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KNIGHTHOOD

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Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 860 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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KNIGHTHOOD and CHIVALRY. These two words, which are nearly but not quite synonymous, designate a single subject of inquiry, which presents itself under three different although connected and in a measure intermingled aspects. It may be regarded in the first place as a mode or variety of feudal tenure, in the second place as a personal attribute or dignity, and in the third place as a scheme of manners or social arrangements. The first of these aspects is discussed under the headings FEu-DALISM and KNIGHT SERVICE: we are concerned here only with the second and third. For the more important religious as distinguished from the military orders of knighthood or chivalry the reader is referred to the headings ST JOHN OF JERUSALEM, KNIGHTS OF; TEUTONIC KNIGHTS; and TEMPLARS. " The growth of knighthood " (writes Stubbs) " is a subject on which the greatest obscurity prevails ": and, though J. H. Round has done much to explain the introduction of the system into England,' its actual origin on the continent of Europe is still obscure in many of its most important details. The words knight and knighthood are merely the modern forms of the Anglo-Saxon or Old English cniht and cnihthdd. Of these 1 Feudal England, pp. 225 sqq. KNIGHTHOOD 851 the primary signification of the first was a boy or youth, and of the second that period of life which intervenes between child-hood and manhood. But some time before the middle of the 12th century they had acquired the meaning they still retain of the French chevalier and chevalerie. In a secondary sense cniht meant a servant or attendant answering to the German Knecht, and in the Anglo-Saxon Gospels a disciple is described as a leorning cniht. In a tertiary sense the word appears to have been occasionally employed as equivalent to the Latin miles—usually translated by thegn—which in the earlier middle ages was used as the designation of the domestic as well as of the martial officers or retainers of sovereigns and princes or great person-ages.' Sharon Turner suggests that cniht from meaning an attendant simply may have come to mean more especially a military attendant, and that in this sense it may have gradually superseded the word thegn.' But the word thegn itself, that is, when it was used as the description of an attendant of the king, appears to have meant more especially a military attendant. As Stubbs says " the thegn seems to be primarily the warrior gesith "—the gesithas forming the chosen band of companions (comites) of the German chiefs (principes) noticed by Tacitus—" he is probably the gesith who had a particular military duty in his master's service "; and he adds that from the reign of Athelstan " the gesith is lost sight of except very occasionally, the more important class having become thegns, and the lesser sort sinking into the rank of mere servants of the king."' It is pretty clear, therefore, that the word cniht could never have superseded the word thegn in the sense of a military attendant, at all events of the king. But besides the king, the ealdormen, bishops and king's thegns themselves had their thegns, and to these it is more than probable that the name of cniht was applied. Around the Anglo-Saxon magnates were collected a crowd of retainers and dependants of all ranks and conditions; and there is evidence enough to show that among them were some called cnihtas who were not always the humblest or least considerable of their number.' The testimony of Domesday also establishes the existence in the reign of Edward the Confessor of what Stubbs describes as a " large class " of landholders who had commended themselves to some lord, and he regards it as doubtful whether their tenure had not already assumed a really feudal character. But in any event it is manifest that their condition was in many respects similar to that of a vast number of unquestionably feudal and military tenants who made their appearance after the Norman Conquest. If consequently the former were called cnihtas under the Anglo-Saxon regime, it seems sufficiently probable that the appellation should have been continued to the latter—practically their successors—under the Anglo-Norman regime. And if the designation of knights was first applied to the military tenants of the earls, bishops and barons—who although they held their lands of mesne lords owed their services to the king—the extension of that designation to the whole body of military tenants need not have been a very violent or prolonged process. Assuming, however, that knight was originally used to describe the military tenant of a noble person, as cniht had sometimes been used to describe the thegn of a noble person, it would, to begin with, have defined rather his social status than the nature of his services. But those whom the English called knights 'the Normans called chevaliers, by which term the nature of their services was defined, while their social status was left out of consideration. And at first chevalier in its general and honorary signification seems to have been rendered not by knight but by rider, as may be inferred from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, wherein it is recorded under the year 1o85 that William the Conqueror "dubbade his sunu Henric to ridere."' But, as E. A. Freeman says, " no such title is heard of in the earlier days of England. The thegn, the ealdorman, the king himself, fought on foot; the horse might bear him to the field, but when the fighting ' Du Cange, Gloss., s.v. " Miles." a History of England, iii. 12. ' Stubbs, Constitutional History, i. 156. ' Ibid. i. 156, 366; Turner, iii. 125-129. 6 Ingram's edition, p. 29o. itself came he stood on his native earth to receive the onslaught of her enemies." 1 In this perhaps we may behold one of the most ancient of British insular prejudices, for on the Continent the importance of cavalry in warfare was already abundantly understood. It was by means of their horsemen that the Austrasian Franks established their superiority over their neighbours, and in time created the Western Empire anew, while from the word caballarius, which occurs in the Capitularies in the reign of Charlemagne, came the words for knight in all the Romance languages.' In Germany the chevalier was called Ritter, but neither rider nor chevalier prevailed against knight in England. And it was long after knighthood had acquired its present meaning with us that chivalry was incorporated into our language. It may be remarked too in passing that in official Latin, not only in England but all over Europe, the word miles held its own against both eques and caballarius. Concerning the origin of knighthood or chivalry as it existed in the middle ages—implying as it did a formal assumption of Origin of and initiation into the profession of arms—nothing Medieval beyond more or less probable conjecture is possible. Kaighthood.The medieval knights had nothing to do in the way of derivation with the " equites " of Rome, the knights of King Arthur's Round Table, or the Paladins of Charlemagne. But there are grounds for believing that some of the rudiments of chivalry are to be detected in early Teutonic customs, and that they may have made some advance among the Franks of Gaul. We know from Tacitus that the German tribes in his day were wont to celebrate the admission of their young men into the ranks of their warriors with much circumstance and ceremony. The people of the district to which the candidate belonged were called together; his qualifications for the privileges about to be conferred upon him were inquired into; and, if he were deemed fitted and worthy to receive them, his chief, his father, or one of his near kinsmen presented him with a shield and a lance. Again, among the Franks we find Charlemagne girding his son Louis the Pious, and Louis the Pious girding his son Charles the Bald with the sword, when they arrived at manhood.' It seems certain here that some ceremony was observed which was deemed worthy of record not for its novelty, but as a thing of recognized importance. It does not follow that a similar ceremony extended to personages less exalted than the sons of kings and emperors. But if it did we must naturally suppose that it applied in the first instance to the mounted warriors who formed the most formidable portion of the warlike array of the Franks. It was among the Franks indeed, and possibly through their experiences in war with the Saracens, that cavalry first acquired the pre-eminent place which it long maintained in every European country. In early society, where the army is not a paid force but the armed nation, the cavalry must necessarily consist of the noble and wealthy, and cavalry and chivalry, as Freeman observes,' will be the same. Since then we discover in the Capitularies of Charlemagne actual mention of " caballarii " as a class of warriors, it may reasonably be concluded that formal investiture with arms applied to the "caballarii " if it was a usage extending beyond the sovereign and his heir-apparent. " But," as Hallam says, " he who fought on horseback and had been invested with peculiar arms in a solemn manner wanted nothing more to render him a knight; " and so he concludes, in view of the verbal identity of " chevalier " and " caballarius," that " we may refer chivalry in a general sense to the age of Charlemagne." b Yet, if the " caballarii " of the Capitularies are really the pre-cursors of the later knights, it remains a difficulty that the Latin name for a knight is " miles," although " caballarius " became in various forms the vernacular designation. Before it was known that the chronicle ascribed to Ingulf of Croyland is really a fiction of the 13th or 14th century, the knighting of Heward or Hereward by Brand, abbot of Burgh 1 Comparative Politics, p. 94. 2 Baluze, Capitularia Regum Francorum, ii. 794, 1069. ' Du Cange, Gloss., s.v. Arma." 4 Freeman, Comparative Politics, p. 73. ' Hallam, Middle Ages, iii. 392.(now Peterborough), was accepted from Selden to Hallam as an historical fact, and knighthood was supposed, not only to have been known among the Anglo-Saxons, but to Knighthood have had a distinctively religious character which in England. was contemned by the Norman invaders. The genuine evidence at our command altogether fails to support this view. When William of Malmesbury describes the knighting of Athelstan by his grandfather Alfred the Great, that is, his investiture " with a purple garment set with gems and a Saxon sword with a golden sheath," there is no hint of any religious observance. In spite of the silence of our records, Dr Stubbs thinks that kings so well acquainted with foreign usages as Ethelred, Canute and Edward the Confessor could hardly have failed to introduce into England the institution of chivalry then springing up in every country of Europe; and he is sup-ported in this opinion by the circumstance that it is nowhere mentioned as a Norman innovation. Yet the fact that Harold received knighthood from William of Normandy makes it clear either that Harold was not yet a knight, which in the case of so tried a warrior would imply that " dubbing to knighthood " was not yet known in England even under Edward the Confessor, or, as Freeman thinks, that in the middle of the nth century the custom had grown in Normandy into " something of a more special meaning " than it bore in England. Regarded as a method of military organization, the feudal system of tenures was always far better adapted to the purposes of defensive than of offensive warfare. Against invasion it furnished a permanent provision both in men-at-arms and strong-holds; nor was it unsuited for the campaigns of neighbouring counts and barons which lasted for only a few weeks, and ex-tended over only a few leagues. But when kings and kingdoms were in conflict, and distant and prolonged expeditions became necessary, it was speedily discovered that the unassisted re-sources of feudalism were altogether inadequate. It became therefore the manifest interest of both parties that personal services should be commuted into pecuniary payments. Then there grew up all over Europe a system of fining the knights who failed to respond to the sovereign's call or to stay their full time in the field; and in England this fine developed, from the reign of Henry II. to that of Edward II., into a regular war-tax called escuage or soilage (q.v.). In this way funds for war were placed at the free disposal of sovereigns, and, although the feudatories and their retainers still formed the most considerable portion of their armies, the conditions under which they served were altogether changed. Their military service was now far more the result of special agreement. In the reign of Edward I., whose warlike enterprises after he was king were confined within the four seas, this alteration does not seem to have proceeded very far, and Scotland and Wales were subjugated by what was in the main, if not exclusively, a feudal militia raised as of old by writ to the earls and barons and the sheriffs.' But the armies of Edward III., Henry V. and Henry VI. during the century of intermittent war-fare between England and France were recruited and sustained to a very great extent on the principle of contract.? On the Continent the systematic employment of mercenaries was both an early and a common practice. Besides consideration for the mutual convenience of sovereigns and their feudatories, there were other causes which materially contributed towards bringing about those changes in The the military system of Europe which were finally Crusades. accomplished in the 13th and 14th centuries. During the Crusades vast armies were set on foot in which feudal rights ' Stubbs, Cons'. Hist. ii. 278; also compare Grosse, Military Antiquities, i. 65, seq. There has been a general tendency to ignore the extent to which the armies of Edward III. were raised by compulsory levies even after the system of raising troops by free contract had begun. Luce (ch. vi.) points out how much England relied at this time on what would now be called conscription: and his remarks are entirely borne out by the Norwich documents published by Mr W. Hudson (Norf. and Norwich Archaeological Soc. xiv. 263 sqq.), by a Lynn corporation document of 18th Edw. III. (Hist. MSS. Commission Report XI. Appendix pt. iii. p. 189), and by Smyth's Lives of the Berkeleys, i. 312, 319, 320. and obligations had no place, and it was seen that the volunteers who flocked to the standards of the various commanders were not less but even more efficient in the field than the vassals they had hitherto been accustomed to lead. It was thus established that pay, the love of enterprise and the prospect of plunder—if we leave zeal for the sacred cause which they had espoused for the moment out of sight—were quite as useful for the purpose of enlisting troops and keeping them together as the tenure of land and the solemnities of homage and fealty. Moreover, the crusaders who survived the difficulties and dangers of an expedition to Palestine were seasoned and experienced although frequently impoverished and landless soldiers, ready to hire themselves to the highest bidder, and well worth the wages they received. Again, it was owing to the crusades that the church took the profession of arms under her peculiar protection, and thenceforward the ceremonies of initiation into it assumed a religious as well as a martial character. To distinguished soldiers of the cross the honours and benefits of knighthood could hardly be refused on the ground that they Knighthood did not possess a sufficient property qualification—Independent of which perhaps they had denuded themselves in of Feudal- order to their equipment for the Holy War. And ISf . thus the conception of knighthood as of something distinct from feudalism both as a social condition and a personal dignity arose and rapidly gained ground. It was then that the analogy was first detected between the order of knighthood and the order of priesthood, and that an actual union of monachism and chivalry was effected by the establishment of the religious orders of which the Knights Templars and the Knights Hospitallers were the most eminent examples. As comprehensive in their polity as the Benedictines or Franciscans, they gathered their members from, and soon scattered their possessions over, every country in Europe. And in their indifference to the distinctions of race and nationality they merely accommodated themselves to the spirit which had become characteristic of chivalry itself, already recognized, like the church, as a universal institution which knit together the whole warrior caste of Christendom into one great fraternity irrespective alike of feudal subordination and territorial boundaries. Somewhat later the adoption of hereditary surnames and armorial bearings marked the existence of a large and noble class who either from the subdivision of fiefs or from the effects of the custom of primogeniture were very insufficiently provided for. To them only two callings were generally open, that of the churchman and that of the soldier, and the latter as a rule offered greater attractions than the former in antra of much licence and little learning. Hence the favourite expedient for men of birth, although not of fortune, was to attach themselves to some prince or magnate in whose military service they were sure of an adequate maintenance and might hope for even a rich reward in the shape of booty or of ransom.' It is probably to this period, and these circumstances that we must look for at all events the rudimentary beginnings of the military as well as the religious orders of chivalry. Of the existence of any regularly constituted companionships of the first kind there is no trustworthy evidence until between two and three centuries after fraternities of the second kind had been organized. Soon after the greater crusading societies had been formed similar orders, such as those of St James of Compostella, Calatrava and Alcantara, were established to fight the Moors in Spain instead of the Saracens in the Holy Land. But the members of these orders were not less monks than knights, their statutes embodied the rules of the cloister, and they were bound by the ecclesiastical vows of celibacy, poverty and obedience. From a very early stage in the development of chivalry, however, we meet with the singular institution of brotherhood in arms; and from it the ultimate origin if not of the religious fraternities at any rate of the military companion-ships is usually derived? By this institution a relation was 1 J. B. de Lacurne de Sainte Palaye, Memoires sur l'Ancienne Chevalerie, i. 363, 364 (ed. 1781). 2 Du Cange, Dissertation sur Joinville, xxi. ; Sainte Palaye, Memoires, i. 272 ; G. F. Beltz, Memorials of the Order of the Garter (1841,) p. )ovii.created between two or more monks by voluntary agreement, which was regarded as of far more intimacy and stringency than any which the mere accident of consanguinity implied. Brothers in arms were supposed to be partners in all things save the affections of their " lady-loves." They shared in every danger and in every success, and each was expected to vindicate the honour of another as promptly and zealously as his own. The plot of the medieval romance of Amis and Amiles is built entirely on such a brotherhood. Their engagements usually lasted through life, but sometimes only for a specified period or during the continuance of specified circumstances, and they were always ratified by oath, occasionally reduced to writing in the shape of a solemn bond and often sanctified by their reception of the Eucharist together. Romance and tradition speak of strange rites—the mingling and even the drinking of blood—as having in remote and rude ages marked the inception of these martial and fraternal associations .3 But in later and less barbarous times they were generally evidenced and celebrated by a formal and reciprocal exchange of weapons and armour. In warfare it was customary for knights who were thus allied to appear similarly accoutred and bearing the same badges or cognisances, to the end that their enemies might not know with which of them they were in conflict, and that their friends might be unable to accord more applause to one than to the other for his prowess in the field. It seems likely enough therefore that there should grow up bodies of knights banded together by engagements of fidelity, although free from monastic obligations; wearing a uniform or livery, and naming themselves after some special symbol or some patron saint of their adoption. And such bodies placed under the command of a sovereign or grand master, regulated by statutes, and enriched by ecclesiastical endowments would have been precisely what in after times such orders as the Garter in England, the Golden Fleece in Burgundy, the Annunziata in Savoy and the St Michael and Holy Ghost in France actually were.4 During the 14th and 15th centuries, as well as somewhat earlier and later, the general arrangements of a European army were always and everywhere pretty much the same.5 Under the sovereign the constable and the marshal 'irides of Knighthood. or marshals held the chief commands, their authority being partly joint and partly several. Attendant on them were the heralds, who were the officers of their military court, wherein offences committed in the camp and field were tried and adjudged, and among whose duties it was to carry orders and messages, to deliver challenges and call truces, and to identify and number the wounded and the slain. The main divisions of the army were distributed under the royal and other principal standards, smaller divisions under the banners of some of the greater nobility or of knights banneret, and smaller divisions still under the pennons of knights or, as in distinction from knights banneret they came to be called, knights bachelors. All knights whether bachelors or bannerets were escorted by their squires. But the banner of the banneret always implied a more or less extensive command, while every knight was en-titled to bear a pennon and every squire a pencel. All three flags were of such a size as to be conveniently attached to and carried on a lance, and were emblazoned with the arms or some portion of the bearings of their owners. But while the banner was square the pennon, which resembled it in other respects, was either pointed or forked at its extremity, and the pencel, which was considerably less than the others, always terminated in a single tail or streamer.6 If indeed we look at the scale of chivalric subordination from another point of view, it seems to be more properly divisible into four than into three stages, of which two may be called provisional and two final. The bachelor and the banneret were both equally knights, only the one was of greater distinction and authority a Du Cange, Dissertation, xxi., and Lancelot du Lac, among other romances. Anstis, Register of the Order of the Garter, i. 63. 5 Grose, Military Antiq. i. 207 seq. ; Stubbs, Const. Hist. ii. 276 seq., and iii. 278 seq. 6 Grose's Military Antiquities, ii. 256. 15 than the other. In like manner the squire and the page were both in training for knighthood, but the first had advanced further in the process than the second. It is true that the squire was a combatant while the page was not, and that many squires voluntarily served as squires all their lives owing to the insufficiency of their fortunes to support the costs and charges of knighthood. But in the ordinary course of a chivalrous education the successive conditions of page and squire were passed through in boyhood and youth, and the condition of knighthood was reached in early manhood. Every feudal court and castle was in fact a school of chivalry, and although princes and great personages were rarely actually pages or squires, the moral and physical discipline through which they passed was not in any important particular different from that to which less exalted candidates for knighthood were subjected.' The page, or, as he was more anciently and more correctly called, the " valet " or " damoiseau," commenced his service and instruction when he was between seven and eight years old, and the initial phase continued for seven or eight years longer. He acted as the constant personal attendant of both his master and mistress. He waited on them in their hall and accompanied them in the chase, served the lady in her bower and followed the lord to the camp.' From the chaplain and his mistress and her damsels he learnt the rudiments of religion, of rectitude and of love,' from his master and his squires the elements of military exercise, to cast a spear or dart, to sustain a shield, and to march with the measured tread of a soldier; and from his master and his huntsmen and falconers the " mysteries of the woods and rivers," or in other words the rules and practices of hunting and hawking. When he was between fifteen and sixteen he became a squire. But no sudden or great alteration was made in his mode of life. He continued to wait at dinner with the pages, although in a manner more dignified according to the notions of the age. He not only served but carved and helped the dishes, proffered the first or principal cup of wine to his master and his guests, and carried to them the basin, ewer or napkin when they washed their hands before and after meat. He assisted in clearing the hall for dancing or minstrelsy, and laid the tables for chess or draughts, and he also shared in the pastimes for which he had made preparation. He brought his master the " vin de coucher at night, and made his early refection ready for him in the morning. But his military exercises and athletic sports occupied an always increasing portion of the day. He accustomed himself to ride the " great horse," to tilt at the quintain, to wield the sword and battle-axe, to swim and climb, to run and leap, and to bear the weight and overcome the embarrassments of armour. He inured himself to the vicissitudes of heat and cold, and voluntarily suffered the pains or inconveniences of hunger and thirst, fatigue and sleeplessness. It was then too that he chose his " lady-love," whom he was expected to regard with an adoration at once earnest, respectful, and the more meritorious if concealed. And when it was considered that he had made sufficient advancement in his military accomplishments, he took his sword to the priest, who laid it on the altar, blessed it, and returned it to him.' Afterwards he either remained with his early master, relegating most of his domestic duties to his younger companions, or he entered the service of some valiant and adventurous lord or ' Sainte Palaye, Memoires, i. 36; Froissart, bk. iii. ch. 9. z Sainte Palaye, Memoires, pt. i. and Mills, History of Chivalry, vol. i. ch. 2. See the long sermon in the romance of Petit Jehan de Saintre, pt. i. ch. v., and compare the theory there set forth with the actual behaviour of the chief personages. Even Gautier, while he contends that chivalry did much to refine morality, is compelled to admit the prevailing immorality to which medieval romances testify, and the extraordinary free behaviour of the unmarried ladies. No doubt these romances, taken alone, might give as unfair an idea as modern French novels give of Parisian morals, but we have abundant other evidence for placing the moral standard of the age of chivalry definitely below that of educated society in the present day. ' Sainte Palaye, Memoires, i. I 1 seq.: " C'est peut-etre a cette ceremonie et non a celles de la chevalerie qu'on dolt rapporter ce qui se lit dans nos historiens de la premiere et de is seconde race au sujet des premieres armes que les Rois et les Princes remettoient avec solemnite au ieunes Princes leurs enfans."knight of his own selection. He now became a " squire of the body," and truly an "armiger" or " scutifer," for he bore the shield and armour of his leader to the field, and, what was a task of no small difficulty and hazard, cased and secured him in his panoply of war before assisting him to mount his courser or charger. It was his function also to display and guard in battle the banner of the baron or banneret or the pennon of the knight he served, to raise him from the ground if he were unhorsed, to supply him with another or his own horse if his was disabled or killed, to receive and keep any prisoners he might take, to fight by his side if he was unequally matched, to rescue him if captured, to bear him to a place of safety if wounded, and to bury him honourably when dead. And after he had worthily and bravely, borne himself for six or seven years as a squire, the time came when it was fitting that he should be made a knight. This, at least, was the current theory; but it is specially dangerous in medieval history to assume too much corresl -mdence between theory and fact. In many castles, and perhu s in most, the discipline followed simply a natural and unwritten code of " fagging " and seniority, as in public schools or on board men-of-war some hundred years or so ago. Two modes of conferring knighthood appear to have prevailed from a very early period in all countries where chivalry was known. In both of them the essential portion seems Modes of to have been the accolade or stroke of the sword. conferring But while in the one the accolade constituted the Knighthood whole or nearly the whole of the ceremony, in the other it was surrounded with many additional observances. The former and simpler of these modes was naturally that used in war: the candidate knelt before " the chief of the army or some valiant knight," who struck him thrice with the flat of a sword, pronouncing a brief formula of creation and of exhortation which varied at the creator's wi11.5 In this form a number of knights were made before and after almost every battle between the rrth and the 16th centuries, and its advantages on the score of both convenience and economy gradually led to its general adoption both in time of peace and time of war. On extraordinary occasions indeed the more elaborate ritual continued to be observed. But recourse was had to it so rarely that in England about the beginning of the 15th century it came to be exclusively appropriated to a special king of knighthood. When Segar, garter king of arms, wrote in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, this had been accomplished with such completeness that he does not even mention that there were two ways of creating knights bachelors. " He that is to be made a knight," he says, " is striken by the prince with a sword drawn upon his back or shoulder, the prince saying, Soys Chevalier,' and in times past was added ` Saint George.' And when the knight rises the prince sayeth `Avencez.' This is the manner of dubbing knights at this present, and that term ` dubbing ' was the old term in this point, not `creating.' This sort of knights are by the heralds called knights bachelors." In our days when a knight is personally made he kneels before the sovereign, who lays a sword drawn, ordinarily the sword of state, on either of his shoulders and says, " Rise," calling him by his Christian name with the addition of " Sir " before it. 5 There are several obscure points as to the relation of the longer and shorter ceremonies, as well as the origin and original relation of their several parts. There is nothing to show whence came " dubbing " or the " accolade." It seems certain that the word " dub " means to strike, and the usage is as old as the knighting of Henry by William the Conqueror (supra, pp. 851, 852). So, too, in the Empire a dubbed knight is "sitter geschlagen." The " accolade " may etymologically refer to the embrace, accompanied by a blow with the hand, characteristic of the longer form of knighting. The derivation of " adouber," corresponding to " dub," from " adoptare," which is given by Du Cange, and would connect the ceremony with " adoptio per arma," is certainly inaccurate. The investiture with arms, which formed a part of the longer form of knighting, and which we have seen to rest on very ancient usage, may originally have had a distinct meaning. We have observed that Lanfranc invested Henry I. with arms, while William " dubbed him to rider." If there was a difference in the meaning of the two ceremonies, the difficulty as to the knighting of Earl Harold (supra, p. 852) is at least partly removed. Very different were the solemnities which attended the creation of a knight when the complete procedure was observed. " The ceremonies and circumstances at the giving this dignity," says Selden, " in the elder time were of two kinds especially, which we may call courtly and sacred. The courtly were the feasts held at the creation, giving of robes, arms, spurs and the like. The sacred were the holy devotions and what else was used in the church at or before the receiving of the dignity.' But the leading authority on the subject is an ancient tract written in French, which will be found at length either in the original or translated by Segar, Dugdale, Byshe and Nicolas, among other English writers.2 Daniel explains his reasons for transcribing it, " tant a cause du detail que de la naivete du stile et encore plus de la bisarrerie des ceremonies que se faisoient pourtant alors fort serieusement," while he adds that these ceremonies were essentially identical in England, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. The process of inauguration was commenced in the evening by the placing of the candidate under the care of two "esquires of honour grave and well seen in courtship and nurture and also in the feats of chivalry," who were to be " governors in all things relating to him."' Under their direction, to begin with, a barber shaved him and cut his hair. He was then conducted by them to his appointed chamber, where a bath was prepared hung within and without with linen and covered with rich cloths, into which after they had undressed him he entered. While he was in the bath two " ancient and grave knights " attended him " to inform, instruct and counsel him touching the order and feats of chivalry," and when they had fulfilled their mission they poured some of the water of the bath over his shoulders, signing the left shoulder with the cross, and retired. He was then taken from the bath and put into a plain bed without hangings, in wh;ch he remained until his body war, dry, when the two esquires put on him a white shirt and over that " a robe of russet with long sleeves having a hood thereto like unto that of an hermit." Then the " two ancient and grave knights " returned and led him to the chapel, the esquires going before them " sporting and dancing " with " the minstrels making melody." And when they had been served with wines and spices they went away leaving only the candidate, the esquires, " the priest, the chandler and the watch," who kept the vigil of arms until sunrise, the candidate passing the night " bestowing himself in orisons and prayers." At daybreak he confessed to the priest, heard matins, and communicated in the mass, offering a taper and a piece of money stuck in it as near the lighted end as possible, the first " to the honour of God" and the second " to the honour of the person that makes him a knight." Afterwards he was taken back to his chamber, and remained in bed until the knights, esquires and minstrels went to him and aroused him. The knights then dressed him in distinctive garments, and they then mounted their horses and rode to the hall where the candidate was to receive knighthood; his future squire was to ride before him bareheaded bearing his sword by the point in its scabbard with his spurs hanging from its hilt. And when everything was prepared the prince or subject who was to knight him came into the hall, and, the candidate's sword and spurs having been presented to him, he delivered the right spur to the " most noble and gentle " knight present, and directed him to fasten it on the candidate's right heel, which he kneeling on one knee and putting the candidate's right foot on his knee accordingly did, signing the candidate's knee with the cross, and in like manner by another " noble and gentle " knight the left spur was fastened to his left heel. And then he who was to create the knight took the sword and girded him with it, and then embracing him he lifted his right hand and smote him on the neck or shoulder, saying, " Be thou a good knight," and kissed him. When this was done they all went to the chapel with much music, and the new knight laying his right hand on the altar promised to support and defend the church, and ungirding his sword offered it on the altar. And as he came out from the chapel the master cook awaited him at the door and claimed his spurs as his fee, and said, 1 Selden, Titles of Honor, 639. s Daniel. Histoire de la Milice Frangoise, i. 99—104; Byshe's Upton, De Studio Militari, pp. 21—24; Dugdale, Warwickshire, ii. 708—710; Segar, Honor Civil and Military, pp. 69 seq. and Nicolas, Orders of Knighthood, vol. ii. (Order of the Bath) pp. 19 seq. ..It is given as " the order and manner of creating Knights of the Bath in time of peace according to the custom of England," and consequently dates from a period when the full ceremony of creating knights bachelors generally had gone out of fashion. But as Ashmole, speaking of Knights of the Bath, says, " if the ceremonies and circumstances of their creation be well considered, it will appear that this king [Henry IV.] did not institute but rather restore the ancient manner of making knights, and consequently that the Knights of the Bath are in truth no other than knights bachelors, that is to say, such as are created with those ceremonies wherewith knights bachelors were formerly created," (Ashmole, Order of the Garter, p. 15). See also Selden, Titles of Honor, p. 678, and the Archeological Journal, v. 258 seq." If you do anything contrary to the order of chivalry (which God forbid), I shall hack the spurs from your heels."3 The full solemnities for conferring knighthood seem to have been so largely and so early superseded by the practice of dubbing or giving the accolade alone that in England it became at last restricted to such knights as were made at coronations and some other occasions of state. And to them the particular name of Knights of the Bath was assigned, while knights made in the ordinary way were called in distinction from them knights of the sword, as they were also called knights bachelors in distinction from knights banneret.' It is usually supposed that the first creation of knights of the Bath under that designation was at the coronation of Henry IV.; and before the order of the Bath as a companionship or capitular body was instituted the last creation of them was at the coronation of Charles II. But all knights were also knights of the spur or " equites aurati," because their spurs were golden or gilt,—the spurs of squires being of silver or white metal,—and these became their peculiar badge in popular estimation and proverbial speech. In the form of their solemn inauguration too, as we have noticed, the spurs together with the sword were always employed as the leading and most characteristic ensigns of knighthood.' With regard to knights banneret, various opinions have been entertained as to both the nature of their dignity and the qualifications they were required to possess for receiving it at different periods and in different countries. On the Continent the distinction which is commonly but incorrectly made between the nobility and the gentry has never arisen, and it was unknown here while chivalry existed and heraldry was understood. Here, as elsewhere in the old time, a nobleman and a gentleman meant the same thing, namely, a man who under certain conditions of descent was entitled to armorial bearings. Hence Du Cange divides the medieval nobility of France and Spain into three classes: first, barons or ricos hombres; secondly, chevaliers or caballeros; and thirdly, ecuyers or infanzons; and to the first, who with their several special titles constituted the greater nobility of either country, he limits the designation of banneret and the right of leading their followers to war under a banner, otherwise a " drapeau quarre " or square flag.° Selden shows especially from the parliament rolls that the term banneret has been occasionally employed in England as equivalent to baron.' In Scotland, even as late as the reign of James VI., lords of parliament were always created bannerets as well as barons at their investiture, " part of the ceremony consisting in the display of a banner, and such `barones majores' were thereby entitled to the privilege of having one borne by a retainer before them to the field of a quadrilateral form." 8 In Scotland, too, lords of parliament and bannerets were also called bannerents, banrents or baronets, and in England banneret was often corrupted to baronet. " Even in a patent passed to Sir Ralph Fane, knight under Edward VI., he is called ` baronettus ' for ` bannerettus.' " 9 In this manner it is not improbable that the title of baronet may have been suggested to the advisers of James I. when the order of Baronets 3 As may be gathered from Selden, Favyn, La Colombiers, Menestrier and Sainte Palaye, there were several differences of detail in the ceremony at different times and in different places. But in the main it was everywhere the same both in its military and its ecclesiastical elements, In the Pontificale Romanum, the old Ordo Romanus and the manual or Common Prayer Book in use in England before the Reformation forms for the blessing or consecration of new knights are included, and of these the first and the last are quoted by Selden. Selden, Titles of Honor, p. 678; Ashmole, Order of the Garter, p. 15; Favyn, Theatre d'Honneur, ii. 1035. " If we sum up the principal ensigns of knighthood, ancient and modern, we shall find they have been or are a horse, gold ring, shield and lance, a belt and sword, gilt spurs and a gold chain or collar." —Ashmole, Order of the Garter, pp. 12, 13. 8 On the banner see Grose, Military Antiquities, ii. 257; and Nicolas. British Orders of Knighthood, vol. i. p. xxxvii. 7 Titles of Honor, pp. 356 and 6o8. See also Hallam, Middle Ages, iii. 126 seq. and Stubbs, Const. Hist. iii. 440 seq. 8 Riddell's Law and Practice in Scottish Peerages, p. 578; also Nisbet's System of Heraldry, ii. 49 and Selden's Titles of Honor, p. 702. 9 Selden, Titles of Honor, pp. 6o8 and 657. was originally created by him, for it was a question whether the recipients of the new dignity should be designated by that or some other name.' But there is no doubt that as previously used it was merely a corrupt synonym for banneret, and not the name of any separate dignity. On the Continent, however, there are several recorded examples of bannerets who had an hereditary claim to that honour and its attendant privileges on the ground of the nature of their feudal tenure? And generally, at any rate to commence with, it seems probable that bannerets were in every country merely the more important class of feudatories, the " ricos hombres " in contrast to the knights bachelors, who in France in the time of St Louis were known as " pauvres hommes." In England all the barons or greater nobility were entitled to bear banners, and therefore Du Cange's observations would apply to them as well as to the barons or greater nobility of France and Spain. But it is clear that from a comparatively early period bannerets whose claims were founded on personal distinction rather than on feudal tenure gradually came to the front, and much the same process of substitution appears to have gone on in their case as that which we have marked in the case of simple knights. According to the Sallade and the Division du Monde, as cited by Selden, bannerets were clearly in the beginning feudal tenants of a certain magnitude and importance and nothing more, and different forms for their creation are given in time of peace and in time of war.3 But in the French Gesta Romanorum the warlike form alone is given, and it is quoted by both Selden and Du Cange. From the latter a more modern version of it is given by Daniel as the only one generally in force. The knight bachelor whose services and landed possessions entitled him to promotion would apply formally to the commander in the field for the title of banneret. If this were granted, the heralds were called to cut publicly the tails from his pennon: or the commander, as a special honour, might cut them off with his own hands.4 The earliest contemporary mention of knights banneret is in France, Daniel says, in the reign of Philip Augustus, and in England, Selden says in the reign of Edward I. But in neither case is reference made to them in such a manner as to suggest that the dignity was then regarded as new or even uncommon, and it seems pretty certain that its existence on one side could not have long preceded its existence on the other side of the Channel. Sir Alan Plokenet, Sir Ralph Daubeney and Sir Philip Daubeney are entered as bannerets on the roll of the garrison of Caermarthen Castle in 1282, and the roll of Carlaverock records the names and arms of eighty-five bannerets who accompanied Edward I. in his expedition into Scotland in 1300. What the exact contingent was which bannerets were expected to supply to the royal host is doubtful.° But, however this may be, in the reign of Edward III. and afterwards bannerets appear as the commanders of a military force raised by themselves and marshalled under their banners: their status and their relations both to the crown and to their followers were mainly the con-sequences of voluntary contract not of feudal tenure. It is from the reigns of Edward III. and Richard II. also that the two best descriptions we possess of the actual creation of a banneret have been transmitted to us.° Sir Thomas Smith, writing towards the end of the 16th century, says, after noticing the conditions to be observed in the creation of bannerets, " but this order is almost grown out of use in England " ;7 and, during the controversy which arose between the new order of 1 See " Project concerninge the conferinge of the title of vidom," wherein it is said that " the title of vidom (vicedominus) was an ancient title used in this kingdom of England both before and since the Norman Conquest " (State Papers, James I. Domestic Series, lxiii. 15o B, probable date April 1611). ' Selden, Titles of Honor, pp. 452 seq. 3 Ibid. pp. 449 seq. 4 Du Cange, Dissertation, ix.; Selden, Titles of Honor, p. 452; Daniel, Milice Francoise, i. 86 (Paris, 1721). ° Selden, Titles of Honor, p. 656 ; Grose, Military Antiquities, ii.2o6. s Froissart, Bk. I. ch. 241 and Bk. II. ch. 53. The recipients were Sir John Chandos and Sir Thos. Trivet. ' Commonwealth of England (ed.1640), p. 48.baronets and the crown early in the 17th century respecting their precedence, it was alleged without contradiction in an argument on behalf of the baronets before the privy council that " there are not bannerets now in being, peradventure never shall be." 8 Sir Ralph Fane, Sir Francis Bryan and Sir Ralph Sadler were created bannerets by the Lord Protector Somerset after the battle of Pinkie in 1547, and the better opinion is that this was the last occasion on which the dignity was conferred. It has been stated indeed that Charles I. created Sir John Smith a banneret after the battle of Edgehill in 1642 for having rescued the royal standard from the enemy. But of this there is no sufficient proof. It was also supposed that George III. had created several naval officers bannerets towards the end of the last century, because he knighted them on board ship under the royal standard displayed. This, however, is unquestionably an error.9 On the continent of Europe the degree of knight bachelor disappeared with the military system which had given rise to it. It is now therefore peculiar to the British Empire, Existing where, although very frequently conferred by letters orders oP patent, it is yet the only dignity which is still even Knighthood. occasionally created—as every dignity was formerly created—by means of a ceremony in which the sovereign and the subject personally take part. Everywhere else dubbing or the accolade seems to have become obsolete, and no other species of knight-hood, if knighthood it can be called, is known except that which is dependent on admission to some particular order. It is a common error to suppose that baronets are hereditary knights. Baronets are not knights unless they are knighted like anybody else; and, so far from being knights because they are baronets, one of the privileges granted to them shortly after the institution of their dignity was that they, not being knights, and their successors and their eldest sons and heirs-apparent should, when they attained their majority, be entitled if they desired to receive knighthood.10 It is a maxim of the law indeed that, as Coke says, " the knight is by creation and not by descent," and, although we hear of such designations as the " knight of Kerry " or the " knight of Glin," they are no more than traditional nicknames, and do not by any means imply that the persons to whom they are applied are knights in a legitimate sense. Notwithstanding, however, that simple knighthood has gone out of use abroad, there are innumerable grand crosses, commanders and companions of a formidable assortment of orders in almost every part of the world." (See the section on " Orders of Knighthood " below.) The United Kingdom has eight orders of knighthood—the Garter, the Thistle, St Patrick, the Bath, the Star of India, St Michael and St George, the Indian Empire and the Royal Victorian Order; and, while the first is undoubtedly the oldest as well as the most illustrious anywhere existing, a fictitious antiquity has been claimed and is even still frequently conceded 3 State Papers, Domestic Series, James the First, lxvii. 119. 9 " Thursday, June 24th: His Majesty was pleased to confer the honour of knights banneret on the following flag officers and commanders under the royal standard, who kneeling kissed hands on the occasion: Admirals Pye and Sprye; Captains Knight, Bickerton and Vernon," Gentleman's Magazine (1773) xliii. 299. Sir Harris Nicolas remarks on these and the other cases (British Orders of Knighthood, vol. xliii.) and Sir William Fitzherbert published anonymously a pamphlet on the subject, A Short Inquiry into the Nature of the Titles conferred at Portsmouth, &c., which is very scarce, but is to be found under the name of " Fitzherbert " in the catalogue of the British Museum Library. "9" Sir Henry Ferrers, Baronet, was indicted by the name of Sir Henry Ferrers, Knight, for the murther of one Stone whom one Nightingale feloniously murthered, and that the said Sir Henry was present aiding and abetting, &c. Upon this indictment Sir Henry Ferrers being arraigned said he never was knighted, which being confessed, the indictment was held not to be sufficient, where-fore he was indicted de novo by the name of Sir Henry Ferrers, Baronet." Brydall, Jus Imaginis apud Anglos, or the Law of England relating to the Nobility and Gentry (London, 1675), p. 20. Cf. Patent Rolls, to Jac. I., pt. x. No. 18 ; Selden, Titles of Honor, p. 687. u Louis XIV. introduced the practice of dividing the members of military orders into several degrees when he established the order of St Louis in 1693. TS to the second and fourth, although the third, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth appear to be as contentedly as they are unquestionably recent. It is, however, certain that the " most noble " Order of the Garter at least was instituted in the middle of the 14th century, order of when English chivalry was outwardly brightest and the aerie,. the court most magnificent. But in what particular year this event occurred is and has been the subject of much difference of opinion. All the original records of the order until after 1416 have perished, and consequently the question depends for its settlement not on direct testimony but on inference from circumstances. The dates which have been selected vary from 1344 (given by Froissart, but almost certainly mistaken) to 1351. The evidence may be examined at length in Nicolas and Beltz; it is indisputable that in the wardrobe account from September 1347 to January 1349, the 21st and 23rd Edward III., the issue of certain habits with garters and the motto embroidered on them is marked for St George's Day; that the letters patent relating to the preparation of the royal chapel of Windsor are dated in August 1348; and that in the treasury accounts of the prince of Wales there is an entry in November 1348 of the gift by him of " twenty-four garters to the knights of the Society of the Garter."' But that the order, although from this manifestly already fully constituted in the autumn of 1348, was not in existence before the summer of 1346 Sir Harris Nicolas proves pretty conclusively by pointing out that nobody who was not a knight could under its statutes have been admitted to it, and that neither the prince of Wales nor several others of the original companions were knighted until the middle of that year. Regarding the occasion there has been almost as much controversy as regarding the date of its foundation. The " vulgar and more general story," as Ashmole calls it, is that of the countess of Salisbury's garter. But commentators are not at one as to which countess of Salisbury was the heroine of the adventure, whether she was Katherine Montacute or Joan the Fair Maid of Kent, while Heylyn rejects the legend as " a vain and idle romance derogatory both to the founder and the order, first published by Polydor Vergil, a stranger to the affairs of England, and by him taken upon no better ground than fama vulgi, the tradition of the common people, too trifling a foundation for so great a building." 2 Another legend is that contained in the preface to theRegister or Black Book of the order, compiled in the reign of Henry VIII., by what authority supported is unknown, that Richard I., while his forces were employed against Cyprus and Acre, had been inspired through the instrumentality of St George with renewed courage and the means of animating his fatigued soldiers by the device of tying about the legs of a chosen number of knights a leathern thong or garter, to the end that being thereby reminded of the honour of their enterprise they might be encouraged to redoubled efforts for victory. This was supposed to have been in the mind of Edward III. when he fixed on the garter as the emblem of the order, and it was stated so to have been by Taylor, master of the rolls, in his address to Francis I. of France on his investiture in 1527.3 According to Ashmole the true account of the matter is that " King Edward having given forth his own garter as the signal for a battle which sped fortunately (which with Du Chesne we conceive to be that of Crecy), the victory, we say, being happily gained, he thence took occasion to institute this order, and gave the garter (assumed by him for the symbol of unity and society) pre-eminence among the ensigns of it. But, as Sir Harris Nicolas points out—although Ashmole is not open to the correction—this hypothesis rests for its plausibility on the assumption that the order was established before the invasion of 1 G. F. Beltz, Memorials of the Most Noble Order of the Garter (1841), P. 385• Heylyn, Cosmographie and History of the Whole World, bk. i. p. 286. 3 Beltz, Memorials, p. xlvi.France in 1346. And he further observes that " a great variety of devices and mottoes were used by Edward III.; they were chosen from the most trivial causes and were of an amorous rather than of a military character. Nothing," he adds, " is more likely than that in a crowded assembly a lady should accidentally have dropped her garter; that the circumstance should have caused a smile in the bystanders; and that on its being taken up by Edward he should have reproved the levity of his courtiers by so happy and chivalrous an exclamation, placing the garter at the same time on his own knee, as ` Dishonoured be he who thinks ill of it.' Such a circumstance occurring at a time of general festivity, when devices, mottoes and conceits of all kinds were adopted as ornaments or badges of the habits worn at jousts and tournaments, would naturally have been commemorated as other royal expressions seem to have been by its con-version into a device and motto for the dresses at an approaching hastilude."4 Moreover, Sir Harris Nicolas contends that the order had no loftier immediate origin than a joust or tournament. It consisted of the king and the, Black Prince, and 24 knights divided into two bands of 12 like the titters In a hastilude—at the head of the one being the first, and of the other the second; and to the companions belonging to each, when the order had superseded the Round Table and had become a permanent institution, were assigned stalls either on the sovereign's or the prince's side of St George's Chapel. That Sir Harris Nicolas is accurate in this conjecture seems probable from the selection which was made of the " founder knights." As Beltz observes, the fame of Sir Reginald Cobham, Sir Walter Manny and the earls of Northampton, Hereford and Suffolk was already established by their warlike exploits, and they would certainly have been among the original companions had the order been then regarded as the reward of military merit only. But, although these eminent warriors were subsequently elected as. vacancies occurred, their admission was postponed to that of several very young and in actual warfare comparatively unknown knights, whose claims to the honour may be most rationally explained on the assumption that they had excelled in the particular feats of arms which preceded the institution of the order. The original companionship had consisted of the sovereign and 25 knights, and no change was made in this respect until 1786, when the sons of George III. and his successors were made eligible notwithstanding that the chapter might be complete. In 18o5 another alteration was effected by the pro-vision that the lineal descendants of George II. should be eligible in the same manner, except the Prince of Wales for the time being, who was declared to be " a constituent part of the original institution "; and again in 1831 it was further ordained that the privilege accorded to the lineal descendants of George II. should extend to the lineal descendants of George I. Although, as Sir Harris Nicolas observes, nothing is now known of the form of admitting ladies into the order, the description applied to them in the records during the 14th and 15th centuries leaves no doubt that they were regularly received into it. The queen consort, the wives and daughters of knights, and some other women of exalted position, were designated " Dames de la Fraternite de St George," and entries of the delivery of robes and garters to them are found at intervals in the Wardrobe Accounts from the 5oth Edward III. (1376) to the loth of Henry VII. (1495), the first being Isabel, countess of Bedford, the daughter of the one king, and the last being Margaret and Elizabeth, the daughters of the other king. The effigies of Margaret Byron, wife of Sir Robert Harcourt, K.G., at Stanton Harcourt, and of Alice Chaucer, wife of William de la Pole, duke of Suffolk, K.G., at Ewelme, which date from the reigns of Henry VI. and Edward IV., have garters on their left arms. (See further under " Orders of Knighthood " below.) It has been the general opinion, as expressed by Sainte Palaye and Mills, that formerly all knights were qualified to confer knighthood.5 But it may be questioned whether the privilege 4 Orders of Knighthood, vol. i. p. Ixxxiii. Memoires, i. 67, i. 22; History of Chivalry; Gibbon, Decline and Fall, vii. 200. 15 was thus indiscriminately enjoyed even in the earlier days says that only three were on record in the College of Arms when he wrote in 1793. The last case was that of Sir Francis Michell in 1621, whose spurs were hacked from his heels, his sword-belt cut, and his sword broken over his head by the heralds in Westminster Halle Roughly speaking, the age of chivalry properly so called may be said to have extended from the beginning of the crusades to the end of the Wars of the Roses. Even in the way of pageantry and martial exercise it did not long survive the middle ages. In England tilts and tourneys, in which her father had so much excelled, were patronized to the last by Queen Elizabeth, and were even occasionally held until after the death of Henry, prince of Wales. But on the Continent they were discredited by the fatal accident which befell Henry II. of France in 1559. The golden age of chivalry has been variously located. Most writers would place it in the early 13th century, but Gautier would remove it two or three generations further back. It may be true that, in the comparative scarcity of historical evidence, 12th-century romances present a more favourable picture of chivalry at that earlier time; but even such historical evidence as we possess, when carefully scrutinized, is enough to dispel the illusion that there was any period of the middle ages in which the unselfish championship of " God and the ladies " was anything but a rare exception. It is difficult to describe the true spirit and moral influence of knighthood, if only because the ages in which it flourished differed so widely from our own. At its very best, it was always hampered by the limitations of medieval society. Moreover, many of the noblest precepts of the knightly code were a legacy from earlier ages, and have survived the decay of knighthood just as they will survive all transitory human institutions, forming part of the eternal heritage of the race. Indeed, the most important of these precepts did not even attain to their highest development in the middle ages.' As a conscious effort to bring religion into daily life, chivalry was less successful than later puritanism; while the educated classes of our own day far surpass the average medieval knight in discipline, self-control and outward or inward refinement. Freeman's estimate comes far nearer to the historical facts than Burke's: " The chivalrous spirit is above all things a class spirit. The good knight is bound to endless fantastic courtesies towards men and still more towards women of a certain rank; he may treat all below that rank with any decree of scorn and cruelty. The spirit of chivalry implies the arbitrary choice of one or two virtues to be practised in such an exaggerated degree as to become vices, while the ordinary laws of right and wrong are forgotten. The false code of honour supplants the laws of the commonwealth, the law of God and the eternal principles of right. Chivalry again in its military aspect not only encourages the love of war for its own sake without regard to the cause for which war is waged, it encourages also an extravagant regard for a fantastic show of personal daring which cannot in any way advance the objects of the siege or campaign which is going on. Chivalry in short is in morals very much what feudalism is in law: each substitutes purely personal obligations devised in the interests of an exclusive class, for the more homely duties of an honest man and a good citizen " (Norman Conquest, v. 482). The chivalry from which Burke drew his ideas was, so far as it existed at all, the product of a far later age. In its own age, chivalry rested practically, like the highest civilization of ancient Greece and Rome, on slave labour;9 and if many of its 8 Dallaway's Heraldry, p. 303. 9 Even in 13th century England more than half the population were serfs, and as such had no claim to the privileges of Magna Carta; disputes between a serf and his lord were decided in the latter's court, although the king's courts attempted to protect the serf's life and limb and necessary implements of work. By French feudal law, the villein had no appeal from his lord save to God (Pierre de Fontaines, Conseil, ch. xxi. art. 8) ; and, though common sense and natural good feeling set bounds in most cases to the tyranny of the nobles, yet there was scarcely any injustice too gross to be possible. " How mad are they who exult when sons are born to their lords ! " wrote Cardinal Jacques de Vitry early in the 13th century (Exempla, p. 64, Folk Lore Soc. 1890). of chivalry. It is true that as much might be inferred from Persons the testimony of the romance writers; historical empowered evidence, however, tends to limit the proposition, and to confer the sounder conclusion appears to be, as Sir Harris Knighthood. Nicolas says, that the right was always restricted in operation to sovereign princes, to those acting under their authority or sanction, and to a few other personages of exalted rank and station.' In several of the writs for distraint of knight-hood from Henry III. to Edward III. a distinction is drawn between those who are to be knighted by the king himself or by the sheriffs of counties respectively, and bishops and abbots could make knights in the 11th and 12th centuries? At all periods the commanders of the royal armies had the power of conferring knighthood; as late as the reign of Elizabeth it was exercised among others by Sir Henry Sidney in 1583, and Robert, earl of Essex, in 1595, while under James I. an ordinance of 1622, confirmed by a proclamation of 1623, for the registration of knights in the college of arms, is rendered applicable to all who should receive knighthood from either the king or any of his lieutenants? Many sovereigns, too, both of England and of France, have been knighted after their accession to the throne by their own subjects, as, for instance, Edward III. by Henry, earl of Lancaster, Edward VI. by the lord protector Somerset, Louis XI. by Philip, duke of Burgundy, and Francis I. by the Chevalier Bayard. But when in 1543 Henry VIII. appointed Sir John Wallop to be captain of Guisnes, it was considered necessary that he should be authorized in express terms to confer knighthood, which was also done by Edward VI. in his own case when he received knighthood from the duke of Somerset.* But at present the only subject to whom the right of conferring knighthood belongs is the lord-lieutenant of Ireland, and to him it belongs merely by long usage and established custom. But, by whomsoever conferred, knight-hood at one time endowed the recipient with the same status and attributes in every country wherein chivalry was recognized. In the middle ages it was a common practice for sovereigns and princes to dub each other knights much as they were after-wards, and are now, in the habit of exchanging the stars and ribbons of their orders. Henry II. was knighted by his great-uncle David I. of Scotland, Alexander III. of Scotland by Henry III., Edward I. when he was prince by Alphonso X. of Castile, and Ferdinand of Portugal by Edmund of Langley, earl of Cambridge.5 And, long after the military importance of knighthood had practically disappeared, what may be called its cosmopolitan character was maintained: a knight's title was recognized in all European countries, and not only in that country in which he had received it. In modern times, how-ever, by certain regulations, made in 1823, and repeated and enlarged in 1855, not only is it provided that the sovereign's permission by royal warrant shall be necessary for the reception by a British subject of any foreign order of knighthood, but further that such permission shall not authorize " the assumption of any style, appellation, rank, precedence, or privilege appertaining to a knight bachelor of the United Kingdom."s Since knighthood was accorded either by actual investiture or its equivalent, a counter process of degradation was regarded Degrade- as necessary for the purpose of depriving anybody lion. who had once received it of the rank and condition it implied.' The cases in which a knight has been formally degraded in England are exceedingly few, so few indeed that. two only are mentioned by Segar, writing in 1602, and Dallaway Orders of Knighthood, vol. i. p. xi. 2 Selden, Titles of Honor, p. 638. Harleian MS. 6063; Hargrave MS. 325. Patent Rolls, 35th Hen. VIII., pt. xvi., No. 24; Burnet, Hist. of Reformation, i. 15. 5 Spelman, " De milite dissertatio," Posthumous Works, p. 181. 8 London Gazette, December 6, 1823, and May 15, 1855. On the Continent very elaborate ceremonies, partly heraldic and partly religious, were observed in the degradation of a knight, which are described by Sainte Palaye, Memoires, i. 316 seq., and after him by Mills, History of Chivalry, i. 6o seq. Cf. Titles of Honor, p. 653. most brilliant outward attractions have now faded for ever, this is only because modern civilization tends so strongly to remove social barriers. The knightly ages will always enjoy the glory of having formulated a code of honour which aimed at rendering the upper classes worthy of their exceptional privileges; yet we must judge chivalry not only by its formal code but also by its practical fruits. The ideal is well summed up by F. W. Cornish: " Chivalry taught the world the duty of noble service willingly rendered. It upheld courage and enterprise in obedience to rule, it consecrated military prowess to the service of the Church, glorified the virtues of liberality, good faith, unselfishness and courtesy, and above all, courtesy to women. Against these may be set the vices of pride, ostentation, love of bloodshed, contempt of inferiors, and loose manners. Chivalry was an imperfect discipline, but it was a discipline, and one fit for the times. It may have existed in the world too long: it did not come into existence too early; and with all its shortcomings it exercised a great and wholesome influence in raising the medieval world from barbarism to civilization" (p. 27). This was the ideal, but to give the reader a clear view of the actual features of knightly society in their contrast with that of our own day, it is necessary to bring out one or two very significant shadows. Far too much has been made of the extent to which the knightly code, and the reverence paid to the Virgin Mary, raised the position of women (e.g. Gautier, p. 36o). As Gautier himself admits, the feudal system made it difficult to separate the woman's person from her fief: instead of the freedom of Christian marriage on which the Church in theory insisted, lands and women were handed over together, as a business bargain, by parents or guardians. In theory, the knight was the defender of widows and orphans; but in practice wardships and marriages were bought and sold as a matter of everyday routine like stocks and shares in the modern market. Lord Thomas de Berkeley (1245–1321) counted on this as a regular and considerable source of income (Smyth, Lives, i. 157). Late in the 15th century, in spite of the somewhat greater liberty of that age, we find Stephen Scrope writing nakedly to a familiar correspondent "for very need [of poverty], I was fain to sell a little daughter I have for much less than I should have done by possibility," i.e. than the fair market price (Gairdner, Paston Letters, Introduction, p. clxxvi; cf. ccclxxi). Startling as such words are, it is perhaps still more startling to find how frequently and naturally, in the highest society, ladies were degraded by personal violence. The proofs of this which Schultz and Gautier adduce from the Chansons de Geste might be multiplied indefinitely. The Knight of La Tour-Landry (1372) relates, by way of warning to his daughters, a tale of a lady who so irritated her husband by scolding him in company, that he struck her to the earth with his fist and kicked her in the face, breaking her nose. Upon this the good knight moralizes: "And this she had for her euelle and gret langage, that she was wont to saie to her husbonde. And therfor the will aught to suffre and lete her husbonde haue the wordes, and to be 'mister, for that is her worshippe; for it is shame to here striff betwene hem, and in especial before folke. But y saie not but whanne thei be allone, but she may tolle hym with goodly wordes, and counsaile hym to amende yef he do amys " (La Tour, chap. xviii.; cf. xvii. and xix.). The right of wife-beating was formally recognized by more than one code of laws, and it was already a forward step when, in the 13th century, the Coutumes du Beauvoisis provided " que le marl ne doit battre sa femme que raisonnablement " (Gautier, p. 349). This was a natural consequence not only of the want of self-control which we see everywhere in the middle ages, but also of the custom of contracting child-marriages for unsentimental considerations. Between 1288 and 1500 five marriages are recorded in the direct line of the Berkeley family in which the ten contracting parties averaged less than eleven years of age: the marriage contract of another Lord Berkeley was drawn up before he was six years old. Moreover, the same business considerations which dictated those early marriages clashed equally with the strict theory ofknighthood. In the same Berkeley family, the lord Maurice IV. was knighted in 1338 at the age of seven to avoid the possible evils of wardship, and Thomas V. for the same reason in 1476 at the age of five. Smyth's record of this great family shows that, from the middle of the 13th century onwards, the lords were not only statesmen and warriors, but still more distinguished as gentlemen-farmers on a great scale, even selling fruit from the castle gardens, while their ladies would go round on tours of inspection from dairy to dairy. The lord Thomas III. (1326–1361), who was noted as a special lover of tournaments, spent in two years only £90, or an average of about £15 per tournament; yet he was then laying money by at the rate of £45o a year, and, a few years later, at the rate of £115o, or nearly half his income ! Indeed, economic causes contributed much to the decay of romantic chivalry. The old families had lost heavily from generation to generation, partly by personal extravagances, but also by gradual alienations of land to the Church and by the enormous expenses of the crusades. Already, in the 13th century, they were hard pressed by the growing wealth of the burghers, and even the greatest nobles could scarcely keep up their state without careful business management. It is not surprising therefore, to find that' at least as early as the middle of the 13th century the commercial side of knighthood became very prominent. Although by the code of chivalry no candidate could be knighted before the age of twenty-one, we have seen how great nobles like the Berkeleys obtained that honour for their infant heirs in order to avoid possible pecuniary loss; and French writers of the 14th century complained of this knighting of infants as a common and serious abuse.' Moreover, after the knight's liability to personal service in war had been modified in the 12th century by the scutage system, it became necessary in the first quarter of the 13th to compel landowners to take up the knighthood which in theory they should have coveted as an honour—a compulsion which was soon systematically enforced (Distraint of Knighthood, 1278), and became a recognized source of royal income. An indirect effect of this system 2 was to break down another rule of the chivalrous code—that none could be dubbed who was not of gentle birth.' This rule, however, had often been broken before; even the romances of chivalry speak not infrequently of the knighting of serfs or jongleurs; 4 and other causes besides distraint of knighthood tended to level the old distinctions. While knighthood was avoided by poor nobles, it was coveted by rich citizens. It is recorded in 1298 as " an immemorial custom " in Provence that rich burghers enjoyed the honour of knighthood; and less than a century later we find Sacchetti complaining that the dignity is open to any rich upstart, however disreputable his antecedents.' Similar causes contributed to the decay of knightly ideas in warfare. Even in the 12th century, when war was still rather the pastime of kings and knights than ' Sainte Palaye, ii. 90. 2 Medley, English Constitutional History (2nd ed., pp. 291, 466), suggests that Edward might have deliberately calculated this degradation of the older feudal ideal. 3 Being made to " ride the barriers " was the penalty for anybody who attempted to take part in a tournament without the qualification of name and arms. Guillim (Display of Heraldry, p. 66) and Nisbet (System of Heraldry, ii. 147) speak of this subject as concerning England and Scotland. See also Ashmole's Order of the Garter, p. 284. But in England knighthood has always been conferred to a great extent independently of these considerations. At almost every period there have been men of obscure and illegitimate birth who have been knighted. Ashmole cites authorities for the contention that knighthood ennobles, insomuch that whosoever is a knight it necessarily follows that he is also a gentleman ; " for, when a king gives the dignity to an ignoble person whose merit he would thereby recompense, he is understood to have conferred whatsoever is requisite for the completing of that which he bestows." By the common law, if a villein were made a knight he was thereby enfranchised and accounted a gentleman, and if a person under age and in wardship were knighted both his minority and wardship terminated. (Order of the Garter, p. 43; Nicolas, British Orders of Knight-hood, i. 5.) ' Gautier, pp. 21, 249. ' Du Cange, s.v. miles (ed. Didot, t. iv. p. 402); Sacchetti, Novella, cliii. All the medieval orders of knighthood, however, insisted in their statutes on the noble birth of the candidate. a national effort, the strict code of chivalry was more honoured in the breach than in the observance.' But when the Hundred Years' War brought a real national conflict between England and France, when archery became of supreme importance, and a large proportion even of the cavalry were mercenary soldiers, then the exigencies of serious warfare swept away much of that outward display and those class-conventions on which chivalry had always rested. Simeon Luce (chap. vi.) has shown how much the English successes in this war were due to strict business methods. Several of the best commanders (e.g. Sir Robert Knolles and Sir Thomas Dagworth) were of obscure birth, while on the French side even Du Guesclin had to wait long for his knighthood because he belonged only to the lesser nobility. The tournament again, which for two centuries had been under the ban of the Church, was often almost as definitely discouraged by Edward III. as it was encouraged by John of France; and while John's father opened the Crecy campaign by sending Edward a challenge in due form of chivalry,. Edward took advantage of this formal delay to amuse the French king with negotiations while he withdrew his army by a rapid march from an almost hopeless position. A couple of quotations from Froissart will illustrate the extent to which war had now become a mere business. Much as he admired the French chivalry, he recognized their impotence at Crecy. " The sharp. arrows ran into the men of arms and into their horses, and many fell, horse and men. . . . And also among the Englishmen there were certain rascals that went afoot with great knives, and they went in among the men of arms, and slew and murdered many as they lay on the ground, both earls, barons, knights and squires, whereof the king of England was after displeased, for he had rather they had been taken prisoners." How far Edward's solicitude was disinterested may be gauged from Froissart's parallel remark about the battle of Aljubarrota, where, as at Agincourt, the handful of victors were obliged by a sudden panic to slay their prisoners. " Lo, behold the great evil adventure that fell that Saturday. For they slew as many good prisoners as would well have been worth, one with another, four hundred thousand franks." In 1402 Lord Thomas de Berkeley bought, as a speculation, 24 Scottish prisoners. Similar practical considerations forced the nobles of other European countries either to conform to less sentimental methods of warfare and to growing conceptions of nationality, or to become mere Ishmaels of the type which outlived the middle ages in Gotz von Berlichingen and his compeers.
End of Article: KNIGHTHOOD
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JOHN BUXTON KNIGHT (1843–1908)
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