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The Middle Ages

Feudal System: Power & Authority

Jennie Wright

on 19 November 2012

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Transcript of The Middle Ages

The Feudal system was introduced to England
following the invasion and conquest of the country
by William 1 (the conqueror),
It was based on granting land in return for service.
The pyramid of power which was the Feudal system ran to a strict 'pecking' order -
during the Medieval period
of the Middle Ages everyone knew their place!
. The emergence of the Medieval Feudal System of the Middle Ages
affected all spheres of Medieval society:
a land-based economy, the judicial system and the rights
of the feudal lords under the feudal system and the lack of rights for the
serfs and peasants. The King enjoyed absolute power. He made all the laws and political decisions for his kingdom. He owned all the land, Starting with the Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest in England - when William the Conqueror effectively took all of the lands from the Saxon English and gave them to French nobles. The Kings and Queens of England in the Middle Ages included Richard the Lionheart and the great Plantagenet English Kings from King Henry II (1154-1189) to King Edward III (1327-1377). The KING Nobles Now, a castle was a gloomy stone building, with strong walls to defend it against its enemies, often surrounded by a moat or a ditch of water over which drawbridges connected the land with the castle. These castles were sometimes placed on high cliffs, or by the side of deep waters, or on an island, or indeed any place where they could be defended easily.

On the top were towers from which the approach of an enemy could be detected, and from which the defenders of the castle could hurl stones or shoot arrows at the attacking party. Inside were many rooms for the lord and his attendants to sleep, eat and live, and places for the soldiers to be cared for. There were also dungeons for prisoners, treasure rooms for the captured booty, wells for water, storerooms for food, and stables for the horses. A castle was not only a home, but was also a fortress.
In such a place the little boy who was to become a knight was brought to live. He was at first called a page. Before he could become a squire there was much for him to learn. Up to the time that he was fourteen or fifteen it was his business to wait upon the ladies of the castle. He had to go on errands for them, and attend them when they went hunting or hawking. He had to learn to be very polite and obedient, for it was one of the rules of knighthood that a knight should be most respectful to women and obey all the laws of his order.
There is an old book which tells how a boy who wished to become a knight must behave. When he entered a room he was expected to kneel before his lord, or the ladies, and to say, "God speed you!" with all modesty. He had to stand up very straight and not lean on any post or touch any chair, and not speak until he was spoken to. To be a Knight Peasants responsibilities Summarise the main differences between the Kings, Noblemen-Lords, Knights, Peasants and surfs!

Distinguish what class you would like to be in, and justify why??

Discuss your answer with the person sitting next to you. ANALYSE: Power & Authority This social structure wasn't really fair because you didn't get to choose where you would be classed, once your ancestors were there you are likely to be. To begin with, one had to be of noble birth to become a knight. No ordinary peasant boy could hope to win such honor. It was the duty of a Middle Ages Knight to learn how to fight and so serve their liege Lord according to the Code of Chivalry. The Code of Chivalry dictated that a Knight should be brave and fearless in battle but would also exhibit cultured Knightly qualities showing themselves to be devout, loyal, courteous and generous. Weapon practise included enhancing skills in the two-handed sword, battle axe, mace, dagger and lance. A Knight would be expected to guard the Castle and support his liege lord in Middle Ages warfare.The son of a lord, or of another knight, when he was seven or eight years of age was taken from his father's castle, and put into the castle of some other lord, there to be trained in his duties. A Peasant could not become a Knight… or could he? ;)! . William was duke of Normandy and, as William I, the first Norman king of England. He defeated and killed the last Anglo-Saxon king of England at the Battle of Hastings. William landed in England on 28 September 1066, establishing a camp near Hastings. Ladies: A woman's job in the middle ages was to have children and to take care of the household. Noblewomen had no rights. They were the property of their husband. Noblewomen were not allowed to choose their own husbands. Their fathers chose a husband for them. There was no such thing as divorce. But these were times of great violence. A woman might be married four times in her lifetime. Each time, if her father was alive, he would find her a new husband. If her father was not alive, the eldest son of her late husband would find her a new husband.  Noble Woman In medieval times, the nobility included Kings, Lords, Knights, and Ladies. 
Manor houses and castles were drafty, dingy, and damp. They were built for protection, not for comfort. Compared to the common people, however, the nobility lived a far more comfortable life. Life of the Nobility
Kings, Lords, Ladies, Knights Kids: At age seven, boys began to study to become knights. Girls did not go to school. They were taught by their mother how to manage the household and how to behave.  Noble Children:

Lords: Within the fief he owned, the lord had nearly total authority. He was the judge and jury whenever a dispute needed to be settled. He was also the judge and jury for dispute between his various vassals.   GLOSSARY!
Fief: Land in medieval times was broken up into fiefs. A fief was a trust, rather than an ownership. A fief meant more than land. Each fief was a complete unit. That unit included at least one village, huts for the serfs, the manor house or castle, and areas set aside to grow, feed, or catch food - the fields, pasture land, and woods.  The peasants had to pay a tax called a tithe to the Church (10% of the value in which they had farmed!) they could pay in cash, seeds or equipment. Very unpopular tax!
Peasants also had to work for free on the church land.
The power of the church was such that no one dared break this rule as they had been taught from a very early age that God would see their sins and punish them.
After you had paid your taxes, you could keep what was left – which would not be a great deal. If you had to give away seeds for the next growing season, this could be especially hard as you might end up with not having enough to grow let alone to feed yourself.

They had to obey their local lord to whom they had sworn an oath of obedience on the Bible. Because they had sworn an oath to their lord, it was taken for granted that they had sworn a similar oath to the duke, earl or baron who owned that lord’s property. It is the custom in England, as with other countries, for the nobility to have great power over the common people, who are serfs. This means that they are bound by law and custom to plough the field of their masters, harvest the corn, gather it into barns, and thresh and winnow the grain; they must also mow and carry home the hay, cut and collect wood, and perform all manner of tasks of this kind. 
Written in 1395 The position of the peasant was made clear by Jean Froissart when he wrote:
The difference between Peasants and Serfs was that Peasants were able to rent their own land from the Sub-Tenants, whereas Serfs were attached to a piece of land.
A serf was bound to the land by contract with the nobles. He could not leave without buying his freedom.

Life for a serf was not much better than the life of a slave. The only difference was that a serf could not be sold to another manor.

Serfs would often have to work three or four days a week for the lord as rent. They would spend the rest of their week growing crops to feed their families. Other serfs worked as sharecroppers. A sharecropper would be required to turn over most of what he grew in order to be able to live on the land.

The duties of the peasant were to work on the lord’s land (called a manor) and provide him with a certain amount of food, such as corn, meat, eggs, ale, as well as wool and wood, each year. Many worked as farmers in fields owned by the lords and their lives were controlled by the farming year. Certain jobs had to be done at certain times of the year. Their lives were harsh but there were few rebellions due to a harsh system of law and order

The peasants made up the majority of the population in the Middle Ages. They were at the bottom of the social pyramid and they had few rights and no political power.. The lifestyle of peasants in Medieval England was extremely hard and harsh Ploughing - a vital farm job The Lifestyle of Medieval Peasants
  What a cruck house may have looked like

Glossary: put these words in: Tithe. Cruck house
You will need to write the meanings yourself

Peasants lived in cruck houses. These had a wooden frame onto which was plastered wattle and daub. This was a mixture of mud, straw and manure
At night, any animal you owned would be brought inside for safety. There were a number of reasons for this: didnt get stolen, eaten, they would bring in flies and fleas, increasing the unhygienic nature of the house. No running water, no toilets, no baths, soap was unheard of. People would have been covered with dirt, fleas and lice. Beds were simply straw stuffed mattresses and these would have attracted lice, fleas and all types of bugs. Your toilet would have been a bucket which would have been emptied into the nearest river at the start of the day. It was said that a peasant could expect to be fully bathed just twice in their life; once, when they were born and when they had died! Face and hand washing was more common but knowledge of hygiene was non-existent. No-one knew that germs could be spread by dirty hands. Families would have cooked and slept in the same room. Children would have slept in a loft if the cruck house was big enough.
The lives of peasant children would have been very different to today. They would not have attended school for a start. Very many would have died before they were six months old as disease would have been very common. As soon as was possible, children joined their parents working on the land. They could not do any major physical work but they could clear stones off the land – which might damage farming tools – and they could be used to chase birds away during the time when seeds were sown. Peasant children could only look forward to a life of great hardship.
For all peasants, life was "nasty, brutish and short.”
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