This web-page is intended to teach you about life in a medieval village,
and its underlying economic system called manorialism. The early medieval
economy was largely agricultural, and mostly evolved around large estates,
called manors. The peasants who lived and worked on the land of these
manors were dependent on the lords of the manor (often a nobleman, but
monasteries and bishops could equally own manors) for military and legal
protection. They owed to their lord tallage, dues in the form of labor
and goods. The lord held the bannum over those living on the manor, the
right to command, punish, and constrain his peasants.
This web page presents a medieval village in England. Note that village
life in the Middle Ages, and the legal system of obligations with it,
could vary from region to region. In mountain regions, many lived in
"transhumance", and travelled around with their herds depending on the
season. In some regions (such as Iceland or eastern Europe) the manorial
system was hardly developed, and villagers lived more in self-ruling
communities. Of course, the climate also varied within Europe, and with it
the crops, and methods of agriculture.
This page is intended for use by students of Prof. Van Liere's Medieval
History courses at Calvin College. Students should follow the links on
each page, learning about the different aspects of life in a medieval
village. Be sure to use the video and audio clips as well. Visitors to
this page from off-campus may find the video/audio files to load slowly,
so be warned!
Students: When you have finished your study of this page and feel ready,
click the "quiz" option at the bottom of the main page. Remember,
blackboard will only allow you to take the quiz once!
Good luck, and thank you for visiting!
Back to the main page
This site was built by Joseph Stubenrauch and Prof. Frans van
Liere in the spring of 2000