Continuing the exploration of the Medieval Merchant’s House in Southampton, we leave the hall and go into the private room which is behind the hall. In The Winter Love , which used this house as a model for Edward’s shop and home, this was the room in which Edward kept his money and his books.
As in the other rooms on the ground floor, the floor is made of beaten earth.
The passage runs the length of the house from the front door. The whitewashed wall in the photograph below is the back of the house. The open door leads out to a small garden. When the house was first built the kitchen and the latrine were out there, physically separated from the house.
The back room was an important room and was probably where the merchant kept his strongbox and carried out his business. Its importance is shown by the moulded joists, the fireplace and the glazing. Although there was a fireplace in the room originally, the fireplace in the first photograph above dates from the sixteenth century.
As has been done in the other rooms of the house, the back room has been filled with copies of medieval furniture and pottery.
An impressive chest has been placed in the room and it’s easy to imagine the merchant locking up his money and precious objects in it at the end of each day.
Next to it is this rather jaunty looking cupboard.
Below is a photograph of a detail of the cupboard decoration, showing a ship at sea confronted by a large fish.
On the whole, I think this was probably the most pleasant room in the house when it was first built. It was smaller and, therefore, probably warmer than the hall. The glazed windows would have helped to keep the heat in.