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Middle Ages Society . By Kelli McKenna . King. The king’s job is to protect his country from harm from enemies other kingdoms and from within the kingdom. King. Kings in the Middle Ages were at the top of the social chain.

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Middle ages society

Middle Ages Society

By Kelli McKenna


  • The king’s job is to protect his country from harm from enemies other kingdoms and from within the kingdom.


Kings in the Middle Ages were at the top of the social chain.

King Alfred– King from 871 to 899, and defended England against the Vikings.

King John---Signed the Magna Carta. Reigned from 1199 to 1216.

King Edward II—Father of Edward III, the king in The Door in the Wall. Reigned from 1307 to 1327.

King Henry II– Reigned from 1154 to 1189; strengthened the English Monarchy; husband of Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Noblemen knights and vassals
Noblemen, Knights and Vassals

  • A nobleman's job in the Middle Ages was to guard the gates that go into his village. Also the noblemen protected the king. Noblemen fought in wars. Another word for a nobleman was a vassal. In exchange for getting land (a fief) from the king, the nobleman took an oath of loyalty to their lord or king. This oath was called an oath of fealty. To become a nobleman, a man would go through a ceremony at which he would receive a gift from the Queen.

  • A knight’s first duty when fighting was to fight for god and for Christendom.

  • Knights had to demonstrate courage and skill in tournaments where they gathered to test their strength and skill on horseback.


  • Monks were Catholic priests and teachers and doctors in the Middle Ages. They served god, prayed, and taught religion. They accepted the poor into their monasteries, and took care of the sick or wounded. Also, they taught people how to read and write, taught science, math, and copied scriptures on parchment. In The Door in the Wall, the monks in St. Mark’s Monastery do wood carving, sing in a choir, and pray many times a day.


  • Merchants sold merchandise in the Middle Ages. They traveled distances, sometimes with knights for protection.

  • Merchants were members of merchant guilds that sold goods, while craft guilds made crafts and fine goods. Merchant guilds regulated prices, quality, weights and measures, and business practices.

  • As merchants sold goods in towns and village fairs, they became richer. This caused the feudal system to decline, because merchants and others discovered they could make a living by selling , and not paying the lord of the manor his portion. They kept the profits, instead of giving it to the lord of the manor.


  • Serfs were poor peasants who farmed the lord’s land.

  • They lived with their animals in small huts that had one window that was stuffed with stray in the winter.

  • Their children had to farm for the lord, too, unless they escaped for a year and a day.

  • If a serf dies, his animals and property are split up between his lord and his wife.

  • They were not allowed to hunt animals on the lord’s land. So, they did not have much meat in their diet. They ate vegetables from his garden, brown bread, cereal, cheese, and soup. Fresh meat, milk, and butter were luxuries.

Key questions
Key Questions

1. Put the following jobs in the correct order:

serfs, monks, king, merchants, nobleman

2. Who protected the kingdom and ruled the government?

3. Who preached Christianity and copied scriptures?

4. How did merchants help to end the feudal system?

5. Who rode on horseback and guarded the kind and the kingdom?

6. In what ways was a serf’s life hard?

Essential idea
Essential Idea

How did the social structure of the Middle Ages provide order?

The social structure of the Middle Ages had a routine. For example, the serfs had to obey their lord and provide food for everyone. Merchants sold goods that were needed. Monks and priests helped to teach people the right way to live their lives, and taught people important subjects and skills. Noblemen, or knights, protected the king and kingdom and Christendom. Finally, the king was the leader of the kingdom and the protector of the people. This was a balanced social pyramid in which everybody had a job that they had to do.