Medieval Life - The Manor
Ightham Mote, a 14th-century moated manor house in Kent, photo by Silver149
The parcel of land leased to a Baron by the King was known as a manor. Under the Feudal System, the Baron had complete control of the running of the manor provided he met certain obligations set by the King.
Most of the Barons who were given land by William the Conqueror, following his invasion and conquest of England in 1066, were French. They knew that many Saxons would be hostile to them and so they had to make sure that they could defend themselves. Many chose to build castles on their land and fill them with knights who, under the Feudal System, were bound to protect the Baron and his family. Others established large manor houses.
The church was another central feature of the manor. The religion of the whole of Europe was Roman Catholic and it was law that people went to church on a Sunday. The leading churchmen of the land, Bishops and Archbishops were very wealthy and helped to govern the country. The local priests, however, were much poorer and were often uneducated. It was the priest's job to look after the sick of the village as well as preaching in the church
The manor house was the home of the Baron. Manor houses were large, reflecting the wealth and status of the Lord. They often comprised several buildings and were mainly self-sufficient, growing their own food and keeping animals in the grounds surrounding the house.
Villeins (serfs, peasants)
The largest amount of land on the manor would be used by the villeins. Their house would be surrounded by a yard called a 'toft' and a garden called a 'croft'. This land would be used for growing crops and vegetables, a percentage of which would be given to a knight as 'payment' for their land. Villein's houses were one-roomed and the family shared the space with the animals.
Spying became an integral part of the Cold War. Both sides went out of their way to acquire as much knowledge as they could about each other. While Hollywood has romanticized the whole image of espionage, the real thing is far from romantic. It is a dangerous cat and mouse game that typically results in torture, prison, or execution if caught by the opposing team.
During the Cold War, spies had to prepare... Read More
The seafaring Vikings were a group of people that came from the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. They made an enduring name for themselves through the 8th and 11th century for being tactical warriors, smart traders, and daring explorers. In fact, they arrived in America way before Columbus ever did, and archeologists have found some of their remnants scattered as far East as Russia.
... Read More
The Middle Ages is full of historical myths. Many historians blame this on the rise of Humanism and the Renaissance movement that appeared in the early Modern Period. Both of these cultural shifts encouraged society to look back at Medieval times in disgust. Gothic architecture from the Middle Ages was abandoned in the beginning of the Modern era, and replaced by classic Greek and Roman architecture. In other... Read More
1. The First Thanksgiving
What they told you: Escaping religious prosecution, the pilgrims left England on sailboats and landed on Plymouth Rock, barely surviving their first winter. With the graceful help of a nearby Indian tribe, who taught the settlers how to fish and hunt the land, the early colonists succeeded in establishing a foothold in the vast North American Wilderness. Thus, the pilgrims held their... Read More
How World War II Began
World War II was one of the most destructive conflicts in all of human history. More than forty-six million civilians and soldiers died, many in cruel and horrifying circumstances that lasted for years. The majority of them were unknown faces, lost in time and history, and only recognized by the people who loved them. Their lives, culture, and livelihood were swept away from one day to... Read More