: Bachelor knight
. Before a knight settled and attracted followers, they held the rank of bachelier. They might then go out at war or tourney
or just adventuring, similar to the errant
knight of romantic history. See also knight banneret
: The steed of El Cid.
: Ten lances
forming a division of approximately 600 knights
: A mark of distinction, similar to a coat of arms
, a supplemental charge often used to mark military units or other more informal groups of soldiers or household
members. Feudal lords
often gave household badges to their men, tokens of cloth or, more elaborately, of jewelry worn as a mark of distinction to identify them with the noble
: A palisaded
enclosure, part of early castles
, any area surrounded by a walled enclosure designed to provide defense. See also ward
: An outsider frequently employed by a feudal lord
to look after his estates. Such men collected rents, managed the production of the holdings, protecting the lord’s interests on the estate in his role as freeman. Once per year an audit would generally be held, to be certain that the bailiff, a man of great power in the absence of the rightful lord, would be checked. Because of the potential for treachery, larceny, and abuse, bailiffs were generally very well paid.
: The area of responsibility for a sheriff
, responsible for keeping the peace and for enforcing the royal laws.
: A small galley
able to maneuver on rivers and, in the later middle ages, known for speed, used as a small warship.
Banda, Order of the
: A small streamer attached to the head of a lance
, called a ‘pencil’ in English.
: A knight
who led a significant number of troops into battle was entitled to carry a banner. This banner, emblazoned with his device
or a badge
or a recognizable symbol, was useful for rallying troops inn the confusion of battle. The form of the banner was largely dependent upon the rank of the knight and size of his contingent. Knights with small household
units, called lances
or on their own typically bore a small triangular pennant
rather than a banner. Knights with larger groups were known as knights banneret
, a rank that seems to have been vaguely formalized during the 14th century.
: To declare open warfare against one’s liege
lord, as in the 1322 incident when Roger Damory was accused of such in a Court of Chivalry
(though it was not called that at that time) under the constable
: The rank of a knight
just above the bachelier
, or bachelor knight. The knight banneret was a unit leader of a group larger than a lance
(ten or less).
Bannockburn, Battle of
: The battle near Stirling, 23 June 1314, where the English, commanded by Edward II, was defeated by Robert Bruce, king of Scotland. The English set out to relieve Stirling castle, but the English cavalry, met by the Scots in the Forth Valley plain. Both sides prepared for a morning battle. The Scots, using spears
, managed to catch the English cavalry
between the two rivers and cut to pieces. Only Berwick remained in English hands; the legend of Robert the Bruce carrying Scotland closer to independence.
: A public announcement or proclamation, ‘bans’ were often ‘cried’ for an upcoming marriage in order to provide time for any objectors to come forward. Often the bans were cried 30 days in advance. For tournaments, bans were often issued telling of the time and place of the tournament. See Cry the Tournament
: In heraldry
, an ordinary stripe, crossing the center of the heraldic field
in a horizontal manner. Normally it occupies 1/3 of the shield
: An approach to a town or castle
which is defended by a field of fire from one or more towers, generally two. The barbican itself, an outcropping from the gatehouse
, allowed approach to the gate only through a narrow, easily defended passage.
: Florentine bankers who loaned the English crown money to support military operations from the late 13th century until the 1340s. Following Edward III’s default, the family went bankrupt within ten years.
: A medium-sized sea-vessel. See also ship
Barnet, Battle of
: Important battle in the Wars of the Roses
, in which Richard Neville, the ‘Kingmaker
’, was slain on 14 April, 1471. Edward IV’s victorious troops destroyed their opponents, slaying a reported 30,000.
: After 1066, the tenants-in-chief who held their lands directly from the king
. Gradually, a distinction between the greater and lesser barons emerged, so that by the late 13th century the greater barons began to attend Parliament
under summons from the king. The first use of the style ‘baron’ in an individual’s name came in 1387. The Baron ranks in precedence below a count
, carrying the title ‘your excellency
In the SCA
, a Baron is a regional lord
responsible for a unit, generally a city. ‘Landed’ barons are thus attached to a city, responsible for the administration and maintenance of those lands. 'Court' barons
have no such land, and are granted the title as a courtesy grant, usually for service to the Crown
: Wife of a Baron
or a woman who held a barony in her own right; in literature ‘baroness’ generally refers to a holder in her own right, while the title ‘lady’ is reserved for Barons’ wives.
: A post-medieval title created by James I on May 22, 1611, ranking below a peer
and above a knight
: A measure for dry-goods--
Barrier (combat over the)
- Ale, 32 gallons
- Beer, 36 gallons
- Wine, 31.5 gallons
- Herring or Eels, 30 gallons fully packed
- Salmon, 42 gallons
- Butter, 256 lbs
- Soup, 280 lbs
: Depicted occasionally in manuscript references, most of the 14th century examples seem to have taken place during a siege
. The gateway to a castle
is opened, after a wooden barricade, resembling a conventional wooden fence, has been set up around the opening. This serves to keep the castle from being overrun during the "à plaisance
" engagement. In the surviving illustration, knights
compete with spears
only, on foot. Some of them are wounded, but there are no serious injuries. During the 15th century combats over the barriers became a part of the pas d’armes
, gaining in popularity as the century progressed. They remained in fashion even during the 16th century, when elaborate garnitures
Bath, Knight of The
: The time just after the break of the day (prime). See also canonical hours
: Any outcropping on a castle
: Fr. A formation of combatants consisting of several conrois
, drawn into a formation two or three men deep and fifty or sixty wide.
: Often cited in tournament declarations
of the 14th and 15th century, I tend to think that this term referred to pole-axes
, since illustrations generally show knights
on foot competing with these weapons.
: The shouted expression of encouragement and to summon aid during or before a battle
. The battle-cries of the nobility
, often used for rallying troops, eventually became the mottoes
of those same families.
: A parapet
in a castle
, helpful in protecting the defenders.
: Steed of incredible speed given by Charlemagne to Renaud and the other sons of Aymon. The horse was normally the regular size, but could elongate to accommodate all four brothers.
Bear-pit style tournament
: An SCA
form of tournament
where each combatant may challenge any other combatant. Sometimes, a victory is accorded a set number of points, other times they can gain points according to the rank of the defeated opponent. At the end of the day, the points are tallied to determine a victor. Traditionally, it is held that this form of tournament is best for endurance, that the ability to go the furthest is the best method to victory.
: ‘good fellow’, a term of endearment popular during the 14th century.
: Battle cry
of the Templars
, the motto
they bore on their banner
: À plaisance tourneys
popular during the 14th century that seem to have been fought with bâtons
and possibly with specialized armour
, maybe light courboille
and augmented cloth armours (in leneis et levibus). There is evidence for such equipment in the account of the tourney at Windsor in 1278. (Barker & Barber, Tournaments, p. 30)
: A position in the church with lands a benefits attached.
: A grandstand, usually built a full story above the level of the lists
, housing the ladies and other noble spectators of the gallery
for a hastilude
. Also known as a scaffold or escafaut.
: A rank in the medieval church, usually presiding over a diocese
or see, bearing the title ‘excellency
: In heraldry
, known as ‘sable
’, a color
as opposed to a metal
: The extraordinarily snarky British sitcom that places the main character, Rowen Atkinson, in the role of a steadily declining member of the gentry, first as Richard III, then as an Elizabethan nobleman, next as the Prince
of Wales butler in the English Regency, the ‘nicest man in England’ until visited by the Spirit of Christmas, and lastly, a Captain in WW I in Black Adder Goes Forth. The series was immensely popular with tournament re-enactors.
: The plague, believed to have been bubonic plague, swept western and central Europe several times during the 14th century, killing 1/3 of the population of 20 million people. In addition to the social and personal upheaval the plague brought, it also destroyed the economy of the areas struck, increasing the price of labor and reducing the value of land.
: 14th century French silver coin.
: A common French name for a white horse, found in many romances
: The correct term for describing heraldic
arms in their armorial bearing.
: A lance
that first appears in Chrètien de Troyes' Perceval
, where associated with the Grail
in a ceremony at the Fisher King’s castle
. Throughout the development of the romances
, the spear
remained a symbolic part of the grail legend, eventually becoming the spear that pierced Christ’s side. The lance would issue a drop of blood from the tip, to which in the Vulgate Cycle
it was attributed two elements of holiness: wrath and mercy.
Book of the Courtier
: The book by Baldasarre Castiglione that details a fictional discussion at the Court
of Urbino, northern Italy, between the Duchess of Urbino and various members of her court. In this discussion, the aspects of the perfect courtier are discussed in meticulous detail. It is an extremely valuable book, one that shows how the rough figure of the knight
had, by the Renaissance, fully metamorphasized into the gentleman
Book of the Order of Chivalry
: William Caxton’s 1494 translation of Ramon Lull’s Le Libre del Orde de Caualyeria
, in which a young squire
. loses his way on his way to be knighted, meeting an old hermit, an ancient knight
, who instructs him in the ways of chivalry
, including the fanciful origins of the knight, his duties, virtues and vices, the symbolism of his weapons and armour, his customs, and the honor due a knight. Himself once a knight, Ramon Lull’s work stands as one of the finest works on chivalry, extant or known, as valuable as Geoffrey de Charnay’s Livre Chevalerie
or the anonymous Ordene de Chevalerie
. The book was immensely popular since it was first done in Catalan during the earliest years of the 14th century, after which it was translated into more than a dozen languages.
Book of the Tournament
: The book of essays on the tournament
by Brian Price, encompassing all aspects of the tournament in terms of philosophy and practice. It is the first modern ‘chivalry handbook’, done in something of the tradition of King René’s and Ramon Lull’s books.
Book on the Form and the Devising of a Tournament
: The most famous treatise on the tournament
, written by René d’Anjou in the 15th century. The work describes what René conceived of as his ‘ideal’ tournament, though he intersperses his description of such a tournament with observations on arms
and the tournament customs of various countries of Europe. The original was done in French, reprinted in this century by B. Hersher, Paris, and translated into English by Dr. Elizabeth Bennett.
: The right of a medieval soldier to ransoms
, riches and other armour
or horses available from a battle
. This was an important incentive since most medieval armies weren’t paid, at least not regularly, but it also proved a great problem because armies had a tendency to break up at the first chance for booty, such as during the Battle of Hastings or at the Sack of Limoges
: Originally meaning a fortified town in England, the name came to indicate a town with a corporation of citizens and privileges conferred by Royal Charter. The markets and faires
of the borough grew in importance during the Middle Ages, and gradually the boroughs elected their own members of Parliament
Boroughbridge, Battle of
: (1322) The battle
in Yorkshire in which Thomas, 2nd Earl
of Lancaster was slain after a truce had been declared the night previously.
Bosworth Field, Battle of
: 22 August 1485. Battle
which ended in the death of the last Plantagenet ruler, Richard III at the hand of Henry Tudor. Though Richard’s army was larger, morale was low. During the battle, troops of the Stanley family, hitherto loyal to the king
, turned on Richard and slew his guard. It was at this battle that the famous Shakespeare line, ‘My horsemy kingdom for a horse!’ is about; Richard is said to have had his horse slain and, casting about for another, was unsuccessful, dying on foot.
: A single fight, sometimes called a ‘pass’, generally a modern term used mostly in the SCA
and in other re-enactment groups.
: The wooden covering placed over a wall during war to protect the archers and soldiers from attack, generally a defense dismantled during peacetime.
: Book which contained the offices of religious figures at each of the canonical hours
. Very popular with the nobility
, who were able to commission many fine books of hours for their own use.
: Charlemagne’s horse in the chanson de geste Maugis d’Aigremont
, meaning ‘fiery.’
: The famous charger of Alexander the Great, the only person who could mount him, the horse which legend has it kneeled to allow his master to ride.
: A coat designed for the disciplining of apprentices
, a crude sack designed such that the unlucky apprentice could not see his attacker.
: Holder of a tenement, land or house, in a borough
, an office carrying special judicial privileges and obligations to the borough. Burgesses grew in power during the 14th and 15th centuries, gradually building wealth based upon the commerce and production that took place in the borough.
: Supports of Burgundy during their feud with the Orleanist faction that split France between 1388 and 1435.