The Decline of Feudalism

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The Decline of Feudalism

After the Hundred Years’ war, both the English and the French monarchies and their kings gained greater power and took complete control of their governments. The Medieval Feudal system worked well for many hundreds of years but the decline of feudalism occurred and was due to a number of events which occurred. Feudalism was based on the division of land by the king to nobles and vassals in return for their military service. Land was the main source of the economy and was dependent on the peasants who worked on the land.

Reasons for the Decline of Feudalism:

  • Strong feelings of nationalism in both countries facilitated the break from the feudal system.

  • Allegiance shifted from local lords to the king.

  • The Black Death - reduced the population of England by one third.

  • The Peasants Revolt - Peasants realized their worth and demanded changes.

The Decline of Feudalism - the Standing Armies

The decline of feudalism came when rich nobles were allowed to pay for soldiers rather than to fight themselves. Life changed and Mercenaries were hired from all over Europe. The Mercenaries had few allegiances, except to money, and these paid fighting men were feared throughout Europe. The threat of the Mercenaries led on to the employment of professional, trained soldiers - the Standing Armies and ultimately the end of Middle Ages feudalism in England. 
Decline of Feudalism - the end of Feudalism in England
Under feudalism the King was answerable to the Pope. At the end of the Middle Ages King Henry VIII clashed with the Pope and England subsequently broke with the Catholic church of Rome and the power of the Pope. This led to the establishment of the Church of England and the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It was the final 'nail in the coffin' of the Medieval Feudal System, feudalism, in England.

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