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Serfs and Peasants. Life for “Those who work”. Our Knowledge of “Those who Work”. Records left by monasteries Some information for archaeology Made up about 4/5 of Europe’s medieval population Divided between serf and freeman. The Serf and the Manor System. What serfs got…

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serfs and peasants

Serfs and Peasants

Life for “Those who work”

our knowledge of those who work
Our Knowledge of “Those who Work”
  • Records left by monasteries
  • Some information for archaeology
  • Made up about 4/5 of Europe’s medieval population
  • Divided between serf and freeman
the serf and the manor system
The Serf and the Manor System
  • What serfs got…
    • Strips of land to farm
    • small hut or a place to build one
    • Guaranteed protection
    • feasts and festivals put on by the lord
  • What serfs had to do…
    • heavy taxes (in money or crops)
    • odd jobs
    • Can’t leave or get married without permission
    • “bound to the land” forever
freedmen peasants
  • Paid taxes to farm the land
  • Some were well off
  • Might slip into serfdom if he fell upon bad luck
living conditions
Living Conditions
  • Lived in small, one room cottages with thatched roofs
  • Mud walls and floor
  • Mostly ate coarse, dark bread and oatmeal
  • Had vegetables when possible and meat and milk products rarely
important point
Important Point
  • The poor health of peasants most likely wasn’t because of their diet…
  • What do you notice about the picture?
hard months
Hard Months
  • Winter
  • live off of the stores of food from harvest
  • Getting attacked and robbed was common
  • Starvation
  • Rarely warm or dry
  • Wolves were a constant threat to livestock
  • Serfs and peasants primarily raised sheep
    • ate the least, but produced the most (meat, milk, and wool)
  • Had to bring sheep inside during the winter to keep them safe from wolves
  • Church was form of entertainment
    • Saw plays, listened to stories, and performed rituals (“Mass”)
  • Christmas, May festivities, and saints days
    • (Martinmas, Michaelmas, Christmas, Feast of Saint Stephen)
  • Played many sports
    • Soccer (with ball from a pig’s bladder)
    • Wrestling
    • Bowling
    • A kind of hockey, using cow shin bones for skates
noble view of peasants and serfs
Noble view of Peasants and Serfs
  • Looked down on serfs as animals
  • Word “villain” (bad person) comes from the French word for serf “villein” (meaning villager)