Mediavel Feudalism

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A truce was arranged before Edward had to decide what to do. In doing so Edward added yet another qualification - that the duty owed was "according to the terms of the peace made between our ancestors". Introduction to Life in a Medieval Castle. Rooms in a Medieval Castle. Medieval Clothing. Medieval Drinks. Medieval Gardens. Medieval Warfare:. Medieval Taxes. The Feudal System. Mills: Windmills and Water Mills. A baker with his assistant. As seen in the illustration, round loaves were among the most common.

Mary of Grasse [modern Lagrasse in the Corbieres]. Mary of Grasse, to the honour of the festival of the august St. Mary: since lord Leo, abbot of the said monastery, has asked me, in the presence of all those above mentioned, to acknowledge to him the fealty and homage for the castles, manors, and places which the patrons, my ancestors, held from him and his predecessors and from the said monastery as a fief, and which I ought to hold as they held, I have made to the lord abbot Leo acknowledgement and homage as I ought to do.

Feudal System and Castles at War

Mary of Grasse, and to thy successors that I hold and ought to hold as a fief in Carcassonne the following: that is to say, the castles of Confoles, of Leocque, of Capendes which is otherwise known as St. Moreover, I acknowledge that I hold from thee and from the said monastery as a fief the castle of Termes in Narbonne; and in Minerve the castle of Ventaion, and the manors of Cassanolles, and of Ferral and Aiohars; and in Le Rogos, the little village of Longville; for each and all of which I make homage and fealty with hands and with mouth to thee my said lord abbot Leo and to thy successors, and I swear upon these four gospels of God that I will always be a faithful vassal to thee and to thy successors and to St.

Mary of Grasse in all things in which a vassal is required to be faithful to his lord, and I will defend thee, My Lord, and all thy successors, and the said monastery and the monks present and to come and the castles and manors and all your men and their possessions against all malefactors and invaders, at my request and that of my successors at my own cost; and I will give to thee power over all the castles and manors above described, in peace and in war, whenever they shall be claimed by thee or by thy successors. Moreover I acknowledge that, as a recognition of the above fiefs, I and my successors ought to come to the said monastery, at our own expense, as often as a new abbot shall have been made, and there do homage and return to him the power over all the fiefs described above.

And when the abbot shall mount his horse I and my heirs, Viscounts of Carcassonne, and our successors ought to hold the stirrup for the honour of the dominion of St. Mary of Grasse; and to him and all who come with him, to as many as two hundred beasts, we should make the abbot's purveyance in the borough of St. Michael of Carcassonne, the first time he enters Carcassonne, with the best fish and meat and with eggs and cheese, honourably according to his will, and pay the expense of shoeing of the horses, and for straw and fodder as the season shall require.

And if I or my sons or their successors do not observe to thee or to thy successors each and all the things declared above, and should come against these things, we wish that all the aforesaid fiefs should by that very fact be handed over to thee and to the said monastery of St. Mary of Grasse and to thy successors. I, therefore, the aforesaid lord Leo, by the grace of God Abbot of St.

Mary of Grasse, receive the homage and fealty for all the fiefs of castles and manors and places which are described above: in the way and with the agreements and understandings written above; and likewise I concede to thee and thy heirs and their successors, the Viscounts of Carcassonne, all the castles and manors and places aforesaid, as a fief, along with this present charter, divided through the alphabet. And I promise to thee and thy heirs and successors, Viscounts of Carcassonne, under the religion of my order, that I will be good and faithful lord concerning all those things described above.

Genese, Conguste and Mata, with the farm-house of Mathus and the chateaux of Villalauro and Claromont, with the little villages of St. Stephen of Surlac, and of Upper and Lower Agrifolio, ought to belong to the said monastery, and whoever holds anything there holds from the same monastery, as we have seen and have heard read in the privileges and charters of the monastery, and as was there written.

Made in the year of the Incarnation of the Lord , in the reign of Louis. And I, the monk John, have written this charter at the command of the said lord Bernard Atton, Viscount of Carcassonne and of his sons, on the day and year given above, in the presence and witness of all those named above. More on Minerve. More on Termes. The three estates appointed by God: cleric, knight and peasant.

The King: Leader of the Feudal System

British Library; Manuscript number: Sloane , f. Lords of Medieval Manors exercised certain rights including Hunting and Judicial rights. The Lord of the Manor was based in the Manor House and from here he conducted the business of the manor. People who worked on the manor included: Bailiff - A Bailiff was a person of some importance who undertook the management of manors Reeve - A Reeve was a manor official appointed by the lord or elected by the peasants Millers - Most manors had windmills or watermills.

The right to mill was in the gift of the Lord of The Manor. Servants - Servants were house peasants who worked in the lord's manor house, doing the cooking, cleaning, laundering, and other household chores Serf - Medieval Serfs were peasants who worked his lord's land and paid him certain dues in return for the use of land, the possession but not the ownership of which was heritable. Dues were usually in the form of labour on the lord's land.

Dealing with the F-word: Feudalism and the History Classroom

Medieval Serfs were expected to work for approximately 3 days each week on the lord's land. Military service was reduced to fixed terms, typically 40 days in England, in an effort to reduce the burden on nobles so that they did not leave their lands unattended for too long. However, 40 days was not usually enough to see out a campaign and so a monarch was obliged to pay mercenaries, dealing another blow to the tradition of feudalism and vassalage. The feudal system was essentially based on the relationship of reciprocal aid between lord and vassal but as that system became more complex over time, so this relationship weakened.

Lords came to own multiple estates and vassals could be tenants of various parcels of land so that loyalties became confused and even conflicting with people choosing to honour the relationship that suited their own needs best. Another blow to the system came from sudden population declines caused by wars and plagues, particularly the Black Death which peaked between CE , and by peasant revolts most famously in England in CE.

Such crises caused a chronic shortage of labour and the abandonment of estates because there was no one to work them. The growth of large towns and cities also saw labour leave the countryside to find a better future and the new jobs available there. By the 13th century CE, the increase in commerce and the greater use of coinage changed the way the feudal system worked.

Conversely, a monarch could now distribute money instead of land in his system of rewards. A rich merchant class developed with no ties of loyalty to anyone except their sovereign, their suppliers and their customers. Even serfs could sometimes buy their freedom and escape the circumstances into which they were born.

All of these factors conspired to weaken the feudal system based on land ownership and service even if feudalism would continue beyond the medieval period in some forms and in some places. Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication. Cartwright, M. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Cartwright, Mark. Last modified November 22, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 22 Nov This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms.

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Barons: Executors of the Feudal System

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Chambers Harrap, Blockmans, W. Introduction to Medieval Europe — Routledge, Davies, N.

Edited by William Doyle

Oxford University Press, Gies, F. Life in a Medieval Village. Harper Perennial, The gangs grew wealthy enough so that they could purchase the services of underpaid local officials, increase their own full- time personnel, and still have considerable income left over to invest in "legitimate" businesses The feudal aristocracies are usually organized on the basis of private agreements, contracts between individuals By the 's, some local lords -- the duke of Aquitaine, the count of Toulouse, the count of Flanders, and other -- had become powerful enough that they began to absorb the lesser lords and territories around them.

Sometimes this was a simple matter of conquest, but more often the result of a feudal war was an agreement between the two opponents in which one turned his lands over to the other and received them back as a fief in exchange for service. In many cities of America, various territorial gangs absorbed their lesser neighbors, and began to take over the turf of their more formidable adversaries.

This process, known as "muscling-in," usually took the form of attempting to infringe on one or more of one's neighbor's monopolies, such as the sale of whiskey, but it often led to open warfare. Valentine's Day Massacre of 14 February Within a few years, each major city was under the control of a single individual -- the "Godfather" -- who managed the boys in his "family" and conferred with the Godfathers of the families of other cities to keep the peace and work together effectively.

It was in this fashion that the "syndicate" emerged. HOMAGE AND FEALTY The private agreements that formed the network of mutual services were called contracts of homage and fealty, "homage" because one of the contractants agreed to become the servant homme , or "man" of the other, and fealty , because he promised to be " feal , faithful" to him. Homage and fealty became formalized, romanticized, and overlaid with symbolism, but it is most easily understood as a simple contract.

The Party of the First Part - the dominus , often translated as "lord," but just as easily and accurately translated as "boss" - made an arrangement with the Party of the Second Part - the vassal , a word derived from the Celtic word for "boy," or miles , a word meaning "soldier".

feudal system - Dictionary Definition :

The Party of the First Part gave the Party of the Second Part "something of value" a fief , something that would produce an income in services and kind over a long time , and promised him "respect" meaning that he would not interfere with his enjoyment of the fief except for a very good reason and justice meaning that he would protect him against both other lords and, if necessary, other vassals of his. The Party of the Second Part promised a number of things in return. The three main items were "relief," a payment of some sort that he gave the Party of the First Part for having agreed to take him on; "aid and counsel," which obligated him to attend the court of the Party of the First Part whenever he was called upon to do so, and to support and advise him; and "vassalage," which was usually but not always a period of military service when called.

Some men got fiefs for service as accountants at the Treasury, or for acting as diplomats, or even for some rather silly things. It is said that one English noble held a nice fief on condition that he appear before the king each year at the royal Christmas court and simultaneously whistle, hop, and break wind. English kings were not noted for the subtlety of their humor.

The Party of the Second Part might additionally pledge to render one or more of a number of traditional services: to give the lord and his retinue three nights hospitality if they were in the neighborhood; to help ransom the Party of the First Part if he were captured and held prisoner; to contribute presents for the wedding of the Party of the First Part's eldest daughter and the knighting of his eldest son, and to contribute money to help defray the cost of the festivities. There was frequently a ritual of bonding once the contract had been agreed upon by both sides.

The Party of the Second Part would kneel before the Party of the First Part, who would take both the vassal's hands between his own as the vassal promised to love and respect the lord. The lord, in turn, would promise to honor and protect the vassal. They would then both rise, kiss, and exchange gifts, the Party of the Second Part giving the Party of the First Part the relief payment, and the Party of the First Part giving the Party of the Second Part a sword or some similarly "honorable" gift.

The vassal then became a member of the lord's "familia" family. This was a powerful bond.

Many of the medieval legends and tales turned upon the relationship between the lord and vassal; Lancelot's tragedy was that his love for Guenevere conflicted with his love for Arthur, while king Alfonso, the Cid's lord, consistently failed to keep his promises to love, respect and protect his outstanding vassal. Indeed, the feudal tie was so powerful that the rituals have persisted in many Western societies.

The rituals of homage and fealty, for instance, have persisted in the traditional manner of proposing marriage.