story of what it might have been like to be a woman back then
A member of any
under-privileged class, relative to the aristocracy, which had as its main aim in life maintaining its unchallenged power and supremacy over all others. I don't know if they realised how lucky they were not to suffer the same fate as across the Channel.
If you study history you see that this social hierarchy came in with the Normans in 1066 - it didn't exist before - and has persisted unchanged in its essentials for almost a millenium since.
The feudal system, the concept that the Monarch was supreme and had total power over anyone in the land, and indeed owned all the land and everything and everyone in it, was derived from Roman catholic christianity, which dominated the Continent. So was the idea of vested automatic inheritance (the King's son becomes King).
We now know that England had for centuries before the Norman invasion had total democracy, universal suffrage (including women) and a elected Monarch who was first amongst equals, not
an overlord. And
important public buildings were built of stone, not wattle and daub as the Normans claimed. The Normans expunged all of this from the record, and it's only recent scholarship that has revealed it. Rather as the Spanish did later to Central/South America, with similar motivation.
We're seeing now how evil extreme religion in the form of Islam can be, but it's easy to forget that the evil of Christianity, ongoing to an extent, far eclipsed what we see nowadays. It's not Islam or Christianity that's evil - it's the social order that uses religion as an excuse for pursuing its evil political ambitions. Sadly, 'twas ever thus.
The Pope sponsored the Norman invasion specifically so he could gain power over the western isles of Europe, which had hitherto been beyond his reach. So Henry VIII's rebellion had deep symbolic significance - Britain finally overthrowing the shackles of Rome (though retaining the system it had brought with it).
History is fascinating! Here endeth this Sunday's sermon!