1200 - Manor House
This 13th century manor house, built from the local limestone, has a massive fireplace to heat the main hall in the upper storey. Here meals might be taken, important meetings held, estate business discussed. Possibly people slept here as well, although next to it is a private chamber where the lord and his family could retire. Less privileged members of the household might have used the ground floor, or it could have held livestock and provisions. There would have been separate outbuildings for servants and kitchens. Well into the Middle Ages, only the rich lived within masonry walls, except in areas with a ready supply of building stone where trees were sparse. Here crude stone huts - often built in circular or conical fashion with stones that were simply dug up from the ground - were a feature of the landscape from the very earliest times almost to the present. It was very difficult to transport heavy blocks over any great distance. Those building on a grand scale - for castles, cathedrals and monasteries - could draw on generous funds but for ordinary householders, stone was expensive and called for specialist skills. Its use was rare until the 16th and 17th centuries, when land clearances caused a serious timber shortage. All over Britain there are fascinating regional varations in the colour, size, pattern and texture of stone used for building.