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Women Knights in the Middle Ages - An interesting article (fwd)

Poster: clevin@ripco.com (Craig Levin)

> Poster: Bob & Diana Cosby <cosby@erols.com>
> Until now, I've found no documented proof that women were ever knighted,
> but I will pass on this very intriguing article for your perusal and
> comment. :)

Miningco.com struck paydirt there. I've known Velde for several
years, and while he is not a mediaevalist, he is a scholar of
erudition. However:

Holding land by "knight's fee" didn't necessarily mean one was a
knight. By the reign of Edward I in England, holding land by
chivalrous tenure was essentially equivalent to owning it as we
own land today. Edward I had to resort to forcing men who owned
a certain amount of land and above to submit to being knighted
(this was called distraint of knighthood), because they did not
wish to take upon themselves the onerous duties of acting as
unpaid royal civil servants, which English knights were (Justices
of the Peace, coroners, etc.) called upon to perform. One could
buy one's way out of distraint, so it's thought that this was a
way of further taxing the gentry. Hence, holding land may or may
not be a path to knighthood-France had the custom of ennobling
men because they held a certain parcel of land or an office, but
some other countries didn't.

Also, in some countries (Castile, for example), all knighthood
meant was the capability to equip oneself as a knight-no noble
blood necessary. Later, these non-noble knights filter into the
ranks of the lower aristocracy, so this changes slightly. Women,
naturally, could come from such stock, but were not knights per
se. The Order of the Axe was something of a fluke, and may have,
as Velde notes, disappeared once its foundresses died.

My guess, in all honesty, is that women would not have been
expected to render service for a "noble fief" on the field. 

In Service,

Dom Pedro de Alcazar
Barony of Storvik, Atlantia
Storvik Pursuivant
Argent, a tower purpure between 3 bunches of grapes proper
Craig Levin
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