Home makes the man
The manor house
The manor was the seigneur’s home. It was bigger than the homes of the censitaires (tenants). The manor was often made of stone and had several chimneys. Like modern homes, the manor was divided into several separate rooms, including bedrooms and a kitchen, but no bathroom. The seigneur’s home had glass windows.
The censitaire’s house
The homes of the censitaires were very modest and made of wood. Most houses had only one habitable room. Everyone ate, worked and slept in the same room. There was little furniture: a table, benches, a bed and a wardrobe. The focal point of the house was the fireplace or woodstove, which provided heat and light and was used for cooking. The people of New France built their homes with our cold winters in mind. The roofs were steep so the snow would easily slide off them. There were few windows because they let in the cold. People covered these windows with oiled paper because glass was too expensive.
The townhouse was born from frequent battles against fire. Since the houses in towns were built very close together, fire spread rapidly. For this reason, houses were built of stone and had firewalls between them. The artisans and day labourers who lived in town were often tenants who rented their homes, which were even smaller than those of the censitaires.
Author: Léon Robichaud
Video narration available in French at http://primaire.recitus.qc.ca/sujets/7/vie-quotidienne/152
See also – Traces of the past: