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The Feudal and Manorial Systems

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1 The Feudal and Manorial Systems
Preview Main Idea / Reading Focus The Feudal System Quick Facts: Feudal Obligations The Manorial System Daily Life in the Middle Ages

2 The Feudal and Manorial Systems
Main Idea In Europe during the Middle Ages, the feudal and manorial systems governed life and required people to perform certain duties and obligations. Reading Focus What duties and obligations were central to the feudal system? How did the manorial system govern the medieval economy? What was daily life like for people on a manor?

3 The Feudal System Origins of Feudalism Knights and Lords
Knights like William Marshal did not exist at the beginning of the Middle Ages but began to emerge as the period progressed. 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 Origins of Feudalism 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 Knights and Lords

4 Knights were usually paid for their services with land
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

5 Feudal Obligations Oath of Fealty Financial Obligations
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


7 A Complicated System Lord and Vassal Fealty to King
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 Lord and Vassal 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 Fealty to King

8 How did the feudal system work?
Summarize How did the feudal system work? Answer(s): lord gave land to knight in return for protection and loyalty

9 Lords, Peasants, and Serfs
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. Manors owned by wealthy lords, knights Peasants farmed manor fields Were given protection, plots of land to cultivate for selves Lords, Peasants, and Serfs Most peasants on farm were serfs, tied to manor Not slaves, could not be sold away from manor But could not leave, marry without lord’s permission Serfdom Manors had some free people who rented land from lord Others included landowning peasants, skilled workers like blacksmiths, millers Also had a priest for spiritual needs Free People

10 A Typical Manor Rotation Small Village
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 One field planted in spring for fall harvest Another field planted in winter for spring harvest Third field remained unplanted for year Rotation 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 Small Village

11 How did lords and peasants benefit from the manorial system?
Analyze How did lords and peasants benefit from the manorial system? Answer(s): lords' farmlands were taken care of, produced food; peasants were provided protection from invaders

12 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

13 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. Most families slept on beds of straw on floor All shared one room with each other, animals Most glad to have animals to provide extra heat in cold winters Bedrooms Peasant families cooked meals over open fire in middle of floor Typical meal: brown bread, cheese, vegetables, occasionally meat No chimneys, house often full of smoke; fires common Meals 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.

14 How was life in a castle different from life in a village?
Contrast How was life in a castle different from life in a village? Answer(s): 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

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