A Medieval Life: Cecelia Penifader Of Brigstock
What are the key institutions that shape Cecelia’s life? What role does each one play?One key institution that shaped Cecelia’s life was her village and community that she lived in and was a part of. The village and the community that existed there shaped her life by being all she knew, which shaped her into who she became during the course of her life. It was able to give her everything she needed. The village was large and was surrounded by large pieces of land. The way the feudal system was set up in the village and what the village offered allowed Cecelia to gain everything she did throughout her life, especially land and wealth. Living there taught her everything she knew about gaining land, farming, having people to work her land, and selling what she produced since she did a lot of that during her childhood. Another key institution that shaped Cecelia’s life was the church. The church was at the center of Cecelia’s life and it was a place she could go to for community gatherings as well as religious masses throughout the week. The church was able to be incorporated into many aspects of her daily life which definitely shaped Cecelia’s life greatly. The last key institution that shaped her life is the Brigstock manor that she lived and worked on. This shaped her life by being run differently than most pieces of land were at that time. At Brigstock, the landlords were not there so Cecelia was able to be a little more free to do what she pleased compared to other peasants working on different lands who were under strict landlord rule. She still had to work on the land and pay taxes to her landlord but her and the other peasants were able to manage the land which was a little uncommon at this time. Cecelia was able to experience a lot more different things and had more opportunities to succeed than most peasants ever got to during the middle ages.
How did manorialism/feudalism shape peoples’ lives in the middle ages? During the middle ages, feudalism played a major role in people’s lives. It determined whether you were going to work for someone or if you were going to tell people what to do and receive the benefit. With this system, there was a hierarchy that people would fit into. The king was the top of the ladder. The land was divided into smaller portions called comites, or counts. Landlords were then put in control of a piece of land, or their estate. The lowest was the peasants, who then would work on this land while paying taxes to the landlords. The landlords were receiving all of the benefit from the peasants work. The peasants basically took care of the entire community through their hard work and had to listen to commands given to them by their higher-ups regardless if they liked it or not.
How did religion structure peoples’ lives in the medieval period? During this period, religion was the focal point of the society. The two churches in Cecelia’s village, Saint Andrew and Saint Peter, were located right in the center of the community which shows how central the church really was to the people during this time. The people would use these churches consistently for many different types of events other than church worship. However, they did have a mass every day in the churches and it was very popular to attend on Sundays. The book also brings up how important the beliefs in pagan practices were to these people. Instead of the church being angry at people for believing in and using folk practices, it actually brought those practices into the community’s lives even more through making holy days accompany pagan gods or times of harvest. Since the church was so willing to accommodate the people’s beliefs, it shows how important the church was. Due to how central the church was to the people, religion was incorporated into many aspects of the people’s everyday lives.
In what ways does being a woman put limits on Cecelia’s life? Being a woman in this society at this time did not give them a lot of opportunity; women were very limited in what they were able to do. Men, on the other hand, receive many and most opportunities to succeed. Most of this restriction had to do with not being able to have any role in politics, government, or military. In relation to the community as a whole, this restriction did not allow women to become too powerful; men had to be the leaders. Going along with that, the law did not protect women in the same manner as it protected men. Men were let off the hook most of the time, even if they were guilty of doing something, whereas women were not if they ever did something wrong; women would always receive the punishment. Women also could not participate in the tithings that the men had to be a part of once they turned twelve. Women were not able to own property or anything of that sort unless it was inherited from their family or from marriage. Lastly, women were not allowed to be educated and most could not read.
In what ways does Cecelia seem to be able to navigate around traditional restrictions on women? Cecelia was able to get around a lot of the traditional restrictions on women throughout her life. Most women peasants did not ever inherit much. However, she was alive during the great famine, but her parents did not survive. Since her family was wealthy, her parents left her a good amount to inherit. Women during the middle ages had to inherit money, land, etc. However, if one did end up inheriting a decent amount, they were subject to others in the community being angry. Because of this fact, Cecelia did not brag about her wealth and kept it quiet, since what happened to her does not happen to every woman. With this, she was able to invest in property, which not many peasants, especially women, were doing at this time. Since she had so much land, she had to employ people to work on it, and she really chose any type of person to run her land. With a lot of hands, she was able to produce things like food and then sell it to the community for profit, but she also knew to use some land for pastures so that she did not need so many people working for her.
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What are the key institutions that shape Cecelia’s life? What role does each one play?One key institution that shaped Cecelia’s life was her village and community that she lived in […]