Fictional Account 1
Over a thousand years ago a traveller making his way north to the burgeoning town of Lundenburh, broke his journey to take some fresh water from Tudeley Brook. Looking up from the stream he spotted a hut, wooden framed with walls filled with daub and wattle. The only openings were a couple of crude windows, nothing more than holes with wooden shutters, and a door left ajar to vent the smoke that whispered up into the evening sky. Needing shelter for the night the man, his cloak and woollen leggings sodden from the rain, trudged across to the lone house. The traveller was ushered into the smoky hut and offered a stool beside the open fire in the middle of the room. He looked around curiously, to the right hand side near the partition that separated the living accommodation from the space used by the livestock were a number of frames containing bags of straw that served as beds. The other side of the room was dominated by a large wooden board set upon some trestles as a table, with a wooden bench alongside. In one corner of the dark room, the walls and roof blackened by years of wood smoke, sat a wooden chest that contained the family’s Sunday clothes.
Away from the more popular routes to the coast, the visit was a rare opportunity for the churl, a freeman, and his wife to hear news of the world beyond the local community. The visitor shared the family meal of coarse bread and cheese and they enjoyed a little too much of the sweet mead, while stories were exchanged about King Æthelred’s latest attempts to defend the realm from the marauding Danes. Once in a while their tales were interrupted by the crackling of the fire and the rustling and grunting of the animals in the screened off section of the hut.