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History / Hangleton

Inner Room with Oven
Main Room with Hearth

This is a reconstructed flint building from the medieval downland village of Hangleton in East Sussex. It is the earliest of the Museumís buildings and the only one to have been rebuilt from an archaeological footprint. The medieval settlement of Hangleton is what historians describe as a deserted medieval village (DMV). The village was already in decline in the first half of the fourteenth century (c.1300-1340) and never recovered from the Black Death (1348-1349). The remains of 20 buildings were uncovered when the village site was excavated between 1952 and 1954.

The building is divided into two rooms, an outer room, with an open hearth and an inner room with a large domed oven. The presence of the oven suggests that the building may have been used as a detached kitchen for baking and brewing rather than a dwelling house. However, the size and layout of the building is also typical of many of the excavated dwelling houses in the village and gives us a good idea of what a peasant house was like in medieval Sussex. Most of the Hangleton villagers had two roomed houses and would have cooked over the open hearth in the outer room. As well as providing living space for the family, villagers would have used their houses to store valuable goods, such as processed crops and wool.

This cottage enables children to imagine life in 13th century when many families would have had this sort of cottage as their home.  The people who lived in this type of dwelling were not very poor.  They were farmers who owned a small amount of land.  The poor lived in simple wooden shacks.

Suggested Topics

  • Unit 2 What were homes like long ago
  • Unit 3 How hard was life for medieval people in town and country

Other Information

Fireplaces The Museum's buildings contain examples of the development of fireplaces from a simple open hearth through smoke bays to chimneys.  A tangible example of design evolution. Details

Detailed Research

For more details of the social and economic history of Hangleton and the surrounding area click here.