Actual Feudal Contract

NOW: After evaluating your classmates' feudal contracts: evaluate them, once again, based on your assigned social roles!

If you're a landlord -- you may dream fondly of the Middle Ages -- or -- perhaps not?

The serf's feudal contract
The serfs had a feudal contract, just like a baron or a knight. A serf's feudal contract was that he would live on and work a piece of land held by his Lord. The surf would get protection in return.

During that time, people said that the a serf "worked for all", a knight or baron "fought for all" and a churchman "prayed for all." Everyone had his place and all was right with God's world. The serf did not have as good a position as the knights or barons, but was better than slavery. Serfs had some rights in the feudal contract.

A manorial Lord could not sell his serfs like Romans can sell their slaves. If his Lord sold some land, the serf of that land went with it to serve their new Lord. A serf could not leave his lands without permission. A serf could not sell his lands.

[change] Becoming a serf
A free man became a serf usually because of a large debt. He would make an agreement with the lord of the land. The lord would keep him safe, give money for his debt, and give him land to work on, and he would do work for the lord. All his children would become serfs.

[change] The serf's duties
The usual serf "paid" his fees and taxes by working for the lord 2 or 3 days a week. At different times in the year he would do different things. He could plough his lord's fields. He could harvest crops, dig ditches, or repair fences. The rest of his time he could take care of his own fields, crops and animals.

[change] Problems
The big problem for serfs was that he had to do the work for the lord before he could do his own work. When his lord’s crops needed to be harvested, his needed to be harvested, too. The lord would give them very good food when they worked for him.

The serf also had to pay taxes and fees. The lord decided how much taxes they would pay from how much land the serf had, usually 1/3 of their value. They had to give money for fees when they got married, had a baby, or there was a war.. Money was very not common then, so usually they paid by giving food instead of money