Living History


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Household life

Brief History

Camping in style

Past Events

The Res Miranda Collection






When a nobleman referred to his “family”, “household” or “menie”, he included both his blood kin and all his servants and dependents. Obligations work both ways: the lord has not only to pay but feed, clothe and maintain the health of all those who serve his needs. He is also under an obligation to give alms and feed the poor. After meals the almoner will take any leftover food to the gates to give to the poor. The following illustration from the Hours of Henry VIII shows Dives feasting and denying Lazarus any food, the bottom border shows his punishment.


His wife must accord him precedence over herself and any property she has brought to their union: noble marriages were still generally politically influenced, although the evidence of contemporary letters indicates that love often followed; probably due to a combination of their parents’ foresight and a compatibility borne of their similar backgrounds.

Children are duty-bound to show profound respect and obedience towards their parents’ wishes and are expected to strive to learn all the skills necessary for their status in society: Lady Anne’s page is standing and, despite the summer heat, he must wear his full livery.


Learning the rosary

A fellow enjoys some playtime, having doffed his hot and heavy jerkin.


Bowling a hoop

Learn more about children and their games


Household servants were not the inferior creatures they became by the Victorian era, but were often given trust, friendship and respect. A lord might employ one of knightly status as steward to oversee his estates in his absence whilst he, himself, is serving in the capacity of steward to an earl, the earl to the king. In England the hierarchy of society tended, on the whole, to work to everyone’s mutual benefit: hence the emergence of the English “yeoman”. In France where the nobility flaunted their status whilst neglecting their obligations, the oppressed peasants rose in the “Jaquerie” revolts of the later 14th century: their continuing dissatisfaction culminated in the revolution of 1789.








Household Life