The Top 5 Fun Facts About Medieval Knights

Time Period for Medieval Knights500 AD-17th century AD
Location of WorldEurope and parts of Asia

The European medieval knight has forever inspired people over the past 1,000 years. These knights were often associated with high values of honor, justice, morality, and a sense of justice. Here are 5 fun facts about Medieval Knights that many people do not know.

A simple list of 5 hidden fun facts about medieval knights are the following.

  1. A small group of knights was called a lance fournie while a large group was called an order of knights.
  2. The average weight of a knight’s armor was between 30-55 KG or 60-115 lbs.
  3. Medieval knights were expected to be able to run, swim, jump, and dive while wearing their armor.
  4. Medieval knights were paid in allotments of land called a “knight’s fee.”
  5. While rare there are examples of peasants or commoners becoming knights.

Today medieval knights fascinate people. Across the world there are examples of the stereotypical medieval knight appearing in films, books, video games, and shows. These legendary noble warriors fought across Europe for more then 1,000 years and forever changed history and society.

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Without further ado, here are the top 5 fun facts about medieval knights.

Fun Fact 1: A Small Group of Knights Was Called A Lance Fournie While A Large Group Was Called An Order Of Knights

Further ReadingMedieval Knights: What A Group Of Knights Were Called

One of the most fun facts about medieval knights was how they organized in groups. There are two different names for groups of medieval knights depending upon how large the group is.

A small group of knights is called a lance fournie or a ‘provided for spear.’ This small group of knights was composed of 3 different members.

The first member of a lance fournie was the knight themselves on their horse with their armor and lance. A knight would have to have several attendants and helpers to make sure that their equipment was well taken care of and to provide for their horse.

The second member of a lance fournie was the supporting troops that would aid the knight in battle. These were the knights’ aids and they were called “men-at-arms.” During a conflict these aids would help to protect and maneuver with the knight. These could include bowmen, infantry, or spearmen.

The third member of the lance fournie was all of the attendants. Fielding a lance fournie would require substantial amounts of resources for the average medieval knight. This third group was vital for making sure the knights equipment was taken care of and well stocked.

A lance fournie could be less than 10 people with one knight or more then 2,000 with several hundred knights. However, this was still not a large group of knights.

A large group of knights was called a military order. One military order could have thousands of knights as members. The knights’ templar alone had 20,000 knights and squires that could be fielded during its peak!

As such one of the top fun facts about medieval knights is how they were grouped. Remember that a lance fournie was a small group of knights while a large group was a military order of knights.

Fun Fact 2: The Average Weight Of A Knight’s Armor Was Between 30-55 KG Or 60-115 lbs.

Further ReadingThe Heaviest Medieval Armor

Another fun fact about medieval knights was the weight of their armor. The mounted knights of the late medieval era were more iron then they were human.

There were three different types of medieval plate armor worn by medieval knights. Each of these armors weighed different but the heaviest would have weighed more than 120 lbs. Imagine wearing that around.

The lightest type of medieval armor a knight would wear would only cover the top portion of their body. This type of armor was around 50 lbs. in weight but provided no cover for the knight’s legs. Typically this armor was used by foot infantry knights in the front lines.

In the middle weight class there was the mounted commander or knight’s armor. This armor suit is the most typical one we think of when imagining a medieval knight. These suits were often specialty made to fit a single knight and weighed about 110 lbs. A knight wearing these suits would typically be mounted upon a horse.

By far the heaviest medieval armor for knights was the specialty jousting armor. These armor sets were designed to protect the knight from cavalry lances during charges. This suit of armor would be ornately decorated and weigh in excess of 120 lbs. If you were wearing this suit it would be hard to breathe let alone move.

One of the most fun facts about knights is that their suits of armor were so excessively heavy. To give you an idea, modern armor worn by soldiers weighs at most around 30 lbs. The lightest medieval knights armor was nearly double that.

Fun Fact 3: Medieval Knights Were Expected To Be Able To Run, Swim, Jump, And Dive While Wearing Their Armor

Further ReadingThe 3 Ways Medieval Knights Would Work Out and Stay Fit

Another fun fact about medieval knights was that they were expected to be able to perform a series of agility tests while wearing their armor. These tests included running, jumping, swimming, and diving.

From an early age of around 12 a knight would begin to wear weighted padding and train to wear his heavy armor. This excess weight would result in a knight becoming incredibly strong so that they could easily wear their armor.

Historians have documents from the medieval era that highlights how these young knights would train while wearing their armor. Contrary to popular belief a well trained medieval knight was very agile in their heavy armor.

This was because of two reasons.

First, the armor itself was designed to fit each individual knight. As a result the armor would spread the weight out across the entire body evenly. Even though the medieval armor weighed in excess of 70 lbs., a knight only had about 10-15 lbs. on any one part of their body.

Second, the knight from an early age would train to best use their armor and more importantly how to support its weight. By running, diving, swimming, and jumping while in full armor the knight would become accustomed to its weight and get strong enough to support it.

The fact that knights could do a variety of agility tasks such as running, diving, swimming, and jumping remains one of the most fun facts of medieval knights.

Fun Fact 4: Medieval Knights Were Paid In Allotments Of Land Called A “Knight’s Fee”

Further ReadingThe 2 Ways Medieval Knights Got Paid Across Europe

The fourth fun fact about knights was that it was expensive just to be one. Not only did you have to pay for expensive equipment but you also had to provide taxes to your lord or monarch.

To provide for such a costly lifestyle knight’s were paid in something called a “knight’s fee.” These fees were around 1,000-5,000 acres of land which was deemed enough to provide for one knight, their family, and the necessary supporters it would take to cultivate and farm the land.

If a knight did well while on a military campaign with their lord or monarch they could receive additional lands as a reward. Over time this would lead to certain knights becoming insanely wealthy and holding millions of acres of land.

Once a knight became so powerful their knight’s fee would increase as it cost more to support their domain and authority. Historians have accounts of knights becoming so powerful that they even began to form their own tiny kingdoms within the primary monarch’s larger one.

In order to generate wealth the medieval knight would have control over the local labor force of commoners or peasants. These peasants were given food, lodging, and basic entertainment in return for the products of their labor which typically was mined or farmed resources.

This was how the basic feudal economy functioned during the medieval era. As such one of the fun facts about medieval knights was that they were paid not in cash but rather in large tracts of land called a knight’s fee.

Fun Fact 5: While Rare There Are Examples Of Peasants Or Commoners Becoming Knights

Further Reading2 Ways A Medieval Peasant Or Commoner Could Become A Knight

The last fun fact about knights is that historians actually have evidence of peasants or commoners becoming medieval knights. While this was an extremely rare occurrence it did on occasion happen. However, there were really only two ways it could.

Medieval knight’s were a noble class of warriors who would protect the monarch’s government and right to rule. In return these noble knights were given lands and the right to control them so long as they swore an oath of loyalty to the monarch.

As such in order for a commoner or peasant to become a knight they would have to demonstrate natural leadership and gain the respect of both the monarch and the other knights of the realm.

The first way a peasant or commoner could become a knight was by voluntarily leading a group of soldiers in defense of the monarch. While all commoners could be called to serve it would take a volunteer to raise an army on their own to help the monarch. This commoner or pea sent would have to pay for the army out of their own pocket.

Historians have accounts of mercenary commoners becoming so well respected that they were knighted by a monarch.

The second way that a commoner or peasant became a knight was by directly helping the monarch in a profound way that saved the kingdom. This was incredibly rare and we as historians really only have one example.

In the 14th century there was a man named Thomas de Rockby who escaped from a Scottish prison and traveled hundreds of miles to meet the English King Edward III. He then led the king to the hidden Scottish army and was subsequently knighted.

As such the fact that a peasant or commoner could become a noble knight is another fun fact about medieval knights.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this article on the top 5 fun facts about medieval knights.

To this day European medieval knights inspire people through their heroic tales of valor, honor, and bravery. While not all of the legends are true there are other stories and tales that have turned out to be true. One such legend was that knights were incredibly agile while in their armor. Over the past 20 years historians have recreated their armor and figured out that in fact when made well a knight’s armor barely weighed a person down.

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Sincerely,

Nick