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Comparison and Contrast of Manorialism and FeudalismManorialism is the term used to describe the economic system of the Middle Ages By the 9th century manorialism was well established in Northern France western Germany the Low Countries and in Northern Italy Eventually it spread to England Spain and Central and Eastern Europe Manors varied enormously in size Each estate was organized roughly the same way The Peasants lived in cottages in a village usually located near a stream while the Lord and his family resided in a castle or manor house Part of the arable land called the demesne was reserved for the Lords use and was farmed for him by the peasants The peasants held and cultivated the rest for their own use in the open field system whereby scattered strips of land of about an acre from different sections of the manor were allotted to each villager Since not all of the land was equally fertile the open field system allowed for the distribution of plots roughly similar quality to each peasant The peasants used the nonarable land usually pasture meadow and woods in common Two classes of peasants evolved during the early middle ages freemen and serfs Freemen were peasants who paid rent for their land were not required to work in the demesne and were free to leave the manor by finding other tenants to take their place The number of free peasants on a manor declined as deteriorating conditions forced them to give up their rights in return for protection and food More than half the population of Charlemagnes realm consisted of serfs and peasants attached by heredity to the land who could not leave the manor without the Lords permission Serfs owed certain services and dues to the Lord such as obligatory labor on the demesne for two or three days each week and the payment of a yearly tax The Lords obtained additional services of fees from both serfs
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