The Feudal System

by: Jackson R. and Kamryn H.

Essential Question

How did the feudal system provide structure for the social classes?

Quick summary of the Feudal System

In most of medieval Europe, society was dependent on the feudal system. The feudal system was used around the 8th century to the 15th century. The feudal system was based on the distribution of land in return for service. The king of Europe would give out grants of land to his most important noblemen (Barons and nobles), each noble would have to promise to loyally follow him and supply him with soldiers in time of war.
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The Rise of The Feudal System

The feudal system comes into focus during the 8th century, when the Carolingian dynasty was expanding its territory. Charles Martel (Charles founded the dynasty) grants his nobles rights over tracts of land, to yield the income with which they can provide fighting men for his army. This act of generosity, ultimately for his own benefit, requires an oath of loyalty in return.

Kings and Monarchs

The kings/monarchs ruled over the whole kingdom. They had control over everything and chose how much land To lease to the Barons.The kings had the power to withdraw the land that was granted and give it to a different Baron. The kings had control of the judicial power.


Fiefs and Vassals

Knights were usually paid for their services with land. Land given to a knight for service was called a fief, and when somebody accepted the fief was called a vassal. If someone gave another person a fief they would be their lord.
Medieval Europe: Feudalism

Barons and Nobles

The barons leased land from the kings. The barons or nobles were the second wealthiest class of the kingdom. They established their own legal systems, and designed their own tax regulations schemes. To receive the leased land from the Kings the Barons had to serve the royal council, provide food for the king, and had to pay appropriate rents and taxes.

Peasants and serfs

The modern people of Europe were divided into Peasants and Serfs. Serfs were almost like slaves. The people could not be bought and sold, but they could not leave their land without permission. Their land could be bought and sold. The land and all the food they grew belonged to their noble. Their job was to do whatever the noble told them to do. Peasants sometimes they owned their own business or small plot of land, again most were uneducated and unskilled.


The fall of The Feudal system

The following things are just some of the things that caused the fall of Feudalism during the Medieval period:

  • The Crusades and travel during the Middle Ages opened new trade options to England
  • England started to move from land based economy to a money based economy
  • The Black Death - this reduced the population of England by one third. Labor became a valuable commodity
  • The Peasants Revolt - Peasants realized their worth and demanded changes. Charters were granted but ignored by nobles

Formative Assessment

Essential Question

How did the feudal system provide structure for the social classes?