It was the colourful and interesting Medieval People of the Middle Ages that made this period in history so fascinating, You had the Pope and King with all the land and power, the Medieval Nobility and Military who protected the King from outside dangers in return for money and land, the medieval Castle staff who kept the castle operational whilst the Entertainers and Peasants entertained the Royals and kept the Kingdom running.
Important medieval people that kept the society running were Craftsmen such as carpenters and Merchants who sold the goods and merchandise. At the bottom of society were the serfs and peasants who worked the fields and did manual jobs, but they were also important cogs in the wheels of a medieval Feudal system.
The medieval military protected medieval castles from invaders and were usually controlled by the Nobility who built up their armies and trained Knights from an early age. These soldiers swore allegiance to the King and were called upon in times of trouble or if the King wanted to raid some other castle, town or village. This was a system that suited both the Royals and the Nobility, the King did not have to train an army but still had their services to hand, in return he gave away lands and money such as Gold and Silver coins.
Medieval Military men like Soldiers, Knights & Longbow-men were disciplined, formidable fighting warriors who were usually under the control of Kings and wealthy Noblemen. Read more about the Medieval Military >>
The elite families of medieval times were called the Nobility, there were many classes and titles within the nobility and there were clear distinctions between higher and lower ranking nobles within the nobility. Read more about the Medieval Nobility >>
Medieval women were mainly home-makers and helped their husbands with their businesses, medieval women who did not want to marry had options such as becoming Nuns Read more about the Medieval Women >>
Medieval People – Castle Staff
It required a large number of Medieval People to run a castle in Medieval Times, it took a lot of work to keep a medieval Castle running efficiently and the number of Medieval people required to run a castle was dependent on the size of Castle and the Medieval Period in Question. There were peasants and serfs that worked the fields to provide food for the castle, Jesters and Troubadours to provide entertainment, Craftsmen such as carpenters to make tables and chairs, foot soldiers and Knights to protect the castle from a siege and many others. A medieval castle needed a large staff of medieval people from all levels of society if it was to run effectively.
Medieval People – Royalty
The King was the most important Person in the Medieval Royal Household and made most of the important decisions, the Queen was usually second in command and could even act as a Regent to the King if he was unable to rule because of illness or if he was fighting some battle in a foreign land. The Prince and Princesses who could be next in line to the throne were well educated and taught all the skills needed to run a medieval castle and kingdom from an early age.
Medieval People – Clergy
Clergy were very influential in medieval times as medieval people thought them to be mediators between man and God. Medieval Clergy were exempt from paying any taxes and were highly efficient at raising money from medieval people, they were also very wealthy which gave them and lots of power, even political power over the rest of the medieval people in society. The Pope was all-powerful and medieval people looked towards the Pope for inspiration and redemption from their sins, during the medieval period the Catholic Church became one of the most powerful institutions in the world. The medieval Pope was a legislator, he could make laws, rule over disputes and could even annul marriages, this gave him a lot of power over most medieval people. Due to the great wealth that the catholic church generated in Medieval times it became more and more powerful and just like Medieval lords, members of the clergy especially people such as the Pope lived very lavish lifestyles, they wore expensive clothes ate only the best foods.
Medieval People – Entertainers
Royalty, Nobility and Medieval People loved to be entertained and there were many different forms of entertainment and a vast array of Medieval entertainers in these medieval times. People tend to think of Jesters when they think of Medieval Times Entertainment, but there were a vast range of other well trained entertainers in medieval times such as Musicians and Acrobats.
Medieval People – Merchants and Tradesmen
Medieval merchants sold goods to people in the medieval towns and villages, many merchants were very wealthy, some traveled abroad and brought back goods from foreign lands, whereas others had shops within the towns and villages that sold essential and sometimes exotic goods. Merchants would tend to be wealthier in large towns and villages simply because there were more Medieval people to buy their products. In medieval times people who made products such as Carpenters and other Craftsmen were usually members of a Guild, they would sell the products that they had made themselves, but as time progressed and medieval society became more advanced there became a distinct difference between tradesmen who made products and merchants who sold them. Merchants also became involved in improving the infrastructure of medieval towns and villages, they realised that a better infrastructure brought more people to visit and live in the villages and towns, more people meant they could sell more of their goods and Medieval merchants became very important people to the economy of towns and villages in these medieval times.
Medieval People -Military
The Knight is probably one of the most recognised military warriors in medieval times and they were usually connected to medieval nobility and royalty although it was also possible especially in parts of northern Europe for Knights to come from lower classes of medieval people. Medieval knights tended to be very wealthy as the costs involved of being a Knight was out of reach for most medieval people. The main barrier to someone becoming a Knight in medieval times was simply the cost of the armour, weapons and horses as well as the up-keep and logistics involved in being an active Knight who fought in battles, this is why most Knights came from wealthy families or had connections with nobility.
Light cavalry were also important to the military in medieval times, these were low level medieval people that carried Javelins and missile weapons such as crossbows. Many medieval countries throughout Europe had different types of light Cavalry and developed their own fighting techniques, often light cavalry were sent out to scout specific areas and to report back to their superiors in a castle. Many countries developed there own types of light cavalry such as the mounted cross bowmen from places such as Germany and from Italy and the Spanish introduced the Jinetes cavalry in medieval times.
Medieval People – Peasants
Life was hard if you were one of the lower classes of medieval people such as Serf or peasant in medieval times, the work would often be back-breaking and you usually had to work very long days from dawn to dusk. The work of the medieval peasant was mainly in the fields producing food and looking after the farm animals. Medieval peasants would often plough the fields in autumn time, sow the fields in the following spring to produce the food for harvesting later in the year usually around the month of August or September. Peasants and serfs tended to live in very basic accommodation such as huts made of mud using the wattle and daub building technique, there was also usually a roof of some type such as a thatched roof and conditions inside the homes of peasants and serfs were usually dark, damp and fairly unpleasant.
The Insides of the homes of Medieval peasants were usually very basic and there was usually a fire hearth in the middle of the room which made the air smokey and could irritate the eyes of the peasants and make them cough and splutter. There was usually a couple of chairs and a few cooking pots for making meals and a simple spinning loom for weaving cloth in a medieval peasants home. A peasants diet was similar to a caveman’s diet, they would eat berries, nuts and nettles as well as a good quantity of vegetables that they had gathered from the surrounding areas. They could also eat black rye bread that could be washed down with some home-brewed beer if they had the knowledge to make these items. As far as clothing went most male peasants wore tunics that had a hood, they also wore gloves, and on their feet they would wear leather shoes which usually had wooden soles. Medieval women would usually wear a course gown over a sleeveless slip.
People living in a medieval village
Life in the Medieval Village was hard work and you needed to be a tough character to survive, there was a lot of rough-and-tumble and and competing amongst males in the towns and villages and even ball games were rough affairs that usually turned into fights/battles with the next village.
However it was not all bad and in some ways it’s was a rewarding life as there was was a lot free time for medieval people who worked the land in the winter month’s. There was also a lot of family entertainment, in fact lots of traveling comedians, musicians and other entertainers such as bear-baiters would travel from town to town entertaining the medieval people in their towns and villages.