Medieval Knights

The Legendary Knight in Shinning Armour Fought on his War Horse with Sword, Lance and Vicious Morning Star Weapons

Medieval Knights Dominated the Battlefields of Europe wearing Full Suits of White Armour, their Coats of Arms Emblazoned on their Surcoats and Heater Shields in Service of a Lord

Becoming a Knight

Discover the Dedication and Sacrifice needed on the long journey to Knighthood culminating in the Dubbing Ceremony Read more about the Becoming a Knight >>

Famous Knights

Edward The Black Prince was one of the most famous Knights in medieval History

Discover Legendary and Galant Knights - King Arthur & the Knights of the Round Table *Richard the LionHeart *The Black Prince Read more about the Famous Knights >>

Knight Definition

What is the Definition of a Medieval Knight of the Middle Ages Read more about the Knight Definition >>

Knights and Castles

Medieval knights rushed to the entrance of castle

The Galant Knight - Protector of Magnificent Castles - Fearless Feudal Warrior of the Medieval Lord Read more about the Knights and Castles >>

Knights Armour *Clothing

Medieval Knights in their best clothing before the medieval king

Discover the Shining Full Plate Armour of the Galant Medieval Knight - Battle Armour *Tournament Armour & Clothing *Coat of Arms Symbols & Meanings Read more about the Knights Armour *Clothing >>

Knights Coat of Arms

Knights Coat of Arms

The use of knightly coat of arms using specific symbols on shields in early medieval times helped identify knights during battles Read more about the Knights Coat of Arms >>

Knights Code of Chivalry

The code of Chivalry for Knights was introduced around the 11th century, it was a code of conduct that knights adhered to during medieval times Read more about the Knights Code of Chivalry >>

Knights Jousting

The first jousting event took place in France in 1066. Each tournament had rules for the jousting and mêlée competition. Read more about the Knights Jousting >>

Knights Warhorse *Destrier

Powerful Medieval Knights WarHorse wearing a suit of armour

A medieval knights warhorse had to be brave and strong and were trained to fight by biting and kicking the enemy and it was a frightening presence on the battlefield. Read more about the Knights Warhorse *Destrier >>

Medieval Knight Shield

Collection of medieval Knights Shields

The Galant Knights Shield - Essential Armour for a Fearless Warrior - *Kite Shields *Heater Shields *Jousting Shields Read more about the Medieval Knight Shield >>

Medieval Knighthood

Dubbing Ceremony A Medieval Knight and Knighthood

Knighthood - *Highest Honour for years of Dedicated and Hardwork Occurred During the Dubbing Ceremony Read more about the Medieval Knighthood >>

Medieval Knights *Feudalism

Medieval Knight and The Feudal system

Medieval Knights helped to enforce the feudal system in medieval times by providing the military force that was needed to keep the system in place. Read more about the Medieval Knights *Feudalism >>

Medieval Knights Armor

A knight's armor became a defining characteristic of Knights in battle, representing the military unit     Read more about the Medieval Knights Armor >>

Medieval Knights Helmets

Knights wore helmets to protect their heads from fatal blows, Knights helmets were also designed in many cases to scare and intimidate a foe Read more about the Medieval Knights Helmets >>

Medieval Knights Heraldry

Heraldry was used as a way to identify knights and Lords families, usually a coat of arms and emblems identified important families in medieval times Read more about the Medieval Knights Heraldry >>

Medieval Knights History

Medieval Knights History

The history of Medieval knights has its roots in the ancient world but the actual phenomenon became popular during the middle and late medieval times Read more about the Medieval Knights History >>

Medieval Knights Sword

Knight Sword being drawn for battle

The Knight's Sword was more than just a weapon it represented prestige, honor, and chivalry. Read more about the Medieval Knights Sword >>

Medieval Knights Weapons

Medieval knights were the battle tank of medieval times, with a wide range of weapons Read more about the Medieval Knights Weapons >>

Medieval Page Boy

A Page Boy would train to be a Squire under the guidance of knights and noblemen around the age of just seven years old as part of their training Read more about the Medieval Page Boy >>

Medieval Squire

MedievalSquire Getting Medieval Knight Ready For Battle

Medieval Squires started their training around 14 years of age and knighted in a dubbing ceremony around 21 years of age! Read more about the Medieval Squire >>

Medieval Tournaments

Tournaments - Mêlée Mock Battles & Jousting Competition helped prepare the Galant Knight for Battle Read more about the Medieval Tournaments >>

Top 10 Medieval Knights

Learn about the Top 10 Most Important Knights of the Middle Ages Read more about the Top 10 Medieval Knights >>



Becoming a knight required great wealth to buy the expensive armour and weaponry. It also took a great deal of training to become a knight and only the wealthiest members of medieval society were afforded this luxury. Although non nobles could achieve knighthood it was a rare occurence.

Medieval-Knights-Becoming-a-Knight

It was possible for lower level members of society to become knights but it was very difficult and uncommon.

Medieval-Knights-Becoming-a-Knight

Becoming A Knight

The Page Boy

In medieval Europe a page or page boy was classed a being a young nobleman who left home at a very young age (around 7 years) to learn how to become a knight (assisting a Squire) in another royal or noble household.

Medieval-Knights-Becoming-a-Knight-Page-Boy

Commonly a page boy would be under the wing of a Squire who was himself being trained by an established Knight.

Medieval-Knights-Becoming-a-Knight-Squire

The page boy usually became a Squire himself at the age of 14 *he was a page for around 7 years

What did a Page Boy Learn About?

  1. Dancing
  2. Chivalry
  3. Courtly Manners
  4. Games – Learning Chess
  5. Heraldry
  6. Hunting
  7. Music – Playing Instruments, Singing
  8. Reading & Writing
  9. Warfare & Weaponry

Medieval-Knights-Becoming-a-Knight-Page-Boy

Page Boy Physical Training

  1. Combat Training
  2. Hawking
  3. Horsemanship
  4. Hunting

Medieval-Knights-Becoming-a-Knight-Squire-Hawking

Page Boy *Typical Jobs in the Lords Castle or Manor House

  • Arm or Dress the Lord
  • Served the Lords Family
  • Clean Weapons

At the end of this training a Page Boy would become a Squire around the age of 14 on his journey to becoming a knight.

Medieval-Knights-Becoming-a-Knight-Castle

Learn More about being a Page Boy


The Squire

A succesful page boy would become a Squire, historians also provide evidence that it was also common for knights to start as a Squire without becoming a page. The Legendary knight William Marshall for example was 12 years of age when he was sent to be trained by a knight for 8 years until around the age of 20 years when he was knighted.

Medieval-Knights-Becoming-a-Knight-Squire

Training was stepped up a level *The Squire now served an established knight and learned his trade directly from him.

Squire *Skills Learned and Honed

  1. Horsemanship
  2. Grappling *Wrestling *Strength & Balance
  3. Weapons Training *Sword *Lance *Maces *Pole Axes

Medieval-Knights-Training

Ground Training Practice on the Pell *Sword and Other Weapons

Medieval-Knights-Training-The-Pell

Mounted Training on the Quintain *Lance and Other Weapons

Medieval-Knights-Training-The-Quintain

One – One Sparring *Wooden Swords *Blunted Walebone Weapons

Baton Weapon Sword

Swordsmanship Practice *Using Smaller Buckler Shield

Practice using Buckler Shields

Participation in Behourds (Spontaneous Mock Fights or Battles)

If a squire was worthy of becoming a knight and had passed all the tests that were given to him during his many years of training, he would be knighted in an elaborate dubbing ceremony, a squire would commonly kneel before the lord of the manor who would tap the squires shoulders with a sword as he was proclaimed a knight.

Medieval Squire becoming a Knight

The Squire would recieve his Sword and Spurs and was now classed as a Knight who was ready to serve his Lord in battle.

Medieval-Knights-Knight-Warfare-Castle-Siege

Learn more about the Medieval Squire

knights-combat-helmets-longswords-armour

Learn more about Becoming a Knight


Early History of the Medieval Knight

Heavily armed cavalry soldiers have existed since ancient times, however none have captured the imagination as much as the gallant medieval knight in shining armour of the medieval period, the knight gained in popularity and became much more established and defined during the high and late medieval times.

However this type of chivalrous knight donned in a suit of shinning armour did not come into play until around the 14th century, during the earlier periods of medieval times knights commonly wore chainmail and a simple conical helmet of spangenhelm construction.

For centuries Germanic warriors had been mercenaries in the Roman armies that had conquered England, many settled and mixed with the local populations. After the fall of Rome around c. 476 there was a power vacuum in Europe which resulted in more of these Germanic tribes migrating and settling in England.

Anglo Saxon Timeline

In time these tribes of Angles, Saxons and Jutes would join forces to dominate England, they became collectively known as the Anglo Saxons.

The Anglo Saxon People

The Anglo-Saxons had many stuggles with invaders such as the Vikings who they managed to contain for many centuries. In the 11th century however they would come up against the formidable Norman knights and their leader the Duke of Normandy.

Medieval King William the Conqueror

William the Conqueror

In the 11 century the Normans who were desendants of the vikings invaded England from their base in Normandy (Francia) they conquered and replaced the Anglo Saxon nobility. The Normans brought their ruling class and feudal system with them.

Norman Knights *Conquest of England 1066

Norman knights helped the Norman nobility dominate England for almost a century. Norman Knights wore simple conical shaped helmets of spangenhelm construction and a chainmail shirt known as a Hauberk, they carried a large kite shield that helped protect the lower body on horseback.

Norman Knights

Norman Knights

Learn More about Norman Knights



Advancement of the Medieval Knight

It wasn’t until later in the medieval period when knighthood became more of a social rank providing a distinction between non-noble cavalrymen (milites gregarii) and the true knights (milites nobiles) In the later medieval period, knighthood was commonly associated with a code of conduct and chivalry.

In medieval knights’ history, it was during the high medieval times that knighthood attained the higher social status of note.

Knights-Tournament-Helment-Heraldry

This was the era that started when Crusades were fought and various orders of knights such as Knights Hospitaller, Knights Templar, Order of Saint Lazarus, Teutonic Knights, and others took birth. Rules and ceremonies of knighthood were also formed mainly during this age.

Learn more about Crusader Knights


Knights & The Feudal System

In the high medieval period the exact role of the medieval knight became more clear and the following was more established

  • Code of Chivalry
  • Courtly Love
  • Knighthood,
  • Full Plate Armour Suits
  • Well Organized Medieval Tournaments

Medieval Knights were well placed in the Feudal system, they were usually bodyguards or mercenary fighters for wealthy nobility and Kings and often received landholdings for their military services, they could have been granted parts of conquered lands which was divided up or they could have been paid in coins, precious metals or given some other rewards.Medieval Knight and The Feudal system


Knights & The Code of Chivalry *Vows of Knighthood

Knights all throughout the medieval period had made several kinds of vows. Most of these vows revolved around the common concept which was chivalry.

One famous document that provided historical eveidence of these knightly vows is the Song of Roland. According to the Song of Roland, the Knight’s Code of Chivalry included the following Vows.

  1. Fear God and his Church
  2. Serve the Liege Lord in Valor and Faith
  3. Protect the Weak & Defenseless
  4. Live by Honor and for Glory
  5. Respect the Honor of Women
Code of Chivalry document

The Code of Chivalry for Knights in medieval times

Learn more about Knights & the Code of Chivalry


Knights Armour *Helmets

Medieval armourers were in a constant struggle against the medieval arms makers and manufacturers, this led to the evolution of medieval armour from the typical chainmail hauberk shirts and open faced helmets worn by Norman knights, to the more sophisticated plate armour with closed helmets that covered the entire head worn by later knights.

Medieval Armourers in medieval times

Norman Knights from the 11 century wore a simple spangenhelm construction conical shaped open helmet called the ‘Nasal Helmet’ this was a very popular helmet and variations of it were worn by knights and infantry soldiers throughout the medieval period.

Norman-Knights-Nasal-Helmets-Medieval-Helmets

Later medieval knights wore full suits of white armour ‘Knight in Shining Armour’ that completely protected the body including the hands (Gauntlets) and feet (Sabatons)

Created with GIMP

Knights in full plate armour also wore closed helmets that totally encased the head such as the ‘Great Helm’, Bascinet or Sallet helmet.

knights-combat-helmets-longswords-armour

The most popular helmets amongst medieval knights in early times was the Spangenhlem, in later medieval periods the ‘Great Helm’, Bascinet or Sallet helmet rose to prominence in that order.

Knights-in-Battle-Cartoon

 

  • A Knight’s full suit of plate armor was custom made and was extremely expensive
  • A gambeson *Aketon *Padded Jack *Pourpoint *Arming doublet) was worn under heavy plate armour
  • A gambeson padded defensive jacket could be worn as armour separately, or combined with mail or plate armour

Knights weapons sword

Knight Armor Disadvantages

  • Knight armor was heavy to wear, a complete suit of plate armor of tempered steel would weigh around *33–55 lb (15–25 kg)
  • Knight plate armour commonly worn with chainmail and padded garmets was very hot and stuffy
  • Armour could effect mobility whcould be could be greatly restricted or at least reduced
  • Heat became a problem in hot countries *This was apparent during the Crusades

Flat-Top-Crusader-Helmet

Knights Helmets Disadvantages

  • It was hard to breathe inside a knights helmet small additional holes were made to help with this and Visors added later also helped
  • Helmets had small slits to stop weapons being able to penetrate but this effected overall visibility
  • Hearing and all senses were reduced due to the thickness of the metal in closed helmets
  • Mobility of the head could be restricted or at least reduced
  • Heat inside the helmet became a problem in hot countries *This was apparent during the Crusades

Crusader-Helm-Flat-Topped

Learn more about Knights Armour *Helmets


Knights Weapons *Sword *Warfare

Medieval knights were the most important portion of a medieval army on the battlefield, typically a medieval army would first deploy the bowmen and infantry to make a way through the enemy lines. Once this was done, the knights would launch their charge and sweep across the field to destroy any remaining enemy lines, routing the enemy and forcing it to flee.

Knight-Tournament-Full-Plate-Armour

In many cases, both sides would agree to honorable combat between one or more sets of knights. The outcome of these combats would then be taken as the outcome of the battle itself. In such combats, the winning knight would usually capture the vanquished knightly opponent rather than kill him, in order to ransom him later.

A medieval knight was trained in a wide range of weapons. Most significant among these were the lance and the sword. The lance was important for a knight because it helped him counter an enemy knight on horseback.

Favourite Weapons of the Knight

  1. Sword
  2. Lance
A Collection of Medieval Knights Weapons - Medieval Mace Weapons

A collection of medieval Knights close combat weapons mainly maces and war hammers

Close Quarters Weapons of the Knight

  1. Sword
  2. Short Poleaxe
  3. Warhammer
  4. Mace
  5. Flail *Morning Star
  6. Dagger

Once in close quarters, the knight would often use his sword, or in some cases, daggers. Other types of weapons used by a medieval knight on the battlefield included maces and flails.

Learn More about Medieval Knights Weapons


Knights & Tournaments

Medieval knights honed their skills during tournaments which became more advanced as the medieval period progressed. Mock ground battles and mounted Jousts allowed the perfect enviroment to practice hand to hand combat with the use of swords and other weapons.

Early fights or battles between rival knights and soldiers were called béhourds and could be fought on horseback or on the ground, these early war games lacked the competitive edge and discipline needed to train knights for warfare but these mock battles led to the creation of the more advanced medieval tournament.

This led to the creation of medieval tournaments or tourneys’ in which a mock battle called a mêlée and a joust, a one-to-one mounted contest took place. Around the 11th century, the mêlée and the joust were combined and this created the first medieval tournament, the first tournament of this type was held in France in 1066.

Learn more about Knights & Tournaments


Medieval Knight *Fun Facts

  • The Knights’ Favourite Weapon was his Knightly One Handed Double Edged Sword that weighed about 2 to 3 pounds
  • The Knights Lance was a very Powerful Weapon with an Incredible Impact Force
  • Jousting Knights could reach a Speed of 40 MPH – faster than some London Tube Trains

  • Fighting on piggyback introduced young knights to balancing and mounted combat skills.
  • A knight is called a “Sir" at the end of the knighthood dubbing ceremony.
  • A Knight’s warhorse the ‘Destrier’ was armoured and also trained to kill.

The White Knight

End of the Medieval Knight

  • New powerful crossbow weapons such as the Arbalest were invented that could easily penetrate the Knights armor
  • Gunpowder weapons such as hand cannons and rifles became more prominent towards the end of the medieval period

Medieval Knights Resources