I’ve harped on this in the past, but one of my favorite tricks while writing is the creation of a fictional town based off of a real one.
For example, in The Green Jewel the town of Purgatory Peak, CA is based off of two of the towns I grew up in. I used a combination of New Castle, IN and Covina, CA to create Purgatory Peak, CA. I used the small town feel of New Castle and the bigger commerce section in downtown Covina to create a pretty cool locale. Of course, I then went and sprinkled a little bit of Denver into the mix. Doing this saved me a lot of effort and energy.
Naturally, doing a fantasy village is a bit harder. Remembering that you need a butcher nowhere near housing can cause quite a headache after you put the butcher’s business in the middle of the housing area. There’s a few books out there which give the layouts to towns of old, such as London before the great fire and even parts of France during the 1500’s. I would recommend hitting the local library as well. They often have books that are right up your searchable alley.
Historical pieces are a mess as well. Remembering to keep everything period related while trying to write a fictional tale can be quite the headache, especially when their mannerisms were far different than today’s. Remember to keep that in mind when the peasantry is moving to overthrow the tyrannical lord of the manor. He did become tyrannical and a lord for a reason.