Community life -The Manor

1. What is the manor?

A manor was a small district, if in this day, it would be like a small suburb. A typical manor would consist of A manor house, which would be built apart from the central village, A mill and often a church.Medieval manor differed between sizes, but were often between 1200-1800 acres. Every Noble held at least one manor, and great nobles could own up to several manors.

A manor was a place where people could farm, grow, live and make money. Families often lived in houses and were usually self sufficient feeding themselves and making money for themselves.

The manor also consisted of a harvesting area. It used a process called a Three- field crop rotation, this meant that the workers grew a similar type of crop in the same area at the same time, and would harvest the crop from that one area. The workers would harvest at one side of the soil and leave the other soil to grow all the nutrients. Then the workers would plant the crops in the soil full of nutrients and leave the other side to grow it’s nutrients. This process would be repeated.

2. Who was in charge; reigned over the people?

The Lord of the manor was in charge of the manor and it’s people for  most of the time. The Lord lived in a manor house which was built apart from the rest of the village where the peasants and workers lived. The Lord’s role over the manor was to watch and listen to complaints from people, and to oversee his serfs and peasants that worked on hi farm lands. The Lord also had to watch his actions and the decisions he made because, he was under an oath of fealty from his superior, which were often a great noble or even the king.  If the king was not available or if he was absent, his wife: the lady of the manor would  take his role into her hands.

3. What is the lady of the manor’s job?

People often got the lady of the manor’s job wrong. Most people thought she was just there to support her husband and complete house chores; although this was right,her job consisted of much more. As stated before, if the Lord was absent his wife would then take on the job, on top of all her other jobs she originally had. Some of the job’s the lady of the manor had to complete while the Lord was gone included: looking after the finances, collecting rent, settling arguments and supervising the farming of the lands. This ‘disappearing act for long periods of time,’ would happen frequently. It often happened because the Lord was expected to pay  for his land by being loyal to his king. The Law rightfully gave her husband full rights over his wife. This law had no exceptions or excuses, whether the Lord’s wife was a noble women, a commoner or even a peasant, she basically was his ‘property.’

4. Which kind of people worked on the manor?

The Lord of the Manor lived in his manor house, and from there conducted his business. Some of the people he hired to work for him  (in order of importance) included:

  • Bailiff: A person of a certain amount of importance who undertook the management of the manor.
  • Reeve: A manor official appointed by the Lord or elected by the peasants.
  • Serf: Another name for a peasant or tenant. They worked on their Lord’s land and paid him dues in return for the use of the land. These dues were usually paid in the form of labour on the Lord’s land. Serfs worked for about three days a week on the Lord’s land.
  • Peasant or Villein: A low status tenant who worked as a crop producer or labourer. They usually developed 20-40 acres ofland for growing.
  • Cottager: A low class peasant with a cottage, but owned little or no land. They usually worked as a simple labourer.
  • Servants: House peasants who worked in the Lord’s house. They carried out house chores including: cooking, cleaning, laundering and much more.
Although there were ranking in those times, the lower class was generally treated well.

5. What is feudalism?

William the conqueror  introduced Feudalism just after he became king, defeating Harold and the English anglo-saxons in the Battle of Hastings in 1066. This system had been well established in Europe for some time before William carried on this system.

Feudalism was basically an exchange of land for a service.William used it to reward his workers for their help in the conquest of England. Life in the middle ages using this system meant that everyone owed some kind of loyalty to the king. Feudalism also had a pecking order which everyone knew their rightful place. This included:

  • The Pope
  • The King
  • Nobles
  • Knights/Vassals
  • Yeomen
  • Servants
  • Peasants/Serfs/Villeins

6. What are fiefs?

In the middle ages, a fief was a Vassal’s income given to him by his Lord, in return for the Vassal’s services. A fief was some land which the Vassal then owned and all the workers that worked on the land would also be under the Vassal now. The money that the fief provided supported the Vassal. Fiefs could also come as dignities, offices and money. A fief was basically a favour awarded to the Vassal. A fief would be granted by the King or Lord. The fief was usually given after a Commendation ceremony. This Commendation Ceremony was used to signify the bond between the Lord, or the person giving the fief and the Vassal, or the person receiving the fief. During this ceremony the Vassal would have to swear an oath of fealty to his master, showing that he swore to protect his master for as long as was asked.

7. What is a Yeoman?

A Yeoman refers to a free man that owns his own land, and/or farm. A Yeoman had quite a high status just under the Knights/Vassals in the Feudalism ‘pecking order.’ Yeomen usually had the duty of protecting the Lord and other dignities as a bodyguard and performing duties and tasks that were assigned to him from his master in a royal or noble house.  A Yeoman could also just be a man that assisted another man. This was his main goal.

A Yeoman had to be armed and trained with a bow, this helped their master to feel safer, while they were being protected.


Chloe Lim 8B

4 Comments on “Community life -The Manor”

  1. rebeccadon says:

    you go glenchlochlo!

  2. priscillalan says:

    Great Job
    Awesome Post!