DISCUSSION 3 – WK 4
Describe the life of a serf on a feudal manor.
How would you characterize the lot of the medieval peasantry?
Compare the lives of serfs to those of the nobility.
In your opinion does society still reflect this model? If so, how? If not, how is it
PLEASE PROVIDE YOUR COMMENTS OR OPINION ON THE FOLLOWING:
“Serfs were peasants providing manual labor in lands ministered by lords. Serfs worked in large
manors, and though they were not sold and bought as slaves, they replaced slaves. They were
bound by law to live in a specified village and to perform farm work under the supervision of a
noble or Clerical lord. The serfs were also expected to pay dues and taxes to the Lords.
Serfs had no freedom beyond their stipulated roles and villages. Most of them sort freedom by
running away to towns, while lords permitted others their freedom. Other ways serfs
gained their freedom was in the form of rewards for their service from the noble lords, paying their debts and offering to open new lands. However, the status of serfs improved after the massive death of their colleagues during Black Death which increased their bargaining power for better
treatment, though not absolute freedom.
During the middle ages, manorial agriculture was better and in terms of higher productivity.
Unlike the earlier years, the medieval peasantry was characterized by the use of tools. For
instance, peasants used the iron-tipped plow to till the land.
The tool helped in tilling heavier soils making work for the peasants easier and faster.
As well, the invention of the padded horse collar helped in distribution and pulling of heavy
farm loads, which eased the peasants’ work. However, horses were expensive; hence only
a few peasants were lucky with the padded horse collar. Other than the tools, fallowing
and the use of animal manure were famous practices during medieval peasantry. Unlike serfs, the noble class enjoyed political, social and economic freedom. The nobility was considered superior to commoners. The nobility and the serfs did not intermarry; the nobility
married and interacted with fellow nobilities. Both serfdom and nobility were inherited.
While serfs could buy or achieve freedom, it was difficult for serfs to gain nobility
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