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The Manorial Economy

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Kenneth Bartlett

The Manorial Economy – September 19 , th 2012 The Society: - Diet was grain - Eating meat was an element of status but gave stomach ailment - Peasants couldn’t hunt on their territory, but landlord could - Peasants extremely malnourished - Peasants/tenants lived in villages, not on farms - villagers worked together to farm Manor/Villa: - Manor was an estate, fortified house of a landlord - If landlords had several manors he would have agents in each one - Both villagers and serfs were bound to soil and had to stay there; they were property - Manor was to be exactly the size it would take to support one knight - Manor shouldn’t be so large that peasants couldn’t walk to its borders easily - Each manor was a separate unit, governed by own traditions, structure, practice - All that mattered to the people on the manor was the people on the manor, nothing/no one outside of it - Political power and society fragmented, localized Economy: - Money was extremely scarce, after Romans collapsed there was no one to mint it - Powerful people were rich in land, not cash - The land was useless without people (aka peasants) to cultivate it - Produce around the manor was traded for other products – it was a subsistence and bartering economy - A portion of the manor was put aside for the landlord and his family & the rest of manor was parceled out to rest of village - Peasants worked the whole manor, not just the strip of land they owned; everyone had to cooperate for system to work - Everybody got enough to eat, landlord could live without work - The population was small, no one moved around to work - The perspective was local, people only made contact with the other peasants of their village - It wasn’t fun to be a peasant, but they were more protected under this system than under any other system - Manor divided into extremely thin strips, to prevent one peasant family from getting the good land while the others don’t - One peasant family couldn’t afford the all the tools necessary to work the land, had to combine tools with other families - ‘Common lands”- poor soil not worth cultivating, where peasants could set snares here and get kindling for fire, by law no peasant could claim it solely as the
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