Most houses in the 15th century were built out of wood and a kind of plaster called ‘wattle and daub’. You can see how to make this medieval building material on YouTube.

Very few such houses have survived until the 21st century. In towns and cities they were often built so close together that fire easily spread among them. In London many houses from the 15th century were destroyed during the Great Fire of 1666.

Whole villages were abandoned during the Middle Ages, perhaps because many of the residents died of disease and the others moved away. These “lost” villages can be seen in aerial photographs taken in the summer when the ground is dry. You can look for abandoned villages for yourself by searching in Google Earth Pro (free to download). Try finding the lost village of Stanford-on-Avon in Northamptonshire to the North-East of the church of St Nicholas, photographed in June 2005.

Some 15th century timber houses that still survive are now in the care of the National Trust e.g. Great Chalfield Manor and Garden. Others are private homes.

Kings and Lords lived in castles or houses built from stone or, by the end of the 15th century, bricks. Bricks were the latest fashion as seen below at Tattershall Castle, built for Ralph Baron Cromwell. Stone and brick last longer than wood and plaster: castles and manor houses still survive all over Great Britain. You can explore Gainsborough Old Hall – a brick and timber building where Richard III once stayed, here.

More on castles, cathedrals, abbeys here.

More on the houses of ordinary people here.

A square tower built of brick in parkland
Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire (copyright Jules & Jenny, cc-by-2.0)
a 15th century Farmhouse with black and white walls and a tiled roof
Valley Farm, Flatford is owned by the National Trust (copyright Brian Gotts / Valley Farm / CC BY-SA 2.0)
a two storey 15th century yeoman’s house with black and white walls and thatched roof
Some timber houses are looked after by Historic England: Yeoman’s House, Bignor, West Sussex (
a medieval street in York with half timbered shops overhanging the pavement
Some 15th century buildings are still used as shops and cafes today such as The Shambles, York (creative commons copyright Peter K Burian CC-BY-SA-4.0))