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Towns & Life. How did towns run and what did they accomplish?. What did Towns Look Like?. Towns served a purpose, but they were also small and smelly. London (8 million today) had only 50,000 people in 1300. Towns were the centres for farm communities.

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Towns life

Towns & Life

How did towns run and what did they accomplish?

What did towns look like
What did Towns Look Like?

  • Towns served a purpose, but they were also small and smelly.

  • London (8 million today) had only 50,000 people in 1300.

  • Towns were the centres for farm communities.

  • Towns grew around a defensive structures (castle or monastery)

  • They were surrounded by walls of stone

  • Towns had gates that were shut at night

  • As a town grew to a city larger rings of walls were built.

  • These walls were good for defense but it crowded the living conditions of the people.

  • Houses were several stories high, with floors overhanging the streets.

  • Streets were narrow and winding.

  • There was no plumbing

  • Garbage was dumped in the streets.

  • Pigs were sent through town at night to eat up the waste.

    On a more positive note there was also:

  • Pageants and plays

  • Sports and entertainment

Social changes
Social Changes:

  • In the feudal system the important feature was land, but with trade increase, money became the focus of power.

  • People became independent b/c they could make money.

  • Towns were the home of the medieval middle class (merchants and skilled tradespeople.)

  • Some merchants became wealthier than the lords on the manors.

FREEDOM finer things only found in towns.

  • Towns drew people wanting out of the restrictive feudal system.

  • People had the freedom to do what they wanted, marry who they wanted, and make money as they wanted.

  • Runaway serfs could gain their freedom by staying in town for a year and a day without being discovered (according to law)

POWER towns.

  • Members of guilds were the most powerful.

  • These guilds funded ships for trading and many other things by pooling their money.

  • The Hanseatic League (a guild) supported their own army and navy. The guild became so wealthy that by threatening to cut off all trade with a country could force that country’s ruler to do what they wanted.

Question groups
Question Groups towns.

  • 1: Compare the medieval fair with a shopping mall. Consider the days and hours of operation, goods sold, type of consumers. What does this tell you about the two societies.

  • 2: Compare the life of a serf and a guild member. What are the benefits and drawbacks of each?

  • 3: What factors lead to the growth of trade? How did this lead to the need for towns?

  • 4: Examine the map on page150. How did water impact trade routes? How did physical features of Europe affect trade routes?

  • 5: Why is it that medieval towns always had walls? What did that say about society?

  • 6: Explain guilds. Why were they needed? Why did they work? What did they do for their members?