AD1 - Turf Hut

The ancient Britons led far less settled lives than we do. Many would spend the winter in caves, leaving in spring to hunt. For protection from the elements they would erect simple shelters, where they could stay for short periods. Their huts usually had a framework of branches covered in turf, mud or even animal skins. Each time the hunters moved on, they put up a new one. Lighting a fire with sparks from a flint was difficult so, once it was lit, it would be kept burning day and night inside the hut. This must have made conditions most unpleasant and yet, within living memory, similar huts were still being built in remote areas by people whose jobs took them from place to place, such as roving shepherds or charcoal burners. In the early 1800s, a Derbyshire couple brought up eight children in a hut very like this, but by then this style of round house - built of turf or sometimes stone - was largely confined to remote Scottish islands, parts of Wales and the west of Ireland. Nowadays, the only place where this archaic kind of hut can be found is in a museum.


AD650 – Anglo Saxon House