Key Stage 3 History: Medieval Life 4: Country Life – Work


In blog 4 of our Key Stage 3 History series we look at Medieval country life.

Country Life – Work

Well, life seems to have calmed down a bit now. We’re back on our feet and back into the old back-breaking routine of work, work, work.

It is hard work in the country, right the way through the year. In the spring we have to plough all the fields. We have oxen to pull the ploughs. You would not believe the arguments some villages have! Because everyone owns just a couple of strips in each field, people try to move the boundaries between strips, or turn their oxen on other people’s strips… It can get really nasty. Lucky for us we all get on fine mostly so we all work together and plough the whole field together.

Then we have to sow the seeds, keep them watered, weed them, keep the birds off them, harvest them in autumn, thresh the crops, give some to the lord, sell some, keep some for ourselves… It really is never ending. All my children help, but they need a watchful eye, especially my Tommy. Honestly, that boy is a lazy bones!

Once all the harvesting is done we have to start preparing for the winter. We have to make sure the house is ok, mend any holes, make sure we have covers for the windows. We help our neighbour, old Mrs Miller too. She’s own her own now and she can’t sort her house by herself. We also kill some of the animals and salt them to store for food over winter. The rest of the animals we have to keep as warm as possible, sometimes even bringing them into the house with us. The smell is unbelievable but if the cows die we literally can’t survive.

And then the worst time of the year starts. I hate the cold so much! Sometimes it feels like I’ll never get warm again. We never take our clothes off in winter so we need a good bath come spring! And then it’s spring again and it starts all over again. No holidays, hardly any days off, just a constant cycle of work. No wonder my poor back feels so bad.

Penny Brooks

Tutor

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