In the middle ages Religion was a huge part of life. Every Sunday everyone would gather in church. There wasn't really an option of what religion you could be. Mostly you were just Catholic. England used to be a Catholic country. It was possible (if you did something VERY bad) to be excommunicated from the church. This was terrible and reuined your whole social life.
* People went to church to make sure they spent as little time in Purgatory (Place of Judgment) as possible and just went straight to heaven. If you were excommunicated they believed you would probably go to Hell.
In the Medieval times they didn't have democracy or votes to as to who was going to run the country, oh no! They had Kings. You were either born a king or you fought your way down to the title. Let's use William of Normany as an example. King William fought a huge battle, it was called the battle of hastings. He had to kill the present king at that time AND then he had to gain the power of london and England. Gawd knows how he did it but he managed to become king. Now lets look at King Henry the 8th his daughter Elizabeth the 1st inherited the throne from him. DON'T GET CONFUSED though. King Henry the 8th DID NOT live in the Middle Ages.
* Kings controled everything that happened in England EXCEPT the church. They made laws, sometimes held courts. NOT THE CHURCH though.
The Feudal System
The Feudal System:
King William (who we just talked about) took power, but he didn't know anything about England or how it should be run. So he made a desision. He would run it by himself. In his own way. The Feudal System. He invited all of his Norman friends (France today) over to England and told them he would make them Lords and give them land but in exchange they would have to swear an oath of loyalty and give him food off their land, but I'm getting ahead of myself now. No, the first thing he did, is took in ALL the land for himself. This meant he owned the WHOLE of England. So he decided that he'd have to give some to his lords (the ones we just mentioned) So he chose one section of the land to keep for himself, and the rest - he split that up for the lords, the lords then split up their land for knights in exchange for the knights serving them, the knights then spit up their land for farmers who in exchange farmed the knight's land, and then the peasants then worked with the farmers for a small amount of money and very rarely owned any land themselves..
* These pieces of land of land often turned into little towns which had walls around them and were built for defence. These were called: THE MOTTE AND BAILEY CASTLES
Castles and Attacking a Castle
Castles and Attacking a Castle:
Castles were homes, forts towns and towers. Mainly though, they cared about the security and defence level of a castle.
The most commonn castles (the ones we mentioned earlier) were Motte and Bailey. Let me describe them......
There's a wall around a tower, on a hill, that's all you can see from the outside. Inside though there's a town, houses, peoples own land. In the tower the lord lives. He's the boss of this place! In the tower gaurds take turns on the look out. The strong wall around should protect you from others, and being on a hill makes it easy to shoot down from the tower.
*There were lots of different castle this is just ONE of them. However, this is the one you'll probably be asked about in the exams.
The Black Death
The Black Death:
Now everyone is interested in this one! I'll give a brief summary of it, I'm sure you can find THIS on other parts of the internet. Firstly, hundreds of people still actually die of this plague every year. That's right - TODAY in the 21st century!! Secondly there were two forms of the plague: Bubonic and Mnumonic. Let me put these forms into perspective for you. If you had the Bubonic plague it meant it had been passed on straight from the fleas who carried the illness, you had huge buboes (bumps/swellings) where the fleas had bitten you and you would die in a few weeks. Mnumonic plague was passed on from people who had Bubonic plague (this plague was CONTAGIOUS) which meant it travelled FAST. With Mnumonic plague you would die within a few days. When someone turned out to have Bubonic/Mnumonic plague in your family the house was closed and you were made to stay in there until everyone died. Even if you were perfectly healthy you were not allowed out. *Next card
Black Death - Continued
Many people believe the plague traveled with the rats and they were got gave you the plague. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Well maybe some of it. The Black Plague originated from Asia, whom at the time were trading lots of goods with Europe. The fleas living in Asia developed to have the plague, but it did not kill them, instead it killed those who the flea bit. The fleas lived on rats, the rats boarded lots of the ships going to England and found themselves in paradise with all the rubbish the Englishman left out on the street in those days. However consequently from the fleas bites the rats died, leaving the fleas looking for others blood to **** on, like a human. They eventually got rid of the plague by cleaning up their act and keeping people in their homes. This was harsh but needed to be done because of the rate at which the plague was travelling. Some say that now scientists have come up with a vaccination to protect us from the plague today if it strikes again. Others claim we would have no chance as scientists are still struggling, but what we all know is: it was a truly deadly disease.
Battle of Hastings
The Battle Of Hastings:
We talked a bit earlier about how it was possible to become king, we used King William as an example. We also talked about The Battle of Hastings. Basically a king (Edward the Confessor) had just died - but hadn't an heir to the throne, three men thought they should be king, Harold Hadraada (A viking who believed he should be king because he had taken over some of England, William of Normandy (A french man who said that Harold earl of Wessex had sworn an oath on holy lerics promising so) and Harold earl of Wessex (Edward's cousin who was like a son to him and had helped him manage England when he'd been king.) Who do you think it should be? Basically (google it because this isn't much information.) (Harold W = Harold earl of Wessex, Harold H= Harold Hadraada, Will= William of Normandy) Harold W was put up for the throne when Edward died, he then had to defeat Harold H who invaded, then march all the way up to the other side of England to defeat Will, he did not - so Will won the crown. :) That was QUICK!! A very, very SHORT summary I warn you.
Or Robert Hood, Robin Wood, Hobbehood - noone really knows. Robin Hood is a legend. Historians guesses are that he was a story told among the peasants. If you were a criminal and you were caught, you would probably just tell them a false name such as one of these. There are lots of court records with any of these names, but why didn't they just stick to one name?
Answer: They probably did at first, but as the story was told generation after generation the name probably changed. Like when you play chinese whispers!
Basically though, the movies you watch and the shows you see are NOT real. Well, that's what some believe, but what do you think? Do you think there was really a Robin Hood? There's no wrong or right answer! *There's several theories, this is just one :)
First, if you want to pass your exam, please watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeD79bcvXUQ&feature=relatedease
You may've noticed some VERY grimy things in that video, ESPECIALLY that part with the animals (had to look away) but Dan Snow isn't joking, in the Middle Ages it WAS filthy! So mainly talking about London, yes it was disgusting and filthy, but they certainly learned from it :)
Now I've taught you all I know. Go into that exam room with confidence. You've got it! As long as you googled my VERY short summaries and watched the video, I'm sure you'll pass with flashing lights! ;) I wish you the very best of luck!