Medieval & English Civil War Experience
Copyright © Des & Judith Thomas (Historical Services To Schools) 2016 All Rights Reserved
With Ned (Young Ned) Carlewe & Judith Carlewe
Colonell Granville Thomas with Mistress Judith Thomas
14th - 15th Century
Back Into The Past
Death and Medieval Life
Average life expectancy was quite low at about 30 years, but this takes into account infant mortality. Two out of five children did not reach adulthood (16yrs). There ware "old" people some people survived into middle age and old people even in rural communities. In the few decades before the arrival of the Plague in 1348 there had not been any epidemic diseases that might have infected and killed substantial numbers of people.
Death / Dying:
To people who lived at the time it was important to have a "Good Death" this was essential to ensure the safe journey from this world to the next. There was a need to shorten the time in Purgatory and ease the pain whilst there. The deathbed was a battlefield where the forces of good and evil, mercy and condemnation fought over the soul of the dying person. A priest used a variety of powers and accoutrements of his office, images of the Virgin Mary, Intercession of Saints and the Holy Host to save the soul of the dying person.
Statute of Labourers:
To curb peasants roaming around the countryside looking for better pay, the government introduced the Statute of Labourers in 1351 that stated:-
No Peasants could be paid more than the wage paid in 1346.
No Lord or Master should offer more wages than paid in 1346.
No peasant could leave the village they belonged to without the permission of their masters.
This changed after the Black Death of 1348 to 1350 when there was a shortage of peasants to work the land. There was land left without owners so became avilable for peasants to buy up this spare land.
We relate to the children how our lives have changed in relation to our ancesters. How my father saw his uncle, my Great Uncle Ned, set off the war in France where he died of his wounds. My grandfather remembers people talking about the Great Plague of 1348, how his father was able to get work with much reduced restrictions from the Lords of the Manor.
Once we were given some land and property by Margaret Clifford our family flourished, with careful marriages of my three daughters and the use of their dowry's that went with them we were able to build up ownership of land from about 3 Roods to 12 acres in a very good location near the river. We added to the buildings on our land and we now have a two story building with five rooms, a flock of 48 sheep including a breeding Ram, 2 Oxen, 7 Sows, (my eldest daughter has a Boar for breeding) plus large numbers of laying hens and 2 Milk Cows.