Feudalism was the dominant socio-economic power structure of Medieval Europe (including England).  Under the feudal system, a king or overlord distributed lands to lesser lords and nobles in exchange for their pledge of military support and the payment of a tax (in the form of a portion of the harvest).  Those lands were then worked by serfs, who were peasants who worked a noble’s land and in exchange gave the noble most of the harvest.  Serfs were also deemed “tied to the land” and could not leave.

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