Daily life of a peasant in medieval times

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Daily life of a peasant in medieval times

By | May 2006
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Daily life for us peasants is generally pretty hard. I get up each morning at dawn, eat a quick breakfast of homemade bread and ale and then I'm off to the fields for a full day of work. We have to plant, tend, and harvest at least one good crop a year or we will starve in the winter. We usually try to plant and harvest at least two crops each year. After working all day, I sometimes stop in the village tavern for a bit of socializing before heading home to have my dinner, and then off to bed.

Elizabeth gets up at the crack of dawn as well. She has my breakfast ready for me before I leave. After that, her day is full. There's the vegetable garden to tend, clothing to wash, bread to bake for tomorrow, cloth to weave, and a house to keep clean. Rebecca and Samuel help her by tending to the animals (we have some pigs, a cow, some chickens, and a couple sheep), and doing other chores. Mathew usually works in the fields with me. He's learning to be a farmer so he can support his own family some day. When Samuel is about 10, he'll come to the fields to work too. Until then, Samuel attends school at the village church to learn some prayers and songs, and how to do a bit of math.

Peasants worked long hours every day, rain or shine, to ensure that their families had enough to eat. Most peasants were farmers, although a few were millers, blacksmiths, and tavern owners. Peasant farmers were the backbone of medieval society. They worked land leased to them by wealthier land holders in the nobility. The farmers produced all of the food, and paid most of the taxes. Their lives weren't all hard work though. They had feasts on holidays, and celebrated births and marriages. They rested each Sabbath day and attended church.