A boy from the age of 7 to 8 years old would leave his home and be sent to the local lord’s castle or manor to train as a page. Not all boys would have the privilege to undergo this training. Generally, boys born to certain men were allowed the opportunity to become a knight. They would also come from a wealthy background as well since becoming a knight was expensive. In the nobleman’s manor, there would be many pages around the home, the number depended on how wealthy the nobleman was. It was the page’s duty to wait at the table, care for the Lord’s clothes and assist him when dressing. The page was also expected to act as a servant to the ladies of the court or the castle she served in. As the boy is with his new mentor, he would learn things about the rules of court, religion, the code of chivalry, table manors, care and maintenance of armor and weaponry, and how to ride and care for a horse. He would be somewhat educated by learning how to read, appreciate music, and learn strategic games such as chess and backgammon. His physical training would start at learning how to hunt and how to hawk.
The Code of Chivalry wasn’t a literal, written document in the beginning but more of a moral aspect or system between knights. This code wasn’t introduced until the late in the Medieval Ages. It was later actually written in the “Song of Roland” in the same period of time. In the “Song of Roland” it specifically tells us a good idea of each of the things that the knights upheld and took value in. To fear God and maintain his church. To protect the weak and defenseless. To help the widows and orphans. To live by honor and for glory. To fight for the wellbeing of all. To keep faith. To respect and honor women. Never to refuse the challenge from an equal. Never to turn the back upon a foe.
Now the young Page is about 13 to 14 years old and is to be called a Squire and is now the knight’s assistant. He takes care of the knight’s armor and weapons and he is the only one permitted to do so. He serves the knight his meals, follows the knight into battle, and assists the knight in tournaments by dressing the knight, placing his armor on him, give him his weapon, and wait for his return from the tournament. It was also the squires duty to enter into the social life of the castle by learning the skill of jousting, dancing, and courtly etiquette. Physically, the squire would have to be familiar and skillful in the use of swordsmanship and marksmanship. Develop strength, speed, and dexterity. And be able to withstand the extremes in cold and heat, tiredness, and hunger. Some squires would be knighted on the battlefield for showing courage and valor when assisting the knight. However, many times during war, squires would be killed under the fire of arrows while tending to the knight’s armor, his horse, or placing the armor on the knight.
At the age of 21, the young squire is finally eligible to become a knight. The night before he becomes a knight, his sword and shield would be placed on an altar and the knight-to-be knelt or stood in silent prayer for a total of 10 hours. The squire is dressed in all white to symbolize purity, covered in a red robe symbolizing nobility, and his shoes were black which symbolized death. The morning after his preparation, the knight-to-be goes through an Accolade which is a ceremony where the squire becomes a knight. A sponsor took possession of his sword and shield that he had prayed at the altar with and they are given to the knight or lord that conducts the ceremony and he is presented to the squire. At this time, the squire took his vows and swore an oath of allegiance to the lord of the ceremony. This oath of knighthood was supported with such sincerity that anyone who broke the oath would be seen as someone who committed a crime against God. Now, the final part of the Accolade is the dubbing of the squire. This would be done by the local knight or even the king. At this time, the squire is dubbed and is presented with his armor, sword, and shield and now deserves the title of Knight and can claim the title “Sir.”
The new knight had to serve his liege lord, which could have even been the king, for 40 days a year in times of peace. Some of the duties that the knight would have to do would be to guard the castle of his lord, fight in battle, or serving as the lord’s bodyguard. Mainly, the knight would have to serve his lord in every way possible according to the Code of Chivalry.
Book Source – Cantor, Norman F. The Civilation of the Middle Ages. 1st ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1994. Print. Book Source – Hall, Timothy C. The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Middle Ages. New York: Marie Butler-Knight, 2009. Print. Internet Source – Gourgond, Greg. "Stages of Knighthood." Http://www.heartofawarrior.org/stage.htm. Heart of a Warrior Ministry, 2004. Web. 27 Sept. 2009.Http://www.heartofawarrior.org/stage.htm Electronic Source – "Nobility." World Eras. Ed. Jeremiah Hackett. Vol. 4: Medieval Europe, 814-1350. Detroit: Gale Group, 2002. 157-158. World Eras. Gale. Greater Atlanta Christian School. 27 Sept. 2009 <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/start.do?p=GVRL.worlderas&u=norc72195http://go.galegroup.com/ps/start.do?p=GVRL.worlderas&u=norc72195 Additional Internet Source – P. V. N. Myers,. "Knights Code of Chivalry." Middle Ages. P. V. N. Myers, Web. 28 Sep 2009..