It is possible that sheets of parchment, or oiled linen, nwy have been nailed over the window apertures to keep out draught, but this window was originally made to be left open, as the tracery on both sides is carved and the mullions moulded. Interesting remains of decorated plaster-work can be seen 011 the inside face. The rebates shown on the interior faces arc for shutters only.
Doors and door framings were treated on a similarly elaborate scale, but consideration of these must be deferred to a later chapter where the subject can be dealt with at greater length and detail.
It is obvious from a study of these half-timber houses, built for the moderately wealthy, that the low rooms which they contained must have limited the height of the furniture made for them, very severely. This low ceiling-pitch was, obviously, found desirable for two reasons. In the periods when the science of heating was very little comprehended, cosiness, or even stuffiness, was preferred to over-ventilation, and, also, in the designing of these gabled houses, it was found that a greater height than eight feet per story (as a maximum) made these houses, with their steeply pitched tiled roofs, disproportionately lofty.
The window framing from the old house at Hadleigh, Jig. 41, shows, in the same way as the Burl St. Edmunds corner-posts, that rooms must have been low in pitch, even in the timber-houses of the most elaborate kind. This window is fine and important, even for the fifteenth century, when the craft of the English woodworker was at its zenith, yet the total height is under six feet. If we allow for the cutting of the lower parts of the upright timbers, where they rested 011 the wall-plate, we cannot add much more than one foot, to give, the total height of the room for which they were made. Doors also show, although not so convincingly, that they were intended for low ceilinged rooms. A fifteenth-century door made for a secular house of the timber kind, is rarely over six feet in height, and is usually less even than this.
A curious point suggests itself in this connection ; has the stature of the English race grown since the fifteenth century, or were doors and ceilings kept purposely low ? An examination of suits of armour of this period, —the evidence of which must be beyond question, as armour must fit to a nicety,- will show, I think, that six feet was quite an exceptional height for an Englishman in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Effigies on tombs suggest the same thing, but here the evidence is dubious, as the scale of these figures may be over or under life-size.
It would be interesting, at this juncture, to trace the development of the private apartments in the direction of greater comfort, were this not to anticipate later chapters
of this book. The brief outline here given, however, will be enough to introduce the reader to the early Tudor household of the wealthy type, at the date when the eighth Henry was beginning to resist the power of the Roman Church, to divide his talents somew hat unequally between the, exercise of kingcraft, the marriage state, the. literary arts,- such as the fulmination against Luther, which earned for the King, and his successors, the title of " Defender of the Faith " (how much of this was the work of Henry VIII or how much properly belongs to Erasmus, it is hardly necessary to surmise here), and the game of statesmanship, which caused the rise and fall of the great butcher of Ipswich and other favourites whom it pleased the royal fancy to uplift and to cast down.
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