The ManorPosted: June 12, 2012
What is the manor?
The medieval manor was quite a large piece of land which was owned by a Lord or directly by the king. After winning the Battle of Hastings, ‘William the Conqueror’ divided the land into manors and gave those manors to his knights and nobles as a reward. Most of the time, the king would rely on his many manors, that he owned, for food supply. The Lord would govern that land under the laws of the feudalism.
The Physical layout of the manor including the fields and buildings
The typical manor would contain: a manor house; where the lord and his family would live, the peasant houses; where the peasant’s would live and the fields on the outer sides of the manor; where the peasants and the lord’s serfs would work their land. The manor house would normally be fenced off from the peasant houses. Many manor houses had a fishpond near them, sometimes if not natural, it could be man – built. There would be many building on manor but the manor house would be the largest. The peasant houses would be grouped together to form a village. The fields and the forest would be around the outside of the peasant village. The medieval manor could be varied in size but normally it would often be around 1200 – 1800 acres.
The physical layout of the manor house
The medieval manor house would normally occupy the Lord and his family. It was the largest building out of the whole manor. The house would be often fenced off (it sometimes could be built on a hill), away from the peasant village. It would normally look like a castle except it was not made for attacking or defending. The manor house would often have a wooden frame and be made out of stone or maybe even brick. The house would contain quite a few rooms which would generally consist of:
- The Solar – Used by the Lord and his family for sleeping and as a private sitting room
- The Great Hall – Used by everyone in the manor house as the primary meeting and dining area
- The Kitchen – Used obviously for cooking, often contained large fireplaces and cooking ovens for cooking food
- The Garderobe- Used as a toilet
- The Buttery – Used for storing and dispensation of beverages, especially drinks such as ale
- The Pantry – Used to store food that wouldn’t last too long
- The Storerooms – Used to store all the long lasting food
- The Chapel – Used by the all the members of the household for prayer
- The Servant’s Quarters – Where the servants would all sleep
The physical layout of the peasant village
The peasant houses would normally be grouped up to form a small village in the manor. It would often be separated from the manor house.
A peasant house would normally be cheap and easy to do since most peasants were generally poor. It would have a wooden structure and be plastered with wattle and daub. It was a mixture of mud, straw and manure that would create quite a strong building material. The floor would normally be dirt lined with straw. The house would have a thatched roof, the doors would sometimes be covered by curtain and windows would be a hole, since glass was too expensive. It would be a one room house.
Close to the peasant village there would be a:
- village mill – provided a place to ground meat and flour
- village smithy – provided farming tools
- church – provides a place to pray for peasants
- forest – provides wood
Physical layout of the fields and land (farming systems)
The fields would be on the outskirts of the manor. It would normally surround the outside of the peasant village.
Each field would be separated into strips by unploughed turf (usually about half an acre each.) Instead of being all together, the peasant’s strips of farming land would be scattered all over the manor.
Besides his farming land, each peasant had certain rights over the non – productive land. This was called common land. The forest would usually be around the peasant village. The farming and would use the three field system. Three field system was where one field would be left fallow to gather its nutrients while one of the fields would be planted in autumn with something such as wheat, rye or barley and the other field would be planted in spring with something such as oats, barley or legumes. The fields were overall really important for the medieval times and even now since it provides fertile land for growing crops.
Serf – They were at the very bottom of the power chain; they were peasants who would have given their loyalty to their Lord.
Feudalism – An agreement of a peasant giving their loyalty to the Lord in exchange for the Lord giving land and protection to them.
Common land – Is the common use of non – productive land.
Legumes – They are beans and peas.
Fallow – Mean to be left empty.
- “Serfs”, http://www.middle-ages.org.uk
- “Medieval Manor”, http://www.middle-ages.org.uk
- “Lord of the manor”, http://www.middle-ages.org.uk
- “Village Life in the Middle Ages”, http://www.middle-ages.org.uk
- “Farming in the Middle Ages”, http://www.middle-ages.org.uk
- “Medieval Manor House”, http://www.middle-ages.org.uk (no name or year of publication available from the above websites)
- Ting, J.T (2011), “Life in the Manor”, https://wccshoeing.wordpress.com
- Trueman, C.T , “Medieval manor houses”, http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk (no year of publication available)
- “Feudal System and Castle & Manor Demesnes”, http://www.castlesandmanorhouses.com (no name or year of publication available)
- Trueman, C.T, “The Lifestyle of Medieval peasant”, http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk (no year of publication available)
- Long, T.L, (2002), “Medieval village”, http://ehistory.osu.edu
- “Three-Field System”, http://www.britannica.com (no name or year of publication was available)
By Priscilla Langi 8C