Feudalism in the Middle Ages | Middle Ages
Lords, vassals, peasants, and serfs. Feudalism was built upon a relationship of obligation and mutual service between vassals and lords. A vassal held his. While your character's relationship to factions and towns/villages always starts at. .. Your Relationship towards a vassal, faction, city, or village exhibits how much they trust or like you. If you are ally of a faction but the lord has under relation with you, he won't support you if you Bring back runaway serfs quest, +?. Lords and Serfs in Medieval Europe . which determined the relations of the subjects with the lord and defined precisely the limits of the little.
Villeinage was not, however, a purely uni-directional exploitative relationship. In the Middle Ages, land within a lord's manor provided sustenance and survival, and being a villein guaranteed access to land, and crops secure from theft by marauding robbers.
Landlords, even where legally entitled to do so, rarely evicted villeins because of the value of their labour. Villeinage was much preferable to being a vagabond, a slave, or an unlanded labourer. In many medieval countries, a villein could gain freedom by escaping from a manor to a city or borough and living there for more than a year; but this action involved the loss of land rights and agricultural livelihood, a prohibitive price unless the landlord was especially tyrannical or conditions in the village were unusually difficult.
Bordars and cottagers In England the Domesday Bookofuses bordarii bordar and cottarii cottar as interchangeable terms, "cottar" deriving from the native Anglo-Saxon tongue whereas "bordar" derived from the French.
Whipping was a common punishment for Russian serfs. In England, at the time of the Domesday Survey, this would have comprised between about 1 and 5 acres 0. They owned no tenancy in land, worked for the lord exclusively and survived on donations from the landlord. It was always in the interest of the lord to prove that a servile arrangement existed, as this provided him with greater rights to fees and taxes.
The status of a man was a primary issue in determining a person's rights and obligations in many of the manorial court -cases of the period. Also, runaway slaves could be beaten if caught. The United States had approximately 4 million slaves by and the British Empire hadslaves when it abolished slavery in Usually a portion of the week was devoted to ploughing his lord's fields held in demesneharvesting crops, digging ditches, repairing fences, and often working in the manor house.
The remainder of the serf's time he spent tending his own fields, crops and animals in order to provide for his family. Most manorial work was segregated by gender during the regular times of the year; however, during the harvestthe whole family was expected to work the fields.
A major difficulty of a serf's life was that his work for his lord coincided with, and took precedence over, the work he had to perform on his own lands: On the other hand, the serf of a benign lord could look forward to being well fed during his service; it was a lord without foresight who did not provide a substantial meal for his serfs during the harvest and planting times. In addition to service, a serf was required to pay certain taxes and fees.
Taxes were based on the assessed value of his lands and holdings. Fees were usually paid in the form of agricultural produce rather than cash. The best ration of wheat from the serf's harvest often went to the landlord.
Generally hunting and trapping of wild game by the serfs on the lord's property was prohibited. On Easter Sunday the peasant family perhaps might owe an extra dozen eggs, and at Christmas a goose was perhaps required too. When a family member died, extra taxes were paid to the lord as a form of feudal relief to enable the heir to keep the right to till what land he had.
Any young woman who wished to marry a serf outside of her manor was forced to pay a fee for the right to leave her lord, and in compensation for her lost labour. Often there were arbitrary tests to judge the worthiness of their tax payments. A chicken, for example, might be required to be able to jump over a fence of a given height to be considered old enough or well enough to be valued for tax purposes.
The restraints of serfdom on personal and economic choice were enforced through various forms of manorial customary law and the manorial administration and court baron. It was also a matter of discussion whether serfs could be required by law in times of war or conflict to fight for their lord's land and property.
In the case of their lord's defeat, their own fate might be uncertain, so the serf certainly had an interest in supporting his lord.
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Rights Within his constraints, a serf had some freedoms. Though the common wisdom is that a serf owned "only his belly"—even his clothes were the property, in law, of his lord—a serf might still accumulate personal property and wealth, and some serfs became wealthier than their free neighbours, although this happened rarely. A serf could grow what crop he saw fit on his lands, although a serf's taxes often had to be paid in wheat. The surplus he would sell at market. The landlord could not dispossess his serfs without legal cause and was supposed to protect them from the depredations of robbers or other lords, and he was expected to support them by charity in times of famine.
Serfdom - Wikipedia
Many such rights were enforceable by the serf in the manorial court. In some places serfdom was merged with or exchanged for various forms of taxation. The amount of labour required varied.
In Poland, for example, it was commonly a few days per year per household in the 13th century. One day per week per household in the 14th century. Four days per week per household in the 17th century. Six days per week per household in the 18th century. Serfs served on occasion as soldiers in the event of conflict and could earn freedom or even ennoblement for valour in combat. Laws varied from country to country: History of serfdom Galician slaughter in was a revolt against serfdom, directed against manorial property and oppression.
Social institutions similar to serfdom were known in ancient times. The status of the helots in the ancient Greek city-state of Sparta resembled that of the medieval serfs.
By the 3rd century AD, the Roman Empire faced a labour shortage. Large Roman landowners increasingly relied on Roman freemen, acting as tenant farmers, instead of slaves to provide labour. Because the tax system implemented by Diocletian assessed taxes based on both land and the inhabitants of that land, it became administratively inconvenient for peasants to leave the land where they were counted in the census. A manor consisted of a manor house, one or more villages, and up to several thousand acres of land divided into meadow, pasture, forest, and cultivated fields.
This land was shared out so that each person had an equal share of good and poor. At least half the work week was spent on the land belonging to the lord and the church. Time might also be spent doing maintenance and on special projects such as clearing land, cutting firewood, and building roads and bridges. The rest of the time the villagers were free to work their own land.
Food and Drink The fare at the lord's table was as full of variety as the peasant's was spare. Meat, fish, pastries, cabbage, turnips, onions, carrots, beans, and peas were common, as well as fresh bread, cheese, and fruit. At a feast spitted boar, roast swan, or peacock might be added. Normans dining Wine or ale was drunk, never water, which was rightly considered suspect.
Ale was the most common drink, but it was not the heady alcoholic drink we might imagine. It was thin, weak, and drunk soon after brewing. It must have had little effect on sobriety. Fruit juices and honey were the only sweeteners, and spices were almost unknown until after the Crusades. Table Manners Meat was cut with daggers and all eating was done with the fingers from trenchers, or hollowed out husks of bread. One trencher was used by two people, and one drinking cup.
Scraps were thrown on the floor for the dogs to finish. There were no chimneys, and the fireplace was in the middle of the hall. Smoke escaped by the way of louvres in the roof at least in theory. House Layout In the early medieval period the centre of life in castles and manors was the great hall, a huge, multipurpose chamber safely built upon the second floor.
These halls were dimly lit, due to the need for massive walls with small windows for defense from attack. In the 14th century the hall descended to the ground floor, and windows grew in size, indicating increased security. The solar, or family room, remained on the first floor. It became the custom for the family to eat in the solar, leaving the great hall to minor guests and servants. Hall life decreased as trade increased. Trades specialized and tradesmen and women moved out of the hall.
Feudalism and Medieval life
The communal life of the hall declined and families became more private. Manors sustained fewer people as trades separated from the manor community. The Peasant's Life Villages consisted of from families living in rough huts on dirt floors, with no chimneys or windows. Often, one end of the hut was given over to storing livestock.