Knights (the real ones - not the ones in fantasy novels) used a system of apprenticeship just like tradesmen and artisans.
A young man or boy would act as a 'page' and later a 'squire' after he was selected by the knight or assigned to him by his order. The young man usually had to be of noble birth.
As a page he would do more more menial jobs say around the castle of his Knight or Lord , and then as a squire became a personal attendant. A squire would act like a servant, but would also be given training in knightly ways over a period of time.
He was his knight's assistant and the only one allowed to help the knight. He was responsible for taking care of the knight's armor and weapons. He looked after the knight's horses. He was responsible for dressing the knight for battles and tournaments; and for undressing him. He followed his knight to battle, minding his knight's mounts and weapons, and even helping him from the field if he was injured or unhorsed.
Squires would also train with other squires - archery, swordsmanship, fighting wrestling etc.
Once the knight felt that his squire was ready, he would prepare him to be tested by his order. A successful squire was knighted at about 21 years of age.
The special ceremony started the night before when he confessed his sins to a priest. Then robed in plain garments he would guard his arms all night before the altar of the church (a vigil in the chapel). The following morning after mass and communion, he received the accolade of knighthood. He would be dressed in symbolically colored clothes: red (for his blood); white (for purity), and brown (for the earth where he would return when he died). Guilded spurs were attached to his ankles and he was "girded" with a sword. The dubbing of a knight was originally done with a blow by the hand to the neck, by the squire's knight or even the king. Later this blow was replace by a tap on each shoulder with a sword. He would be given gifts, such as a sword and spurs. Normally a celebration followed.
A page was akin to a houseboy who was trained to dress the Knight and care for his personal items as well as being trained in religion, hawking, manners, and learned combat with toy weapons. A squire was akin to a travel/war camp boy who was trained in dressing the Knight for battle and caring for the Knights weaponry as well as being trained to fight with real weapons. A page trained to become a squire. Then a squire trained to become a knight.
As every child interested in medieval stories knows, knights always had ladies to be in love with. But apart from that, they had pages (aged 7 to 13) and squires (14 to 20) who they trained as apprentices, grooms for their horses, a variety of servants to tend them, including cooks and valets, workmen such as armorers, and so on. A few knights would have all of these, most had a a few, and some knights had only one man to tend them, or even none at all.
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