Feudalism and Land Essay

7802 Words Sep 28th, 2009 32 Pages
Did the Advantages of Feudalism outweigh the disadvantages?

In order to attempt to answer a question such as this we must briefly describe the Feudal system then look at the advantages of having feudalism as a system and also the disadvantages and then secondly look at the alternatives if there was no such system in place.

Let us first look at the Feudal system itself. The Feudal system was introduced to England and spread throughout Britain by William the Conqueror after 1066 and the Battle of Hastings. Normandy and indeed most of France already had a form of Feudalism in place and King William required a hierarchical system of security which guaranteed him loyalty, particularly in the form of an army. Feudalism was the key.
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Balancing these advantages, there were obligations, or disadvantages, for the various groups of a feudalistic society. As a result of the king’s gifts to the barons, in many areas they would have had a higher profile than the monarch himself, and it was the baron that the common people would support. Convincing knights to serve him could be a difficult task, and yet that was what the barons must do if they wished to keep the king’s favour. The knights could at any time be called to battle. They were also bound in service to their baron if they wished to keep their land. The peasants were bound by service, relatively poor in that they had to give up most of their production, and sometimes badly treated and denied by birthright of advancing in the social status.

For society as a whole feudalism gave order to daily life, and kept society, or the kingdom, running smoothly. For the barons, their knights and the peasants the common advantage of feudal society was gaining the use of more land and the protection of a more powerful “lord”. The king, barons, and knights all gained by the service of their vassals (by those below them in power and status). For this they ‘suffered’ by giving up some of their own possessions, mainly land, in return for services. Though the peasants were the poorest people of the society, to some extent they held the balance of power in their

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