By Adam Woog
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Extra resources for The Late Middle Ages
However, seen strictly as a political and economic system, feudalism worked fairly well. It established and maintained a well-organized means of bringing in crops, managing land, levying armies, collecting taxes, and performing other actions to keep the system functioning. And everyone, including the king, had duties and obligations for which they were legally responsible. In some ways the social hierarchy of the Middle Ages can be seen as an extension of religious thought of the time. According to medieval Christianity, a person’s duty was to stay where God willed—a clear parallel to feudalism.
56 The lands that the nobility managed were called fiefs. A fief ’s profits came from crops, fees for grazing and fishing rights, timber, livestock, and game. Indirectly, a fief produced other sources of revenue such as rent to use the lord’s mill, a license to collect tolls on a road, or even permission to mint money. Feudalism was clearly unfair in many ways to many people. However, seen strictly as a political and economic system, feudalism worked fairly well. It established and maintained a well-organized means of bringing in crops, managing land, levying armies, collecting taxes, and performing other actions to keep the system functioning.
An heir who is under age is only to take reasonable receipts from the heir’s land and reasonable customs and reasonable services, and this without destruction or waste of men or things. And if we assign custody of any such land to a sheriff or to anyone else who should answer to us for the issues, and such a person should commit destruction or waste, we will take recompense from him. . No sheriff or bailiff of us or of anyone else is to take anyone’s horses or carts to make carriage, unless he renders the payment customarily due .