Medieval Woman: Village Life in the Middle Ages (Paperback)
A year in the life of a peasant woman in medieval England is vividly evoked in this extraordinary portrait of Marion, a carpenter’s wife, and her extended family. Based on years of research, Ann Baer brings to life the reality of a world that has been lost. Rising before dawn in a tiny village to a day of grueling hard work, Marion and her husband face the daily struggle for survival. Starvation is never far away and travel to the next village is virtually unheard of. Existing without soap, paper or glass and with only the most basic of tools, sickness, fire and natural disaster ever threaten to engulf the small, tightly knit community. At the mercy of the weather and the Lord of the Manor, each equally unpredictable and inescapable, Marion’s life is burdensome but also displays an admirable dignity and fortitude in the face of adversity. The little village is at one with the natural world around it and each member has a role to play and a place in the hierarchy. Simple people, living unrecorded lives in remote villages not on the way to anywhere are brought back into focus in Medieval Woman. Ann Baer defines and celebrates the woman at the heart of the community.
Ann Baer is former director of the fine art publishers Ganymed Press. She hand-illustrated Medieval Woman, and has maintained a lifelong interest in medieval England.
"Completely persuasive and ringing with truth. If a medieval peasant woman had ever written a diary it would be like this." —Philippa Gregory