Serfs and Peasants
Bound to the land
The serfs were like slaves in a sort of way except they could not be bought or sold. They could not leave their land without permission.
Their clothing was usually rough wool or linen, most of the them had one set of clothing that almost never got washed. Men wore tunics and long stockings, the most common colors of clothing were brown, red or gray. Women wore long dresses and stockings made of wool.
These people lived off the land eating mostly bread, porridge, vegetables and some meat. The main crops were corn, wheat and beans. By the homes of the peasants they would have vegetable gardens. Many peasants died when the weather was to wet or to dry. if the crops didn't grow then they didn't eat.
Cruck houses were peasants homes. They have a wooden built frame, which was plastered wattle and daub. Straw added insulation to the house and manure was considered good for holding this structure together. It was left to dry in the sun and made the material strong. Repairs on these structures were easy and simple fixes, they had square openings in the walls for there windows. They usually hung a curtain where the front door would be because a good wooden front door was too expensive. It was usually hot in the summer and very cold in the winter.
Tithes and rent
Peasants had to pay taxes or rent, and tithes to the church. A tithe was a 10% tax on all the farm produce the farmer had produced for the year. the people hated this tax because it could make or break the family, they could pay in cash or in things like equipment, seeds and valuable things. the churches collected so much produce they had to have huge tithe barns to store it all in.
These people had a hard life there land was not free. They owned certain dues to their master most of these as personal duties. serfs had to work on the lords domain for 2 or 3 weeks to serve these duties. they had to do a lot of extra work because their life was almost dedicated to there master. This was usually demanded by the master. When they had to ground wheat they had to use the masters mill to grind it, plus they had to pay a customary charge. The lord could basically control the serfs lives by taxing his serfs as much as he wanted and working them as much as pleased. With the fear of loosing the tenants of his land the lord would keep from imposing to great of burdens on their daily lives.