‘The Accolade’ by Edmund Leighton
Hello! I’m so glad you could stop by! In today’s blog post, we’ll be chatting a bit about knighthood in the Middle Ages, particularly the ceremony of knighting.
In the course of researching my upcoming book, A Sizzling Summer, I had to learn a bit about the specifics of becoming a knight. So how did one become a knight, anyway?
I’m not going to go into all the work it takes beforehand to work your way up to the rank of knight in medieval society. That could be its own post 🙂 Instead, let’s learn about the fascinating ritual of knighthood, starting with the night before the ceremony…
The knight-to-be would be bathed, to symbolize purification. Then he would don a white robe (purity, again), red vestment (nobility), and black shoes (death) to prepare for his night vigil — ten hours of prayer, kneeling in pious silence before an altar holding his sword and shield.
In the morning, the rest of his crew (nobles, other knights, clergy, squire friends, etc.) would join him for Mass and the priest’s sermon would relate to knighthood and its duties, just in case ten hours meditating on the subject wasn’t enough.
The sword and shield, now blessed by the priest, would be carried by the noble lord doing the knighting. After being presented by his sponsors, the knight-to-be would swear his oath of knighthood as well as an oath of loyalty to the lord. Finally, the lord would give the knight his sword and shield, hitting him on the shoulder with the flat part of the blade (dubbing).
The knight’s buddies would help him put on his new spurs and sword, before everyone went to party all afternoon. Following the ceremony, as I’m sure most of you know, the knight would be titled ‘Sir’.
While women could not technically be knighted, enough of them showed interest and potential that sister orders cropped up over time. I haven’t checked primary sources yet, but in my cursory searches, I haven’t found any titles (like ‘Sir’) that were used for lady warriors. ‘Dame’ didn’t become the feminine of ‘Sir’ until the early modern period.
Do you know any fun facts about knighthood? Share them in the comments!
Grab a cup of tea, fall into your favorite armchair, and fall in love with a cast of larger-than-life characters on their spirited misadventures. Seasons of Scotland follows the story of three Highland clans over the course of one year as they face the political turmoil of twelfth-century Scotland, all while their warriors are busy falling head-over-heels in love. From poorly planned escapes to murder attempts and everything in between, it’s lucky for our band of Highlanders and their lasses that love does indeed conquer all.
A Highland Autumn: Ronan & Adelina (Clan Calder)
A Wild Winter: Aidan & Gemma (Clan MacMaster)
A Scandalous Spring: Fintan & Sybilla (Clan Calder)
A Sizzling Summer: Donnan & Deirdre (Clan Drummond – Coming Summer 2021)
A light, fun series with feisty heroines, Highlander heroes, and a lot of heart, Seasons of Scotland will keep you reading all night long.
*This series is steamy and sweet. Medium Heat.*