During the medieval era, in Europe, people lived in a society dominated by class distinctions. At the top of the social structure—depicted here as a pyramid—was the King. At the bottom of the social structure were the peasants (also called serfs in some countries). This image, depicting the feudal pyramid, is online via Medieval Ages. Click on it for a better view.


The 14th century was a time of social class distinctions.  Nobility was nobility. Common was common. The two did not mix.

One could not expect to be born into the lower, common class and easily move into the higher, noble class. Life was not structured that way.

Nobles owned the land; peasants worked the land. Most of the common folk did not read or write. Their lot in life was to make things easier for the people with power, money and prestige.

Before the Black Death killed so many people, peasant uprisings were rare. After the Black Death, fewer workers possessed greater ability to express their grievances.

They weren’t always met with understanding on the part of the nobles, however. Sometimes - as in the case of Wat Tyler - execution was swift and without a trial.

A swift end, in those days, was often a blessing. Not everyone who was put to death was able to avoid the kind of torture common in the Middle Ages.

0 Question or Comment?
click to read or comment
2 Questions 2 Ponder
click to read and respond
0 It's Awesome!
vote for your favorite

Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: May 01, 2001

Updated Last Revision: Mar 08, 2016

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"FEUDAL CLASS DISTINCTIONS" AwesomeStories.com. May 01, 2001. Jan 17, 2020.
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Show tooltips