Medieval People

Learn about the Lives of Medieval People *The King Ruled Medieval Society helped by his Royal and Noble Vassals who were Granted Land for their Loyalty & Military Support

Discover how other Medieval People Such as Knights, Craftsmen, Soldiers, Merchants and the most common person in medieval society the Serf lived!

Famous Medieval People

Discover Famous Medieval People like Geoffrey Chaucer, Johannes Gutenberg and Leonardo da Vinci Read more about the Famous Medieval People >>

Medieval Children

Children of royals and the nobility had comfortable lives and usually lived in opulent surroundings, whilst poor medieval children struggled Read more about the Medieval Children >>

Medieval Clergy

Medieval Clergy

The Pope was head of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope was very powerful in medieval times as most people were very religious and believed in God. Read more about the Medieval Clergy >>

Medieval Craftsmen

Medieval Blacksmith Medieval Craftsmen

Medieval Craftsmen such as Blacksmiths and Masons served long apprenticeships. Medieval Craftsmen were well trained and members of a suitable guild. Read more about the Medieval Craftsmen >>

Medieval Doctor

Medieval Doctors dissect a human body

Medieval Doctors mainly used guesswork for diagnosis and was often wrong in his diagnoses. Medieval doctors use of plants and herbs was popular Read more about the Medieval Doctor >>

Medieval Entertainers

Medieval Entertainers Jesters

Medieval entertainers like Jesters, Acrobats and Minstrels provided the entertainment for medieval people and also entertained Kings and Queens.   Read more about the Medieval Entertainers >>

Medieval Merchants

Medieval Merchant From Holland trading in Far East

Medieval merchants were either retailers of wholesalers of goods, some medieval merchants imported goods from overseas and were very wealthy Read more about the Medieval Merchants >>

Medieval Military

Infantry Soldiers such as Longbowmen would Get their Revenge on the Dominate Knight Read more about the Medieval Military >>

Medieval Nobility

Medieval Nobility and Medieval Nobles

Within the Nobility Class there were clear distinctions between Higher and Lower Ranking Nobles Read more about the Medieval Nobility >>

Medieval Peasants

Peasants who lived in Medieval Times were usually very poor, that had basic living conditions and usually worked the fields and did other menial low level jobs.   Read more about the Medieval Peasants >>

Medieval Royalty

Medieval Royalty

Royalty such as the King and Queen had immense power during the medieval period, The King and Queen were at the head of a royal family Read more about the Medieval Royalty >>

Medieval Women

Medieval Women

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 Yeoman

Yeoman of Medieval Times

The yeoman was a large social class of such peasants who rose in social influence through the acquisition of large tracts of land Read more about the Medieval Yeoman >>



Medieval society was defined by structures and everything was predetermined for medieval people even before birth. Medieval People in medieval times remained in the class they were born and raised in.

Out of the need to preserve Noble bloodlines and maintain the wealth and social standing of elite families, a set of strict succession and inheritance rules were imposed on and governed medieval nobility.

Medieval-People-Feudal-System

Feudal System


Medieval People *Royalty

Medieval King

The King was the most powerful and important person in medieval society, at the pinnacle of the feudal system, early kings controlled much smaller kingdoms than later kings who could control an entire country.

Medieval-People-The-King

 

Medieval Queen

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.

Medieval-People-Queen

Prince and Princess

The Prince and Princess could be next in line to the throne, they were well educated and taught all the skills needed to run a medieval castle and kingdom from an early age.

Medieval-People-Prince-and-Princess

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Medieval People *Clergy

The Clergy was 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 lots of power, even political power over the rest of the medieval people in society.

Cardinal-Catholic-Priest

 

In early medieval times, the Pope was very 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.

Catholic-Priest-Bishop-Cardinal-Medieval-People

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 and ate only the best foods.

Pope-cardinal-and-bishop-Supreme-catholic-priests-in-cassocks.

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Medieval People *Nobility

Men and women born into nobility were called noblemen and noblewomen. They were more privileged and esteemed compared to other members of society. Nobles in medieval times were considered to be of a lower level than royalty but higher than almost everyone else except maybe high-ranking clergy such as the Pope.

Medieval-People-The-Lord

While nobility was generally hereditary, there were instances in the medieval period where commoners became nobles through royal favour, military achievements, or acquiring wealth and power.

Medieval-People-Lady

The peerage of England differed greatly from that of other countries. England stuck to the five classes

  1. Duke and Duchess
  2. Marquess and Marchioness
  3. Earl and Countess
  4. Viscount and Viscountess
  5. Baron and Baroness
Picture of Medieval Baron Medieval Nobility Medieval Baron Oliver St John

Medieval Nobility *Baron Oliver St John

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Medieval People *Knights

Heavily armed cavalry soldiers have existed since ancient times, however, none have captured the imagination as much as the gallant medieval knight in shining armour of the medieval period.

Medieval-People-Knight-Warhorse-Destrier

The knight gained in popularity and became much more established and defined during the high and late medieval times. All noblemen would also be knights.

Medieval-People-Knights

It wasn’t until later in the medieval period when knighthood became more of a social rank providing a distinction between non-noble cavalrymen (milites gregarii) and the true knights (milites nobiles) In the later medieval period, knighthood was commonly associated with a code of conduct and chivalry.

In medieval knights’ history, it was during the high medieval times that knighthood attained the higher social status of note.

Knights-Medieval-People

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Medieval People *Merchants and Tradesmen

Medieval merchants bought products cheaply from abroad in large merchant ships and sold them at a higher price in medieval towns and cities, merchants became very wealthy and powerful as the medieval period progressed.

Merchant-Ship-Medieval-People

Merchant Caravel Ship

Many developments during the high and late medieval period created the perfect environment for the medieval merchant to thrive such as

  1. The development of towns and cities with larger populations
  2. The movement of people to cities and towns from the countryside
  3. Banking *Creation of new banking systems *easily availability of money anywhere in the world
  4. Guilds *Merchants created Guilds to control the price and standard of goods traded
  5. Population increase *Improvements in living conditions led to an increase in the population

Merchants also became involved in improving the infrastructure of medieval towns and villages

Merchants 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! Medieval merchants became very important people to the economy of towns and villages in these medieval times.

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Medieval Craftsmen

Medieval Craftsmen who made products such as Blacksmiths, Carpenters, and Stonemasons became members of guilds that were introduced to set high standards of work and fix the prices of products made by medieval craftsmen.

Important Medieval Craftsmen

  • Blacksmiths & Specialist Smiths *Armourers *Swordsmiths
  • Carpenters
  • Stonemasons
  • Wheelwrights
  • Candlemakers
Medieval-People-Craftsmen-Stonemason

Medieval Stonemason

As time progressed and medieval society became more advanced there became a distinct difference between craftsmen who made products and merchants who sold them.

Medieval-People-Blacksmith-Working-on-Anvil

Medieval Blacksmith

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Medieval Soldiers

There were many types of soldiers during the medieval period, each served a specific purpose on the battlefield. Medieval soldiers were often supplied by noblemen for a king under obligations required by the feudal system in which land was given to noblemen in exchange for the provision of future military services.

Medieval-People-Military

Soldiers were also commonly employed as mercenaries in which they were paid a fee for their service, this became more common during the latter part of the medieval period. English Longbowmen and Genoese Crossbowmen were in high demand throughout Europe and were handsomely paid mercenaries.

Crossbowmen

Genoese Crossbowmen

The White Company (Great Company) was a 14th-century English mercenary Company that was led by famous warriors including the knight and Englishman John Hawkwood.

John-Hawkwood-Famous-Medieval-Knight

John Hawkwood *The White Company

Important Medieval Foot Soldiers (Infantry)

Crossbowmen

Medieval-People-Crossbowmen

Large Pravise Shield used by Crossbowmen

Longbowmen

Medieval-People-English-Longbowmen

English longbowmen

Pikemen

Pikemen in a Pike Formation

Pikemen Form a Pike Square Formation

Heavy Cavalry ‘Men at Arms’

A man-at-arms was a heavily armoured mounted soldier (Cavalry) during the high to late medieval period. A man-at-arms could be a knight, nobleman, part of their entourage or a mercenary in a company serving under a captain such as the famous ‘White Company’.

Knights-in-Battle-Cartoon

The terms knight and man-at-arms are often used interchangeably, however not all men-at-arms were knights, but both would be heavily armoured and armed.

Medieval-People-Knights

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Entertainers

Royalty, Nobility, and all classes of medieval people loved to be entertained and there were many different forms of entertainment and a vast array of entertainers in medieval times.

Important Medieval Entertainers

  • Bards
  • Minstrels
  • Mummers
  • Travelling Jesters *Court Jesters
  • Strolling Players

Medieval-People-Medieval-Entertainers

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.

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Peasants *Serfs

At the bottom of the feudal system was the lowly medieval Serf who commonly toiled in the fields of a manor estate in the countryside from dawn to dusk. Most of the population in medieval times would have been in the peasantry class, and the most common peasant was called a Serf.

Medieval-People-Farmer

The medieval serf worked to the three-field system which was adopted from China in which a field is planted with a different crop in the 2nd year and left fallow in the third year, this led to a greater yield and increased food production.

Medieval Farming Medieval Fields 3 Field System

The Serf would also protect the crops, Plough the fields in autumn, and 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.

Medieval-People-Peasant-Medieval-Reeve

Serfs Under the Command of a Reeve

Homes *Wattle & Daub

Serfs lived in small homes that were made using a technique called ‘Wattle & Daub’. The Interior was usually very basic and a fire in the center of the room provided warmth.

 Medieval-People-Homes-Wattle-&-Daub-House-Medieval-Serf

Wattle & Daub House of a Medieval Serf

Medieval-People-Medieval-Serfs-Home

What Did Serfs Eat?

The type of food commonly eaten by medieval peasants was called pottage or potage, It was a large pot of grains and vegetables cooked over a fire, anything that was at hand could be thrown into the pot, such as potatoes, fish, and meat added as and when required.

Peasants Costume Labelled

Peasants Costumes

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Learn more about Medieval People at Wikipedia