Sunteți pe pagina 1din 5

The Medieval Church The Medieval Church played a far greater role in Medieval England than the Church

does today. In Medieval England, the Church dominated everybody's life. All Medieval people - be they village peasants or to ns people - believed that !od, "eaven and "ell all e#isted. $rom the very earliest of ages, the people ere taught that the only ay they could get to "eaven as if the %oman Catholic Church let them. Everybody ould have been terrified of "ell and the people ould have been told of the sheer horrors a aiting for them in "ell in the ee&ly services they attended. The control the Church had over the people as total. 'easants or&ed for free on Church land. This proved difficult for peasants as the time they spent or&ing on Church land, could have been better spent or&ing on their o n plots of land producing food for their families. They paid ()* of hat they earned in a year to the Church +this ta# as called tithes,. Tithes could be paid in either money or in goods produced by the peasant farmers. As peasants had little money, they almost al ays had to pay in seeds, harvested grain, animals etc. This usually caused a peasant a lot of hardship as seeds, for e#ample, ould be needed to feed a family the follo ing year. -hat the Church got in tithes as &ept in huge tithe barns. a lot of the stored grain ould have been eaten by rats or poisoned by their urine. A failure to pay tithes, so the peasants ere told by the Church, ould lead to their souls going to "ell after they had died.

Now a museum, this building was once a tithe barn serving Maidstone, Kent This is one reason hy the Church as so ealthy. /ne of the reasons "enry 0III anted to reform the Church as get hold of the Catholic Church's money. 'eople ere too scared not to pay tithes despite the difficulties it meant for them. 1ou also had to pay for baptisms +if you ere not baptised you could not go to "eaven hen you died,, marriages +there ere no couples living together in Medieval times as the Church taught that this e2ualed sin, and burials - you had to be buried on holy land if your soul as to get to heaven. -hichever ay you loo&ed, the Church received money.

Archbishop's Palace in Maidstone, Kent The Church also did not have to pay ta#es. This saved them a vast sum of money and made it far more ealthy than any &ing of England at this time. The sheer ealth of the Church is best sho n in its buildings 3 cathedrals, churches and monasteries. In Medieval England, peasants lived in cruc& houses. These ere filthy, usually no more than t o rooms, ith a ooden frame covered ith attle and daub +a mi#ture of mud, stra and manure,. 4o cruc& houses e#ist no - most simply collapsed after a hile as they ere so poorly built. "o ever, there are many Medieval churches around. The ay they ere built and have lasted for centuries, is an indication of ho ell they ere built and the money the Church had to invest in these building.

This church in Rottingdean, East Susse , is nearl! "### !ears old$ %t was made o& stone and built to last$ %t would have been much larger than a Medieval peasant's cruc' house$ Important cities ould have cathedrals in them. The most famous cathedrals ere at Canterbury and 1or&. After the death of Thomas 5ec&et,Canterbury Cathedral became a center for pilgrimage and the city gre more and more ealthy. 6o did the Church.

Cathedrals ere vast. They are big by our standards today, but in Medieval England they ere bigger than all buildings including royal palaces. Their sheer si7e meant that people ould see them from miles around, and remind them of the huge po er of the Catholic Church in Medieval England.

This entrance to Amiens (athedral in )rance shows *ust how vast cathedrals were$ The doors alone are over +# &eet tall, while the 'porch' which surrounds it ma'es this doorwa! nearl! ,# &eet tall- taller than man! houses now . To or& on the building of a cathedral as a great honour. Those ho did the s&illed or& had to belong to a guild. They ould have used 8ust the most basic of tools and less than strong scaffolding to do the ceilings. "o ever, if you ere &illed in an accident hile or&ing in a cathedral or a church, you ere guaranteed a place in "eaven - or so the or&ers ere told.

Medieval (hurches and Monasteries Apart from the manor, the church ere usually the manor villages. as the main focus of community life. Church parishes

The parish priest as appointed by the lord of the manor and as given a house. "e as obliged to carry money for alms ith him, &eep up the church, and provide hospitality to travellers. Priestl! .uties$ The priest as usually a commoner by birth, though serfs ere tied to the land and ere not allo ed to become priests. The priest officiated at church services, eddings, baptisms, funerals, and visited the ill. "e earned his living from the income for parish lands, fees for services, and tithe money. Tithing$ Tithing as a system hereby each person as e#pected to give (9() of their earnings to support the church. The tithe income as divided up evenly bet een the parish priest, the church maintenance fund, the poor, and the bishop.

/ses o& the (hurch$ The chancel + here the altar is, belonged to the lord. The nave and the to er belonged to the people of the parish. Manor courts ere often held in the nave, and tenants came there to pay their rent, or scot. A free meal as given to those ho paid their scot, hence our term, :scot free:. The church to er occasionally served double duty as the priest's residence and often as built to be defended in times of trouble. 6chool as held in the church porch or in a room over it. The church's role ent far beyond religion. it as the centre of village community life. !ifts of barley to the church ere common. The church reeve ould hare the barley bre ed into ale and sold to raise money for the up&eep of the church. The term :church ale: is still used today to describe fund-raising for the church. (hurch Services and Pla!s$ /riginally, people stood in the nave to hear the church service. 'e s ere not introduced until the (;th century. 5ecause fe could read, 5iblical stories ere often acted out for the congregation in the form of miracle plays. These plays evolved into cycles or collections, beginning ith the Creation and ending ith the <ast =udgement. The plays ere performed in the churchyard or porch. In the (;th century morality plays appeared, in hich moral ideas combatted +e.g. 0irtue vs. 0ice,.

A (Bth century abbot preaching +note the lac& of pe s, (hurch Mar'ets$ In the (>th and (?th centuries mar&ets ere often held in the churchyard, though this practice as officially banned in (>@;. A special hut, or Tolbooth, housed a court hich regulated the affairs of the mar&et. In time the Tolbooth became a permanent fi#ture of the To n "all. Monasteries$ Monasteries ere the other main form of church presence. They ere selfcontained enclaves here mon&s or nuns chose to live a simple life of prayer and or&. At least that as the theory. In practice mon&s at least ere often critici7ed for their la#ity and concern ith orldly affairs. The first monasteries adhered to the 5enedictine %ule, established by 6t. 5enedict in the Ath century. In the early (>th century the Cistercians, under 6t.5ernard of Clairvau#, advocated a return to simplicity and a rededication to simplicity in monastic life and in the architecture of the church buildings themselves. Cistercian monasteries ere established in remote areas to emphasi7e this ideal. Today they are the among the most interesting and evocative ruins of the Middle Ages. Mon's and 0oo's. At !loucester Cathedral, hich as originally a 5enedictine monastery church, can be seen the carrells, or individual study noo&s, built into the cloister. There the

mon&s advent These indo

ould study their precious boo&s. As the numbers of boo&s increased ith the of the printing press, special library rooms ere built, usually over the cloister ere long narro halls ith booths for reading set at right angles to fre2uent s. 5oo&s ere chained to the des&s for safety.

al&.

)riars$ $riars first appeared in the (?th century. They ere clergy not attached to any particular parish, and indeed had no visible means of support. They re8ected the monastic ideal of seclusion, and ent to live among to nspeople and survived by begging. These mendicant friars ere enormously popular, much more so than priests or mon&s, ho ere often seen as rich and indolent. The main orders of mendicant friars ere the Cominicans and the $ranciscans.