Knights were sons of noblemen who trained to become soldiers of the king. A knight began training as a page at the age of seven. He then became an esquire, and an assistant to a knight, before finally becoming a knight himself at the age of 21. Knights wee bound by the rules of chivalry, and fought to the death to protect their king and country.
By the 15th century, knights wore plated armour, which offered better protection than metal plates were joined by smaller plates called ‘lames’. The knight’s neck was protected by a ‘bevor’, which was attached to the breast plate.
Esquires became knights in a ceremony called dubbing. The knight’s lord tapped him on the shoulder with the flat blade of his sword.
Defenders shot arrows from window slits, and threw rocks, boiling water and red hot irons at the enemy. Many sieges ended when the defenders were starved into surrendering.
A trebuchet hurled stones at castle walls. A ballista, like a glant crossbow, shot bolts. The mangonel was a catapult used for throwing rocks.
Battle Knights fought on horseback with lances and on foot with other weapons. A knight was identified by the coat of arms he wore on his surcoat. Knights who did not want to fight had to pay a ‘scutage’ fee to the king.
A knight’s weapons included a crossbow, axe, mace (heavy club), longbow, broadsword, dagger and a shield.
Attackers used battering rams and catapults to weaken castle walls. They also tunnelled under the castle and shot at it from a siege tower. Meanwhile, archers on the ground kept a steady stream of arrows aimed at the defenders.