By Elena Wu


This is the diorama that i made that represented how Manorialism started and ended. The image furthest on the left is the whole diorama. The upper right picture is the “fall of the roman empire” side, where it shows some people scared in their houses. Outside are vikings or other tribes that attack them and they are very nervous. (this was how feudalism got introduced) The lower right picture is the picture showing how manorialism ended, showing how the black death loosened it up. There is a doctor, along with a nun, and a patient that has the Black Plague.

The Manor 

Manorialism was a very important factor of the middle ages. It organised the Roman empire when it fell and also was practiced widely in medieval Europe. Manorialism and Feudalism had a dramatic effect on Europe during the middle ages. Everybody knew their places with the help of feudalism.

What was Manorialism?

Manorialism is the system where a lord of the manor would make the serfs or tenants work on his estate, or fief. The middle ages system of manorialism was the organisation of a country economy and society. Peasants had rights to use the land and domain in order to live. They were also allowed to take wood for fuel and living purposes.

How did Manorialism start?

After the fall of the Roman Empire, there were barbarian attacks and viking invasions. This made everyone feel very unsafe. Because of this, Charlemagne, a frank king, introduced feudalism. This meant, that the richer families gave up their land, for the poor farmers and families, for them to work on. The harvest had to be shared with the “lord” of the manor. The “lord” of the manor was the person who gave his land to another family. In return for having the peasants work for the lord, the lord would grant them protection and economic services.  This arrangement developed into the manorial system. Another time, when feudalism was introduced, was after William the Conqueror won the battle of the Hastings. He entered England as the new king, and introduced feudalism.

How did Manorialism end?

The Black Death was a pandemic disease that spread throughout China and parts of medieval Europe. Everyone 1 in 3 people died in the black death, and no doctor knew how to cure this sickness. In the middle ages, nobody knew about hygiene, and everyone just did what they thought was right. They threw rubbish out of their windows, not knowing that its bacteria may spread throughout the street, and just waited for the rain to wash the garbage away. Because of the black death, funeral prices increased, along with the prices of other goods. Other than this, the lords of the manor started to realise how important the peasants were, and started hiring them with large amounts of benefits. The peasants also noticed how important they were, so they wanted higher economic benefits in order to help the lords of the manor. They moved out of infected towns, in order to flee from the disease. The peasants became so important, and this made the feudalism structure crumble, leaving the nobles needing to work for their own food.And that, is how feudalism and Manorialism ended.

How is Manorialism different to feudalism?

Feudalism and Manorialism are two systems of thought that showed a difference between them in terms of concept and understanding. Manorial systems concentrated on the organisation of agricultural and craft production. On the other hand, feudalism was the legal relationship between the lord and the vassal. 
Another significant difference between feudalism and manorialism is that manorialism is economic in character, whereas feudalism is legal in character. 
On the other hand, feudalism supports legal, cultural and political ramifications at the highest levels while dealing with the relationship between the Lord and Vassal. Another way of pointing out the main difference between feudalism and manorialism is that feudalism is political system, whereas manorialism is an economic system.

The feudal pyramid

In the Feudal Pyramid above, we could see that in the medieval society, Christianity was looked upon very much. So, the 1st estate of the feudal society was the Pope/Church. The 2nd estate was the fighting group, including the kings, the nobles, and the knights and the vassals. The 3rd estate would be the working group. This included the peasants. This estate made up 90% of the pyramid.. Serfs were outside the pyramid, and were considered objects that thee lords would sell or use.

Bibliography –

information –
images -

The Medieval Manor — Putting the Pieces Together

— Katherine Cantos

     Your wagon finally stops at the town gate. You step out and feel the gravel’s tension underneath the soles of your feet. You look around. The 3rd field is being harvested to your left. Peasants are busily cooking and rushing around. The deep green trees surround the entire land. Your heart flutters for a second when you see home. The beautiful structure in the distance composed of pale tan stone with ivy crawling over it brings back warm memories. You are back home, the manor.

The Manor

     You have probably gotten a bit of an idea of what a medieval manor is like if you have seen costume dramas such as: Pride and Prejudice, Sense ans Sensibility, Emma, Ever After, Ella Enchanted as well as Sherlock Holmes.
     A medieval manor is an area of land owned by a lord or baron/baroness. It usually contains a small village, 3-field rotation system, gardens and a manor house with servants quarters. (farming lands).
Size often indicated the wealth of the manor owner.

The Medieval Manor Village

     The village often consisted of the following: peasant houses for living; a stable/barn, a tithe barn; a house of the bailiff (where taxes were collected); a house of reeve (supervisor and ensures acceptable farm work), a church — often including a graveyard; and a miller.
     Villages often had a stream that supplied them with water, which they kept in a stone well. A pillory was often used as a punishment enforced by the reeve or someone of higher status.
The 3-field rotation system surrounded the village.

What is the 3-field rotation system?

The 3-field rotation system was a system used by farmers in which two fields were cultivated and the third was left to fallow (left unsown for a period of time in order to restore its fertility for later use).

What is a manor house?

Athelhampton House

Athelhampton House in England

A manor house is a country house that was referred to as the centre of the manor. It is where the wealthy Lord and their servants live.

     The term Manor House is sometimes applied to country houses which belonged to gentry families, even if they were never administrative centres of a manor *(Source b).
Château or Manoir are two main terms the French used for manor house.
     The manor house stood separate from the rest of the village. The type of manor depended on the wealth of the lord and his family. For example, the wealthier manors ha
d many more luxuries than those in poorer manors. Poorer manors tended to be made of  other materials such as wood. Wealthier manors were more likely to be made from stone.
     Most manors composed of a:
— Great Hall & Kitchen (inc. pantry, larder and buttery)

The great hall is the main, grand room in a manor. It is where people dine and where the servants sleep. Manor court trails were also held in the great hall. The great hall was usually separated from the kitchen with a wooden or stone corridor to assure a lower fire risk

to the main part of the building as well as to keep out the odours, smoke and noise from the great hall.
     The kitchen was constructed of either wood or stone and usually had a clay oven, a basin. Near
the kitchen was the pantry. Hanging above large cauldrons or pots were spits. There was also common cutlery and utensils such as: forks, assorted knives, spoons, ladles, graters and kettles. Food was stored in the pantry.
     A larder is a cooled room essential for storing food prior to use.
     The buttery was a small room where beer was kept and where the servants usually ate. (Right) Painting of a medieval kitchen by Vincenzo Campi.
— A Solar

     A solar was a large upstairs room where the family of the lord would live. They slept and relaxed in the solar. This room was often lit by large windows. The Solar often ended up evolving into the Lord and Lady’s bed chamber or was kept as a solar and bed chambers were built-in as well.

— Bed Chambers

Later-built manor houses usually had individual bed chambers.

— Garderobe
     Basically a toilet.
— Storerooms


     Manors often had some form of fortification. In some, it was walls or fortifications enclosing the town. Manor houses sometimes were surrounded by a moat with drawbridges and watchtowers.

A well-fortified manor — indicates wealthy owners.

What were buildings made of?

Village houses were made of plastered wattle and daub with a thatch roof. Wattle is a woven lattice of wooden strips. Daub was made of sand, clay, animal excrement, wet soil and dirt. The floors were often lined with straw.Their windows were simply wooden shutters that could open and close. This allowed the people inside to see out rather than people from the outside looking in. These houses had no running water or washing basins.

Manor houses were mostly made of stone and their windows of glass. Mattresses stuffed with straw were all they had for a bed. This caused issues in regards to parasites like fleas and lice.

Understanding a manor

I have made a visual interpretation of a medieval manor during the middle ages around the 7th and 8th century, situated in Normandy (modern day France). It contains the main village, the manor house and 3-field rotation. It displays the common layout of a medieval manor ruled by a feudal lord. It also contains a stream that would supply the village with water.
Centre part of the village

Centre part of the village including the tithe barn, house of bailiff, and common house.

The Village

The Village of the Manor

     The tithe barn is where the peasants deposited 1/10 of all they produced for use by the church. (Source 1)
     The house of bailiff is where the bailiff (someone who undetook the management of the manor) lived and where the taxes were collected/kept by the bailiff.

Common Houses across the stream

Manor House

This Manor House is made of Stone (actually paper…). The doors are made of heavy Oak. The elevated garden beds with willow-woven sides are to the side of the manor house. They grow vegetables and Herbs.

Other Areas

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Medieval Manor had many components to it, that made it a good area to live, farm and work.. Thanks for reading!

Sources: (Including date of information retrieval in bold)

a) Saldais, M & Smith, R & Young, D, (2006), “Humanities Alive History 1, Jacaranda Learning Essentials(10/06/12).

b) “Castles and Manor Houses Resources”, (2010), Manor Houses, (7/06/12).*

c) “History Learning Site”, Medieval Peasants & Medieval Manor Houses, (2011), ( (9/06/12).

d) “Annenburg Foundation”, (2010), Middle Ages (Homes),, (10/06/12).

e) “History on the Net Group”, (2000), Medieval Life — The Manor,, (11/06/12).

f) “”, (2010), The Medieval Manor,, (12/06/12)

Image Sources:

Image 1 (Diagram of medieval manor) — “Big site of History”, (2012),, (9/06/12).

Image 2 (Athelhampton House) — “Wikimedia Commons”, (2010),, (8/06/12).

Image 3 (Painting of Kitchen by Vincenzo Campi) — “Web Gallery of Art”, (2012), Medieval Kitchen,, (10/06/12).

Image 4 (Fortified manor) — “Farming UK”, (2011), Manor Farm Cottages,, (7/06/12).

Decorative Image Sources

Both from Source 2 (

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