Tag Archives: knights

William Marshal: The archetypal knight

William Marshal: The archetypal knight


A younger son of a minor nobleman who became a notable tourneyer and warrior, a comrade to princes and kings, a powerful landowner and, ultimately, the regent of England and preserver of the Plantagenet dynasty, William Marshal’s career perhaps best typifies the breadth of the world of the knight.

Becoming a knight

Becoming a knight

The three main strands of the chivalric ethos – warrior, courtier and Christian – might throw up some contradictions, but on the whole the knight was able to ignore these, adapting courtly behaviour and Christian teaching to fit with the martial ethic.

The First Crusade: The shock of the new?

The First Crusade: The shock of the new?

When in March of 1095 Pope Urban II made a speech to an assembly of French nobility and clergy at Clermont, in which he explained that the Christians in the east, both Catholic and Orthodox, were facing daily attacks and depredations from the Muslim population and lords, and offered those who would unite against this common foe remission of their sins, few could have expected the huge impact that his words would have on both East and West.

Forest, deer parks and hunting in the time of chivalry

Forest, deer parks and hunting in the time of chivalry

Like the inclusion of crenellations, the creation of a deer park required a license from the Crown. The ownership of hunting land or the right to hunt within it was as much a symbol of noble status as the fortified dwelling or heraldic arms. Vast tracts of land, by the late 12th century maybe as much as a third of southern England, were set aside for hunting.