Medieval Knights 13 Interesting Facts

You think you know everything there is to know about knights and the medieval period? Think again! Even though it was over 700 years ago, there are still some suprising things to learn, so don’t be shocked if you learn something new about how knights lived, what they did and how they were trained.

medieval knights

So put away your weapons (but keep them on hand in case of an emergency) and get ready to read these 10 surprising facts you didn’t know about Medieval Knights…


Knighthood became an increasingly lucrative profession as time went on and new trade routes opened up in Europe. Nobles began to see themselves as having more in common with one another than with their peasants who they now regarded as inferior.

Knights weapons sword

Knight holding a Knightly Sword & Shield

Those who could afford it usually passed down knighthood through their families so that inheritance became more important than merit. The best way to become a knight was still through being granted land by the king which created problems when people contested who should inherit after the original owner died.

Medieval Knight and The Feudal system

Here are ten surprising facts about medieval knights that you probably didn’t know

1. Most knights came from noble families

Most knights came from noble families, and they were mostly sons of wealthy landowners. The eldest son inherited the land and title, so other sons often turned to knightly careers to support themselves.

Medieval Nobility and Medieval Nobles

Some knights became mercenaries and fought for pay in foreign lands; others became knights-errant and looked for adventure while roaming the countryside.

Royal Box Tournament

2. Medieval knights trained extensively in weaponry skills and horsemanship to prepare for battle

White Knight on Horseback

3. Medieval armour wasn’t always worn by knights into battle because it was heavy, uncomfortable, and restricted movement


4. Medieval knights usually had a squire who helped them with their equipment before battles because it was too difficult for one person to put on their armour quickly enough

MedievalSquire Getting Medieval Knight Ready For Battle

5. A knight had to be brave, strong, and have good fighting skills

A knight had to be brave, strong, and have good fighting skills. They were expected to protect the king and queen of the land or city they served. Medieval knights also protected merchants and travelers who were on their way to a destination. Knights would go on long journeys, risking their lives for others on the road.

medieval merchants negotiating deals medieval castle

6. A knight’s armor weighed around 50 pounds

A knight’s armor weighed around 50 pounds. It was so heavy that it took a squire to help the knight strap on his armor. The armor was made up of many pieces and included a helmet, a breastplate, arms plates, leg plates and sometimes even shin guards. There was no shortage of materials for the armor either.

Gothic armour with list of elements

7. A knight’s sword was very heavy and could weigh up to 5 pounds

A knight’s sword was very heavy and could weigh up to 5 pounds. It was worn on the left side of the body, so that it would be easily accessible for a right-handed knight.

golden sword one handed knightly sword

Some swords had an elaborately decorated hilt and pommel, while others were plainer in appearance. The blades were made from iron, steel, or bronze. Knights also carried other weapons with them, such as a Lance, Polearm Weapons and a shield called a Heater shield.

Medieval Knights History

Medieval Knight Holding Heater Shield

8. A knight’s horse was also very important and could cost up to $1000

A knight’s horse was also very important and could cost up to $1000. As well as being a status symbol, the horse was an integral part of battle strategy. It helped knights get to the battlefield faster and provide cover for their infantry.


9. A knight’s shield was used to protect him from enemy attacks

A knight’s shield was used to protect him from enemy attacks. The shield was usually made of wood and covered in leather or metal. It had a handle to carry it on the back, while the knight carried his weapon in his hand to fight with. They were also used to deflect blows as well as provide shelter for the knight and his troops behind them.

Norman Knights

The image shows the weaponary, shields and horses used by medieval Norman knights

The Knight’s Shield was often called a ‘knightly defense’ because it was a medieval warrior’s main line of defense against an opponent.

Shield Parts

10. A knight’s helmet had a visor that could be raised or lowered.

Early medieval knights such as the Normans wore basic open helmets of spangenhelm construction, later crusader knights wore totally enclosed great helm helmets.


Later Visors were added to many popular medieval helmets such as the bascinet, this offered the knight better breathability and visibility when required and but gave him the option of better protection (like the Great Helm) as and when required.


Bascinet Helmet Medieval Helmets


11. A knight would often carry a dagger as a backup weapon.

A knight would often carry a dagger as a backup weapon. A dagger might be considered a knight’s last resort weapon if their sword was broken or lost in battle.

Rondel Dagger

The Rondel Dagger was a late medieval Dagger

Medieval knights would often wear short swords on the opposite side of their body from the main weapon to guard against surprise attacks. The blade of a dagger was thin, which made it easier to pierce through armor and flesh, while the handle may have offered some protection against blows.

knight warfare weapons Copy

12. A knight’s armor would sometimes be decorated with his coat of arms.

As the medieval period progressed heraldry became more popular and organised, this was used to identify a knight on the battlefield and in tournaments, to his colleagues, piers and family members.

heraldry g2c7024c47 640

13. The average knight was around 20-30 years old!

bigstock Woman And Knights 8337984