Younger sons, on the other hand, stood to inherit nothing and thus had to support themselves as agricultural labourers.This generally meant they remained unmarried since they didn't have the resources to support a household. Requirements today Marriage can be defined as a union between a man and a woman to become as one in the eyes of the church and most importantly, God.' study of the English village of Eltham in the 14th century: The village's land was normally divided up into plots.In theory all this land was the property of the lord, held in feudal tenancy from the king.In practice, age-old custom which had the strength of law said that a peasant's heir could inherit his father's land intact.
He would want a wife, and children to work on his land; agricultural societies favour large families.The other alternative, of course, was to marry an heiress.While property usually went to the eldest son, if a man left only daughters his land was divided between them.Since rent was normally paid in the form of labour services - so many man-hours of work per week on the lord's land - a woman with property likewise had a financial interest in marrying a man who could perform those services, since otherwise she'd have to hire labourers to do the work on her behalf. A woman's father paid a certain sum of money or property to her new husband when they married.The purpose of this, in a society where women were usually barred from owning property in their own right, was to provide extra resources by which the husband could support his wife, and the children she would presumably soon bear him.A virgate, or 24 acres of farmland, was enough to support a peasant family in comfort; a half-virgate (12 acres) was enough to get by.