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:
- Architectural plans (black and white floor plans)
- 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)
- An outlook on how each building was used
- List of technologies and tools that were involved
- Information about the skilled labourers that worked on these buildings, and the villagers, freemen and nobles that lived there
- 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:
- Lancestrike, a small hamlet at the verge of the forest
- Fulepet, a fishing village on the warm, south-west coast
- Sojourn, a medium-sized village owned by a Knight at the cold northern fringes of a Kingdom
- 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.
- 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
- Charcoal Maker
- Bake house
- Tailor & Cobbler (shoe maker)
- Grain Field
- Vegetable Patch
- Monastery (satelite Manor)
- Barn (Tithe Barn)
- Cattle Barn
- Great Hall
- Woodland / Forest
- Field (Fallow)
- River and Pond
Continue reading Let’s Design a Medieval Village Series
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).
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.
This project will be making referencing several academic publications and a variety of books. The following will also be used: