During medieval times, Europe was dominated by feudalism. This system of feudalism was essential for a stable working of the state since the feudal lords, known as nobles, were installed by the king to act as his loyal servants.
Nobles enjoyed considerable privilege and were granted large estates and castles. Nobles of a lower degree lived in the village manor which was an integral part of a medieval village. The Medieval lady was thus an essential element of medieval times as she was a representative of the nobility.
In normal circumstances, the lord of the manor had absolute power over the affairs of the estate. But in his absence, the medieval lady of the manor would look after the affairs of the estate and resolve any disputes.
In ordinary circumstances, a medieval lady’s duty would be to look after the household affairs and manage the maids.
The daily life of a medieval lady would start at dawn with the commencement of the mass where she would be assisted by her maids. After meals she could spend time in the company of other ladies and maids to discuss tournaments, marriages, and literature.
In the absence of her husband the medieval lord, her daily life would change and she would be expected to take care of the estate. In her free time, a medieval lady could indulge in embroidery, reading, or dancing.
Various glimpses of the pastimes of a medieval lady have been preserved in paintings. One, for instance, is a 1410 painting called The Garden of Eden.
In this painting, several medieval ladies are shown to be relaxing in a beautiful garden. Some of them are reading, some are berry-picking, and some are engaged in music and other activities. These were also among the pastimes of a medieval lady.
The status of a medieval lady was second to the lord of the manor and thus very important in the village. She overlooked the household affairs and managed the maids.
Additionally, she also supervised the education of upper-class girls. In the absence of the lord of the manor, the status of a medieval lady would increase as she would be actively managing the affairs of the estate.
A medieval lady of higher nobility lived in a castle and had a room or a section reserved for her where she was accompanied by her maids. The lower nobility lived in manor houses in villages that were constructed at a short distance from the residences of the common people.
During the early medieval times, the clothes of a medieval lady were more conservative in outlook. Costumes were loose and it was common to cover the neck.
During the late medieval times, more fashionable clothes were adopted and tight-fitting garments and low necklines became common. Other important elements of a medieval lady’s dress included a corset, surcoats, girdles, hose, bonnet, and others.
During medieval times, a medieval lady had a very important status in society. She was second to the lord of the manor and also looked after the affairs of the estate in his absence.
In her free time, she mingled with other ladies and indulged in various pleasures such as reading, sewing, music, and dancing.