Gentlemen, we’ve all wanted to be a knight in shining armour at some point, right?
Well, knights don’t exist anymore. The cool kind anyway. But did you ever wonder how they came to be? I mean, knights don’t just grow on trees you know. It turns out, the process isn’t an overnight one.
1. It’s who you know.
Much like today, getting that dream job or status often depends on who you know.
While it was possible for any free man to become a knight, the process of training and equipping a knight was costly. Therefore, most knights came from wealthy families.
The word “Knight” comes from the Anglo Saxon word “Cniht” which means “Boy”. This is fitting, because the steps to becoming a knight started as a boy.
From an early age, a boy who was to become a knight would be taught by his father. You would be taught about the code of chivalry and loyalty to his liege lord.
A boy would often be given a wooden sword and shield to play games in which he would mimic the actions of a knight.
The biggest thing was that the child was fueled with aspirations to become the best knight he can be and to serve the king. To do this, they would be taken to attend tournaments and told tales of the bravest knights.
3. Becoming a Page
When the parents felt that the child was fit- usually at the age of 7, they would send the boy off to be a Page. This meant living in the household of another knight or lord and essentially being a servant.
Duties included cleaning, preparing clothes, serving meals, carrying messages, and doing household chores.
4. The Squire
When the Page reaches the tender age of 15, he would become a squire.
What would a squire do? Well, he cleans the knight’s armour, takes care of the horses and weapons, and further learns about chivalry.
Squires were also meant to follow their knights into battle, tending to the horses and knights. They also had to be prepared to fight. Because of this, many squires were killed before becoming actual knights. Most future knights take on the role of a squire for 5 or 6 years.
5. Dubbing Ceremony
If a squire did everything to prove himself to his superior, he would be dubbed a knight by a lord, knight, or other high superior. This usually happened at around 21 years of age.
You would kneel, and be touched on both shoulders by a sword. Then, the words “Arise, Sir Knight” would be uttered as you would stand and be given a pair of spurs and your own sword. That’s it! After a lifetime of hard work, you are now a knight.
Now, here are a few facts about knights!
Life of Luxury
Wealthy knights would have several squires and pages working for them at the same time. I guess it’s worth putting your life on the line during battle.
Practice makes perfect
Squires practiced their jousting skills by hitting a wooden dummy called a Quintain.
Ahead of schedule
Sometimes, Squires would be turned into knights right on the battlefield. This happened when they proved themselves worthy right there on the spot.
The knight’s armour weight over 50 pounds. Everything had to be custom built so that it fit each particular knight perfectly.
The night before a dubbing ceremony, squires were told to spend a night alone in prayer.
Disgraced knights had their spurs hacked off and their shields put on display upside down as a sign of dishonor.