:06

First of all, most people didn't really live in a house. Mud huts more like it. Cities were more likely to have wood houses. If you were powerful you lived in a stone house. There were no wood treatments back then and wood rotted if used in a structure. So although wood was used extensively in buildings, they didn't last as long as they do today. The exception is certain military and religious buildings made out of stone in basilica or roman styles. Construction took from a few months to years, involving a couple to hundreds of people, depending on the size.

As Christianity grew people moved away from Roman arch architecture to simple Gothic styles for churches. The main feature of Gothic architecture is the triangular shape of the structure rather than the arch shape used by Romans. This saved on materials and time. There was also Arab and Chinese architecture, which is a whole different story.

Fire was a major problem in cities and everything was crammed together and unsanitary. Cities like London held up to 300,000 people per square mile, and without modern skyscrapers and so forth to make the space problem easier. There was some limited urban planning, mostly by the people who had power in the city- guilds, monarchs, and merchants. However nobody ever solved the human waste problem.

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    On the contrary, there are houses (not castles or converted ecclesiastical buildings) in Britain that have been continuously inhabited since the Middle Ages. The oldest is apparently Saltford Manor House, dating to before 1150. Wouldn't be surprised to find there were even older examples in Europe.
    – jamesqf
    Mar 5 '16 at 5:21
  • It's a stone house though, the wood ones don't last without renovation.
    – D J Sims
    Mar 5 '16 at 6:00
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    Wrong, most people lived in wooden houses in Europe. Since prehistoric times. There is no suitable "mud" for construction in Europe.
    – Anixx
    Mar 6 '16 at 12:30
  • They used daub, which you're right, isn't really mud. More like clay, pig shit, and any other sticky substance they could find.
    – D J Sims
    Mar 6 '16 at 13:46
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    @Mustang - not so - the timbers and frame that support the heavy roofs of these buildings are wood, usually large oak beams. This also lets us date when the roof was built by tree ring measurements. Walls are usually stone to avoid issues when timbers in the ground rot.
    – Oldcat
    Mar 9 '16 at 18:46

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