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the floor." Chimneys, probably, were understood
in principle, centuries before custom
gave way, and permitted them to be introduced
into common practice. For Saxon
fortresses, they probably were not worth
much: the fortresses of England in those
times were supplied by Naturefens and
forests. Alfred retired for protection to
the woods and marshes of Somersetshire;
and the last stand of the Saxons against
the Normans was made among the fens of

The Normans, prevailing, introduced their
style of house, in which the accommodation
still consisted of a great hall and a single
bed-chamber. They used more stone, and
paid more attention to the Roman manner,
than the Saxons had done. Still, however,
wood and mud clay were employed by the
vast majority of house-builders; still, the
carpenter might answer, as he answered in
the colloquy of Ælfric, "that he made houses
and bowls." To the end of the middle
ages, the great bulk of the house property in
England was of this character. We talk
glibly, in these present times, of the slight
manner in which houses are run up in London.
In the most flourishing period of these dear
Middle Ages, it was the duty of a London
alderman to be provided with a hook and
chain, that he might be ready to pull down any
house that sinned against existing regulations.

Travelling over the twelfth century, and a
step farther, over the days of Cœur de Lion,
and John, and Magna Charta, we do not find
that there was much improvement in the
houses of the people. Let us see what sort
of house the king inhabited. It will help us
to test the amount of comfort enjoyed by
Mr. Bull.

The King's houses at Kennington, Woodstock,
Portsmouth, and Southampton, were all
built after one fashion. There was the great
hall, with a high-pitched roof and a very
muddy floor littered with rushes. The house
had a door large enough for wagons to pass
through, and window-holes unglazed, with
badly-fitting wooden shutters; these windows
being placed high, that the wind rushing
through them might be kept as near the
ceiling as possible. The walls were white-washed,
and the great hall, altogether, very
much resembled a large barn. Where the hall
was too broad for a roof to cover it, in a single
span, pillars were raised of wood or stone;
so halls, sometimes, were divided into three
aisles, like a church. Out of the hall, a door
at one end led into a small stone chamber
on the same floorthe cellar. At any rate
(say you) they kept a cellar. Yes, and they
put into it a terrible quantity of vin ordinaire,
supplied by the wine-merchants of Bourdeaux.
Over the stone cellar, was built a wooden
chamber, also small, which was called the
"solar." This was the royal sanctum, the loft
in which his Majesty reposed. A British
housemaid of this age would refuse to sleep
in such a place. There was a clay floor, a
window with a wooden shutter that let in
the wind through all its chinks (an extra
charge was made to his Majesty, at Kennington,
"for making the windows shut better
than usual"), and there was a clumsy lath-and-plaster
cone projecting from one wall to
serve the purpose of a chimney. To complete
the picture of the royal cabinet at this period,
we may as well put in the furniture. There
were sometimes hangings on the wall. There
was a bed; that is to say, there was a bench
fixed in the ground, upon which were placed a
mattress and bolster of rich stuff; so that his
Majesty's sleeping accommodation may be
likened, very fairly, to that sort of bed which
is, now and then, in our own day improvised
by housewives for a supernumerary male
guest on the sofa. In addition to this bed, the
King's chamber contained also a chair, with
its legs rammed into the grounda moveable
chair being a special luxury, occasionally
ordered. Nothing else was contained in the
King's apartment except his box, in which he
kept his clothes. This bedroom for a single
gentleman had to be shared by the Queen;
and it was not only a bedroom by night, but it
was a parlour by day, when their Majesties had
a desire for privacy, or when any state business
of a private nature had to be transacted. In
1287, Edward the First and Queen Eleanor
were sitting on their bed-side, attended
by the ladies of the court, when they narrowly
escaped death by lightning.

The solar, generally, was the only portion of
the building not on the ground-floor; having
been originally elevated probably out of a
desire, on some King's part, to escape ague
and rheumatism. It was reached by stairs
from the hall, or, perhaps oftener, by an
external staircase; in which last case his
Majesty had to go out of doors to climb
into his cockloft. These external staircases
frequently were covered. Two other
little chambers, a larder and a sewery,
opened by doors into the great hall. In the
sewery were kept household stores, and
so forth. What a larder is, we know. But
in the great days of feasting, was there not
a kitchen? Why, sometimes there was a
door which led from a temporary shed or
lean to, on the outer wall; or there were
two or three wooden enclosures, without
roofs in the court-yard; or, quite as frequently,
the cooking took place in the courtyard
in the open air. There were two
courts, with pigs and fowls in one of them;
and a fence or wall outside all, with a moat.
Posts and chains were often fixed round
the hall porch to keep out cattle. We must
add the idea of a separate shed, used as a

So lived the King, and so lived English
Gentlemen, in the days of Magna Charta.
Some houses, however, were at that time
raised; being the habitable part, all placed
on the second story, and approached by a staircase,

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