In medieval times, becoming a knight was a great accomplishment that would earn you a lot of respect. Knights were soldiers who wore heavy armor and rode on horseback. But not everyone could become a knight, because all that armor was very expensive. Even if you could afford it, it was not an easy process!
There were two ways to become a knight.
You could earn your knighthood through a special act of bravery or success in battle.
You could become a knight's apprentice and work your way to becoming a knight.
In order to work your way from apprentice to knight, you would have to accomplish several things.
At the age of seven, you would go to work for a knight as his page. You would be the knight's servant, doing basic things for him like serving meals, cleaning his clothes, and taking messages to people for him. He would teach you good manners and how you should behave.
Around the age of fifteen, you would move up in the ranks from page to squire. As a squire, you would have a new set of tasks with more responsibility. You would take care of the knight's horses, clean his armor and weapons, and go with him to the battlefield. That meant you had to be ready to fight! The knight would teach you fighting skills and train you with real weapons. You had to be strong and in good shape! While working as a squire, you would continue to practice your horsemanship, jousting skills, and fighting on horseback. You would most likely work as a squire for five or six years.
As a squire, you could become a knight when you were 21 years old, as long as you had proven your bravery and skill at battle. In most cases, you would officially be given the title of knight at a "dubbing" ceremony, where you would kneel in front of another knight, lord, or king. They would then tap you on the shoulder with their sword, making you a knight. You would take an oath to honor and protect your king and the church. Then you would be presented with a sword and a pair of riding spurs.
Interesting facts about knights:
Knights needed to know how to defend their castle from attack, and how to attack their enemies' castles. The knight you served as a page would teach you all about castle warfare. This included siege warfare, where you would surround your enemy's castle and cut off supplies from getting in. You would also need to know how to survive and fight back if your enemy used siege warfare to attack your castle.
The word "squire" comes from a French word that means "shield-bearer." A squire would often carry the knight's shield.
If you served a wealthy knight, you would be one of many pages and squires serving and being trained by him.
Squires used a wooden dummy called a "quintain" to practice jousting.
Squires could also be given the title of knight on the battlefield instead of during a dubbing ceremony.
Squires who were getting ready for their dubbing ceremony had to spend the night alone, praying.