1. They weren’t all nobles, peasants or priests
Many medieval writers describe their society divided into three orders or three classes. There were the priests which were loyal to god, those who fought for god and their lords and the ones that provided and were constantly exploited. It was much easier to write them like this, but this isn’t an accurate image of what the society in 1100 looked like.
The population in Europe during the 12th and the 13th century increased massively. The cities and tows were growing larger and in a shorter amount of time. Big cities such as Paris or London increased rapidly in size. If you take a look in these cities you can see the various types of jobs: merchants, foodsellers, architects, painters, salesmen, etc.
This was back in the city where but what about in the countryside? They weren’t all “serfs”, well a portion of them. Many peasants were considered free men and had their own land. The serfs were tied to their land, in the beginning of the medieval period most of them were considered free men and overtime their status changed.
2. People Didn’t Travel Much in the Medieval Period
Traveling wasn’t something an average peasant would do back in the medieval period. The people who lived in the countryside rarely traveled and if they did this it was for something important. Especially in the later period where the number of “free” people decreased and they got bound to their lands. It was really hard to become free… and if you were free and owned land it was really risky to leave everything just like that to go out and travel.
We see the medieval period as a place for adventures and people walking across the countryside and having an amazing experience, but it wasn’t so simple.Getting a call for war was one of the reasons you might get to travel but it might not be the place you want to visit. The crusades were also another way you can travel to an unknown part of the world and if you were part of nobility and you can afford it.
The other reasons were trading which was common in the later period, or your profession. As a last was pilgrimage which was something people did, especially during the crusade period. So overall traveling wasn’t something you needed in order to survive and people often didn’t travel.
3. The Church Didn’t Suppress Old Traditions
Most of the medieval period was influenced by the church, by Christianity. But there were also some traditions that people usually practiced and they were tolerated by the church. These were old traditions that people did before and were accepted in their culture.
One of the many traditions that could be found in Europe is rolling burning barrels down a hill on Midsummer’s Eve, another is throwing wheat over the heads of the newly married couple, etc.
Many traditions were left untouched by the church in order not to damage their relations to the public or in some cases the church adapted according to them.