Medieval Ages were dark in Europe, but knights were definitely the bright spot. They were considered to be true warriors, courageous, chivalrous and gentlemen as well. They became the true inspiration and being a knight was considered a prestige. What are some of the most famous knights that struck fear into their enemies’ hearts?
William Marshal (1146 – 1219)
According to Archbishop Stephen Langton, William Marshal was “the greatest knight that ever lived.” Even he was coming from minor nobility, Marshal managed to become one of the best English knights. Although his first battle didn’t win him glory, he managed to win the French tournament circuit and gain popularity. To honor the death of Henry, King Henry II’s son, Marshal went on a crusade. He was one of the Magna Carta signatories and the protector of Henry III, who inherited King John after he passed away in 1216. He was buried in the Temple Church in London as the Knight Templar.
Geoffroi de Charny (1300 – 1356)
Geoffroi de Charny wasn’t only good with his sword. He wrote three books one of which is Book of Chivalry, which gives us insight into the knightly behavior of the 14th century. During the Hundred Years’ War, he was captured twice, but released to raise his ransom – he was that honest. Unfortunately, the Battle of Poitiers was his last, and he died with the French royal banner in his hands.
James Douglas (1286 – 1330)
After his father’s death, James Douglas was sent to Paris for safety, and he became a knight in France. When he returned to Britain, he and Robert the Bruce fought successfully in the first Scottish War of Independence. The English named him Black Douglas, and he fought at Bannockburn in 1314. When King Robert died, it was Douglas who wanted to take his hear to Jerusalem. However, he had to change his course during a crusade against the Saracens in Spain, and he died fighting in the Battle of Teba.
Sir Henry Percy (1364 – 1403)
England had many renowned families, and the Percy family was definitely one of them. Northern England struggled to maintain peace in the 14th and 15th century and violence, raids and rebellions were spread around the country. Sir Henry Percy, also known as Hotspur, was a part of that. He became a knight at 13, and he was in his first battle just one year later. He proved that he had a mind for warfare and he was on crusade in Prussia and fought against the English and the Scots. Hotspur aided Henry Bolingbroke to get the throne, but he rebelled against the king he helped bring to power in 1403, the year of his death.
Tancred of Hauteville (1075 – 1112)
Tancred of Hauteville joined the First Crusade, and he was one of the leaders. His displayed outstanding skill with weapons, as well as a political mind. He became the first Prince of Galilee and regent of Antioch. He gained a reputation over the years but died of typhoid.
Sir John Chandos (? – 1370)
Sir John Chandos is of Norman descent, and his name began to ring out when he defeated a French squire at the siege of Cambrai in 1339. He was at the court of the English King Edward III and a close friend to his son. The English relied on Chandos heavily in diplomatic talks since he was quite skillful behind the table as well. He passed away after a battle, succumbing to injuries.
Edward of Woodstock, The Black Prince (1330 – 1376)
The son of King Edward III was Edward of Woodstock also known as the Black Prince. When he was only 16, he was in the vanguard of the English army at the Battle of Crecy. He managed to survive and fight bravely to became a hero. Edward was fighting at the Battle of Poitiers as one of the leaders and he only further established his name. Instead of leading a great life, he died of dysentery one year before his father.
Who is your favorite Medieval knight?