Life on a ManorPosted: November 24, 2011
Life on the Manor – Feudal System and Farming Techniques
In the medieval ages, there is a system called the Feudal System. Under the feudal system, Peasants, who were the workers and the lowest of the classes in the medieval ages. If they needed some land or protection they would come to the lords. The lords would give them a small amount of land and protection and in return the peasants would give taxes to the lords, which was usually a portion of their crops. They would also have to promise the lords to serve them for life. They had to do this by having a ceremony, where the peasant had to perform an act of homage by kneeling in front of the lord and putting his/her hands in the lord’s hands. The peasant then swore an oath of fealty, promising to serve the lord for all his/her life. The lord would then kiss the peasant and lift him/her to his/her feet. After this the men/women became what is know as the lord’s vassals or tenants.
Since the life of being a lord is very busy, they don’t have time to be chasing up taxes etc. They had other people to do this for them and they were know as the Sub-Tenants and were usually knights. They would guard the property of the Lords and they would also protect the lord. Another job was they had to collect taxes and give the majority of it to the lord. The lords though, received their land from the Monarch (King) and pledged their loyalty, money and prayers to him.
One of the inventions that helped the peasants when they were working on the land, back then was to use a three-field rotation system. The system worked by having crops grown in two fields with the third left empty so they soil could recover its nutrients. Fields being used were divided into strips with different peasants working on each strip. Crops were rotated between the fields to preserve the soil so it could recover all its nutrients for the next load of crops. Another important tool for the peasants was the heavy wheeled plough, which helped them to plant their crops by using the power of an animal.
Credit: Michael Magrath
Humanities Alive 2 Book
Everyday Life: The Middle Ages – Life on a Manor Handout