Before he was a knight, a young boy had to be “apprenticed” as a squire. This usually happened around the age of fourteen or fifteen. He worked with his knight (or master) for about seven years on average. The squire was basically a servant to his knight. His role was to acquire on-the-job training, which included numerous duties:
- caring for weapons and armor
- dressing the knight for court or battle
- learning horsemanship and care of horses
- practicing to wield a sword and lance
- going into battle with the knight
- acquiring and managing supplies
- assisting the knight in tournaments
- carrying messages
- carrying the knight’s banner
- building strength and agility
- living in adverse outdoor conditions
- burying the knight in an honorable manor, if necessary
Typically, by the age of about twenty-one or twenty-two, after seven years of service and training, the squire would be knighted — if he could afford his own armor, weapons, and horses. Occasionally, a squire was knighted earlier if he demonstrated outstanding courage on the battlefield.
In addition, the squire had to learn the code of chivalry, how to conduct himself at court (which included music and dancing). He was required to practice politeness and protection of women and children, and he was expected to always act with honor, loyalty, bravery.
Oh yeah, and before he was a squire, he was a page for about seven years at court where he ran errands for his lords and ladies. So, as you see it was a long process to become a proper knight.