Squires

knight_DSC_0774A knight in shining armor.  Is there a more glorious site?  It invokes an age, a culture, from a bygone era.  But what did it entail to become a knight?

In researching my new novel, tentatively titled A True Knight, I discovered that it was more difficult and more expensive then most men could attain.  Knights started off as Pages and then progressed to Squires.  He would serve as a squire for seven years before he became a knight.  As a Squire, he would learn The Code of Chivalry, the Rules of Heraldry, horsemanship, use of weapons (which included swords and bow and arrow).  Some of the skills he was required to learn consisted of strength, speed, dexterity, leadership, climbing, swimming, and bravery.  These were all skills needed and expected of a knight.

While learning these skills, a Squire would be required to enter into the social life of a castle and learn jousting, music, dancing and courtly etiquette.

The life of a squire would consist of stabling of their knight’s horses, assisting the knight in dressing in his armor, caring for armor and weapons, accompanying their knight to tournament and/or battle, some duties in the kitchen, making sure the clothing was taken care of, running errands, carrying messages and guarding the knight while he slept.

There was a hierarchy of squires.  The most valued position was that of “squire of the body”.  These squires were the most trusted of the lord.

As I’ve said, it was expensive to become a knight and if a squire had grown too old or could not afford the expense of knighthood, they were allowed to carry a lance and shield, even though they had not undergone the ceremony to become a knight.  These men were called Arma Patrina.

I hope you’ve learned that being a Squire was not easy!

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