3.2: (T) manorial & feudal system

3. The Time of Monks and Knights

Manorial system and Feudal system
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Slide 1: Tekstslide
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3. The Time of Monks and Knights

Manorial system and Feudal system

Slide 1 - Tekstslide

What was last lesson about?

Slide 2 - Open vraag

Slide 3 - Tekstslide

What you will learn in 
this lesson
  • Charlemagne Quiz
  • how a rich farmer became lord of a domain
  • why peasants gave up their land and freedom to become serfs
  • what a manor is
  • what a domain is
  • why a domain tried to achieve autarchy
  • what servile duties are
  • explain how the feudal system worked
  • how a king could rule his kingdom with the feudal system

Slide 4 - Tekstslide


Slide 5 - Tekstslide

The Frankish Empire at 800

Slide 6 - Tekstslide

Living in a domain
(the manorial system)
When the Romans left, the farmers were no longer protected against robbers and plunderers. They had to find protection from a rich and powerful farmer nearby. He could build a big, fortified farm (a farmhouse or small castle) and employ soldiers. In exchange for protection the farmers were no longer owners of their land. That is how the mighty farmer acquired quite a lot of land. He became the lord of the domain. Actually, the domain, like all the land, belonged to the king, but the lords managed and ruled it.

A domain usually consisted of two parts. One part of the land, the manor farm, was kept by the lord. All the produce from the fields, grasslands and orchards within this farm went to the lord, while all the work was done by the farmers. 

a manor farm, part of a domain
a serf peasant

Slide 7 - Tekstslide

manor farm
The place where the lord lived and from where he ruled the village. 
Many times the manor was fortified by walls. Sometimes the manor was built on top of a small hill and surrounded by a palissade. 
The manor farm consisted of the manor (= fortified farmhouse / castle) + some land with orchards, farming fields and work places around it. 

The mill was where people grounded wheat and grain. 
It was owned by the lord.
Serf peasants could use the mill to grind their grain, but of course they had to pay the lord for this. The payment was not money, but a percentage of the produce of the peasant.
The houses the peasants (= farmers) lived in were not as nice as the manor house. They were thatched roofed
The palissade surrounds the manor farm. If the domain is attacked the peasants can find shelter within the walls of the manor farm.
Peasants worked on farm land for the lord in exchange for protection and land.
The church is where holy events took place (weddings, sermons, funerals). The church is also where the sick would be taken care of.
Sometimes the lord used this place to speak justice. He could hand out punishments to criminals.
A Shepard worked with the livestock in the fields. This would help produce food and cloth for the village
the manor's orchard. 
servile duties
This meant that serfs needed to work for the lord two or three days a week. They worked the lord's fields, or built and repaired his palissade.

Slide 8 - Tekstslide

The other part of the domain was divided into smaller pieces of land. They had to be cultivated by the farmers, but they remained the lord's "property". The lord even remained boss of common land, swamps and woods. Usually the occupants were allowed to keep their pigs, sheep and goats on the land.
The farmer families lived together with their cattle in small farms made of mud, thatch and wood. The farmers had 
become serfs. They were not allowed to leave the domain without the lord's permission. So they were no longer free. 
In exchange for protection, serfs had to give part of their produce to the lord. That was their rent. For example, they would give the lord eggs, butter and corn.The serfs had to do all kinds of jobs for the lord: servile duties. They would have to work on the land the lord had kept for himself, one or two days a week. 
They also had to look after the lord's farmstead. 
The land usually produced only just enough to live on. If the harvest failed, the farmers would starve. There was hardly any trade in the early Middle Ages. That is why each domain tried to achieve autarchy. This meant that everything that was necessary in the domain had to be produced by the people who lived there. For instance, they made tools and clothes in small workplaces. The people working there would be given the lord's protection in exchange for their work. The whole system of lords, serfs and servile duties was called the manorial system. It was called that way because everything revolved round the lord's manor.

source 1
serf farmers doing servile duties, a painting from the 8th century

Slide 9 - Tekstslide

Slide 10 - Tekstslide

The Feudal System.
The lord of the manor was the most powerful person in the region. He protected his serf peasants in return for a part of their produce.
He lived in a manor and had soldiers in his service. 
So the lord ruled the region, but who ruled the kingdom?
The king of course.
And around AD 800 kings used a clever system to contol the lords and keep all the power. This system is called: the Feudal System. This is how it worked:
We learned that the domains belonged to lords. But that is not completely true. Actually all the land belonged to the king! But he could not rule alone. So he gave parts of his land (domains) to loyal lords to manage and rule.They could keep this land as long as they were loyal to the king, and give him soldiers and advise if he needed it.

Slide 11 - Tekstslide

11. Who really owned all the land in the kingdom?
the king
the lords

Slide 12 - Quizvraag

12. The lords seemed to own their domain, but it actually belonged to the king, who could take it from the lord if the lord was disloyal to him

Slide 13 - Quizvraag

13. What were the advantages of the feudal system for the king?

Slide 14 - Open vraag

14. What were the advantages of the feudal system for the lords?

Slide 15 - Open vraag

The Feudal System
King of the Franks, Charlemagne, was one of many kings who used the feudal system. As king he owned all the land of his Frankish kingdom.
When he gave parts of this lands to his lords they were called the king's vassals. They not only received the land, but also the serf farmers who lived on that land. The vassal could live off the produce of the awarded land and keep himself busy with military training, warfare and jurisdiction.
The group of vassals together formed the rich nobility or aristocracy.
With titles as count, duke or baron, they ruled parts of the land owned by the king. Sometimes vassals gave parts of "their" land to lower vassals: knights, in return for protection and military service.
Study the overview in the next slide.

Slide 16 - Tekstslide

15. What are vassals?
lords who gave their land to knights became the knights' vassals
lords who were granted a domain by the king became the king's vassals
vassals are kings who give parts of their land as a loan to loyal lords
vassals is just another word for aristocrats

Slide 17 - Quizvraag

16. Aristocrats and nobles are wo different groups of people

Slide 18 - Quizvraag

17. Which of these statements is NOT correct?
the lords were vassals to the king
the king gave land in loan to the lords, who became his vassals
the vassals together formed a group that we call nobility or aristocracy
the king and his family did not belong to the nobility

Slide 19 - Quizvraag


Slide 20 - Tekstslide

Slide 21 - Tekstslide

Slide 22 - Tekstslide

Word Duty

Early Middle Ages 2

servile duties
manorial system
feudal system

use the m.c. questions to make the correct definition

From now on it is no longer mandatory to do "word duty" in your notebook, as long as you realise that these words must be learned for any quiz / test.

Slide 23 - Tekstslide


Use the main questions to make your own summary
From now on it is no longer mandatory to write a summary in your notebook, although it is still advised to do so.
It is your own responsibility.
  1. how a rich farmer became lord of a domain
  2. why peasants gave up their land and freedom to become serfs
  3. what a manor is
  4. what a domain is
  5. why a domain tried to achieve autarchy
  6. what servile duties are
  7. explain how the feudal system worked
  8. how a king could rule his kingdom with the feudal system

Slide 24 - Tekstslide


Slide 25 - Tekstslide