Why Were Peasant’s Lives Difficult in the Middle Ages?

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Many different classes of people existed in the Middle Ages. Each class had a different way of life. Peasants in the Middle Ages had extremely difficult lives. They had many hardships and sacrifices. The main reason why peasant’s lives were so difficult in the Middle Ages was because of the work they had to do. Usually, men were in charge of the household and provided most of the food and money for their family. Most men were farmers. Different jobs given to the farmers were raising crops and livestock and working the soil. Both the women and children would sometimes take part in these tasks. Duties given to women consisted of farm work, house work such as washing, cleaning, cooking and taking care of the animals, and looking after the children. Little chores were given to children when they reached around five years old. Fishing, herding sheep or goats and gathering fruits, nuts and firewood made up the boys assignments. However, girl’s errands involved cooking, helping out with the garden and making clothes. Another reason why peasant’s lives were difficult was because of their appalling living conditions. Most peasants would live in either a small town or nearby farm on the lord’s manor. However, before the tenth century most lived on deserted farmlands. A peasant’s home was one story and usually had one to four rooms depending on whether you were rich or poor. This was very inconvenient for large families. Walls were made of either mud or wood, straw covered the roof and dirt was packed down on the floors. Furniture in the homes was limited. Usually a family owned a few stools, a table and a chest for storing clothes. Families would have to use sacks of straw as their beds to sleep on. In the winter, animals slept inside with them to provide more warmth. In the opinion of an English poet named William Langland, a peasant farmer was “a poor man, badly dressed, dead tired from work, shivering in a hovel, who lived life in the most extreme misery.” The farmers...
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