Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/93

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61
COUNTRY LIFE AND CHARACTER

his stall. The better houses of the main streets in the village were built of timber and brick instead of timber and lath and plaster. Shakespeare seems to have rebuilt New Place of stone, a material of which the College was wholly constructed. Often the timber framework in front of a house was elaborately carved. Barns and office buildings were constructed like the smaller dwelling houses, of timber, lath and plaster, and always thatched.

The gardens were usually separated by mud walls that were thatched on top as a protection against the rain. These walls were in constant need of repair, easily broken down, and, consequently, offered little or no real protection. The gardens about the houses were generally planted with fruit trees. Flowers, vegetables, and medicinable herbs were grown by almost every householder. Trees were a common feature of the smaller country towns. Stratford was especially noted for its elms.

Once inside of a smaller Elizabethan house one found few of what we now call comforts. Chimneys were rare till towards the end of Elizabeth's reign. The fire was built upon the floor, often on the bare clay, and the smoke found its deliberate way out of a hole in the wall or roof. Frequently the lower story was not partitioned off, the single