Repaired lord's roads, bridges, fences Worked several days a week sunup to sundown farming domain In return for lifetime of labor, peasants had right to farm several acres for themselves
Peasant family ate a simple diet of black bread with vegetables such as peas, cabbage, turnips, or onions Seldom had meat unless poached wild game at the risk of hash punishment A meal might include fish if living by a river Hunger was common, especially in late winter
Peasants had no schooling and no knowledge of a larger world. Most peasants never ventured more than a few miles from their village. Lived in a manor, which was essentially a self-sufficient world. They produced almost everything then needed, from food and clothing to simple furniture and tools. Water mill was nearby to grind grain, a tiny church, and the manor house. fields surrounding the village were divided into strips of land in different fields so that good and bad land was shared fairly.
Found occasions such as marriages and births despite life's grimness. Breaks came of holidays like Christmas and Easter, when they had a week off from work. Dozens of other festivals in the Christian calendar brought days off too. Might butcher animals so they could feast on meat. Might also be dancing and rough sports, from wrestling to ball games.
Peasants might attend chapel on the sabbath. After services, they gossiped or danced even though the priest might condemn racy songs or rowdy behavior. In medieval Europe, people believed in elves, fairies, and other nature spirits. Also had faith in love potions and magic charms and witches could cast a spell with one look. Where villagers had once sacrificed to the gods of sun and rain to ensure good crops, a priest might bless the fields in the name of Christ.
Had to pay the lord a fee when they married, inherited father's acres, or when they used the local mill to grind grain. Because money largely disappeared from medieval Europe, they paid with products such as grain, fruit, honey, eggs, or chickens. Other payments fell due at Christmas and Easter.