Because the need for agricultural labor in the Middle Ages was season-dependent, the average peasant had about eight weeks to half the year off. Plus, the Church knew the opportunity to rest would keep workers happy and orderly, so they ordered frequent mandatory holidays.
The 70 to 80-hour work week for the average 19th-century laborer in the industrial revolution was actually a deviation from the ways of their medieval predecessors. Arguing for an eight-hour workday was not so much a push for the progressive, but a return to the ways of yore.
Indeed, medieval peasants enjoyed a less rigid workday. Meals weren’t rushed and the afternoon might call for a nap. “The tempo of life was slow, even leisurely; the pace of work relaxed,” said Schor. “Our ancestors may not have been rich, but they had an abundance of leisure.”
A 16th-century Bishop wrote of the average workday of his time, “The labouring man will take his rest in the morning; a good piece of the day is spent afore he come at his work; then he must have his breakfast…At noon he must have his sleeping time, then his bever in the afternoon, which spendeth a great part of the day; and when his hour cometh at night, at the first stroke of the clock he casteth down his tools, leaveth his work, in what need or case soever the work standeth.”
Medieval Peasants Worked Less And Vacationed More Than Modern Americans Do pokaż całość