This coming October 2014 (6th-15th), ATA will offer a tour to Southern Wales and England that focuses on the life of medieval knight William Marshal. Accompanied by award-winning historical novelist Elizabeth Chadwick, the tour will provide a snapshot of what life was like in the Middle Ages, especially for illustrious knight William Marshal. Though the lives of knights are frequently depicted in both TV and films such as The Tudors or Game of Thrones, there are many interesting, unknown facts about knights. We discuss just a few below for your knowledge and enjoyment!
Generally, the process of becoming a knight took approximately 14 years, and required both extensive training and “paying your dues”. A young boy would start his training as a page, primarily acting as a “servant boy” to his lord or master with training more so in the form of games. After completing 7 years of being a page, a boy would then move on to become an esquire. A sense of servitude still existed during this stage, but an esquire was also responsible for maintaining his master knight’s weapons and armor, and training was much more dangerous. Finally, at 21 he would be knighted.
As with William Marshal, many knights participated in jousting tournaments. Originally, these sporting game events began as practice for warfare but, after the end of the Crusades, they evolved into sporting tournaments as knights were not actively fighting in wars.
Perhaps one of the most fun and interesting facts concerning knights has to do with the attempts taken to curb attacks by knights during a siege. As can be seen in many medieval castles, staircases are narrow and winding. This was purposefully done so that it would be both difficult and time consuming for knights, who wore up to 50 pounds of armor, to get up the stairs. Additionally, the clockwise rotation of the stairs forced knights, most of whom trained to be right handed, to advance with the left side. Ultimately, though, what caused the demise of knights was the invention of the crossbow and gun powder.
So there you have it; some interesting facts on knights during the medieval times. If this has peaked your curiosity to learn more about (or even visit!) the places that knights lived and breathed during the Middle Ages, be sure to check out the “In the Footsteps of William Marshal” tour accompanied by Elizabeth Chadwick.
For more information, just click on the link below!
Works Cited: P. Poisuo (2013). Ten Fascinating Facts About Knights. Retrieved from http://listverse.com/2013/08/18/10-fascinating-facts-about-knigphts/