Life in medieval times was simple, uncomplicated and straightforward. Most of the population during that era lived in medieval villages and this is the very place where individuals resided, toiled, mingled, wed, revelled in local festivities, frequented the church, brought forth offspring, and eventually passed away. For most, especially the farmers and the peasants, there was no life outside of the village. And breaking the social norms, barriers and the structure created by the noblemen was an unthinkable act. However, people lived a happy life, complete with social bonding, fulfilling connections and following their religious rituals. Life went on slowly, albeit happily. Of course, there were challenges life battles and the hierarchical social order, but mostly medieval village dwellers are believed to have been a happy lot.
Lives of People in a Medieval Village
The history of medieval villages and broad and wide. Human civilization took shape over hundreds of years and it is rather difficult to trace the exact time when medieval villages came into existence. Even historians and archaeologists have struggled to pinpoint when this kind of settlement became a popular form of people living together. However, one thing is clear medieval villages were quite different from modern-day villages. Unlike today, where most villagers may live and not have their professional followed in the same place, medieval villages mostly comprised of dwellers who lived and earned their living within the village. Mostly peasants and farmers comprised the population with a manor being the head of the village, a person who owned much of the land.
The village system followed a strict hierarchical structure and nobody was spared for breaking it. The houses were pretty basic as well made of hay and clay and life was simple. Most people either farmed, rared animals or did other basic jobs to earn their living. Life was slow, with basic amenities lining up a common villager’s life. Even though not much remains of the medieval villages now, some of the popular and in their time flourishing villages include Carcassone, Yviore, Hallstatt, Colmar, Sighisoara, Gordes, etc.
Amenities in Medieval Villages
Life back in during the medieval times was quite minimalistic and people had very few amenities. A medieval village would typically have the following amenities:
- Village Green
- Fresh Drinking Water Well
- Horse Stables
- Fishing Streams
- Blacksmith’s Workshop
- Carpenter’s House or Workshop
- Beekeeper and Beehives
- Medieval Inn for Enjoying Ale and Escaping Troubles
People’s Life in Medieval Village
Life in the village during the medieval period was bustling and primarily centred outdoors. The villagers typically dressed in humble attire and sustained themselves on a modest diet. Medieval villages were primarily inhabited by farmers, and a significant portion of their daily routines was dedicated to tilling the soil and cultivating enough food to ensure their survival in the coming year.
People slept on straw mattresses, and their animals often shared their living spaces, either in stables or inside the house. Tools and equipment were commonly displayed on the walls, while provisions for the winter were stored in the roof area. Clothes were typically stored in wooden chests, helping to keep the household organized and functional.
Villagers maintained a modest yet balanced diet consisting of bread, fruit, vegetables, porridge, and stew. Their meals were typically complemented with water and beer. A staple in their daily fare was a large pot of stew known as pottage, which would be available and consumed throughout the day. Peasant farmers who had cows and could produce cheese often sold this commodity at local markets, as they could fetch good prices for these relatively luxurious items.
What Business Would Be in a Medieval Village
For the majority of peasants living during the Middle Ages, their existence revolved around the village. This village typically fell under the jurisdiction of a lord, a person of noble lineage, a church, or an abbey. Importantly, a significant number of peasants rarely ventured beyond the confines of the village throughout their lifetimes.
In their day-to-day routines, many peasants tended to their land, employing horses, oxen, or sometimes a combination of both. Nonetheless, not all villagers were engaged in farming. Among them were blacksmiths, candle makers, often women responsible for ale production, potters, and versatile craftsmen. It’s worth noting that these villagers also owed various dues and services to the lord, although typically not to the same extent as those who cultivated extensive tracts of land.
Medieval Fairs in Medieval Villages
Medieval fairs were eagerly anticipated events held annually on the village green. These festivities were highly enjoyable and greatly awaited by medieval people throughout the year. Travelling merchants would converge upon these medieval fairs, bringing a diverse array of goods to sell, ranging from clothing to food. They would also purchase items from the medieval villages for future resale. The fairs were not just about commerce; they also featured a variety of entertaining acts, including juggling, wrestling games, dancing, music, and magic, to further enliven the atmosphere.
Life in medieval villages might have been slow and basic, but the villagers engaged themselves in various activities including their livelihood and entertainment. There were fairs, evening gatherings, and a lot more that kept the villagers associated as a close-knit family. Everyone followed the social order that was set around by the manor, often looked at as the owner of the village. Simple yet satisfying, medieval villages are where the roots of modern civilization took seed.