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Transcript
The Feudal and Manorial Systems
The Feudal and Manorial Systems
In Europe during the Middle Ages, the feudal and manorial systems
governed life and required people to perform certain duties and
obligations.
The Feudal System
Origins of Feudalism
• Feudalism originated partly as result
of Viking, Magyar, Muslim invasions
• Kings unable to defend their lands,
lands of their nobles
• Nobles had to find way to defend
own lands
• Built castles, often on hills
• Not elaborate structures; built of
wood, used as place of shelter in case
of attack
Knights and Lords
• Nobles needed trained soldiers to
defend castles
• Knights most important, highly
skilled soldiers
• Mounted knights in heavy armor
best defenders
• Being a knight expensive; had to
maintain weapons, armor, horses
• Knights demanded payment for
services
Fiefs and Vassals
Knights were usually paid for their services with land
• Land given to knight for service was called a fief
– Anyone accepting fief was called a vassal
– Person from whom he accepted fief was his lord
• Historians call system of exchanging land for service the feudal
system, or feudalism
Feudal Obligations
Oath of Fealty
• Lords, vassals in feudal system had duties to fulfill to one another
• Knight’s chief duty as vassal to provide military service to his lord
• Had to promise to remain loyal; promise called oath of fealty
Financial Obligations
• Knight had certain financial obligations to lord
• Knight obligated to pay ransom for lord’s release if captured in battle
• Gave money to lord on special occasions, such as knighting of son
Lord’s Obligations
• Lord had to treat knights fairly, not demanding too much time, money
• Had to protect knight if attacked by enemies
• Had to act as judge in disputes between knights
A Complicated System
Lord and Vassal
• Europe’s feudal system incredibly
complex
• Person could be both lord, vassal
• Some knights with large fiefs gave
small pieces of land to other knights,
created many levels of obligations
• One knight could serve many lords; no
prohibition against knight accepting
fiefs from more than one noble
Fealty to King
• Almost everyone in system served
more than one lord
• Theoretically, everyone supposed to
be loyal to the king
• In practice, not everyone loyal
• Some powerful nobles as strong as
kings they were supposed to serve,
ignored duties as vassals
• Feudal rules specific to time, place;
could change over time; England’s
rules not same as France’s rules
Question:
How did the feudal system work?
Answer:
Question:
How did the feudal system work?
Answer: lord gave land to knight in return for
protection and loyalty
The Manorial System
The feudal system was a political and social system. A related system governed
medieval economics. This system was called the manorial system because it was
built around large estates called manors.
Lords, Peasants, and
Serfs
Serfdom
Free People
• Manors owned by
wealthy lords, knights
• Most peasants on farm
were serfs, tied to
manor
• Manors had some free
people who rented land
from lord
• Peasants farmed manor
fields
• Not slaves, could not be
sold away from manor
• Were given protection,
plots of land to
cultivate for selves
• But could not leave,
marry without lord’s
permission
• Others included
landowning peasants,
skilled workers like
blacksmiths, millers
• Also had a priest for
spiritual needs
A Typical Manor
• Most of manor’s land occupied by fields for crops, pastures for animals
• Middle Ages farmers learned that leaving field empty for year improved soil
• In time, practice developed into three-field crop rotation system
Rotation
• One field planted in spring for fall
harvest
• Another field planted in winter for
spring harvest
• Third field remained unplanted for
year
Small Village
• Each manor included fortified house
for noble family, village for peasants,
serfs
• Goal to make manor self-sufficient
• Typical manor also included church,
mill, blacksmith
Question:
How did lords and peasants benefit from the
manorial system?
Answer
Question:
How did lords and peasants benefit from the
manorial system?
Answer: lords' farmlands were taken care of, produced
food; peasants were provided protection from invaders
Daily Life in the Middle Ages
Life in a Castle
• Life in Middle Ages not easy, did not have comforts we have today
• Early castles built for defense not comfort
• Few windows, stuffy in summer, cold in winter, dark always
Space
• Nobles had to share space with others, including soldiers, servants
• Private rooms very rare
• Main room the hall, large room for dining, entertaining
Bedrooms
• In early castles, noble family bedrooms separated from main area by sheets
• Later castles had separate bedrooms; latrines near bedrooms
• Wooden bathtub outside in warm weather, inside near fireplace in winter
Life in a Village
Despite discomforts, life in a castle was preferable to life in a village. The typical village
family lived in a small wooden one-room house. The roof was made of straw, the floor
of dirt, and the furniture of rough wood. Open holes in the walls served as windows.
Bedrooms
Meals
• Most families slept on beds of straw
on floor
• Peasant families cooked meals over
open fire in middle of floor
• All shared one room with each other,
animals
• Typical meal: brown bread, cheese,
vegetables, occasionally meat
• Most glad to have animals to provide
extra heat in cold winters
• No chimneys, house often full of
smoke; fires common
The family rose before dawn. Men went to work in the fields; women did chores.
During harvest, the entire family worked in the field all day.
Question:
How was life in a castle different from life in a
village?
Answer:
Question:
How was life in a castle different from life in a
village?
Answer: castle life more comfortable, people did not
have to work in the fields; village life was very difficult,
no comforts, whole family had to work continually