For most people in the Middle Ages, home was a village where only about 500 people, or even fewer, lived. The peasants houses were usually grouped together in two or three streets around the village church, but sometimes, in wooded or hilly country, they were scattered in small hamlets. There might also be an ale-house and a forge.
Each village also had a communal well or stream for water, and perhaps a windmill to grind corn and a big brick oven for baking bread. Often these belonged to the lord, who charged the peasants a toll for their use.
Large, open fields surrounded the peasants houses and gardens. Land in the fields was often divided into strips. Some wealthy peasants held several strips in each field. Others had only a small amount of land, or none at all. Peasants spent much of the day laboring in the fields, either on their own land strops or on their lords land.
In some villages, the lords land lay in the open fields by the peasants land, in others, it was a separate enclosed area.
The peasants helped each other by sharing expensive equipment, such a carts and ploughs, as well as the oxen and horses needed to pull them. At harvest time, it was vital that the whole village worked together to gather the crops quickly, before they were spoiled by rain. If the harvest failed, everyone would go hungry that winter.
The peasants cows, sheep and horses grazed on the rough common pasture which lay beyond the cultivated fields, and on the stubble of the open fields after the harvest. In the autumn, pigs fed on acorns in the woods.
Peasants with out land worked as blacksmiths, woodworkers or potters. Other landless peasants worked as farm laborers for lords or for wealthy peasants.