Château d'Époisses

The castle of Époisses and the habits and customs of the Middle Ages

The castle of Époisses and the habits and customs of the Middle Ages

Château d'Epoisses - Scène de vie au Moyen-Âge

In the Middle Ages, the castle offered shelter to the inhabitants of the village during the many wars that took place in Burgundy. They settled inside the compound and were safe. In return they had to participate materially or financially in the maintenance of the fortifications. Moreover, they had a duty to “watch and guard” to prevent possible attacks.

This servitude was well accepted in the Middle Ages, a time of frequent wars, but less from the middle of the 17th century, the calm having returned. Besides, the villagers paid the lord many royalties, sometimes in money, sometimes in kind. These royalties were relatively moderate (for example, one pie or one candle per year), especially in relation to the royal taxes.

In the Middle Ages, the exchange of services between the lord and the peasants meant that the peasants had to be stable and that they should not leave their land lying fallow. That is why they could not leave and dispose of their lands without the consent of the lord. This system, which was called the dead hand, was suppressed by the Lord of Brides around 1450. The lords of Epoisses also had the right to “high, medium and low justice” in the territory of their seigneury. This triple right was reserved for lords of some importance. He allowed the lord to judge many cases, from petty theft to blood crimes. For the latter, the lord had a gallows to which the guilty were hung.