In the following pages you'll find everything you need to know about life on a medieval manor from serfs and peasants to lords and ladies.
Page 1: Welcome!
Page 2: Introduction to Medieval Manors
Page 3: Homes
Page 4: The Manor House
Page 5: Peasants & Serfs
Page 6: Religion & the Catholic Church
Page 7: The Lady
Page 8: The Lord
Page 9: Biblography And Further Reading
The main part of a noble’s land (sort of like the capitol) and the surrounding town was known as the manor. The manor was largely self-sufficient with livestock, fields, and other types of services like blacksmiths or bakers due mostly to the fact that there was little trade if any because of wars and robbers. The manor was where the lord and lady lived, peasants farmed the fields, and was at the center of economic activity on the lord’s land.
The homes of peasants were small, dark, and dirty. The sometimes windowless small one or two room houses were made of what was called wattle and daub, woven oak sticks and branches covered with a water-proof mixture of straw, dirt, and manure and a thach roof. The only furniture in the home may have been three-legged chairs, a table, beds, and a stone hearth in the center of the main room for cooking.
The manor house was the home of the lord and lady and the largest structure on the manor. The house was a large fortified house or even a castle made up of a complex of buildings. The manor house had livestock, water, and crops nearby or in it in case of siege. The most important room in the home or any castle is the great hall where the lord and lady would hold feasts, social gatherings, and entertain guests.
The life of a peasant or serf was long hard. Bound to the land there lord gave them in return for farming they worked they’re entire lives farming and raising livestock for the lord but they were not slaves. Only on Sundays, when everyone went to church, and holy days such as Christmas or Easter were they allowed to rest. They had to make everything themselves tools, clothing, even their homes were made from scratch, and after making all of those things the lord still owned everything they had
The Catholic Church was a very powerful institution in the middle ages, some popes were more rich and powerful than kings! The church governed almost every aspect of people’s lives with their own laws and taxes. Anyone that challenged the church’s authority (and few did) would be severely punished like being whipped or burned at the stake. In 1208 a Cathar sect in south
Lords were the rulers of an area of land
(sort of like a state) within a kingdom. The
land was given to them in return for serving
the king by appearing in court or going into
battle in the name of the king. Lords had to
set up taxes and laws and oversee the castle
and his land, but usually had a steward or
two to help with these tasks. Hunting in his
private forest was his favorite pastime and
the main source of meat in the manor house.
Women as peasants or nobles had a small role in medieval society. As young girls noble women usually lived and learned in a monastery or in another castle. Most were married by the age of 14 to make political ties and for greater wealth. Their few duties were to oversee the kitchen, find guest entertainment, and take over the castle when the lord was away.
-Medieval and Early Modern
Times by many authors
-Medieval Life by Andrew Langley