History GCSE - Medieval Living Conditions

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  • Medieval Living Conditions
    • Peasants Limited Diet
      • Subsistence farming - little spare food and bad harvest ending in disaster
      • Peasants kept cows to make dairy products
      • No fridges, fresh meat went off went off fast - could be preserved with salt or cured
      • Peasants ate preserved foods such as pickeled fish and cured bacon
      • Bad weather made it hard to grow crops - poisonous fungus grow on damp grain and end up in flour
      • Many people Malnourished - crop failures could lead to a major famine
    • Basic Housing Conditions
      • Small houses, wooden frames, walls built with sticks and clay, thatched roofs and hard earth floor
        • The 'windows' were small openings covered by shutters- left houses cold and damp
      • Open fire used for heating and cooking - gave off lots of smoke
      • Only wealthy could afford glass
        • Wealthy built castles or manors with stone, they had glass windows and large firefplaces
      • Wealthy built castles or manors with stone, they had glass windows and large firefplaces
      • No running water or toilets, water for drinking or cooking from wells and rivers
      • No sewers, waste went into the street or a river
    • Public Health suffered because of poor living conditions
      • Lived in cramped houses with animals - diseases spread fast
      • Malnutrition made it easier for people to catch diseases
      • Famine often led to epidemics of serious diseases such as the flu or smallpox
      • Poor life expectancy
        • Infections, accidents and serious illnesses (like tuberculosis) were common
        • Lots of children died young, vulnerable to childhood diseases (like measles) and accidents in the home
      • People knew dirty water and human waste were linked to bad health
        • Miasma theory
        • No link between dirt and disease
        • Didn't understand importance of good sanitation
      • Didn't know about germs, no idea of how to stop them spreading

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