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Transcript of Medieval Society
What were the Middle Ages?
The Normans Come to Ireland
How do we know about the Middle Ages?
The Feudal System
There was a ceremony for handing over the land (or fief).
The lord who was receiving the land knelt down before the king and placed his hands in the hands of the king.
He swore an oath to become a vassal of the king.
The lord also promised to fight for the king and provide him with knights.
The barons and bishops gave land to the knights who promised to fight for the lords and obey them.
The knights were given manors; that is, villages with land around them.
The knights kept some of the land for their own private use - this land was called a demesne.
They divided the rest among their tenants, who were called peasants or farmers.
Historians use the terms 'Middle Ages' and 'medieval times' to describe the centuries from the fall of ancient Rome to the Renaissance and Reformation in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Many changes occurred during medieval times but we will mainly be concerned with life in castles, churches and cities from the 12th to the 15th century.
The Normans controlled Normandy in Northern France. In 1066 the Normans, led by William the Conqueror, invaded England and defeated Harold, the Anglo-Saxon King of England, at the Battle of Hastings. William honored his lords by granting them land. They introduced their way of life - laws, system of government, and farming - to England.
One hundred years later, in 1169, Anglo-Norman lords invaded Ireland, landing in Bannow Bay, Co. Wexford.
They were led by Strongbow, Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke, who landed one year later with his own army at Passage East Co. Waterford.
Over the next sixty years the well armed Anglo Normans conquered many parts of Ireland, mostly areas in Leinster, Munster and eastern Connacht.
They introduced their castles and way of life.
This was very similar to the way of life in France, Germany and other areas of the continent.
Ruins of castles
Medieval excavations (rescue or salvage archeology) in irish cities and towns.
Bayeaux Tapestry, which tells the story of the invasion of England by William the Conqueror.
Domesday Book, which surveys land ownership in England after the arrival of the Normans.
The Feudal System
Land was very important in the Middle Ages, as it meant wealth and power.
The ownership and control of land was organised through feudalism, or the feudal system.
In medieval times, all the land was owned by the king. He needed help in controlling and defending it. He got the help from his most powerful subjects - barons and bishops.
He kept some of the land for his own use and gave the rest to tenants-in-chief - the barons and bishops.
William the Conqueror
Battle of Hastings