The First Knight

Jun 2006
Knights as we think of them evolved from the mounted warriors of Charlemagne's Carolingian Empire and at some point crossed the Channel. Knights were probably already in Saxon England when Norman knights came to England with the invasion forces of William the Conqueror. But as for who was the first English knight, that's probably impossible to know.
Jul 2006
The Knights with the code of owner as we see in movies evolved from the nobles that have the economic anesis to have horse and armor from the 5th century eventually this become a manner of life and in the end we have the "Knights Code", always in my oppinion. :D


Historum Emeritas
Jun 2006
Jacksonville, FL
I found the following on a website

Like most periods in history, the era of knights evolved gradually. The term "knight" originates from the Anglo-Saxon name for a boy: "cniht". Indeed, most early knights were not much more than hired "boys" who performed military service and took oaths of loyalty to any well-to-do nobleman or warlord offering the most promise of money or war booty.

In the chaos and danger of post-Roman Western Europe, the population had very little organized governmental protection from brigands and conquering warbands. Knowing there was safety in numbers, local lords (who could afford it) gathered around them young, fighting-age men to fend off rebellious vassals or conquering neighbors. These men, in turn, were rewarded with war booty for their service and loyalty. Soon, grants of land were made so the young soldiers could receive an income from those lands and afford the high cost of outfitting themselves with the accoutrements of war, such as horses, armor, and weapons. The era of the medieval knight had begun.

It wasn't long before some knights began to treat their land grants as hereditary rights (usually transferring ownership to the eldest son upon death), thus beginning the rise of knights as a "landed" class whose importance went beyond simply being a military "free-agent". Knights soon found themselves involved in local politics, the dispensation of justice, and numerous other required tasks for their sovereign, or liege lord.
Feb 2012
Shangri-La, California, USA
After the Legions were removed from Britain in 420 to defend Rome (unsuccessfully), defense from invading Anglo Saxons fell on the sons of the many wealthy villas.

At this time Roman Britain was mostly Christian. The Anglo Saxons were pagan and were unfamiliar with horses.

The upper class British (Celts) raced horses for sport, and Rome had earlier imported workers from Europe who had brought very large horses that were suitable as war horses.

The idea of using heavy armored cavalry had recently been learned by Rome from the Persians. It had been wildly successful when used, but it was very expensive and required great skill and training. The key to this kind of fighting was the invention of the pommel, which had come from Korea.

Britain was one of the few provinces of Rome that was wealthy enough to put this form of warfare to use. Trivia: The only Roman horseshoes that have been found were found in Britain.

I believe that the style of the arms and armor used was identical to what the Normans used when they invaded Britain, which is also identical to late Roman heavy armored cavalry in general. The conical helmet with the nose guard was basically copied from the Persians. The rest of the armor consisted of chain mail that also covered the horse.

Although the Normans were Norsemen, they attached themselves to a developed civilization in Normandy that was thoroughly Roman in character and technology.

By 520 AD, the Romanized Celts of Britain (the original British) had given up and left Britain for Brittany. Christianity also disappeared until missionaries of St Patrick brought it back.

Their ancestors came back to Britain with the Normans.

Nobody knows who Arthur was, and that was probably not his real name, but someone provided significant leadership, and he died around 520.

My theory is that Arth-Ursis was his nickname. It means "the Bear" in both Latin and British. He would not have been a king, as kings were too small. In a Roman provincial organization I think he would have been a duke, or provincial military leader. This is far more powerful than a king. There were many kings, but only one duke.

The Isle of Avalon is the older name of Glastonbury Abbey (it used to be an island). This is where legend says that Joseph of Arimathea established the first above ground Christian church just a few years after the death of Jesus.
Other legend says that Joseph was the legal guardian of Mary on the death of her husband, and that she lived a quiet life at the Abbey, her privacy protected and hidden from the attention of pilgrims.
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Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
Knights as we think of them evolved from the mounted warriors of Charlemagne's Carolingian Empire and at some point crossed the Channel. Knights were probably already in Saxon England when Norman knights came to England with the invasion forces of William the Conqueror. But as for who was the first English knight, that's probably impossible to know.
The 'knight' evolved from Roman culture, where the equestrian class came from the section of pklebian society who could afford horses to go to war with way back in the eraly republic.

Charlemagnes knights were a development of the same idea, especially since cavalry had risen in prominence, but the same idea crops up in different areas too, as riding a horse in battle was usually considered a mark of status and only for those who could afford such animals. Strctly speaking the first english knight was the man who signed up for fealty to William the Conqueror at the head of the queue (whoever he was), but note that medieval reinvention of arthurian stories would place english knights much earlier although the anglo-saxons did habitually employ cavalry, and in fact there are clues, such as welsh poetry and so forth, that describe romano-british cavalry with status indicators.


Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
Britain a wealthy Roman Province? What piffle. Ti say Britain developed Knights first because it was the only Roman province with the wealth is piffle. It was not a "wealthy" province.

What evidence for Armored Horses in post roman Britain does anyone care to have?
Feb 2012
Shangri-La, California, USA
On the continent, Roman villas had been attacked many times in the late Roman period and were generally owned by absentee landlords in Rome.

In Britain the families that owned the villas still lived on the villas, making Roman Britain a rarity in having a sizable middle class with an interest in preserving their way of life.

Britain was visited by a church leader n the mid 400s, decades after the legions had left. He went there to preach against the heresy of Pelagius, a British theologian who was making waves on the continent. He reported finding a prosperous Roman province, where the civic leaders met him wearing togas.

Archeology tells us that the Roman economy went into decline after the legions left, but that at some point there was a sudden uptick, with a lot of new building in standard Roman style by men wearing hob-nailed Roman boots.

I suggest a book called "The Age of Arthur" by John Morris

Correction: the legions left in 410, not 420

Historians who don't like to refer to an unknown character, refer to this period as "sub Roman Britain". There is considerable Roman military construction and long distance trade during this period in dozens of locations. The gradual abandonment of Roman towns, forts and villas progressed generally from East to West, as the Anglo Saxons moved in.

From archeology we know that the inhabitants of Roman towns in Britain were native Celts and not Italians. Italian skulls are round and German/Celt skulls are long.

Piffle? Is that some Australian pastry?


Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
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Forum Staff
Jun 2009
land of Califia
Appears the work is questionable.

John Morris (historian) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rejected by Wikipedia as a reasonable source?

Wikipedia talk:WikiProject European history/Sub-Roman Britain task force - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I still reject the notion that (a) Britain was wealthy (b) heavy cavalry with mailed horses were ever a significant force in pre 1066. (and mostly after)
The first guy through the door usually gets his teeth kicked in. :)