I love to read historicals. Even more than reading them, I enjoy writing them. You would probably laugh if you read one of my first drafts. My hero was totally buff. He had to be since every minute of his waking day he was either coming or going to the practice fields with his men. In a later draft I introduced him to his estate room. I needed him to be coming or going somewhere so what he did wasn’t important-or was it?
Moving characters from scene to scene can be a challenge. People just don’t appear. Where are they coming from? What were they doing? Have they had challenges in their day-to-day responsibilities that have them in a mood before the critical issue of the scene unfolds? How can you use that emotion to trigger your scene?
What does the Lord of the Manor do?
The manor and its grounds were the Lord’s ‘kingdom.’ He was responsible for the land and its people. He got his land from either a Nobel or the King to whom he gave his loyalty. His loyalty was pronounced for all to hear in an Oath of Fealty. In exchange for the manor he was expected to fight and protect not only his land and people but respond to a call to arms from his liege Lord (the Nobel or King who awarded him the land). It’s interesting to note that during his absence, his wife took control.
So, what is a day-in-the-life of a medieval lord like?
The main business was his castle/manor.
Medieval Lords started their day at dawn with mass and prayers followed with a breakfast that could include bread, broth, meat or fish and either ale or wine.
The Lord’s morning was divided between business matters regarding the politics of the day, his land (crops, harvest, and supplies), finances (rents and taxes), and judiciary issues (hearing complaints, settling disputes) and weapon practice. With the changes in society in later years, the Lord’s time was spent in pursuit of the art and music.
Mid-morning activities included prayers and dinner. Dinner was usually three courses each containing about six different dishes.
The Lord spent his afternoon hunting or inspecting his estate.
Evening activities began with evening prayers and supper. This was a substantial meal that was much like the dinner but included more unusual and elaborate dishes. Following the meal the Lord’s hall might host music, dancing or other entertainment.
The day ended when the Lord retired. Evening prayers preceded going to bed.
For my knight (who is also the Lord of his Manor) I wasn’t far from wrong. Knights have the added burden of training harder, studying warfare, and military strategy. They also are required to know, understand, and follow the Rules of Chivalry. I have my favorite knight and I’m certain you’re not surprised to see who it is. 😆