The reign of Henry IV was characterized by a transition from the architectural and construction norms of the Middle Ages towards those of the early Renaissance. This period also faced various sociopolitical challenges, including a rising population, which directly influenced the dynamics of construction and living conditions.
Types of Dwellings
The most common types of dwellings during this period remained huts made from wattle and daub for the peasantry, timber-framed houses for the middle classes, and stone buildings for the upper classes. Castles, manors, and abbeys were among the prominent structures representing the nobility and the church.
The Average Dwelling and Day-to-Day Life
Most people lived in modest timber-framed houses with thatched roofs. The ground floor often served as a living and working space, while the upper floor was used for sleeping. The rural lifestyle was prevalent, with most people engaged in agriculture and livestock farming.
Significant Building Achievements
Despite political instability, this period saw a continued development of gothic architecture, with increasingly sophisticated church designs and the use of fan vaulting. In addition, many castles were renovated or constructed during this time due to heightened security needs.
The UK Population and Its Influence on Society
During Henry IV’s reign, the population of the UK was recovering from the devastating effects of the Black Death. The increasing population led to a demand for more housing and caused a shift towards urban living, which gradually started influencing the construction of residential buildings.
Changes in Society and the Influence of Construction Materials
The social fabric was significantly impacted by the power struggles and upheavals of the time. This impacted construction as resources were often directed towards defensive structures. Traditional building materials such as wood, wattle and daub, and thatch continued to be widely used, with stone reserved for important structures.