Medieval knights were afraid of battle

Page and squire - training to become a knight

The squire was the young member of a knightly family who had not yet been knighted.

The boys were raised by their mothers in the Christian spirit as early as childhood.

At the age of six to seven, the father or a clergyman took over his teaching. Here he learned courtly manners, to make music and to read, write and do arithmetic.

A noble boy also spent several hours in the saddle every day, because he had to learn to lead his horse with only one hand if he later wanted to carry a lance or a sword in a fight.

At the age of about twelve the boys were given to the court of a count or prince as pages for further education.

Together with other boys, the page learned the craft of war and the handling of various weapons. During this training period, fencing and sword fighting were first practiced with wooden weapons.

But resistance to pain and cold was also trained. The pages learned how to overcome their fear of killing by regularly taking them with them on the hunt.

At about 14 years of age, the pages were appointed squires and placed in the service of a knight.

A squire stood by his master's side at meetings. He accompanied him during acts of war, but without actually taking part in the fighting himself. He helped the knight into armor and saddle, and wore his helmet and shield.

During the campaigns he was responsible for the feeding of the horses and the maintenance of the weapons, or he gave help when his master was wounded.


The squire often received the maintenance for the costly training with horses and weapons from his employer, to whom he could recommend himself to future fiefs if he was on probation.

At the age of 21 or later on a special occasion, the long-awaited sword mastery (accolade) took place.

This act was preceded by fasting and prayer and the sacrament.

Another part of the ceremony was that two knights testified to the knightly origin, the Christian faith and the ability of the squire to fulfill his future duties.

The accolade consisted in the squire being armed - without helmet, sword or shield - kneeling down between his witnesses and the person granting the dignity slapped him on each shoulder with the flat sword.

Then the new knight received a sword, helmet and shield.

Often the young knights celebrated the accolade with a big party and held a tournament to measure their strength with other knights.

On the other hand, it also happened that a squire was simply knighted shortly before a fight or an upcoming battle.

Here you can read more about pages, squires and the sword line ...


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Photos: Medienwerkstatt Mühlacker