This chapter interrupts our regularly scheduled peasants-running-from-stewards show to bring us some key information about Asta's son and the world he lives in.
Asta's son was born on the Feast of Saint Giles (which, we'll admit, sounds cooler than our birthdays), and his mother never called him anything but "son," which is how he got his less-cool name.
He was born in 1363, in the reign of King Edward III, who loves him some wars so much that he has been at them all of Asta's son's life. Lord Furnival loves to fight with him, which is why John Aycliffe has been left in charge of Furnival's manor in the village of Stromford, home to one hundred and fifty people. (And we thought we grew up in small towns.)
Asta and her son are (well, were, before she died) serfs, or villeins. They're not exactly slaves, but they're not exactly free, either. They're bound to the manor and to Lord Furnival, but they're accepting of their lot because all must be as God has willed it—or so they believe.
And when this exciting time on earth is over, they'll get to die and await God's judgment—God seems fairer than John Aycliffe, anyway.
Asta's son feels like the end of the world has come early with the death of his mother. Aw.