When aggression, plunder and the violation of individuals’ rights were the norm, feudal rules were much needed to help make a living. It was hard to survive without exchanging services or sharing products. Kings depended on tenants-in-chief for their support, but in return for other rewards, namely lands. On their part, tenants-in-chief would provide knights and squires with smaller fiefs, but in return for their loyalty in wartime. Others, like peasants or commoners, had neither the skills nor weapons to position themselves, but they had the chance to work as servants in return for a shelter and protection. It was through these undeclared mechanisms that feudal rule prevailed as the chief machinery to manage political, economic and even religious concerns in medieval England.
Feudal Rules and Medieval Communities
Due to the complexity of social relations during the medieval times, feudalism proved efficient to manage medieval communities. It meant the subordination of certain classes to certain others. More precisely, it was based on mutual exchange of services between the classes of the day. Yet, it did never mean that feudalism was purely social.
In medieval times, feudalism was more than a social system. It was a means to protect a population at a time looting and pillaging were very common. It was a means to conduct wars and campaigns as far as lords and knights were ready to serve their vassal. Feudalism was a regime that helped allocate products for different classes in medieval communities. It was a system of differentiation between jobs such as peasants, knights and barons. On a whole, feudalism helped develop societies as it helped establish institutions, generate sources of wealth and mainly maintain order and stability in many instances. Yet, at the same time, it brought plenty of devastating effects.
Feudal rule chained peasants and serfs to their baronies and manors. Lords used to prohibit all that might threaten their wealth, namely travels. peasants could not complain of their miserable conditions. They had to pay whatever the taxes or the fines were. Communities lived in the limits of feudal rule in the sense that illiteracy and poverty were prevalent. Lust for power and wealth did only violate the rights and liberties of lower classes. Overall, feudalism led to inhuman practices to the extent that a brother could kill his brother to ascend the throne.