In Northern Europe and in England following the Norman conquest, the countryside came to be organised into land-management units called manors. The manor is usually defined as an estate held by a lord, comprising a demesne directly exploited by the lord, and peasant holdings from which he collected rents and fees.
The lord's manor would consist of parcels of land rented out to peasant farmers, and his own farm (the demesne) which would be worked by peasants who were performing service as rent, or by full-time paid labourers (both peasants and lords eventually came to prefer cash rents to rent paid in the form of labour). Some manors were larger than others, and some contained much demesne land, some little, a few none. Demesne land migh tlie in a compact parcel, seperate from the peasants' own fields, or it might lie scattered in strips like those of the tenants with which it was intermingled.
The village where the peasants lived would usually fall within the manor. There would contain a mill, where the peasants would get their corn ground into flour (paying a portion of the flour as fee). There would be a church , which was central to most people's lives in the medieval era. There would be a blacksmith's forge. There might be various other specialised craftsmen in the village, like a shoemaker, dyer, etc. There would be alehouses, which were often ordinary village houses where the woman of the house would temporarily set up an alehouse to sell the surplus ale sh ehad made (brewing ale was a woman's job).
The manor house, where the lord and his family lived, would be an important part of the manor.
some manor houses had moats to keep lviestock in and wild animals out. Manor houses were sometimes contsturcted over a ground-level undercroft, used for storage. There would be akitchen and a bakehouse, and a dairy, equiopped with cheese presses, settling pans, strainers, earthenware jars, and churns. there would be barns where grain was stored. There would be stable houses which housed horses, oxen, and cows, as well as carts, tools, and harnesses. The grounds would accomdate a garden and an orchard.
Inside a manor house would be the great hall, where meals would be eaten, and where meetings would take place, and activities like dancing etc. there would be sleeping chambers for the lord and his faimly and retainers. There would be a chapel for private services and prayer. some manors had indoor plumbing and running water, otherwise baths would be taken in a wooden tub, which would be filled and emptired by servants. Latrines were usually positioned over a stream or river when possible, or if not, over a pit which would be emptired regualrly. The walls of the manor house would be brightened by paintings, or by woven tapestries. The floor would be spread with rushes and herbs, which were swept away and replaced reguarly.
Answered By: Louise C - 11/28/2009