Medieval Monday: 14th Century Life

What Was Life Like in 14th Century England?

by: Brumafriend

1__S_39-gF6nJ5GVhvZLV6YQThe 14th century was, both worldwide and in relations to England, a century of social turmoil, filled with plague, famine, and an unprecedented desire for social mobility. By the end of the 1300s, the long-standing system of serfdom which had previously been the core of English socioeconomic and class relations had started to irreversibly deteriorate. The key turning point was the Black Death of 1348 (which began the year prior in Europe) and saw the foundations of English society shake. Therefore, it makes sense to look at the 14th century not as one unit but rather as two, with the plague as a divider.

Before the plague, English life for the peasant class remained fairly unchanged from what it had been for hundreds of years. Medical technology and practices had been slowly improving over time, although more so in the Islamic world than in Europe, and many afflictions — such as the Black Death itself — were explained as divine punishment or by superstition, rather than any biological cause. England’s population had grown rapidly from the year 1200, rising to 5 million by 1400. This increase was largely spurred on by, and subsequently encouraged, the prosperity of England’s agricultural economy — which still made up a very rural society — caused by the adoption of crop rotation techniques. This, in turn, led to an increase in the number of towns. Although many were small, others, such as Norwich, consisted of around 5,000 inhabitants and the biggest cities, such as London, neared 40,000 in population. This meant that society was no longer merely agricultural and other professions, such as in the exportation of wool and cloth, could be pursued.

The Church was also a prevalent force at this time as England was still highly Christian (as a result of, and certainly a cause of, scientific ignorance) and this constituted a significant part of a peasant’s life. A peasant was under an economic obligation to pay a tax (known as a ‘tithe’ to the Church), which came in the form of 10% of the value of the land that he farmed. At a time when peasants were struggling to get by, this tax was deeply unpopular, although it was rarely challenged due to the deep-set nature of religious faith. Indeed, the majority of the population were not even able to comprehend the words delivered to them from the Bible each Sunday, as it was not given in the vernacular and the vast majority of the lower classes could only speak English. Most were also illiterate, which meant that independent religious practice was difficult and possession of books was pointless as well as expensive. At this time, books were often as much a testament of wealth as an intellectual endeavour. Books were incredibly expensive, especially as the printing press would not be invented until 1440, and were often encrusted with jewellery to signify the wealth of its owner.

Whilst life was certainly hard for a 14th-century commoner, with a bad harvest being the difference between life and death, there was still time for pastimes. Such activities included gambling, such as dice games, and playing Chess. Alternatively, inns had, since their emergence during the 12th and 13th centuries, increased in number throughout the country, offering commonfolk an opportunity to relax and converse with others. The exact hobbies and feelings of peasants during this time remains somewhat unknown due to the lack of credible primary sources as a result of a high illiteracy rate and the gradual decomposition and deterioration of the few physical first-hand accounts, which were often lost or discarded.

Continue reading…


Use the Medieval Monday Index to discover other topics relating to daily life in the Middle Ages.

Advertisements

Inspiration Sunday

tree-3097419_1920You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

Hebrews 10:36-39

Interview with Jen Lowry

Happy Thursday everyone, hope you’re having a blessed day. Today I am sitting down with YA Contemporary Fiction author Jen Lowry. I’m eager to get to know more about this author. What about you? Check it out below.

The Interview

Tell us about yourself?
I’m a momma in a blended family of seven, Literacy Coach, English teacher, podcaster, business owner, and homeschool mom.

What genre do you write? Why?
I started off writing YA contemporary fiction, and Sweet Potato Jones will be published in 2020 with Swoon Romance, but have evolved over the past year and challenged myself to explore different genres. It has been so rewarding. I will say that my favorite to write is horror/paranormal, contemporary fantasy and historical fantasy.

How does your normal day look like?
Crazy. On the way to work, I host a daily podcast for authors on my drive. I am a Literacy Coach, English I teacher at a large, metropolitan high school. After work, it’s homeschool time to my two fabulous boys, and I have to squeeze in cooking and napping in there, too. I write after the day is done, try to upload a YouTube video, and keep all of my social media up to date. On the weekends, I have “Homeschool Adventures,” as we call them in my house, so after we are finished up with that, I head back to writing before UFC. Sunday is church and errand day, so I’m always on the go.

What is your favorite hobby?
Hands down, watching UFC. Every Saturday, you’ll catch us around the big screen, eating snacks, and enjoying the fights.

If you could be one person who would it be?
Me. I could never be anyone else because that would mean I wouldn’t have my children, and they are my heartbeats.

Monarch Logo 2019.pngWho is the main character in your book? Tell us a bit about them.
Lyric Harper is finishing up her junior year when she receives the letter she’s been waiting for all year. She was chosen for a special summer program at Harmonic Arts Center and will spend her senior year with musical geniuses from around the world. She plays guitar (Daisy), writes music, and thinks of herself a little weird the way the music plays in her head.

What does your writing process look like?
My summer months are spent writing, usually 18 hour days (no joke) because when school hits, I’m too busy to push out novels. I bank them and set them to preorder. So, now my fall schedule is set with books for my readers to enjoy.

What do you have in the works right now?
I’m currently working on my second book of illustrated poetry called, Heartbeats, have to write my first adult sweet romance before the end of September to meet a deadline, and am compiling an anthology of 20 authors called, Everyday God Things, where all proceeds will go to support the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

What should we expect from you in the coming months?
Stick around because the Holy Spirit is always at work. Honestly, I surprise myself, so follow me to find out!

Do you have any special closing statement you would like to share with your fans?
Never stop writing. Have the courage to push through any self-doubt and continue to improve your craft each day. Don’t compare yourself to others. Be you. Honor your blank page. Write your story.


Jen Lowry

Author Bio J LowryJen Lowry is North Carolina born and raised, still holding on to that country slang that is unique to the small town of Maxton she loves so much in Robeson County. She is an avid enthusiast of all things horror, UFC, and binge watches old episodes of Quantum Leap. She finds herself comfier in a pair of pajamas and would make all public appearances in them if she could get away with it. When she isn’t literacy coaching, author coaching, or homeschooling her two fabulous boys, she can be found napping or singing loudly, probably napping. Jen has her doctorate degree in Christian Ministry and is a member of Raleigh First Assembly. Check out Jen’s official author sites all over the net from podcasts, YouTube, Instagram, and more by searching up Jen Lowry Writes or follow her on @jenlowrywrites. Contact Jen for special author appearances and teaching opportunities or stay up to date with her journey at http://www.jenlowrywrites.com.

Connect with Jen!

Website | FB | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Youtube | Podcast | Amazon


Lyric Harper & the Harmonic Bridge

LYRIC HARPERLyric Harper, musical genius, is about to embark on her senior year at the most prestigious arts school in the world nestled right in the pines of North Carolina. Harmonic Arts Center, this hidden gem of talent and artistry, has another mission than to equip talented young musicians with the heart for greatness but to test and develop their inner spirit to bring out their mythological nature. Seven youth are selected for an early admittance summer program under the guise of performing at the opening showcase in the fall. They are called for a greater purpose and shapeshift, train, and work as one flock to combine their gifts to defeat the creatures threatening to cross the Harmonic Bridge into our world. Birds of a feather fly and rock together in this new MG Contemporary Fantasy set in 1985.

Purchase Today for $7.99!

Corrupted Enchantment: When Fairy Tales Collide

Screen Shot 2019-09-29 at 3.57.29 PMFans of Once Upon A Time will be obsessed with this series!

WHEN FAIRY TALES COLLIDE
Welcome to Enchantia, where all your favorite fairy tale characters live happily ever after… That is, until a dark spell takes over the land. 

Robin Hood: Everyone at school seemed to be scared of me. What? Had they never met someone who’d been in jail before? Whatever. I liked it that way. I didn’t need friends. I just needed to be left alone so I could get back to what I was supposed to be doing… Stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Something was getting in the way of my usual goal though. There seemed to be a spell looming about, and I knew exactly who was responsible for it– Presidential candidate, Rumpelstiltskin. 
There was also the Peter Pan problem. Now that I was back, I could tell he wanted to approach me, but there was nothing he could have done to make me forgive him. He could bat his pretty little eyes all he wanted. The ultimate betrayal wasn’t something I took lightly.

Rumpelstiltskin: I didn’t care what the three fates said about that filthy little brat, Robin Hood, being my undoing. I would spill her blood to change that destiny. Now that I had the power of the Presidency in my palms, I wouldn’t let anything stop me from achieving what I set out to do.

Purchase Today for $0.99!


C. Penticoff

Screen Shot 2019-09-29 at 3.58.10 PMC. Penticoff has always considered herself a dreamer in a world with a million opportunities.

She recalls her dream of being an author starting at the ripe age of nine years old, when a published author visited her school and empowered her to reach for the stars. It was then she realized her ability to write a great story could be something that made her shine in a world full of bright lights.

C. Penticoff began writing her first full length novel when she was 12 years old, and finally published the new and improved story September of 2017.

C. Penticoff lives in the Pacific Northwest with her two sons and husband. They are in the process of building a tiny home for their family.

Connect with C. Penticoff!

Website | Newsletter | FB | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Bookbub | Amazon

Screen Shot 2019-09-29 at 3.57.44 PM

 

Medieval Monday: Executioner

What Was It Like to Be an Executioner in the Middle Ages?

by: Emma Bryce

Forget the image of the hooded executioner swinging an ax; much of what we think we know about these medieval figures isn’t true.

8xCuScaVhawKbLfWGRPeAP-1024-80

One afternoon in May 1573, a 19-year-old man named Frantz Schmidt stood in the backyard of his father’s house in the German state of Bavaria, preparing to behead a stray dog with a sword. He’d recently graduated from “decapitating” inanimate pumpkins to practicing on live animals. If he passed this final stage, Schmidt would be considered ready to start his job, as an executioner of people.

We know the details of this morbid scene because Schmidt meticulously chronicled his life as an executioner, writing a series of diaries that painted a rich picture of this profession during the sixteenth century. His words provided a rare glimpse of the humanity behind the violence, revealing a man who took his work seriously and often felt empathy for his victims. But what’s more, Schmidt wasn’t necessarily all that unusual; historical anecdotes reveal that the prevailing stereotype of the hooded, blood-spattered, brutish executioner falls far short of the truth.

So then, what was it like to do this work hundreds of years ago in Europe? And how did “executioner” become a legitimate job title in the first place?

Continue reading…


Use the Medieval Monday Index to discover other topics relating to daily life in the Middle Ages.

Medieval Monday: Bizarre Trends

12 Bizarre Medieval Trends

by: Frances White

From pigs on trial to hairless faces, discover what went viral in the Middle Ages.

Every age has a tendency to look back at older generations and judge the customs, beliefs and traditions of the time. However, it is fair to say that there are few periods in history that we regard as strangely as we do the Middle Ages.

The Middle Ages have been stamped an unlucky time to be born and popular consensus is that people were poor, food was dull, everything was dirty, and for the vast majority of it the population was dropping like flies. What we don’t hear about is that people created some of the most peculiar, bizarre, hilarious and astounding trends in human history. Let’s take some time to embrace the medieval period and all of its lovable eccentricities.

1. Animal court

Life in medieval times could be tough, and this didn’t just apply to humans. Just like their two-legged owners, all manner of animals from livestock to insects were put on trial if suspected of breaking the law. There are records of at least 85 animal trials that took place during the Middle Ages and the tales vary from the tragic to the absurd, as described in the book “The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals,” by E. P. Evans (E. P. Dutton and Company, 1906).

Xwz2RHePinM3PrYac2bnpB-650-80

By far the most serial offenders were pigs, accused and convicted of chewing off body parts and even eating children. Most were found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging or being burned at the stake. In 1386, a convicted pig was dressed in a waistcoat, gloves, drawers and a human mask for its execution.

It wasn’t just pigs that felt the sting of the law, though, In 1474 a court found a rooster guilty of the “unnatural crime” of laying an egg; unwanted rats often found themselves on the receiving end of a strongly worded letter, asking them to leave the premises; and curiously enough, there was a trial of dolphins in Marseilles in 1596.

However, not all of the trials ended in brutality. One donkey, which found herself the victim of unwanted sexual advances, was proclaimed innocent after a strong recommendation from a convent’s prior, declaring her to be a virtuous and well-behaved animal.

Continue reading…


Use the Medieval Monday Index to discover other topics relating to daily life in the Middle Ages.