Training of the Medieval Knights

The medieval knights were the bravest warriors on the medieval battlefield. They were experts in fighting with a variety of weapons. However, they had to risk their lives and prepare themselves to face an early death. They needed to keep their oath to serve their lord no matter what it takes.

Being a knight brought a lot of rich rewards such as lands, castles, and treasures. Yet every knight had to be ready to fight and defend his home, family, kingdom, and his honor. They needed a staff of groomsmen and Squires to keep their equipment and horses ready for use at all times.

Knighthood training not only took long years, it was a challenging task as well. Young boys started training by early childhood. This was while learning basic education, proper etiquette, and good manners. This lasted over ten years. Also, they had several requirements before training.

The different styles and types of Knighthood training depended on a few things. These included the apprentice knights’ age and strength. This is because the training centered on practicing the use of weapons such as swords. Other weapons included the battle axe, lance, mace, and dagger.

Aside from that, they enhanced their horsemanship skills.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

What kind of Training did the Page Undergo?

Medieval knights and nobles sent their sons away from home at the age of six. The children stayed at a neighboring castle to start their knighthood training. A young boy who was at this age and is on his first stage towards knighthood  known as a Page. Squires supervised the Page’s outdoor training.

A page spent most of his time outdoors boxing, wrestling, hunting, and riding with his fellow pages. Aside from learning these things, they also acquired knowledge on how to care for horses. For swordsmanship, they used toy swords and shields, or little swords with blunt ends. At times, their practice weapons were pieces made of wood which were still harmless.

The Page’s Attire

A Page’s attire included the colors that his lord wore. Aside from training and taking on various tasks, their main duty was to assist their lord. A Page helped him dress and care for his armor and do all types of chores, such as using sand to clean rusty armor. At the table, the page served and learned how to carve meat.

Aside from doing such tasks, the Page learned courtesies and social skills. These were things that one would expect from a medieval knight. They learned how to sing, dance, and play a musical instrument. Chivalry was another important trait to them so they could treat ladies with respect.

A page who made a good progress received a promotion at the age of fourteen. If he seemed to make a good knight in the future, he would step up to the rank of a Squire.

What was a Squire’s Tasks?

Being a squire was the second step towards knighthood. At this point, an apprentice knight’s duties were accompanying his lord everywhere. This included the lord’s fishing or hunting excursions and inspection of land & holdings. Aside from that, the squire accompanied his lord in tournaments and battle.

The squire’s main responsibility was to care for his lord’s armor and horses. It was his task to ensure that the horses went through proper exercise and grooming. He kept his lord’s armor polished to prevent rust.

A squire worked at mastering various weapons. He practiced using the lance with a quintain. This was a dummy that had a shield that suspended from a swinging pole. When hit, the entire apparatus rotated. The squire had to avoid the rotating arms and not allow himself to get knocked from the saddle.

When the squire struck the quintain’s centermost portion, the dummy would remain the same.. If the squire’s strikes were a little off-center, the target would swing around. Also, the club inflicted a sharp blow to the back of the head.

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What were the Squire’s Indoor Duties?

When it comes to the squire’s indoor duties, he attended to all of his lord’s needs. This included assisting him when rising in the morning. The squire combed his lord’s hair and helped him in his clothes. He also took a switch or club to drive out animals so his master could sleep without any disturbances.

Even if the squire was a knight in training, he still had several duties in the house. One was to serve his master during mealtime. A squire was always expected to serve dishes in the proper order and manner. He was expected to carve meat in a proper manner.

How Does One Get Promoted to Knighthood?

Once the squire reached the age of 18, he can already be a qualified medieval knight. However, not all squires became medieval knights at the same age. If he showed honor and bravery of an ideal knight, he receives a promotion to knighthood. In situations when more knights were necessary for battle, squires were also knighted.

It was common for squires to become a knight at the age of 21. Sometimes, they could be knights at an age earlier than 18. This happens when a squire accompanies a knight on the battlefield. Early knighthood served as a reward for their courage on the battlefield.

In times of war, squires accompanied the knights. They tended to their horses and dressed them in the medieval knights’ armor. They came under fire from arrows. With that, a lot of squires met an early death while on duty.

Sometimes, a squire had grown too old to be a knight or could not afford the expense of knighthood. These squires were the Arma Patrina. They had the right to carry a lance and shield, although they did not undergo the ceremony of knighthood.

The Ceremony of Knighthood

The day of knighthood ceremony was special. Despite it being a celebration, it was also a solemn occasion. Before the ceremony, squires prepared by staying awake all night and praying.

In the morning, the squire took a bath and dressed for the ceremony. Another squire assisted him to wear a full metal armor suit, and over the armor, he wore a white tunic.

The squire’s family, friends, and other nobles were present in the celebration. During the process, his lord tapped his shoulder with the flat side of the sword. This entitled the squire as a loyal knight.

A celebration with feasting, dancing, and music proceeded the official ceremony. After this, a new night was ready to begin his new life. As a medieval warrior, he was ready for battles, tournaments, quests, and rescuing those in need.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The Medieval Knight and His Duties

Once promoted as a knight, the new warrior began to engage in battles and performed more duties. While he was in a high position in the society, he was involved in warfare to perform duties and paid services. They earned their living as a mercenary.

To discern them among other warriors, a Medieval knight wore plate armor from head to foot. Beneath the suit of armor was a Hauberk. This was a part of the armor composed of linked iron rings weighing around 20 pounds. They also wore a steel helmet. Sometimes, this featured a long nasal protector made of metal.

When it comes to the main weapons of the medieval knights, these were the lance and a sword. They used the lance to run through an opponent or to knock him off his horse. If a knight did the latter, he would use his sword to finish the fight. The swords they used were usually made of fine, hammered steel.

Aside from a lance and a sword, the knight also used a dagger, a mace, a flail, or a battle axe. The mace and the flail were similar. When it comes to the mace, this was a club that featured a spiked metal head.

The flail, on the other hand, had an iron ball attached to a chain. This allowed the wielder to swing the weapon round and round when battling with an enemy.

A knight who received a land as a reward would pledge his military services. When war began, knights needed to fight and protect their lord, the land, and the people. The knights and their armies had to engage in battle only within forty days.

The lords and knights had to provide trained soldiers to fight for the king. Not only that, but they had to provide weaponry, clothing, and armor.

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