Daily Life

This is just a run-down of daily life in the setting. It focuses mostly on town life.

Hygiene

Hands and face are washed in the morning. Hair is usually washed and combed, as well. Hands are washed before meals. Bathing is regular, usually once a week. There is a bath house on Castleyard that caters to both sexes and all races. Short hair is usually a sign of being a thrall. Women tend to wear their hair loose or braided when unmarried and gathered into a knot when married. Men generally have facial hair, though the length is a matter of personal preference.

Clothing

Women wear a linen slip (kirtle) worn under an ankle-length wool gown, usually belted. Men wear linen shirts and shorts (braies) under wool tunics and either trousers or hose. Men’s tunics are at least knee-length, belted, and tend to be longer for the rich. Both sexes often add a wool cloak or mantle. Hoods are worn outdoors.

Soldiers usually wear a sleeveless tunic (tabard) over their armor. Knights wear a more elaborate version (surcoat) displaying their coat of arms. Anyone in metal armor usually wears a waist-length padded vest (doublet) underneath it.

Meals

Breakfast is generally just oat bread with butter or cheese and ale. Dinner is the largest meal of the day and usually features oatmeal porridge (containing vegetables, fruit, legumes, and a small amount of meat or fish for flavoring). Supper is usually a lighter meal of soup or pottage (thick stew). The wealthy eat considerably more meat, their larger meals often consisting of multiple courses. The most common drinks are water and small ale (weak ale), the latter preferred by the working man because of its heartiness (much needed extra calories).

See also: Food

Birth

During childbirth, attendants pray to Freya while the midwife helps with the birth. Nine nights after the birth, the father sits in his high chair and places the child on his knee, recognizing it and giving it a name. Often, guests will attend this ceremony to offer gifts or well-wishes to the child. Until this point, killing or exposing the child is not considered murder.

Marriage

The groom and delegates from his family go to the family of the bride to propose. The date of betrothal is set and negotiations are completed for the dowry and bride price (both of which remain property of the bride). The deal is sealed with a feast. The wedding itself is a feast of at least three days. Blessings are asked from Fulla with the sacrifice of a sow. They exchange swords (his an ancestral sword to be held for their son) and say their vows while holding an oath ring. During the feast, the bride serves the groom ale. On the first night, the couple is led to the marriage bed by six witnesses with torches. The next morning, the groom presents the bride with a morning gift, usually clothing or jewelry, and the keys to their new home.

Death

The dead are burned along with their belongings and the ashes cast into the sea or buried. Lords will generally be burned in a longboat set afloat on the river and thralls may be burned with them. Mounds or standing stones are raised for men of consequence. Seven days after the death is the funeral feast. It is at this point that those due an inheritance are allowed to collect it.

Inheritance

  • Father
  • Son
  • Brother
  • Paternal Grandfather
  • Grandson (by son)
  • Maternal Grandfather
  • Grandson (by daughter)
  • Paternal Uncle
  • Nephew (by brother)
  • Maternal Uncle
  • Nephew (by sister)

Houses

The simplest rural home is a one bay cottage with the living space below and sleeping space above. Larger than that are two or three bay cruck houses where one end has a lower floor and is used for livestock. The finest rural homes are four bay structures. The center two bays contain the open hearth and hall. At one end are the buttery and pantry and at the other is the parlor, where the family sleeps. Solars are on the second floor at the ends.

The simplest town home is at a right angle to the street with a shop on the first floor with a solar above it, a hall behind that with either an open hearth or a fireplace, and the kitchen, buttery, and pantry in the back with another solar above. Generally, there is a vaulted cellar below the house. Sometimes the back room is a parlor or a counting house. Larger homes will be L-shaped and have a courtyard. Kitchens are often a separate building off of the back of a house (in case of fire).

Levy

Every family is required by law to own at least padded armor, a helmet, and a spear. Wealthy freeman are required to own and train with a bow. When a nobleman raises a levy, each family provides one person to serve. Those with means can hire others to serve in their stead, a popular option with wealthy townsfolk.

Daily Life

Tales of the Northern March EricBerg EricBerg