An Anglo-Saxon home would have featured a fireplace for cooking and heating. Because there were no chimneys, smoke was expelled via the roof, and dwellings were notoriously smoky. Homes were very simple structures and often only had one room. They usually had a stone or clay floor with a thatch or wooden roof.
Anglo-Saxons didn't use nails to build their homes; rather, they used wooden pegs inserted into the wall studs. The peg and hole construction allowed the walls to be easily taken down for moving or rebuilding purposes. A large part of the house was made of wattle and daub: thin strips of wood, covered in clay, inserted into the ground inside the building area and tied together to form a frame. The daub would then be filled with mud or manure and dried.
There are few details about Anglo-Saxon housing in historical sources, but we do know that houses were very basic structures used for sleeping and eating. There is evidence that they may have had beds, but these would not have been like modern beds, but rather platforms built from logs or stones where you could lie down. There are also drawings of chairs, but it is not clear if these were for sitting at tables or just for aesthetic purposes. Drinking vessels included bowls, jugs, and cups.
The Tudors invented the chimney. Previously, smoke from a home fire would simply travel through a hole in the roof. As a result, the inside of a house was often rather smoky. This resulted in the construction of exceedingly elaborate chimney pots, such as this one, to wow guests.
In fact, some scholars believe that the first indoor bathrooms appeared around this time. The Tudor monarchs were particularly proud of their architecture and design skills, so it's not surprising that they would want to show off these new inventions too.
Indoor plumbing had been invented years before, in 1172, but it wasn't until the 16th century that it became common for homes to have them. Before then, people used outdoor toilets or latrines which were located somewhere outside the home. These could be in the garden, by a door or window, or even under certain conditions in the basement.
People may have been reluctant to put indoor plumbing into their homes because of fears about water quality. In those days, there were no sewage systems and everything else we do now will eventually end up in the water. There were also concerns about thieves breaking in and stealing pipes. But most people just didn't have access to indoor plumbing supplies so it was never really an option anyway.
The Saxons had enough of timber to work with. Everyone ate, cooked, slept, and entertained their guests in the same room. The dwellings were created to take use of as much heat and light as possible. They often had large openings on one or more sides to allow smoke to escape and prevent the house from becoming too hot inside.
Anglo-Saxon houses were typically made up of a central space called a "hall" where meals were served and social interactions took place, with smaller side rooms used for storing clothes, tools, and other belongings. There might be only one door leading into the hall from the outside, but there could be several doors from it to the rest of the house. Windows would also be an important part of any house; they would let in light and air while keeping out the weather and intruders.
People worked hard at getting food on the table. Farming was the main industry before the start of the Industrial Revolution. But there were still lots of animals to take care of on a farm, so people needed help doing that. That's why there are lots of images of farmers in history. It is likely that a majority of men over 15 years old were involved in farming to some extent, whether it was working the land themselves or looking after livestock better suited to a career on the rodeo circuit.
They did not have chimneys in the traditional sense, but we can assume that from at least the Bronze Age, makeshift chimneys, such as those made of wicker and daubed with clay, would carry smoke from hearths through ceilings (if they had ceilings, which may have been common in the Bronze Age) and flammable roofs, causing them to catch fire.
The question of why no early civilizations built their homes with chimneys is still unanswered. Some scholars believe it has something to do with the type of wood used in their buildings. British-built houses in the 19th century were mostly made of brick or stone, which wouldn't burn if there was a fire inside, while American houses were usually made of wood, which would certainly burn if there was an ignition source. However, some ancient structures have been found to be made of burned wood, so this explanation doesn't hold up all the time either.
There are several theories about why early civilizations didn't build their homes with chimneys. One theory is that since most wood was harvested locally, there would be little need for large-scale timber harvesting, which requires clear cutting. If this is the case, then there would be very few trees today that were cut down during the Bronze Age or earlier periods. Another theory is that since most fires were made in open areas outside of housing structures, there was no need for a way to carry smoke into other parts of town. But even though these explanations seem reasonable, there could be others that we don't know about yet.