20

Probably more common than you would think. Lots of nobles were little more than farmers with a coat of arms. Peasants could acquire a lot of wealth. Where the division between the two classes fell varied enormously between countries, as well as the relative status. To give an example: In Sweden, the noble class was created in 1280, when anyone who could ...


10

It's hard to prove a negative (outside of math, of course), but let me try to show why this would be extremely rare (and mostly exist in legends). The institution of marriage exists to protect the woman and to seal a family alliance. Neither reason would apply to a marriage of a high-born and a low-born: There is no alliance to seal (there is nothing the ...


9

Okay - I got duck-souped rock-souped1 into an answer on this one based on this paper (Thank you Gort the Robot) that analyzed about 200 adult skeletons over the time period 1100 to 1300 for a small Danish village. The author's estimate that the village had about 700 total births over that time period. From my comments above: The results are fair, in the ...


9

In addition to preserving, there were various techniques to start the growing season very early. Some vegetables can be planted very early and harvested within a month or two. Radishes are particularly fast growing. Also beets, onions, rutabaga, carrots, turnips, peas, rhubarb, spinach, asparagus, and leeks. They can be planted earlier if covered with ...


9

Salting, brining, smoking and fermenting were all common methods of Medieval food preservation used in autumn in preparation for the lean winter months. Note that in Northern Europe it would still be possible to fish through much of the winter, allowing for cod and herring to comprise much of the diet, particularly for coastal regions. Many foods ...


9

Medieval times span ten centuries and a continent. An English village in 1400 would be far from a Norwegian village in 500. That makes generalizations difficult. Here I'm thinking of the 11th or 12th century, England, France or the HRE. Many villages had a church, but that did not mean there was a full-time priest. (That would be a chapel of ease, unlike a ...


6

There were latrines, aka public toilets, in the Roman era... to the extent that Vespasian set out to institute a urine tax, and public urinals still hold the latter's name today in some countries. They continued to exist afterwards into the middle ages. There may have been times where they weren't as commonplace as they could have been, but they most ...


4

Literacy rates in the 15h century were on the order of 10%, and that would have been concentrated in professions (clergy, law, government) - so let's halve that for the village population. I wish I could dig into the numbers to distinguish between literacy and functional literacy. the 10th largest town in England had approximately 5000 people - we can ...


3

Since I have a great memory and access to the internet I quickly found a case of the child of a mighty noble and a peasant becoming his father's successor, but unfortunately they don't seem to have been married. Oldrich, Duke of Bohemia 1012-1033 and 1033-1042 apparently had no surviving children with his unnamed wife, but had his son and heir with his ...


2

There are some examples. King Erik XIV of Sweden married the servant Karin MÃ¥nsdotter in 1567 (not really middle ages, but quite close). Karin MÃ¥nsdotter was the daughter of a soldier/jailkeeper and a peasant. Only two of the six marriages Henry VIII made to secure an heir were with royal brides, and Elizabeth Woodville, queen of Edward IV of England, was ...


1

In towns one might see a medieval equivalent of these public urinals: or even: For some reason these very space- and time-efficient conveniences have never caught on in North America; but they are everywhere in big towns of the Netherlands.


1

No. Not for peasants. Wealthy families might have a primer, a book with the alaphbet, prayers, and stories that a child might learn from. Nicholas Orme's book Medieval Schools: From Roman Britain to Renaissance England describes many examples of schooling but it was still for the wealthy or religious. By the late 14th century there were free schools ...


1

I would say for the majority of inhabitants the answers presented here are correct, however there are a few notable exceptions, especially in renaissance italy (and other cities with a strong merchant class). For example, the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice is an early public manuscript depository available since 1362. The English Wikipedia lacks a bit in ...


1

Before the printing press was invented in 1439 the only books were hand copied ones. Building a "large" library first required that you trained a team of scribes to write, and then found places to borrow books that they could copy. Fun fact: actually, you didn't need to train most of your scribes to read as well as write, because book copying was often done ...


1

There may have been "libraries" in villages, but they were private libraries. Typically maintained by the local church or monastery, or by a handful of wealthy citizens. They would have had maybe a few dozen books, the Bible, religious books, and maybe the "classics." These were rare and expensive. Most people couldn't read, and apart from the Bible, most ...


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