The king or lord was the highest figure on the social scale in medieval times and right behind him come the knight. At the age of seven, boys left home to live in the lord’s house. Here, the boy became a Page and was cared for by the women who ran the lord’s manor. A Page was taught to keep himself clean, to be courteous and was instructed on religion. When he turned fourteen, he became the personal attendant to a knight that had been chosen as his tutor and his position was changed to Squire. His tutor instructed him on the skills of war, how to remain seated on a horse in battle and the arts of hawking and hunting, as well as other sports.
When the knight tutor felt the Squire was ready, he was knighted in a religious ceremony. Squires were usually knighted between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one. The night before the ceremony, the knight in waiting spent the night in the church guarding his armor that had been laid before the church alter.
On the day of his knighthood, the knight was required to recite and swear to the knight’s code, which declared that he had to “protect the weak, defenseless and helpless and fight for the general welfare of all.” The code was a standard for knight behavior and chivalry, though most often the knights didn’t bother to adhere to it. In exceptional circumstances, a squire could be knighted on the battlefield for bravery and valor, but this was a very rare occurrence.
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