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7 Little Known Facts About Knights

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January 4th is National Trivia Day! A day to honor all of us who have astounding facts, history, and quotes in the recesses of our brains. To commemorate this holiday, we are going to share a few facts about knights you may not have been aware of.

1. The word Knight derives from "cniht", an old Anglo Saxon word for "boy" or "man-at-arms.


2. Women could be knights too. There were two ways to become a knight - holding land under a knight’s fee or being inducted into an order of knighthood. When a dead knight’s land passed to his wife or daughter, these duties were imposed on that woman. In England, the title of Lady was usually given to such a woman, but in France, Tuscany, and Romagna she was given the male title. In 1358, women finally gained full knightly acceptance in England when they began to be admitted to chivalric orders.


3. Knighthood was not for the peasants. What was that earlier about holding land to become a knight? That's right, not anyone could become a knight. Being a knight was extremely expensive. You had to pay for your own armor, weapons, and horse. Plus you had to maintain your home and servants.

4. There were benefits to the title. Often knights were rewarded by the kingdom with large plots of land in exchange for their military service.

5. The benefits had strings attached. The knight had rights to rule over his fiefdom as he saw fit, but was still was a tenant of the crown. They had to be ready to fight for their country when asked. Plus they had to oversee the land and often served as judges and political advisers.

6. It wasn't all fun and games for the young. If you were born a son to a knight, chances are you became one too. But the hard work started at a very young age requiring them to serve as a page for seven years, then as a squire for another seven years.


7. Spiral Staircases were not designed just to save space. In medieval castles, the spiral staircases were usually located next to an outer wall. If an enemy were to trespass, the narrow curved shape made it difficult to fight while navigating the staircase. Also, the spiral design wound clockwise going up. Any invader would advance with their left side to the front, giving them a disadvantage since they almost always wielded their sword with their right hand. 

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Trivia from our friends at Museum Replicas Ltd