English historical past is filled with tales about well-known, heroic knights. From the legendary King Arthur and his Knights of the Spherical Desk to the rebellious Harry Hotspur and Black Prince of Wales, there are sufficient chivalric tales to fill a whole lot of books.
However the Chivalric Code was an actual lifestyle for hundreds of individuals over the course of the Center Ages, and lots of of them lived superior lives which are sadly forgotten now. Right here, we’ve hunted down ten of the best knights you’ve in all probability by no means heard of.
10 Gilbert De Clare
In some ways, Gilbert de Clare was the archetypical English knight. A descendant of William the Conqueror and a relative of each the king of England and, by marriage, Robert the Bruce of Scotland, Gilbert was additionally the top of the highly effective de Clare household. And on the age of 23, he already had a number of years of army service in Scotland underneath his belt.
It was solely pure, then, that he was one of many leaders in Edward II’s doomed Scottish marketing campaign in 1314, the one which led to defeat at Bannockburn. Having been concerned in a skirmish the day earlier than the battle, de Clare was one of many generals who urged Edward to be extra cautious. Outraged, Edward accused him of cowardice.
Desperate to show his braveness to the king, de Clare led the cost towards the Scots the subsequent day. He was surrounded and separated from the primary drive and killed. His dying was thought-about a tragedy by each side; he was the primary English earl to be killed in battle in almost 50 years. Robert the Bruce personally stood vigil over his physique within the aftermath and allowed Gilbert’s stays to be returned to the English.
Whether or not or not we expect de Clare’s actions have been courageous or silly, it’s arduous to not recognize his dedication to the Chivalric Code and its requirement that knights present bravery within the face of adversity, and his dying would have far-reaching penalties for the king when his lands ended up within the arms of the hated Despenser household.
9 Thomas Of Lancaster
Involved concerning the king’s judgement and the way prone he was to manipulation, Thomas of Lancaster was one of many key figures behind the Ordinances of 1311, which imposed extreme restrictions on King Edward II’s authority, and was additionally concerned within the execution of one of many king’s closest pals, Piers Gaveston, in 1312. Edward was simply swayed by those that impressed him, and Lancaster thought-about this a menace to the realm.
He rebelled in 1321 in protest towards the facility of the Despenser household, who many believed have been controlling the king behind the scenes, however he was defeated on the Battle of Boroughbridge. At his trial, which was judged by the Despensers, the king, and their allies, Lancaster was not allowed to talk in his personal protection. He was beheaded at his personal citadel in Pontefract.
Lancaster had all the time been fashionable with the widespread people for supporting the Ordinances, which they thought protected them from royal exploitation. A cult rose up round him following his demise, and he turned a saint. Edward II despatched a gaggle of armed guards to the church the place his physique lay to stop individuals from making the pilgrimage to see him. The route clearly continued to be fashionable, nevertheless, as a riot broke out outdoors his tomb in 1323.
eight Henry Of Grosmont
Of all of the knights on this record, Henry of Grosmont might be the one we all know most about—when it comes to his character, at the least. Henry wrote a guide, Livre de Seyntz Medicines, which tells us a lot about his on a regular basis life.
Henry was the nephew of Thomas of Lancaster and was simply as courageous and cussed. Henry was an avid jouster and clearly beloved a thrill. He celebrated Christmas in 1341 by participating in a joust with out armor. Naturally, the competition resulted in two deaths and a critical damage—however Henry got here out of it unscathed.
Later in life, his successes in France led to him being made lieutenant of Gascony, and he gained key victories at battles with the French at Bergerac and Auberoche, which netted him sufficient cash in ransoms to eclipse the king’s personal annual revenue and made him one of many richest males in England.
However it’s maybe the insights into his day by day life that make him so fascinating: Henry was a self-confessed braggart who liked to speak about himself and thought he was nice at dancing. He beloved the odor of flowers, getting drunk, and studying “trivial” books—although he admits he didn’t discover ways to learn till later in life. After which there’s maybe his most hilarious trait, one we will all sympathize with: He struggled to get up early day-after-day.
7 Andrew Harclay
Andrew Harclay was a knight for whom precept was every thing. Like many others on this listing, his life revolved round warfare, and he spent a lot of his life preventing the Scots on the border, particularly after he was made sheriff of Cumberland in 1311. He led the protection towards the Scots in 1313 and defeated Robert the Bruce outdoors Carlisle in 1315, halting Bruce’s counter-invasion that adopted the catastrophe at Bannockburn. This stopped Bruce from rampaging by way of Northern England, and for it, Edward II lavished Andrew with cash.
Regardless of his heat relationship with the king, he had been an ally of Thomas of Lancaster at courtroom, and when he rebelled in 1321, Thomas should have anticipated Andrew to hitch him. Andrew and his military confronted Thomas at Boroughbridge in 1322; earlier than the battle, Thomas requested Andrew to hitch his insurrection, however he refused. Remaining loyal to the king, Andrew defeated Thomas and captured him, which led to the latter’s trial and execution shortly after.
For this, Andrew was made earl of Carlisle, however the king’s favor was short-lived. Having fought on the border for a few years, Andrew determined the warfare with the Scots couldn’t be gained. In search of to guard his lands and other people from additional injury, he negotiated a peace with Robert the Bruce within the king’s identify (however with out his permission) in 1323. Edward was furious. Keen to point out the upstart knight his place, the king had Andrew stripped of his symbols of knighthood by having his spurs sawed off and breaking his sword over his head. He was tried by a royal justice in his personal citadel of Carlisle after which hanged, drawn, and quartered. At his trial, he maintained his dignity, persevering with to say that he solely acted in the most effective pursuits of his individuals and the nation.
The king signed a 13-year truce with the Scots simply three months later.
6 William De Warenne
William de Warenne started life as an conceited man. Buoyed by the facility of his father, he appears to have thought himself untouchable. He not often attended his lord’s courtroom and even mocked King Henry I behind his again, calling him “Stagfoot” due to his obsessive love of searching. For sure, when he was caught making an attempt to help an aborted revolt, he was banished from the dominion in 1101, his lands seized.
Although an intervention by his good friend Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy, acquired him his lands again, William appears to have discovered his lesson, as a result of he and the king slowly turned pals. By 1110, William was one of many king’s closest confidantes, accompanying the royal courtroom virtually always. In 1119, when the king was at warfare with France, and lots of of his personal lords had rebelled, William stated to him: “There’s no one who can persuade me to treason [ . . . ] I and my kinsmen right here and now place ourselves in mortal opposition to the king of France and are completely trustworthy to you.”
Whereas there isn’t a doubt that William gained from being the king’s pal, being granted a big tax exemption—the third-largest within the kingdom—the friendship was extra than simply political: William was by the king’s aspect when he died in 1135 and was certainly one of simply 5 males who escorted his physique to Rouen in preparation for his burial.
5 Aymer De Valence
By the point Edward II was topped, Aymer de Valence was one of the skilled and revered members of the king’s courtroom, having been one of many final king’s closest advisors. So when the courtroom cut up in two over the state of affairs across the king’s good friend, Piers Gaveston, it was Aymer who held the center floor. Torn between his loyalty to the king and the king’s failure to control correctly, Aymer appears to have been the linchpin of a center social gathering who tried to carry the dominion collectively.
The state of affairs worsened, nevertheless, and shortly, individuals have been calling for Piers to be banished—or worse. Understanding that Aymer was revered by each side, the king selected him to escort Gaveston to York, the place he can be tried. Nevertheless, the journey took them near the place the place Aymer’s spouse was staying, and he left Gaveston alone one night time to go to her, trusting that Gaveston’s enemies would respect that he was underneath Aymer’s safety and depart him alone.
However they weren’t as honorable as Aymer anticipated, they usually seized Piers. Accounts of Gaveston’s homicide are graphic: He was pushed from the home in his bedclothes and compelled to march on foot forward of the opposite knights, who shouted insults and blew horns. He was finally impaled with a sword and beheaded within the wilderness. His physique was left by the aspect of the street.
This occasion had an enormous influence on Aymer. Disgusted that the rebels had betrayed his honor and the knightly code, from that day on, he was a staunch supporter of Edward. He was a key advisor to the king even by means of the years of the Despensers, when almost everybody deserted Edward, and in addition appears to have acted as a sort of private protector: He personally escorted the protesting king from the sector of battle on the catastrophe of Bannockburn. In a time when each the king and his enemies resorted to violence to realize their means, Aymer was a rock of morality, guided by his knightly rules and all the time doing what he believed to be proper.
four Roger De Mortimer
The Baronial Struggle of 1264 to 1267 was a disastrous civil warfare in medieval England. Fueled by anti-Jewish sentiment, dissatisfaction with the king and his authorities, and famine, it tore England in two. And one of the apparent supporters of the barons was Roger de Mortimer. Roger was because of inherit a considerable amount of land, however King Henry III was sluggish in processing the legalities, which pushed Roger onto the aspect of the rebels.
Roger by no means really slot in with the rebels, both, nevertheless, particularly after he misplaced a citadel one of many insurgent barons had trusted him to maintain. He flipped sides a number of occasions all through the struggle, destroying different lords’ estates and struggling the identical in return. He discovered himself commanding a portion of the royal military on the pivotal Battle of Evesham (the place he was supposedly the one who killed the chief insurgent, Simon de Montfort) and from that time onward was firmly on the royal aspect. His ambition to punish the rebels and seize as a lot land from them as attainable was excessive and introduced him into battle with Gilbert de Clare (an ancestor of the one talked about above).
Nevertheless, Roger appears to have regretted the injury the struggle did to the realm in later life. He was one of many three males trusted to control the dominion whereas King Edward returned from crusading. Their reign was marked by cooperation and peace, and Roger made critical efforts to make amends for the injury brought on by the conflict. He and Gilbert de Clare buried the hatchet and even went on a yearlong tour collectively in Southern England, the place they helped to reconstruct bridges destroyed by battle.
three Henry Percy
The Percy household have been well-known (or notorious) for his or her persistently unbiased, formidable, and rebellious nature. Probably the most well-known Percy, often known as Hotspur, made Henry IV king and ultimately rebelled towards him. However Henry Percy, third Lord Percy, was totally different: He was a loyal, unambitious lord who did as he was requested and acted with honor in battle.
He fought within the Battle of Crecy in France, one of the crucial essential battles within the Hundred Years’ Warfare, on the age of 25. He remained in France till his father’s demise in 1352, when he was made warden of the March and despatched again residence to protect the Scottish borders, as his father and grandfather had. In contrast to them, nevertheless, he appears to have had little ambition for increasing his personal lands at Scottish expense, and when he took half within the 1356 invasion of Scotland, his most vital achievement was in securing the Treaty of Berwick, which introduced an finish to the struggle in England’s favor. He adopted Edward III’s orders to the letter and was profitable in ending the Scottish warfare that had dragged on for many years.
Plainly his lack of private ambition was not as a result of he lacked army talent as a result of by 1355, he was the marshal of the English military in France and took half in Edward’s marketing campaign to seize Rheims in 1360. Together with his expertise and his dedication to obligation, he was in some ways the mannequin of a high-class baron, serving within the king’s military when requested and policing the border in peacetime. His household’s chronicler stated of him: “Content material with the lordship left him by his father, he wished to acquire the lands or possessions of nobody.” By 1362, the king’s opinion of Percy was so excessive that he gave Percy’s son, yet one more Henry Percy, the authority to barter with the Scottish authorities on his behalf.
2 Thomas De Beauchamp
Thomas de Beauchamp was one of many founding knights of the Order of the Garter, the very best honor a medieval knight might aspire to, and was by all accounts a shrewd tactician and considered one of England’s biggest generals through the Hundred Years’ Warfare.
He was a part of the English campaigns in France, the place he led the English middle on the Battle of Crecy and was entrusted with personally taking care of the prince of England, the Black Prince, on the battlefield. Edward III later paid Thomas 1,000 marks on the situation that he would serve the king in conflict each time required, which tells us how nice a warrior he was.
Many knights selected to retreat from the battlefield as they acquired older, however Thomas continued to relish fight. He accompanied the Black Prince at Poitiers in 1356 regardless of being older than 40, and it was stated that he and William Montagu struggled like lions to see which one might spill probably the most French blood.
By the peak of his profession in 1369, the identical yr during which he would finally die of the Black Dying, he didn’t even need to struggle to defeat his enemies: The Duke of Burgundy, listening to that “the satan Warwick” was within the English military, retreated underneath the duvet of darkness to keep away from him!
1 Jean III De Grailly
Like de Beauchamp, de Grailly was current on the Battle of Poitiers, the place he led the English cavalry. Seeing a chance in the best way the battle was going, Jean led an assault across the aspect of the French military that resulted within the seize of the French king and lots of of his nobles. That’s fairly a feat, particularly since Jean was truly French himself!
He was captured by the French in 1364, who have been anxious to maintain him from commanding the English. At first, they refused to ransom him, after which the French king provided him appreciable lands and titles to hitch his aspect. Jean accepted however swore loyalty to Edward III once more quickly after, abandoning his new titles.
He rejoined the English campaigns in France however was captured once more in 1372. The French king as soon as once more provided him land and titles in trade for his help, however he refused them, unwilling to interrupt his oath to the king of England. He was stated to have been so feared by the French that they stored him beneath shut confinement in Paris. He remained in captivity till 1376, when, after listening to of the Black Prince’s dying, he was stated to have refused meals and water, dying some days later.