Medieval Life

Before the peasants revolted, they did lead relatively normal lives in their villages. But what is life like in a medieval village? After all, even though peasants generally wander about and talk with each other at medieval fairs, they can’t do that all the time.  After reading this, you’ll have a good idea of both the ups and the downs of village life.

Each village was situated about a manor, where the lord who ruled over the village lived. Villages were generally not larger than 100 people, and each one of them worked the lord’s fields. Peasants labored from sunrise until sunset; ate substandard food; lived in small, thatch-roofed, one room huts; and suffered frequently from disease. This was because under feudalism, the lord of the manor had control over the villagers, and of course, he was generally concerned simply with his own welfare. For example, if the lord of the manor fought his neighbors frequently, it was the peasants who suffered: their land ravaged, their cattle driven away, their houses burned, and even the peasants themselves might be killed.

However, it wasn’t all bad. If peasants had a kind and generous lord, they most likely led a decently comfortable existence. Except when crops failed, villagers had plenty of food, and maybe even a cider type of drink. Villagers were also rather close to each other, since they shared a common life working the fields, playing sports in the village green, and going to services of the village church. Peasants, believe it or not, also had many holidays. Besides Sundays, roughly eight weeks out of each were were free from work, and festivities at Easter, Christmas, and May Day (the end of ploughing and the completion of harvest) relieved the monotony of every day labor.

Basically,  if you had a good lord, you had a good life. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for most of the peasants under Richard II’s rule.  Come to the Sarasota Medieval Fair and see just what the peasants think about King Richard II and the nobles!

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Published in: on October 6, 2011 at 11:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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