Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search


Please help our efforts with a donation. This site requires ongoing funding and your donations are crucial to our future.
Last 10 Donors: Neil Eddiford, Chad Arnow, Jean Thibodeau, Robert Morgan, Adam Rose, Jerry Otahal, Michael P. Smith, Mikko Kuusirati, Eric Bergeron, Daniel Staberg (View All Donors)

Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > question on the knight and medieval footsoldiers Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Mike H





Joined: 12 Nov 2005

Posts: 41

PostPosted: Mon 23 Jan, 2006 6:16 pm    Post subject: question on the knight and medieval footsoldiers         Reply with quote

I had a couple of questions. Did knights have squires or only lords. How many did they have. How personal was the relationship between the knight and his squire. Where did the knight live ( I don' think that theres enough castles to fit all the knights) How many knights were typically under 1 lord. Were knights the only ones with horses on the battle field. How were regular footsoldiers and peasants recruied. What type of armor did the peasant soldiers and footsoldiers wear.
The time period I'm looking for is around the 1300's. If anyone has answers to any of these it would save me of my headache. Big Grin
View user's profile Send private message
Greyson Brown




Location: Windsor, Colorado
Joined: 22 Nov 2004
Reading list: 15 books

Posts: 790

PostPosted: Tue 24 Jan, 2006 4:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike,

In the end, you are probably going to have to do some research on this one. There are no set answers, as things varied form place to place, and time to time. Let me see if I can't help with some of those, however:

Quote:
Did knights have squires or only lords?


This kind of depends on what you term a knight, ans what you term a lord. Both knights (bachelors and bannerets) and lords (dukes, earls, etc.) had squires. It should be noted that Froissart referred to John Chandos as lord in his account of the battle of Poitiers. At that time, Chandos was still a knight bachelor. So what makes a lord? Good question.

Quote:
How many did they have?


Good question. We know from the above mentioned account of Poitiers that Sir James Lord Audley had four squires. We also know that one of Chandos' squires was transferred into the service of Edwardrd the Black Prince in the 1360's. I doubt that would have happened if Chandos had only had one squire. Of course, most of the point of being a squire is to become a knight (that statement is an oversimplification of things, however). Thus a squire would at some point be knighted and move on, so that a knight might have differing numbers of squires at different points in his careerer.

Quote:
How personal was the relationship between the knight and his squire?


I would guess that like modern bosses, that varied from person to person. You can say all the wonderfull stuff that you want about shared war-time experience ingendering comraderie, but in the end, some people on congenial and some aren't.

Quote:
Where did the knight live ?


Again, that varied from place to place and time to time, but many of them would have lived in manner houses or smaller fortresses. Chandos inheritted Radbourne manner (Radbourne, Derbyshire) from his father. He also ended up holding Saint-Saveur in the Cotentin (I think I spelled that right), France, and seems to have had a manner house at or near Lussac, France. Of those, I believe that Radboune is the only one still standing. I could be wrong on that though.

Quote:
How many knights were typically under 1 lord?


Sadly, I should have a better answer for this, but I don't. I do know that this would also have varied. A knight bachelor would not have had other knights that served under him. He would simply have had his squires, and some archers or men-at-arms. A banneret on the other hand, was a commander in charge of other knights. One of the requirements for being a banneret was to own a certain amount of land. The whole point of that was that the banneret had to be able to provide for and equip a certain number of people. A lord would have had even more people under him (especially when you consider the non-combatant servents).

Quote:
Were knights the only ones with horses on the battle field?


No, serjeants were also mounted most of the time. These were men who were equipped very much like knights (sometimes more lightly armed, but not always), but did not have the land need to support a knight's fee. Just as a certain amount of land was needed to be a knight banneret, a certain amount was needed to be a knight bachelor and support the men needed in that position. Also, during the time in question, it became increasingly more common for archers and other "common" soldiers to use horses. They might have aquired these during a campaign, but in some cases, they were provided so that those soldiers could act as skirmshers or scouts.

Quote:
How were regular footsoldiers and peasants recruied?


This underwent a lot of change in the 1300's. Initially, they would have owed military service as part of their feudal duties. It became more and more common for people to pay a "shield tax" so that proffessional soldiers could be hired in their stead. Where did one find those proffessionals? I don't really remember. I can find out more for you, but I don't have access to the books that I need until the end of the week.

Quote:
What type of armor did the peasant soldiers and footsoldiers wear?


Again, this would have varied quite a bit. English men-at-arms would have been armed differently than Spanish slingers (it may sound like a mute comparrison, but they faced each other at the battle of Najera in 1367), and so on. Armour also changed quite a bit during the 14th centuy. Mail shirts is the usual stand by answer, but padded tunics were probably common as well. Of course, there is always going to be that guy who doesn't have anything (some soldiers will loose the most important item you give them even if it is dummy-corded right to them), and there is always going to be that enterprising fellow who has someow managed to get nicer armour than his peers.

Hope that helps a bit.

-Grey

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
View user's profile Send private message
Hisham Gaballa





Joined: 27 Jan 2005
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 508

PostPosted: Tue 24 Jan, 2006 6:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think Greyson has covered most of the points and hasn't left me with much to say. Big Grin

To be honest I know a bit more about the 15th century than the 14th. I presume by knight you a heavily armoured medieval warrior who fought mainly on horseback, also known as men-at-arms, miles in France and as lances. While the equipment of most of these men would have been similar, not all of them would have been "knights" in the sense of having been knighted. Many would have been esquires (different to a squire) or even lower status, but because they had the training and could afford the armour and weapons were still counted as men-at-arms. Just to complicate it further, AFAIK English men-at-arms usually fought on foot, only a small proportion fought on horseback.

With regards to squires I think that varied from place to place and across time. With regards to how many knights each lord would have would depend on his wealth. I think in the late 14th century the English armie was made of "companies" who were lead by a "captain" who could be a knight or a lord. The size of companies could vary from a dozen men to several hundred.

A good but not necessarily totally accurate starting point would be Osprey books, they are reasonably cheap and easily available. I think you'll need to decide though if your Knight is English, French, German or Spanish.
View user's profile Send private message
Cole Sibley




Location: Montana, USA
Joined: 19 Apr 2005

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Tue 24 Jan, 2006 7:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interestingly enough, I think the question is more about economics than it is about the military. Most wealth came from owning land (an oversimplification, this was constantly evolving, and one of the biggest social upheavals of the 'medieval' period). People that owned land would normally have a house on it, from a house to castle depending upon wealth. All of your questions depend (imho) mainly upon how much wealth and favor a person had. The fuedal period is quite interesting, I wish I was more educated on the subject.
View user's profile Send private message
Mike H





Joined: 12 Nov 2005

Posts: 41

PostPosted: Tue 24 Jan, 2006 10:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

thanks alot. If anyone has any other information it would be greatly appreciated
View user's profile Send private message
Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
Joined: 10 Feb 2005
Likes: 1 page

Spotlight topics: 3
Posts: 1,532

PostPosted: Tue 24 Jan, 2006 2:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is a potential element of economics involved in your question. I had posted this several months ago. Some of it is speculation or based on second hand articles, and not everything is agreed upon within the forum.

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=4373

The feudal land holder system does not really apply strongly to France throughout much of "medieval period", while it did apply strongly in England. Then again, within France, there really was not as much priveledge and status associated with a non-royal blood mounted knight (more of a high ranking soldier.) I would have to do a lot more research to accurately describe that area of difference alone.

In reading second hand accounts of mercenary men at arms scattered abroud throughout Europe, there was a definate supply of people who were qualified by birth and training to be a knight with all the retinue you might associate, but who did not end up this way for one way or another. I proposed lack of wealth as a plausible reason , but you might also consider ideals of military orders, loyalty to non-reigning contendors for the throne, or some other reason.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
View user's profile Send private message
Alexander Pratt





Joined: 19 Oct 2005

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Fri 27 Jan, 2006 11:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you want some intresting lituature on the subject of the 14th century try a book called 'A Distant Mirror The calamitous 14th century' by Barbra W. Tuchman. I am in the middle of the book right now, it has a wealth of information on this subject.

Alexander Pratt

A sans-culotte you rogues? He is someone who always goes on foot, who has no millions, no chateaux. No valets to serve him, and who lives simply with his wife and children, if he has any, on a fourth or fifth story.
View user's profile Send private message
Alexi Goranov
myArmoury Alumni


myArmoury Alumni

Location: San Francisco, CA
Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Reading list: 72 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 1,191

PostPosted: Fri 27 Jan, 2006 11:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alexander Pratt wrote:
If you want some intresting lituature on the subject of the 14th century try a book called 'A Distant Mirror The calamitous 14th century' by Barbra W. Tuchman. I am in the middle of the book right now, it has a wealth of information on this subject.

Alexander Pratt


Hi Mike,

That is a great book that I will wholeheartedly recommend it. Things to watch out for are silly statements about sword sizes and attributes of armour. Other than that it does go quite deeply into the social life of the 14th century both from the perspective of the wealthy and from that of the poor. This is not a book about military organization mind you. It is much broader in scope.

If you care about military organization take a look at M. Prestwich's book "Armies and warfare in the middle ages: the English experience". It does deal in a significant detail with the organization of the army including numbers of bannerets, knights, squires etc. as relevant for time periods and as informations is available.
Alexi
View user's profile Send private message
Greyson Brown




Location: Windsor, Colorado
Joined: 22 Nov 2004
Reading list: 15 books

Posts: 790

PostPosted: Fri 27 Jan, 2006 1:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alexander Pratt wrote:
If you want some intresting lituature on the subject of the 14th century try a book called 'A Distant Mirror The calamitous 14th century' by Barbra W. Tuchman. I am in the middle of the book right now, it has a wealth of information on this subject.


I have only read a small portion of Barbara Tuchman's book (my book mark is sitting at page 96, and has been for at least a couple months). It was recommended to me by a friend who has more interest in politics than history, and he thought is was just wonderful. I have trouble taking her seriously. She does make the aforementioed comments about swords and armour, and I feel that she has a tendency to speak in generalizations (feel free to take that as the biased comment of someone not qualified to make the statement, because it is definitely that). One of my biggest problems with the book, though, is based on the fact that I have had college history drummed into my brain. She does not use appropriate citations. By this I mean that she will include a quote and give absolutely no source for that quote. How am I, as someone who strives to be a credible student of Medieval history, to determine whether her source was worthy of the weight she has placed on it, or not (I'm going to assume that she did not just make up the quote, but, thanks to her lack of citations, I don't have proof of that)?

When she makes comments that I know to be untrue on arms and armour, and then fails to give appropriate support for comments that may or may not be true about the specific individual she has chosen to focus on (Enguerrand Coucy), how am I to trust her other comments about the Black Plague, etc.?


Please understand that I am not trying to malign Tuchman. I do, however, want others to understand the problems that I have with her work so that they can make more informed decisions about it. I probably give my opinion too much credit. If you are able to extract usable information (and I'm certain that it is in there) from this book, then by all means, do so. I would just hate for someone to latch onto it as strongly as my buddy has, without considering the implications of that trust.

-Grey

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
View user's profile Send private message
Mike H





Joined: 12 Nov 2005

Posts: 41

PostPosted: Sat 28 Jan, 2006 8:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'll go check the library today for this book
View user's profile Send private message
Alexi Goranov
myArmoury Alumni


myArmoury Alumni

Location: San Francisco, CA
Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Reading list: 72 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 1,191

PostPosted: Sat 28 Jan, 2006 2:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greyson Brown wrote:


I have only read a small portion of Barbara Tuchman's book (my book mark is sitting at page 96, and has been for at least a couple months). It was recommended to me by a friend who has more interest in politics than history, and he thought is was just wonderful. I have trouble taking her seriously. She does make the aforementioed comments about swords and armour, and I feel that she has a tendency to speak in generalizations (feel free to take that as the biased comment of someone not qualified to make the statement, because it is definitely that). One of my biggest problems with the book, though, is based on the fact that I have had college history drummed into my brain. She does not use appropriate citations. By this I mean that she will include a quote and give absolutely no source for that quote. How am I, as someone who strives to be a credible student of Medieval history, to determine whether her source was worthy of the weight she has placed on it, or not (I'm going to assume that she did not just make up the quote, but, thanks to her lack of citations, I don't have proof of that)?

-Grey


Hi Grey,

I want to add few comments to what you wrote above so that people can understand what to expect. She addresses the mentioned concerns in the introduction, and she lists a ton of primary and secondary literature at the end. She explicitly states that she is not going to list every single citation (or even most of the citations in the text) because it makes the book harder to read.

We need to be clear: this is not a scholarly work to be read and scrutinized by academics, but is rather a popular book that is meant to be accessible to a broad audience. That means the the style and approach would be different than for a standard scholarly book.

I read the book completely and appreciated it for what it was: a sociological/political/historic survey of the 14th century presented from a particular aspect and for a general audience.It is not a text book. I was and still am preoccupied with military tactics and armament, but now I have a more complete picture of how complicated the political and social scene was when the military events took place.

With regards to the arms and armour claims that she makes, those were relatively rare and they were the commonly accepted norms at the time (mid 1950ies when she wrote the book). Even today most people who have never seen or handled real swords or armor think that they have to be very heavy.

Mike,

I think that this book is rather enjoyable if the reader understands what to expect. This is not the book I will pick up if I care to learn about medieval warfare tactics or armor. But I would recommend it for anyone interested in placing the military exploits of France and England during the 14th century within their social/political context.

I hope this helps in setting one's expectations about this book.

Alexi
View user's profile Send private message
Felix Wang




Location: Fresno, CA
Joined: 23 Aug 2003
Reading list: 17 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 394

PostPosted: Fri 03 Feb, 2006 11:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Prestwich's book has already been mentioned; it is excellent. Maurice Keen has also written a couple of very important books on medieval warfare and on chivalry; I am finishing the latter right now. The terms "knight" and "squire" changed meaning as time passed, and similar terms in Latin, Middle French, or Middle German did not in fact mean exactly the same thing. Both knights and squires gradually become words for persons of increasing social/economic status as time passed. Knighthood carried various social and political obligations, and some people who qualified for knighthood in found it convienient to remain squires. The costs also increased - a knight of 1100 would have a mail hauberk, gambeson, and helmet for armour; his descendent in 1400 would have a much more complex and costlier suit of protection. Squires started out as young men in training, but by the end of the Middle Ages a squire was a gentleman of the lower gentry in his own right.
View user's profile Send private message
Russ Ellis
Industry Professional




Joined: 20 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

Posts: 2,607

PostPosted: Fri 03 Feb, 2006 11:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Felix Wang wrote:
Prestwich's book has already been mentioned; it is excellent. Maurice Keen has also written a couple of very important books on medieval warfare and on chivalry; I am finishing the latter right now. The terms "knight" and "squire" changed meaning as time passed, and similar terms in Latin, Middle French, or Middle German did not in fact mean exactly the same thing. Both knights and squires gradually become words for persons of increasing social/economic status as time passed. Knighthood carried various social and political obligations, and some people who qualified for knighthood in found it convienient to remain squires. The costs also increased - a knight of 1100 would have a mail hauberk, gambeson, and helmet for armour; his descendent in 1400 would have a much more complex and costlier suit of protection. Squires started out as young men in training, but by the end of the Middle Ages a squire was a gentleman of the lower gentry in his own right.


Absolutely, I was just reading that Edward II and III both actually had to make decrees forcing some people to become knights. "Detainment" I think it was called.

TRITONWORKS Custom Scabbards
View user's profile Send private message
Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
Joined: 10 Feb 2005
Likes: 1 page

Spotlight topics: 3
Posts: 1,532

PostPosted: Fri 03 Feb, 2006 7:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

At least in England, it was not exactly cheap around 1100 AD to be a Knight. Lesser rank Knights were allocated land (fifedoms, sort of like small counties) to manage and were expected to raise and equip a fighting force proportional in size to the land they were put in charge of. This system became formalized contractually by 1215 with the Magna Carta and related documents. However, it was already an expected tradition by then.
Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
View user's profile Send private message
Greyson Brown




Location: Windsor, Colorado
Joined: 22 Nov 2004
Reading list: 15 books

Posts: 790

PostPosted: Sat 04 Feb, 2006 1:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You bring up some good points. This is precisely why I said that my comment about squires becoming knights was an oversimplification. Unfortunately, most of the questions asked by Mike could result in a book unto themselves. It makes it hard to get a complete answer in a forum post like this.

-Grey

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > question on the knight and medieval footsoldiers
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum