Tuesday, September 7

Red Falcons of Tremoine & the Feudal System


Feudalism flourished in Medieval Europe, particularly from the 9th to 15th centuries.  It was a way of structuring society, with various castes, with laborers and nobility.  In "Red Falcons of Tremoine," we get an inside look at every group of the feudal system...

At the top of the food chain, the king ruled the entire country.  He granted land to barons in exchange for soldiers, their loyalty, and taxes.  When the king died, his firstborn son inherited the throne.  Also toward the top of the system was the Bishop.  He was the top church leader in the kingdom, and he managed an area called a diocese.  The Catholic Church was very powerful at this time, and that made the Bishop a very powerful man!  Baron and nobles ruled large areas of land, called fiefs.  These lands were further divided up amongst the lords.  The barons' job was to maintain an army for the king's service.

Small communities were formed around the local lord and his manor.  The lord owned the land and everything located in his estate.  He had several serfs, or peasants, who worked the land in exchange for their safety.  The lord's manor was central to life in the Middle ages.  It had a castle, or large house, where people gathered for protection and celebrations.  It is also where the local church was located.  The local lords often served as knights for the king, and could be called into service at any time.

Outside the manor walls, small farms were granted to the peasants to work the land.  They did not own the land, but were allowed to live there in exchange for a share of their crops, plus taxes and young men for soldiers.  In some ways, serfdom was akin to modern sharecropping.  (See the unit on Sharecropping.)  Most of the people living in the Middle Ages were peasants, and they lived a very rough life.  Some of them were considered 'higher' than others, in skilled jobs, such as carpenters, blacksmiths, and bakers.  Others, however, were more like slaves.  They owned nothing and were not skilled.  They worked the land six days a week (stopping for the Sabbath), very long days, and they often had little to no food to survive.  Peasants worked hard and died young.  Most died before they reached thirty years old.

Toward the end of the feudal system's hold over Europe, the Black Death reduced the nobility's hold over the lower classes.  However, vestiges of the feudal system hung on until the French Revolution of the 1790s, and the system lingered on in parts of Central and Eastern Europe as late as the 1850s. 


  • Red Falcons of Tremoine
    • Leo is an orphan being raised in an abbey in the days of King Richard the Lionhearted. He knows nothing of his parentage and has little hope for a future outside the familiar but sometimes restrictive monastery walls. Abbot Michael alone knows Leo's story and family line and unexpectedly, when the heir to the house of Wardlock is killed in the Crusades, he sets in motion events in which Leo will need every scrap of wisdom and endurance.
  • Son of Charlemagne


Make / Do


  • feudalism
  • fief
  • knight
  • lord
  • medieval
  • monarch
  • noble
  • peasant
  • Renaissance
  • serf
  • vassal
  • homage
  • empire
  • Catholic Church


  • Why do you think western European societies developed this system after the fall of the Roman empire?
  • Why do you think the feudal political and economic systems stayed in place for such a long period of time?

Enjoying this unit? You might like Beautiful Book Studies!

Each unit addresses a new topic, including science, history, and geography.  Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.

  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the topic to life.

Table of Contents

  • The King’s Fifth
  • Red Falcons of Tremoine
  • Golden Hawks of Genghis Khan
  • Red Hugh of Ireland
  • Calico Captive
  • The Story of Eli Whitney
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins
  • The Lost Kingdom
  • The Secret Garden
  • Heidi
  • Girl of the Limberlost
  • The Winged Watchman
  • When the Dikes Broke
  • Using the Good & the Beautiful in High School

The books selected for these unit studies can be found in the upper grades areas of The Good and the Beautiful Book List.  However, Homeschool On the Range and Sparks Academy are not employed by or affiliated with, nor do they receive any compensation from, The Good and the Beautiful.  It has simply been their curriculum of choice for many years.  These unit studies are not endorsed by The Good and the Beautiful or Jenny Phillips.

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