The breadwinners of society in the Middle Ages were peasants. They not only produced food, but also spun, weaved, and made household items.
The peasants worked for themselves and for the feudal lords. They gave part of their work to the feudal lord. Some supplied food, others cultivated their land with their instruments of labor, others gave him a certain sum of money. The peasant could not transfer his property without inheritance to the children without the permission of the master, or to marry his daughter. He was supposed to grind his grain at his mill, bake bread in his bakery, press the grapes with his grape press for the high price assigned by the gentleman. Parts of the peasants were forbidden to leave their master’s estate, they were attached to the land – Serfs.
XIII century. From the work of the French lawyer Bomanoir “The customs of Bovazi”
… There are many conditions of personal serfdom. After all, some of the serfs are so subordinate to their lords that these lords can dispose of all their property, have the right to life and death over them, can keep them imprisoned at will – guilty or innocent – and do not answer to anyone except to one God. With others they turn more humanely, for in their lifetime the seigneurs can not demand anything from them… except for their Chinshee, Rent and Duties… And when they die or marry free women, all their property… passes to the seigneurs. .. And if he dies, he has no heir, except the lord, and the children of the serf get nothing if they do not pay the ransom to the seigneur.
The peasant and the feudal lord depended on each other, and this softened the relations between them. Nevertheless, in difficult times the peasants ceased to see their seniors in the lords, they lost respect for them and even rebelled against them. These manifestations of peasant despair and anger, for the most part, only aggravated the position of the peasants,
Peasants in medieval Europe lived in communities. So it was easier to protect their interests, preserve their cultural and domestic traditions. Peasants used the land jointly. They not only worked together in the sweat of their face, but also organized their leisure – feasts, dances and games.
The serf is a peasant deprived of the right to leave his master.
Chinsh – payment to the landowner for the use of land.
Rent – part of the peasant income from the land, which the feudal lord appropriated.
Duty – compulsory duties of peasants in favor of the feudal lord or state.
Communities are associations of peasants who lived in one locality and jointly owned part of the land.