The Fruits of Civilization (21-3) Taxation


Peasants were obliged to labor to some extent on the lord’s manor or for his benefit: 3 days a week was typical. Women spun yarn and wove cloth. Children were employed as household servants.

Beginning in the 10th century a social movement began which gathered pace with distinct intensities in different places: to commute labor services into rent payment. Some rent was collected on a regular basis, while other obligations came due on special occasions. Livestock, including chickens, and other commodities were forked over, as was money, in whatever form.

In 13th-century England, manorial extractions from peasants may have been 50% or more in some places. A tithe to the church, and at times royal taxation, were sometimes heaped on top. Peasants were purposely kept impoverished.