The Feudal System – Peasants and how the feudal system ended.Posted: November 10, 2011
How did they live their life?
The peasants were given land by their lords and were also given protection, but it all came at a price, they had to pay a heavy tax. They had to give at least 10% of their earnings as a farmer to their Lord and a tithe to the church. Although this doesn’t sound like much, it broke many peasant families. The peasant could pay in cash but they could also pay with seeds, equipment, etc. After you have paid your taxes you could keep whatever was left, which was usually very little. Sometime a peasant would have to give all his seeds as his tax, which left him with nothing for the next farming season. This meant that they might not have enough items/cash to give as tax but it also meant that they couldn’t feed themselves. They also had to work on the land of the church without pay. This drove them away from their own farming which meant they couldn’t always uphold their crops. A life a peasant child was very rough, they didn’t go to school and as soon as possible they worked on the land with their father. They couldn’t do much physical work but they could clear the rocks off the land and chase the birds away.
Since the peasants did not earn much, they lived in very simple houses usually one room. Inside the house it was very dirty, muddy floor lined with straw, manure, straw and mud made the plaster for the walls and they kept their animals in there to keep them from being eaten, stolen or wandering off. It was very hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Windows were holes in the wall and a door was a curtain. Sometime they would have a loft where children would sleep.
The life of a peasant was very tough, brutal and short.
How did they become that level?
Becoming a peasant, on most occasions, was by default. They were nearly always born into it by their parents. When they were born into the peasant family and their father died they would have had to take care of the land and the taxes themselves. Therefore they became peasants just as there parents. In conclusion if you were born into a peasant family on most occasions you would automatically play the peasant role in the feudal system by default.
What were their advantages and disadvantages?
Peasants had many advantage but they also turned out to be their disadvantage as well.
The peasants were given land by their Lord to farm and make a living for themselves. This was also their disadvantage as they had to give a heavy tax back to the Lord and the Church. This usually was very hard for them and they would only grow just enough for them to eat.They were also given protection which was a huge advantage but this all contributed to their tax. In Conclusion it was generally a disadvantage to be a peasant.
How did the feudal system end?
The key factor that put the feudal to rest was the Black Death in 1950’s.
This wiped out many, many people meaning that the surviving peasants were free to have their own land without paying the tax. Generally only the rich survived, this meant that the peasant couldn’t work for them anymore so they had to work themselves but they could also hire the surviving peasants but the peasants would not have done that without a cost. So they had to be paid, this helped to put the feudal system out of order. The Black Death also made the survivors unwilling to go into serfdom, helping put the feudal system out of order. Another factor was the endless wars that were going on. Again wiping out many of the nations.
In conclusion the Lords, Bishops, Noblemen and the other important people began to fall after the Black Death. This weakened the deal they had with their peasants/serfs. This meant that the peasants demanded payment. If they were not paid they would leave that Lord and go to another Lord who could double the last mans offers
Thanks for reading!
By Jake Tonkin