Knight in Medieval Times – Not Necessarily the Easy Life

A knight in medieval times most certainly enjoyed more creature comforts than a serf, but nevertheless the life was hard, brutal at times as the honor came with a price.

For a medieval knight, duty, honor and loyalty were key to their success. Land grants, power and even their homes could be tied to their ability or inability to serve their lord – a king or powerful noble above them who granted them their status.

A knight in medieval times was often chosen from boyhood for the task. Generally those picked, but not always, came from noble stock and were sent away to train at the lord’s castle. To become a knight, a boy first became a page. During training, a knight learned about horses, armor, weapons, hunting, warfare and more. The training was difficult, designed to teach the prospective knight the tools of his trade.

To become a knight in medieval times, a page also needed to learn courtesy, etiquette and follow subscribed religious training. Religion was extremely important to many a knight and lord and therefore vital in medieval times.

Somewhere around the age of 14, a prospective knight in medieval times moved up from page to squire. Squires entered the field of battle with their masters and protected them if necessary. Around the 13th century, a squire was expected to fight alongside their knight in order to become a knight themselves. The squire took care of the knight’s weapons and armor and the knight himself.

Once a squire was deemed ready, he could or might become a knight. This generally took place around the age of 20. The ceremony to become a knight in medieval times was performed by the over knight and it was deeply religious in most cases. On the night before a boy became a full-fledged knight, sins were confessed to a priest. He was then bathed and dressed in all white. He was expected to spend the night praying in a chapel, keeping watch over his weapons and armor. The next morning he was dressed in symbolic colors – red for blood; white for purity. Vows were taken in the creation of a knight in medieval times and honor was tantamount in those vows.

While literature might show the medieval knight as having an easy life, this was anything but the case for most. From the moment he became a page until the time he ended his career, the knight had extreme responsibilities to his lord, his people and God. A knight in medieval times very often would be given land and people to tend and while a castle sometimes came with the deal, the seriousness of defending the lord’s land and his subjects took a strong toll on the knight class.

Duty, honor, loyalty and the willingness to shed blood and have their own shed filled the life of a medieval knight. It was no easy task and many a man was cut down before his prime in the pursuit to become a knight in medieval times.