Life in a manor, in the medieval ages, was tough. All the peasants in the Middle Ages surrounded the manor. A manor is an area of land that was owned by the feudal lord. The lords either lived in manor houses or castles. Other than the village, there were forest/woods that were used for hunting, fields, owned by lords, used for crops, a church, grain mills and a barn. The Manor was usually defended by a surrounding wall. There were 3 types of fields that were divided into long strips of land. One field was planted with wheat, which was usually planted in Autumn, another with barley, which was usually planted in Spring, and the other was left unplanted. From this, the three fields kept rotating every year. The unplanted one was kept like that, so that the soil could get its goodness back after being planted with different crops. Peasants lived in small houses that had holes in it, so that the house doesn’t get filled with smoke when they’re using fire.
Serfs were peasants that were bound under the feudal system to work on his lord’s estate. Serfs were given work like slaves but they were not slaves. They couldn’t be bought or sold, but they could not leave the manor without permission. They had to do jobs they were assigned to they would be punished. Nobles were rich people or knights in the medieval ages. They usually ate different food from the peasants. Meat was considered food for the rich, as they could afford spices to disguise odd flavors in the meat. Vegetables were usually eaten by peasants.
Feudalism was created by William the Conqueror as he was not necessarily liked, though he needed people’s service and loyalty to him. Feudalism played an important role in the society of the medieval ages. It was where the overlord provides a portion of land for a vassal in exchange for his service and loyalty. There often is a ceremony where the vassal knelt in front of the lord and put his hands on the lord’s hands. He then swore an oath of fealty, a solemn promise of faithful service to the lord, promising to serve the lord for life. The lord then kissed the vassal and lifted him to his feet. Everyone knew their obligations and rights. Usually it was better if you were a king/lord rather than a serf or vassal. In the thirteenth century, feudalism started to fall as more towns appeared. If serfs ran away and were not found in one year they were free. Serfs could also buy their freedom. Black Death also contributed to the fall of feudalism as the serfs could negotiate better terms with their lords.
Children growing up on the manor didn’t go to school, but instead they followed what their parents did. If they wanted to become a knight, they would be sent to training at the age of seven up until the age of 21 where it was the official age to become a knight. During his time in training, he would learn to do many things, such as singing, playing chess, playing the harp, learn the different ways to cut meat, ride a horse, be a personal assistant to a knight and take care of his armour. His duties increased as he got older. As a girl, life on a manor was following everything her mother did. As they grew older and was old enough for marriage, she could not choose her companion. Though, women in those times did have the choice to divorce their husband and take their property.
– Humanities Alive 2
– History notes from classes
Other group members – Ashwini, Jade
By David Ong 8B
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
If your crops were not growing, children had died, or if you
were sick. You would accuse someone of being a witch. They were said to have obeyed the Devil and were extremely feared. witches were recognised as people
who had a physical disability, lived alone or had a weird habit. Within the
early years of 1450 and 1750 there were about 110 000 witch trials. The witches
were especially hated by the Christians and the church. Their reasons were they
said to worship Satan, bring harm to the society and cast spells. It was the
Christians who started the campaign to get rid of the witches! This BIG hunt
went on for 75 years! When the so called witches were caught they were tortured
to confess or killed. An example is Joan of Arc who was believed to be chosen
by God to lead the French to victory. She was captured and accused of witchcraft.
Because of this she was burned. If you were accused as a witch, you would sometimes even killed straight away. In other situations they would test you. 1. Way they would test you was to drown you in water if you floated and lived you were a witch, if you drowned you were proved innocent. BUT DEAD! It is disappointing that so many people died while being accused as witch’s. Did you know that Villages had been completely wiped out by witch hunters. It was not just the women who were accused of being “witches”. Men were accused about 5% of the time, this means that women were at the top 95% of people being accused. Women were seen as easier targets for the devil and they said to fall easier to temptation. So it was mainly women who were accused of having “magic” with them. If you were a really nice women you could still be considered a witch. Another reason this happened is due to people accusing other people of worshiping satan. Many people literally guesed where you were and where you might have been. This is how many people were accused of being with’s in those days.
Ryan Moran 8C
Life on the Manor
- What were the roles of noblewomen and girls, called ladies, in the castle?
Girls from noble families usually married when they were around the age of thirteen or fourteen and they had very little, if any say in who they would marry. People thought that the most important role of a noblewoman was to have children, especially boys, to carry on her husband’s name and inherit his land and wealth. A healthy noblewoman had a baby every year from the time she married to her mid 30’s, although many of these children died young from illnesses and accidents.
A lady also had the enormous task of running a large, busy household. She planned meals, arranged large feasts for guests, supervised cooks and other servants, ordered supplies from the nearest village or town and made sure that bills and servants were paid on time. When her husband was away fighting or visiting his other manors, she defended the manor if it got attacked and took care of any manor business. Ladies taught young girls from other noble families how to manage a household and behave like a lady. These girls were sometimes called ladies in-waiting and came to live in the lady’s home at around seven or eight years old. In her spare time, she embroidered, played chess, read stories about knights, ladies and love, and sometimes went hunting with her husband.
- What did the Lord do in and outside of the castle?
A lord looked after his manor, from his castle or manor home. He protected the people who lived in his manor, collected taxed from them, and punished people who broke the law. The lord controlled everything in the manor, from the mills to the bread ovens, where peasants paid to have their grains ground, and bake their bread. Some lords had manors in different parts of the country. Stewards and bailiffs helped the lord look after each manor. The lord visited from time to time to make sure there were no problems.
The lords had many servants, including some that took care of his hawks and falcons he used to hunt small birds and rabbits. When the lord wasn’t fighting or taking care of his manor, he hunted wild animals and played games such a backgammon and chess. The lords liked to show off their wealth by eating lavish meals. The lord held large feasts to celebrate the births of his children, their marriages, visits from important people and religious festivals. During these great feasts fancy dishes were served and after each course fancy sweets made from almond paste and sugar brought from the Middle East were served. After eating musicians, dancers, acrobats and jugglers performed for the lord and his guests.
- Different rooms in the Castle
The Great Hall
The Great hall was for the main meetings and the dining area and it was used by everyone in the castle. The life of castle revolved around this room. All meals were served in this room. Pages and servant waited on the tables. Servants made sure the Hall was clean, the fires were laid and the lighting was adequate. The musician, dancers, jugglers, acrobatics, jesters would perform in the Hall. The steward supervised all the events in the Great Hall.
The Solar was intended for sleeping, private quarters and used by the Lord’s family. It later became a private sitting room that the noble family loved. The solar suite was extended to include a wardrobe.
This room was used for dressing and storage for clothes used by the Lord of the castle. It became the storage room for expensive, personal items such as; jewels, coins, fur, spiced and plates. The wardrobe was later connected to the room where dressmaking and hairdressing was carried out.
Kitchens were introduced into the Medieval castles- they included several cooking ovens for baking and huge fireplaces for smoking and roast food. They also had a water supply with a sink and drainage.
- What did the nobles eat and drink?
Nobles ate vegetables, fruit, bread made from wheat, a lot of fish and meat, including: beef, goat, pork, deer, rabbit and mutton. They also ate wild game, which they had hunted on horseback with the help of their dogs. The cooks flavoured the noble’s food with vinegar, wine and herbs grown in the castle garden. The wealthier nobles could also afford spiced such as pepper, cinnamon, cumin and cloves, which they bought from merchants at markets and fairs.
In the winter, when fresh food was limited, nobles ate meat and fish that had either been covered in salt or smoked over a fire. Salt and during food kept it from rotting in the winter. Fruit and vegetable were also preserved.
The lord, lady and their guests usually drank wine with their meals. Everyone else, including children, drank ale. Mead, a drink made from fermented honey, was also very popular.
By Angela Muturi
Life of a squire
You would be about 14 years old when
you became a squire.
The duty of a squire was to learn
- The rules of heraldry
- Practise the use of weapons and skills of a knight
It was also there job to enter the
life of the castle and learn…
A Squire would serve for about 7
years and would become a Knight at the age of 21, sometimes they would become a
knight earlier for bravery in the battle.
The Knights practised their knightly skills
at the tournaments of the Middle Ages. lots
different types of combat were practised
at the tournaments including jousting, archery and hand to hand combat using
swords and other weapons. There
were different types of Tournaments,
of days, an elimination tournament over several of days.
- Melee a pied Tournament, a tournament
that knights fight on foot.
- Melee a pied Tournament, a tournament
that knights fight on horseback.
On your way to becoming a knight (Squire)
becoming a knight you had to be a page and then a squire. Being a squire was a
hard job, you had to do all the things that the knight needed you to do.
had many jobs to do such as dressing the knight for battles or tournaments,
keeping his armour clean and looking after the pages.
A squire had
to be skilled in handling armour and weapons
The villagers houses are much different from people in the manor. The walls are made out of Wattle and Daub. If you are wandering what are they made out of or how they are made is, it’s thin branches of wood wovened and covered with Daub. Daub is a mix of clay, ox hair and dung. Some villagers have two rooms and some has only got one room. Their houses are often crowded, mostly in winter. Their houses are mostly crowded is because their cow sleeps at the end of the room. The floor is nothing but a flat surface. They’ve got a wooden chest where they keep all their items. In the middle is a fire to keep them warm during winter it’s like what we’ve got at home except it’s a heater and smoke doesn’t come out of it. The most important thing or item they’ve got at home is a Skillet a Skillet is a pot made out of Bronze they use it to cook Pottage that’s basically what they eat. They’re usually hungry mostly in winter when their foods starts to finish. Marriage is not up to the women but it’s up to their fathers decision. Women were asked to help out in the fields and cook for their family. Villagers don’t live as large as the people in the manor but they are sure to be grateful for what they’ve got. In the diorama shown there are poop on the floor it is because in medieval times villagers throw out their rubbish, waste and poop out the windows. The rain usually washes away the rubbish to a certain area. In the city village there’s a church and shops, the area is often very busy.
For a banquet they serve foods such as oxen, pigs, sheep, geese, swans and peacocks. The foods served are spicy. The spicy things used are from the east. The things used are very expensive. For drinks there are Ale and wine fromFrance. Plates and bowls are made out of Pewter. They eat mostly with there fingers instead of using a knife, spoon or a fork. As you can imagine People who live in a manor have more rooms than a villager and the manors bedrooms are much nicer than a villagers room. People who live in the manor are living large.The manor is the opposite of a villagers house. Just because manor people are living large doesn’t mean there weren’t any problems for example keeping warm was hard because the manor is made out of stone and not much light came into the house.
A villeins clothing is a tunic an leggings. In winter villeins wear a hood that covers their head and shoulders so they would be warm. The cloth used is called a coarse wool it’s an itchy cloth. Some wear wooden shoes and some wear a cloth that cover their feets. Wealthy people just buy’s leather shoes. Some children’s don’t wear shoes at all. Some villeins wear sheepskin and some use sheepskin as a bed cover if they’ve got one. Some villeins carry with them is a spindle which is used to make yarn.
Wealthy people wear fine wool made by professional weavers in Malmerbury in Wiltshire. Wealthy people can also afford other fabric such as silk, velvet and linen. Some the fabrics are woven by Belgian craftsmen who are good at what they do. Wealthy people wear bright coloured clothes the colours are made from fruits and bugs, and are very expensive. Women wore long dresses. When they go to a banquet they wear tall hats. Men wore short tunics with cool sleeves and tights. Wealthy people have more clothes than others.
By: Jessica Liemantara 8B.
King Richard the Lionheart
Richard was born on the 8th of September 1157 in Oxford. He was the third son of King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Richard was thought to be his mother’s favourite son and in his early years Richard spent most of his time in her court in Poitiers. Richard spoke no English yet he composed poetry and wrote in French and Limousin. When he was eleven he received the Duchy of Aquitaine but was formerly stated in 1172. By the age of 16 he was commanding his own army and put down rebellions against his father in Poitou. But Queen Eleanor was constantly plotting against Henry II.
And eventually encouraged Richard and his brothers to campaign against their father in 1173, but were unsuccessful. But Richard was soon pardoned and reinstated as Duchy of Aquitaine where he proved himself by crushing a large revolt in Toulouse, 1175. Richards’s older brother Henry saw that Richard was becoming more powerful and demanded, as heir apparent that Richard should pay homage for Aquitaine. Richard passionately denied Henrys demand and civil war broke out between the two brothers. Henry II marched to Richards’s aid, but the war came to a sudden halt when the elder prince died in 1183.
Later Henry II died at Chinon castle, Anjou in France; with Richards’s older brother dead he was the rightful heir to the throne and was crowned in 1189. Prior to Richards coronation at Westminster abbey Richard ordered all the Jews and women to be absent at the banquet and coronation as to protect them from the violence of the people. At the time Jewish people were persecuted for their stands against the crusades. Although Richard commanded for there to be no Jews present, a few wealthy Jewish merchants and priest’s had snuck in and were recognised. Immediately a riot broke out and the Jews were attacked first with fists then clubs and stones.
As word spread of the riot in London the kings request got twisted and people interpreted it as the kings will on the all the Jewish subjects. And for the rest of the day mobs went through the city and burnt down Jewish homes whilst butchering their inhabitants.
As king, Richards’s greatest ambition was to join the crusade which was prompted by Saladin’s capture of Jerusalem in 1187, as he had already taken the crusaders vow. Richard started to sell Sheriffdoms and their offices in an effort to raise the funds for the third Crusade. And he departed in 1190 for the “Holy Land”.