Manorialism was an economic structure during the high middle ages that consisted of a lord and his vassals who served him and his wife. The serfs had more rights than slaves but they were tied to the land of their lord even when their land was captured by another lord. Unlike slaves, serfs could keep some of their crops and maintain their own family. Cottagers ranked below serfs and were only given cottage and a small plot of land to work on. At the top of the working class were freeholders. These peasants owned their own land and were not subjects of a lord. Peasants would work the fields together as a family regardless of sex or age, although mostly men worked with the heavy plows and women wove clothes during the least demanding seasons. The lands
At the height of the Medieval Ages, life existed mainly in two different forms: the Feudal system and the Manorial System. Barbarian attacks created many dangers for the common citizen, generating a need for personal protection of both their lands and their lives. It is true that kings still did exist at this time, but due to the decentralization of the government, the king became a distant and ambiguous figure. The lord of the manor then became the authoritative figure for the people of medieval society. Society now subsisted on the self-governing basis of the manor.
Life in the high middle ages, between 1000 and 1300 A.D., had two kinds of communities, manorial villages and towns. The major difference in these two distinct types of communities was the freedom and rights of the people. In the manorial villages you had lords who owned large portions of land. The vassals who entered into a military obligation with the lords, in exchange for land and protection. Finally, serfs who were a class of people that worked their lord’s land as half slave and half freeman. Vassals were more of an employee and the serfs were little more than a slave because they were bound to the lord’s land. The serfs could not leave or do anything without the lord’s permission and most of the time they had to pay fees to be granted the permissions they requested. In contrast the townspeople elected their officials, had freedom to choose a careers, they move about where they liked, and could acquire training and schooling. Townspeople were in fact free and not absolutely controlled by a lord. As for the manorial villages, the lords had all the power and had absolute control over all the actions and work of the vassals and serfs.
Medieval manors were self-sustaining parts of feudalism. Manors contained the lord’s mansion, called the manor house, the lord’s demesne, cruck houses for the peasants, barns, a mill, orchards, woodlands, fish ponds, an outdoor oven, and a place to keep bees. The manor was split up into farmland, woodlands, pastureland, meadows, and at least one village (Jovinelly and Netelkos 9). The villages weren’t very large, they usually had less than 600 people (Cels 6); but, “Each village had peasants’ homes, a church, a mill where grain was ground into flour, ovens in which bread was baked, and a forge, where a blacksmith made horseshoes and iron tools” (Cels 4). There wasn’t much need to leave the manor, as the people had just about all they needed to live.
During the middle ages the lack of protection and a stable government after the Fall of Rome created the need for a new political system. Feudalism was the political system that emerged and shaped the lives of people socially and politically. Manors were small communities that were made up of a castle, church, village, and land for farming. The structured society provided a place and responsibility for everyone. The feudal obligations showed that in exchange for one thing they would be provided with something else. Serfs and peasants would work and produce goods for the rest of the manor and in return had their land and promised protection. The vassals would need to obtain land from the Lord and in return would provide the Lord with military service, loyalty, and ransom if asked for (Doc. 4). To make clear the vassal’s specific allegiance to their lord whom they owed in for exchange for their fief they would take the Homage Oath (Doc. 2). This interdependent system required everyone to do their part and it created social classes that they were born into. Their daily lives were centered on the manor and that was how it stayed until towns began to
The manor and feudal system during the middle ages shaped the society of Western Europe because it both allowed protection to the serfs (peasants/ workers) from attacking tribes and barbarians as well as gave nobility power and control of society. The manor system consisted of a large plot of land given to a vassal by a king or a lord. A vassal was a deputy of the lord and was responsible for making sure that the work on the manor was getting done. He got his manor from a feudal contract that was called the fief which was a pledge to a lord or king that he would be their vassal for life. In exchange for this promise, the vassal got protection from his enemies for life as well as an estate. On the manor there was a manor house where the vassal
Economic systems have been enforced in society to create order. Therefore various systems have influenced many nations, regions, and groups of people throughout the course of history. Manorialism is one primary example that demonstrates the influences an economic system can have on a nation. It was a prominent system throughout the Middle Ages in Western Europe. Manorialism is considered the economic side of feudalism, a political system where kings in Europe gave away land to nobles in return for their loyalty, military service and labor.
A noble, or lord, was in control of his manor. The manor was the heart of feudal economy (Ellis and Esler 222). A manor often consisted of the castle, a church, a village, and
The lord provides the serfs with housing, farmland, and protection from bandits, and in return, serfs tends the lord’s lands and care for his animals. All peasants, no matter if they are free or serf, owe the lord certain duties, which includes a few days of labor each week and a certain portion of the peasants’ grain. Peasants don’t usually travel more than 25 miles from their own manor. A manor covers only a few square miles of land, and consists of the lord’s house, a church, and workshops. The manor is a self-sufficient community, with the serfs and peasants raising or producing nearly everything that they and their lord need for daily
A medieval manor was the home for most free and unfree European peasants. The amount of land on the manor varied from several thousand acres to as small as 120 acres. According to recently found evidence, a manor may have consisted of several villages, villages whose produce was split amongst several lords, or an isolated homestead. Land on the manor was split into two parts and the larger part was typically for the peasants. All peasants worked equally in cultivating the land which also meant any large harvests or disasters with the crops were also shared. The peasants used what is referred to as an “open field system”. This
Their daily lives were centered on the manor and that was how it stayed until towns began to grow into cities after the crusades (OI). Feudalism had positive bearings because it was the solution for decentralized government and lack of protection but also held people back due to lack of social mobility.
Thus the manor might be secular or religious (many times secular lords had religious overlords and vice versa), but the essential relationships between lord and serfs were not significantly affected by this distinction. There is little evidence that serfs were treated any less harshly by religious lords than by secular ones. The religious lords and secular nobility were the joint ruling classes; they controlled the land and the power that went with it. In return for very onerous appropriations of the serf's labor, produce, and money, the nobility provided military protection and the church provided
Manors were self-sufficient landholdings that included the manor house, outbuildings, peasant village, and surrounding land. Serfs lived in manors and were completely controlled by the nobles of the manor. Serfs worked crops, tilled fields, and did other requests of the nobles. Serfs stayed at the manors because they provided political and physical protection; the serfs were loyal to the lord of the manor, unlike earlier, people were loyal to the king. The decline of Roman culture led to the rise of Germanic customs. The warfare also led to knights being the central figure of the military and the development of new military technology; there was more iron production to create knight’s armor. There had never been knights before, only Roman soldiers or the Hoplites of ancient Greece. Another system that developed at this time was feudalism. Feudalism was land awarded for military service; kings and lords gave land (a fief) to supporters in return for sworn military support. In Rome, citizens needed to own land in order to join the military, however, they were not given land for military service. Another change in this period was monasticism, monasticism was a new religious trend at this
One of the main features of the manorial system was that serfs were bound to a certain manor, and required to work that land for the lord. The serfs were tied to the land because of their debts or their ancestors’ debts to the lord. For the lord to keep his power and comfortable way of life, he had to keep the serfs bound to his land. This meant that he must keep them in debt, which led to many fees and taxes. An example of one of these taxes is, “And after the death of any one of the aforesaid villeins, the lord shall have as a heriot his best animal…”. This example shows the extent that the lord went to to keep the serfs in debt, so that he could maintain control over the
During the Middle Ages, the European society was structured by the feudal system. Feudalism was a system where the lord or king would give land to peasants for their loyalty such as in wars and for services. The lord would receive tribute from the vassals they gave land to, but they could also be a vassal to a stronger lord or a king. The aristocrats kept getting wealthy because they had their own personal army and manor. On these manors, there were slaves who worked, but did not have the title “slaves” even though they could not leave the manor. The three events that helped transform society were Towns and Trade, the Black Death, and the Hundred Years War. The Black Death completely transformed Europe because it provided a lot of opportunities