Medieval life was dictated by the feudal system, which was sustained by the rights and privileges that the upper classes were given. The way of living was based on wealth, power and status.
Medieval life was good for most high ranking nobles who lived in castles with their ladies and the knights serving them. Meanwhile, people who belong to the lower class, such as peasants, serfs and freemen lived in manors or villages had hard medieval lives and had little freedom.
The concept of Chivalry began around the 10th century in France as a way to reduce violence in medieval society. The medieval code of chivalry dictated many aspects of a medieval knights behaviour. Read more about the Code of Chivalry >>
Courtly love was practised in medieval times and was a gentle form of courtship and love that followed certain rules and standards of behaviour in love and courtship. Read more about the Courtly Love >>
The feudal system was brought to England by the Normans who had defeated the English in the Battle of Hastings, under the feudal the King owned all the land Read more about the Feudal System >>
Medieval Calligraphy was used to ornament medieval writing such as letters and words. Medieval Calligraphy can be described as art and writing Read more about the Medieval Calligraphy >>
Medieval Christmas times celebrated a mix of Christian and Pagan Beliefs and the birth of Jesus. Medieval songs, carols and dances were popular Read more about the Medieval Christmas >>
Medieval cities grew quickly with the advancement of building techniques and increased supply of food, goods and services. Most medieval cities had a good supply of shops and Medieval craftsmen and were well guarded. Read more about the Medieval City >>
Medieval Dance was very popular in all of the medieval period, there were many types of medieval dances but they were broken down into medieval court or medieval country dances Read more about the Medieval Dance >>
Medieval diseases were common in medieval times due to poor hygiene. Death from medieval disease was worse in early medieval times and there were no cures for many medieval diseases like smallpox. Read more about the Medieval Diseases >>
Medieval fairs were a big part of medieval life, usually held in a medieval town once a year, medieval fairs attracted merchants and visitors to a medieval town and were good for the economy of a medieval town. Read more about the Medieval Fair >>
Medieval Farming was central to medieval life for food and employment. Medieval Farming was based on a 3 field system where one field was left fallow whilst crops were grown on the other fields. Read more about the Medieval Farming >>
Medieval games helped to relieve the boredom of medieval life, medieval games such as Alquerques and Shuffle-board which were strategy games were popular. Read more about the Medieval Games >>
Medieval Houses were poorly designed and built in early medieval times, however better Medieval Housing building techniques & design created much better medieval houses. Read more about the Medieval Houses >>
Medieval Literature was usually written in French and Latin, in later medieval times Henry IV demanded that English would be the dominant laguage used in medieval literature. Read more about the Medieval Literature >>
A Medieval manor could be a country estate that was self-sufficient where peasants and other medieval people lived, or a Medieval manor house. Both manor estates and houses were owned and controlled by a Medieval Lord. Read more about the Medieval Manor >>
Plants were popular medieval medicines either raw or in potions, there were no chemical medicines as there are today in medieval times, spiritual healing was also popular. Read more about the Medieval Medicine >>
Medieval Poems and Poetry were a big influence in medieval times. Beowulf and Canterbury tales were just two famous medieval poems Read more about the Medieval Poems >>
Medieval religion was important to people in medieval times and there were Churches in most medieval towns and villages. Different Medieval kingdoms had their own religions. Read more about the Medieval Religion >>
Medieval sports were usually aimed at improving soldiers and knights fighting skills, there were however many other medieval sports available to medieval commoners, peasants, nobility and royals. Read more about the Medieval Sports >>
Medieval Theatre was popular throughout the medieval world, travelling performers called strolling players were popular actors. Medieval theatre centered on religious subjects in early medieval plays. Read more about the Medieval Theatre >>
Medieval towns were usually surrounded by a wooden or stone wall, this protected the medieval towns from the many dangers in medieval life and allowed them to monitor who came in and out of the town. Read more about the Medieval Towns >>
Life in a medieval village was hard, peasants and other lower classes of people were the ones who usually lived in medieval villages. Serfs were considered the lowest kind of peasants during the medieval era, they were owned by the Lords & in exchange for a place to stay, they worked for the Lords by growing crops, farming for the landlords and even paying rent.
Farmers also lived in villages, but they had a better medieval life and status than the peasants since they could farm their own lands. Other people who lived in villages were tradesmen such as carpenters and blacksmiths. Carpenters were considered elite as they had good knowledge in maths, woodworking and the use of tools. Meanwhile, Blacksmiths were also called “Metalsmiths” who made tools for knights and kings.
Most cities during the medieval period were considerably smaller than they are today and medieval life was less populated than today. Medieval towns and cities were an average of 1 square mile with less than 300 thousand residents. The cities and towns had market places where people from the rural areas could get their supplies.
Medieval life in the town and city was characterized by some degree of freedom. Historians coined it as freedom within the walls. Residents gained a certain amount of freedom from the rule of the kings, but it was far from being democratic in nature. As peace and order grew as medieval life progressed, peasants were given a chance to expand their properties. They were also given more opportunities to do trade, commerce and even deal with contracts.
Peasants were the lowest class of people in medieval life. Some were owned by the Lords and were not allowed to have any properties or to move to other places. However, some peasants were more fortunate than others & they would be educated and allowed to marry if they could afford it.
Peasant women were expected to help with their husbands’ duties and chores in daily medieval life. They also attended to the provisions customary to women, helping with the cooking of daily meals and other chores.
Castles were the heart of the medieval era & they were busy, frenetic places in medieval life. Life in a medieval castle was filled with busy work in the kitchens preparing for celebrations and feasts. Other than that, life in the castle was extremely organised and ordered.
Medieval castle life varied depending on peoples status, and the differences between peoples quality of life could be very wide. Nonetheless, medieval castle life during the medieval period was governed by strict codes of conduct & everyday life revolved around a code of chivalry.
Medieval Knights were important and well respected people in medieval life, knights living in castles enhanced their skills, their horsemanship and weapons. Meanwhile, the nobles’ sons with the exception of those who were destined for Holy Orders had to be in service to the Lords. Knights started their lives in the castle as a Page before they became Squires at the age of 16.
A manor is a piece of land leased by the King to a Baron. According to the Feudal system, Barons would run the manor and maintain it with certain rules & obligations that were stipulated by the king. The manor was also considered the home of the Baron.
Medieval Life in a manor was very comfortable for a Baron and his family even if it did not have all the comforts of modern living. Manor houses were large, clearly reflecting the status and the wealth of the Lord.
However, the largest house in the manor was used by servants called villeins. The lands were also used for growing vegetables and other crops. Medieval life in the manor for servants was difficult as the system did not give them any freedom, they had to do all the work required for the upkeep of the manor and were worked hard in their daily medieval lives by the Baron and his family, to help him maintain his obligations to the King.
A medieval monastery was the place were monks lived during medieval times. Monks during this era had several different orders and each order differed from one to another. Aside from prayer, medieval life in a monastery was generally characterized by hard physical work as well as scholarship. However, some orders encouraged lay brothers, where full-fledged monks focused solely on prayers while other monks did all the manual labour.
Noblemen and Lords exchanged lands for military services during the middle ages, this was how the feudal system worked. This kind of exchange was used by William the Conqueror to reward his supporters for their help and in turn was used widely amongst nobles and lords of the medieval period.
The life of the nobles and the lords revolved around their properties and fighting for the king during times of war. Most nobles and lords had knights serving them. These knights would fight for their lords or the king when ordered by the nobles and lords they served.
Medieval knights mostly came from noble families as well. They served as Page at a very young age and trained to become knights. Knights during the medieval period served other nobles, lords and even the king.
Most medieval knights spent most of their time honing their fighting skills, enhancing their weapons and keeping their fitness levels high. They were almost always ready for any battle, always ready to fight for their Lord of King during times of war. They were also bound to various codes, including the code of chivalry.
Medieval life and society was very traditional which dictated the roles and jobs that women could do at the time. Primarily, a woman’s role in a medieval society was to support her husband.
About 90% of women in the medieval period lived in rural areas and they were expected to help with doing farm work. In villages, women did several tasks that men also did, however, medieval women were not equally compensated, men were paid more than women.
Most children in medieval life did not have the privilege of living a blissful childhood. Many children during medieval times experienced more anguish and turmoil than happy memories. The middle ages were full of sickness and poor diet, especially for children. There was high infant mortality rate and according to historians, almost a quarter of infants during the period died even before they reached a year old. If they survived early childhood, they were put to work at an early age preventing them from experiencing more fruitful childhood years.
Life expectancy during the medieval period was highly affected by class, status, diet and sometimes location. Medieval life expectancy for children was really low, according to historians, most children in the middle ages died before the age of five.
For women, medieval life expectancy was nearly past childbearing years. A significant number of women died during childbirth, some may be due to complications from it, especially caused by poorly managed deliveries. On the other hand, men’s life expectancy was about 30 years on average. Those who reached adulthood were likely to survive longer. The people of the upper class, such as lords, nobles and kings had a life expectancy of more than 40 years on average.