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Pages and squires

Started by DerynifanK, July 19, 2020, 12:17:12 PM

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DerynifanK

In a story I am working on I am having some difficulty with the ages of pages and squires. From what I have been able to find, boys becames pages at the age of 7-8 and could continue in that role for as long as seven years. At the age of fourteens they could be promoted to squire which was the second step on the road to knighthood. However, my source says they could become knights at age 21 although in KK's books 18 seems to be the usual age for knighthood. They would serve as squire 4 years (ages 14-18).  So a boy age 10-11 would be a page, not old enough to be a squire. But in some instances it seems that they become squires as early as 12. Just asking if anyone has a firmer grasp on page vs squire in the 12-14 year age group.
"Thanks be to God there are still, as there always have been and always will be, more good men than evil in this world, and their cause will prevail." Brother Cadfael's Penance

Bynw

I would go with pages being younger boys. 7 to pre-teen. Squire at 12 or teen years. Knighthood at 18, at the earliest, as they become young adults.
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DerynifanK

Thanks. The character I'm working with is 10, soon to turn 11. He does have some prior experience as a page in another court. Just don't want to be too far out of line when I introduce him into this story.
"Thanks be to God there are still, as there always have been and always will be, more good men than evil in this world, and their cause will prevail." Brother Cadfael's Penance

DoctorM

My understanding is that the ages weren't fixed. A pre-teen boy might be a page, but he might also be kept at home until he was sent out to be someone's squire. Not all squires became knights. Some families couldn't afford the fees and expenses involved in knighting, and the lord or king might not be able or willing to cover the costs. Some young noblemen discovered that they disliked a martial life and never sought to be knighted. The idea of knighthood in the Western Middle Ages evolves, as do the ceremonies and rituals around it, and of course there's a good five centuries of time involved, plus regional differences. The standard view of page-squire-knight is French and English. The further east you go, the less knighthood seems to mean, at least in the way a Norman or French noble would've understood it.

Shiral

DFK in very general terms, I would think of pages as pre-pubescent, with elevation to the rank of squire happening roughly around the time they'd hit puberty. When an individual page was promoted to the higher rank would also depend somewhat on  their skills, and the degree of maturity they display. I'd imagine the emphasis would be on whether they've earned it through their conduct and willingness to apply themselves. Early promotion would be a cause for pride, being promoted later than other boys their age would be embarrassing, etc etc.  If they're trained at the Royal Court (As opposed to say a Ducal or County court),  they'd study under Prince Nigel who has a reputation as a tough-love kind of guy, so their lives would be busy, they'd be expected to work and study hard.

Melissa
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Laurna

Shiral, that makes more sense than a strict age: That a boy moved up from page to squire when they had reached a certain level of competence and maturity. So it could be  a spread of years over which the boys could go from one to the other. Also pages and squires might not spend their entire service in one court and therefore may be of differing ages at certain levels of training. We do see where Dhugal was page at royal court and then pulled back home to finish his service at home.  I think that is better that it is on merit, rather than just age.
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DesertRose

I concur with Shiral, and I think Prince Nigel would probably generally promote a child from page to squire when said child showed the maturity and demonstrated the mastery-of-material, not necessarily when the child reached a given age; that being said, they'd probably be looking for the readiness to transition between roles at a given age range, and there would probably also be some political concerns, although I can't see Nigel promoting someone to squire without the required maturity and knowledge-mastery.

("I don't care if his father is God Himself; he isn't ready to be a squire at Kelson's court, and I won't sully my or my nephew's reputation by promoting him!" doesn't seem wildly out of character for Nigel-when-provoked, though perhaps that skates closer to blasphemy than Nigel would generally do.  ;) )
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Liesel

I don't have time to look now; if I have time later I'll update...
but I'm pretty sure that the Childe Morgan books give ages for the transition from page to squire (knighting is clearly mentioned as 18 in several books, at least as the earliest age unless there is a very unusual case)

DoctorM

Quote from: Liesel on July 23, 2020, 06:50:26 AM
I don't have time to look now; if I have time later I'll update...
but I'm pretty sure that the Childe Morgan books give ages for the transition from page to squire (knighting is clearly mentioned as 18 in several books, at least as the earliest age unless there is a very unusual case)

I remember being taught that 12-18 was "usual" for squires. That was in junior high history, so YMMV in academic history.

DerynifanK

Thanks to everyone for the information. The use of merit rather than age seems the best way and I'm sure Nigel would advance boys from page to squire on that basis,
"Thanks be to God there are still, as there always have been and always will be, more good men than evil in this world, and their cause will prevail." Brother Cadfael's Penance