Last Updated 12/8/2007 12/7/2007
Nobles, Knights, and peasants depended on the land for
everything they needed.
The land was divided into farming communities.
Manors were on fiefs and owned by nobles.
The noble chose officials to run the manor.
The seneschal looked after the nobles fiefs.
The baliff watched over the peasants in the fields.
Each manor had its own court of law.
Courts gave out fines and punishments and discussed manor business.
Manors were isolated from each other.
Manors produced their own food, clothing, and shelter.
They raised sheep for wool.
They raised cows for meat and milk.
They grew grain and vegetables.
They made cloth.
They built homes.
They built tools.
Noble of the manor lived in a wooden house or a castle.
A small villages of cottages would be nearby.
There was a church, a mill, a bread oven, and a wine press in each village.
Villages were surrounded by forests, meadows, pastures, and fiels.
Cottages surrounded a village green.
Cotages were made of wood and dirst.
They had thatched roofs made with bundles of straw.
Most cottages had only one or two rooms.
Peasants slept on piles of straw on the dirrt floor.
Stools and tables were the only furniture.
At night, the animals also stayed in the cottage .
Diseases and fleas sickened the peasants.
Freeman and Serfs
Freeman paid the noble for the right to farm their own strips of land.
They could move whenever they wished.
The noble could also force them to move.
Serfs and their descendants were owned by the noble.
They could not move, own property, or marry without permission.
They could not be forced to leave.
Serfs did not serve in the army.
Freedom for Serfs
If serfs ran away and was not found in one year they were free.
Serfs could also buy their freedom.
Responsibility of Serfs
Serfs worked long hours in the fields.
They worked the nobles land for three days a week.
The rest of the time they could work on their own strips of land.
They had to give part of their crop to the noble.
they had to pay to use the mill, bread oven, and wine press.
Sunday was a day of rest.
At Christamas the lord put on a feast with entertainment.
Holidays were celebrated with singing and dancing on the village green.
Serfs participated in wrestling, archery, and soccer.
Better Farming Methods
1200, peasants began using the three-field system.
One field would be planted with winter whrat.
The second field was planted with spring wheat.
the third field was left fallow.
This was rotated each year.
The iron plow and the horse harness increased the speed of plowing a field.
Peasants were able to produce more food.
Greenblatt, M. and Lemmo, P.S.; "Human Heritage." Glencoe McGraw-Hill, New York, New York 2001.
"Medevial Life Clothing." 3 Aug. 2007. 8 Dec. 2007. http://www.historyonthenet.com/Medieval_Life/clothing.htm.
"Medevial Life Housin." 22 Mar. 2007. 8 Dec.