© Walter Jardine 2018

The Workers

Bottom of the hierarchy (other than slaves at the very bottom) were the serfs. Serfs farmed the land and did other work around the estates as required by the lord. A serf rented a cottage and, usually, some land from the lord. Any work required by the lord took precedence over work needed to sustain the serf’s own family. The serf was tied to the land on which he lived. He could not leave without the lord’s permission. If the land went to a new “owner”, the serf’s allegiance moved to the new lord as part of the land.
King Serfs and slaves Clergy Nobles Lords Barons Knights etc Priests BishopsCardinals etc

King = Country

The king is anointed at his coronation. This makes him a special and unique person in his land. Feudal society was a society where all power resided in the king. This power derived from the fact that all things, land, property and people, belonged to the king who distributed that power to those on whom he could rely for support, both in the administration of his kingdom and in response to any internal or external threat to the kingdom or crown. In this society were three classes of people beneath the monarch: those who fight (the nobles) those who pray (the clergy) those who work (the serfs). Whenever the terms “the people” or “free men” were used, they were referring to the second layer of society - the nobles and clergy! Over 90% of the population were not free.

The Elite

The monarch parcelled out land (and all that the land contained, including people) to nobles on whom he could rely for support. In return for the land, the noble would commit to supply the king with a proportion of the produce of the land, money and knights plus other warriors such as pikemen, archers. etc. Should the noble default on any of his commitments, the land could be withdrawn and given to another, more reliable noble, or be retained and administered directly by the king himself. In their turn, the nobles subdivided their land and distributed it to knights who would then swear allegiance to the noble and, through him, to the king. Alongside the nobles, in terms of seniority, were the bishops and cardinals - senior church men.
© Walter Jardine 2018

The Workers

Bottom of the hierarchy (other than slaves at the very bottom) were the serfs. Serfs farmed the land and did other work around the estates as required by the lord. A serf rented a cottage and, usually, some land from the lord. Any work required by the lord took precedence over work needed to sustain the serf’s own family. The serf was tied to the land on which he lived. He could not leave without the lord’s permission. If the land went to a new “owner”, the serf’s allegiance moved to the new lord as part of the land.

King = Country

The king is anointed at his coronation. This makes him a special and unique person in his land. Feudal society was a society where all power resided in the king. This power derived from the fact that all things, land, property and people, belonged to the king who distributed that power to those on whom he could rely for support, both in the administration of his kingdom and in response to any internal or external threat to the kingdom or crown. In this society were three classes of people beneath the monarch: those who fight (the nobles) those who pray (the clergy) those who work (the serfs). Whenever the terms “the people” or “free men” were used, they were referring to the second layer of society - the nobles and clergy! Over 90% of the population were not free.

The Elite

The monarch parcelled out land (and all that the land contained, including people) to nobles on whom he could rely for support. In return for the land, the noble would commit to supply the king with a proportion of the produce of the land, money and knights plus other warriors such as pikemen, archers. etc. Should the noble default on any of his commitments, the land could be withdrawn and given to another, more reliable noble, or be retained and administered directly by the king himself. In their turn, the nobles subdivided their land and distributed it to knights who would then swear allegiance to the noble and, through him, to the king. Alongside the nobles, in terms of seniority, were the bishops and cardinals - senior church men.
King Serfs and slaves Clergy Nobles Lords Barons Knights etc Priests BishopsCardinals etc

Walter Jardine

Normans

Life

Walter Jardine

Normans

Life