Tres Riches Heures of the Duke of Berry
The Tres Riches Heures portray peasants the way we usually think of them—working their narrow strips of land, their animals pastured on the commons, toiling beneath the walls of the great castle. This is a comfortable stereotype, and true enough at certain times and places, but the reality of the countryside was more complex.
The countryside was indeed much less sophisticated than the big cities. But one ought not be picturing only serfs, carrying their sacks of grain to the lord's mill, and bartering geese or apples for a tin pan. By the 14th century the economy of the countryside was well-established on a cash basis.