Medieval Knights were armed and mounted warriors who fought for Lords during the medieval period and usually came from wealthy families, they had an important place in medieval society which followed class rules dictated by the Feudal system
Medieval Knights were the armoured warriors of medieval times who fought on horse-back, they usually trained from an early age of around 7 years until they were in their early twenties. When they had mastered all the skills needed they were knighted in a dubbing ceremony.
Due to the costs involved in training to become a Medieval Knight and the dedication involved, it was deemed to be of high honour to be a knight in medieval society. The title of Knighthood was tied in with the status of nobility and basically meant that you were a trained nobleman that was ready to serve a Lord or king in battle.
Becoming a Knight was a long process that started at around seven years of age, a page would become a Squire and a Squire would eventually becoming a knight in a dubbing ceremony around the age of 21. Read more about the Becoming a Knight >>
Tales of Famous Medieval Knights were told throughout medieval times, Some of the most Famous Medieval Knights of medieval times were King Arthur, Richard the Lion-heart and The Black Prince Read more about the Famous Medieval Knights >>
The knightly coat of arms began to be used in early Middle Ages when knights began using specific symbols on their shields during battles. This was primarily done by the knights to identify themselves during fighting Read more about the Knights Coat of Arms >>
The medieval Jousting contest was the main event of a medieval tournament, it was important for a medieval knight to win his joust as there were always very important people watching jousting competitions. Read more about the Medieval Knights Jousting >>
A Medieval Knights swords was a vital part of a knights armoury that symbolised his standing in medieval society and knighthood. A medieval Knight sword that represented the honour and chivalry. Read more about the Medieval Knights Sword >>
It took a medieval Squire years of hard work to become a medieval knight. Medieval Squires started there training around 14 years of age and were usually declared knights in a dubbing ceremony at the age of 21. Read more about the Medieval Squire >>
Medieval tournaments were the glittering social events of the medieval calender, the medieval tournament comprised of a mêlée mock battle and a jousting competition which was usually the main event. Read more about the Medieval Tournaments >>
Medieval Knights in Early Medieval Times
Knighthood in Europe was characterised by the service you provided as a warrior who was mounted, Feudalism and service as a mounted warrior, especially during the rule of Charlemagne who was the Frankish emperor in the 8th century. During the 12th century, knighthood was closely associated with horsemanship and later during the 15th century, it was fashionable and gave high status amongst high nobility in the Duchy of Burgundy.
However, it was in the 12th century when knighthood became more of a social rank providing a distinction between non-noble cavalrymen (milites gregarii) and the true knights (milites nobiles). The easiest way to become a knight in medieval times was simply by being a son of a noble, one of the highest classes of medieval society. However, becoming a knight did not happen overnight, It usually involved a lengthy process of training and exploits that involved the mastery of many weapons. In the late middle ages, knighthood was commonly associated with a code of conduct and chivalry.
The Life of a Medieval Knight
Becoming a medieval knight was a long process. Mostly, sons of noble men were taken from their homes at the early age of seven to start their training. They started out as a page and later become squires before eventually becoming knights. Medieval knights practiced their skills during tournaments and in various forms of combats including Jousting, hand to hand combat with the use of swords and other weapons, as well as archery.
The medieval period was characterised by stories about Feudalism and medieval knights fought and served their Lords according to the Code of Chivalry. Knights were also expected to guard castles and support their liege Lords in times of war.
Training to be a Medieval Knight
Knights spent years training. They rode horses and mastered the use of a wide variety of weapons. Medieval knights also learned to read, write and speak different languages such as Latin and French and learned the rules of chivalry, honourable behaviour and even dancing.
At the age of seven they trained to become a page, at the age of 16, they become squires working for another knight and effectively apprentices to the Knight, they tended the knight’s horse, cleaned his weapons and even served his meals.
If the squire was worthy of becoming a knight and had passed all his year of training, they would go through what was called a dubbing ceremony where he would kneel before the lord of the manor with a sword held on his shoulder before he was proclaimed a knight.
Medieval Knights favourite weapons
The Knights favourite weapon was the Sword and most medieval knight swords weighed about 2 to 3 pounds. A shield was also one important part of a knight’s weaponry and warfare gear, however it was the sword that was the most important and major weapon used in battle by most medieval knights, they also carried other secondary weapons, either another sword such as the medieval Falchions, Pole-axes or both.
In early middle ages, knights used to wear chain mail instead of full metal armour. Medieval knights also wore helmets that had slits for eye holes and breathing holes.
Advantages of a medieval Knights armour
A medieval knight’s armour was extremely expensive as it was made of full metal. Armour was usually tailor-fitted to the knight wearing as the knight could be at risk if the armour did not fit very well. Armour was made of chain mail and iron plates, designed for battle. They also wore thick padding underneath to help ease painful effects of wearing heavy metal armour.
The knight’s armour offer several advantages and here are a few examples:
Armour was created to provide protection and this is one thing that knights can use to their advantage.
Armour was built to prevent weapons from penetrating the body. Opponents needed to aim at the weak points of the armour otherwise it would be impossible to cause damage to the knight.
Knights also wore armour as a status symbol that distinguished them from other low-ranking soldiers.
Some knights customised their armour to include their family crest. Their armours also help other knights identify knights who belong to the same unit.
Disadvantages of a Medieval knight’s armour
Despite all the advantages that the knight’s armour provided, it also has a few disadvantages.
Knight armour was heavy to wear, it normally weighed between 40 to 60 pounds and that was considered to be one of its greatest disadvantage especially during hand-to-hand combat.
Aside from being heavy, most knight armour was also bulky. This could cause a relatively smaller range of motion, thereby making it more difficult to move when engaged in combat.
Another disadvantage was is its lack of manoeuvrability. Movement while wearing an armoured suit was relatively limited due to its stiff joints.
Most knight armour was equipped with slits and holes for the eyes and the mouth for breathing. However, seeing and breathing through a piece of metal can still be difficult to do, especially when it covered the entire head like the armoured knights helmet did.
Quick facts about medieval Knights
Knights are mostly from noble families
Knights training usually starts at the age of 7 and ends at the age of 20 when they are proclaimed as knights.
Knights meet at a combined speed of 25 mph during jousting competitions
Fighting on piggyback introduces young knights to balancing and mounted combat skills
A knight is called a “Sir" at the end of the knighthood ceremony
Knights wear full-plated armour which was introduced during the 15th century
The knight’s warhorses were armoured and trained to kill, They are called Destriers.
Knights are bound to a code of conduct or code of chivalry
What led to the demise of the Medieval Knight
After centuries, the iconic medieval knights eventually declined. Knighthood has been brought down to strictly a title of honour and does not denote power at all in modern times.
Advancing medieval Technology brought about the development of several weapons such as the crossbow and the arbalest. These weapons would easily penetrate a knight’s armour and could bring them down in just a few seconds without the need to engage in one-on-one combat.
The development of other weapons such as guns brought the decline further as knights stood no chance even with their armours against guns and canons and this was the reason that led to the demise of the legendary medieval knight.