In medieval England and France the village was the smallest but also, arguably, the  most important cell of a Kingdom’s organism. The countryside was literally littered with thousands of villages a couple of miles apart from each other.

Standing at the heart of agrarian economy, villages provided the population of a kingdom with the most important product during the middle ages – food. Without it a kingdom would fall, without a single drop of blood to ever being shed. On the flip side, the wealth of a kingdom and its prosperity was dependent on its ability to create surplus of food and other agricultural resources. Surplus allowed two things – trade and cities. Both of these exploited the surplus resources of villages; one to create wealth by selling the resources, and the other to manufacture items with higher value and to support a city’s population.

Our project’s goal

The aim of this project is to create a document that will explain in detail the design of a village, and to provide you with the resources to build your own villages for your games or pleasure. We will provide you with:

  1. Architectural plans (black and white floor plans)
  2. Top view drawings (full colour) of all the components, in a format that you will be able to reuse to build your maps (png with transparency)
  3. An outlook on how each building was used
  4. List of technologies and tools that were involved
  5. Information about the skilled labourers that worked on these buildings, and the villagers, freemen and nobles that lived there
  6. Infrastructure and map designs of 3 villages (see below) with documentation regarding the know-how behind their design

We will also expand on the economy and culture of a village to give you some hints and tips regarding what your adventurers, and what other visitors, might expect from a realistic medieval village.

This article will also serve as the directory for all the resources we will be building, in order to have a place from which they can be systematically accessed.

The Medieval Village

In order to give you a thorough view on the inner workings of a village, we will focus on four distinctive types of villages:

  1. Lancestrike, a small hamlet at the verge of the forest
  2. Fulepet, a fishing village on the warm, south-west coast
  3. Sojourn, a medium-sized village owned by a Knight at the cold northern fringes of a Kingdom
  4. Ravenmoor, a large-sized, prosperous village of a Baronet, on the verge of becoming a town

Each of these villages has a slightly different focus and economy, and will serve to show the variety that can be achieved when you design your own. This project will also take into account that these villages belong to a world where magic exists, and we will expand in topics related to it.

The Buildings, Structures and Locations list

For each of the following structures, we will be showing you a bird’s eye view (so you can put it on your maps), an architectural plan and finally some information regarding the inhabitants, fittings and everyday usage of the building.

Houses
Thatched Cottage example my Dimitris

Cottage example by Dimitris

  • Cottager’s cottage
  • Bordar’s house
  • Villein’s house
  • Freeman’s house
  • Manor house (small)
  • Manor house (large)
  • Knight’s motte and bailey
  • Priest’s parsonage
Workshops
  • Blacksmith
  • Woodcutter
  • Mill
  • Charcoal Maker
  • Fishery
  • Bake house
  • Brewery
  • Furrier
  • Carpenter
  • Tailor & Cobbler (shoe maker)
  • Barber
  • Mason
Arable land
  • Grain Field
  • Vegetable Patch
  • Orchard
  • Vineyard
Manorial Buildings
  • Church
  • Monastery (satelite Manor)
  • Well
  • Barn (Tithe Barn)
  • Granary
  • Cattle Barn
  • Stables
  • Warehouse
  • Market
  • Tavern
  • Inn
  • Almshouse
  • Great Hall
Non-arable Land
  • Meadow
  • Pasture
  • Woodland / Forest
  • Marsh
  • Field (Fallow)
  • River and Pond

Continue reading Let’s Design a Medieval Village Series

The Fishing Village of Fulepet
A cottager’s cottage

Coming up next

On our next article, we will be dissecting the medieval village of Lancestrike, the archetypical rural village (a small hamlet at the verge of the forest).

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Notes

All resources that will be created for this article will be designed, written and illustrated by our team, and will be completely free to use (based on the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International from Creative Commons), which means you can use it as you please and share it, but not for work you will be making money from.

 References

This project will be making referencing several academic publications and a variety of books. The following will also be used:

About Dimitris Romeo Havlidis

My name is Dimitris Romeo. I am a dyslexic one-eyed, web architect, developer and designer with a passion for photography, User Experience and telling stories.I spend my free time taking photos, watching tv series, cooking and watering my plants.I love lemon tarts, audiobooks, top hats, fantasy and science fiction in all its forms.

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