Here is the third in our series of Key Stage 3 History blogs on Medieval Life. In blog 3 we stay with the Black Death and examine its consequences.
Well, the local priest isn’t going to find out about my thoughts about the causes of the Black Death – because he has died himself. And we aren’t getting a new priest. My husband heard when he went to London last week that one in three people in the whole country have died. And amongst priests, the death rate is even higher. Is that because they have to see so make plague victims? They are called to give the last rites to all the victims so they come into contact with the plague more than most. Whatever the reason, we are left without a priest to guide us or hear our confessions, God save our souls.
It’s not all bad though. Because so many people have died, there are fewer people to do work. Which means we can demand more money for our labour. Lords need us to work the land, so unless they wish to do the work themselves, they have to pay more.
Although it’s not as good as it sounds. My husband also heard during his jaunt into London that a new law is on the way. Apparently it makes it illegal for lords to pay more to get people to work for them. And on top of that, we will have to ask permission from our lord to move to another village. That’s so unfair. If we find a lord who pays more, we can’t go unless our stingy lord lets us. Fat chance of that!
And to make matters worse, food is now really expensive. So many peasants have died that whole fields of crops have been ruined across the country. Food is getting scarce, so prices are going up. And once again, are the lords helping? Of course not. Quite a few have decided that the best way to deal with increasing wages is to employ fewer people. So instead of growing crops, they keep sheep instead – they need fewer people to look after them. Which not only means there are fewer jobs for us poor peasants, it also means there is even less food. You mark my words, the Black Death may be over for this year, but many more will die before the season is out. From sheer starvation.
Sorry. I’m ranting at you aren’t I? It’s just so unfair! It’s alright for the rich. They can just do what they want and look away. We’re the ones stuck dealing with the consequences.
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