Friday, May 27, 2011

Malcolm IV Becomes King

‘When knights were made in the actual field of battle, little solemnity was observed, and the form was probably the same with which private individuals had, in earlier times, conferred the honour on each other. The novice, armed at all points, but without helmet, sword, and spurs, came before the prince or general, at whose hands he was to receive knighthood, and kneeled down, while two persons of distinction, who acted as his godfathers, and were supposed to become pledges for his being worthy of the honour to which he aspired, buckled, on his gilded spurs, and belted him with his sword.  He then received the accolade, a slight blow on the neck, with the flat of the sword, from the person who dubbed him, who, at the same time, pronounced a formula to this effect: "I dub thee knight, in the name of God and St. Michael, (or in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.) Be faithful, bold, and fortunate." The new-made knight had then only to take his place in the ranks of war, and endeavour to distinguish himself by his forward gallantry in the approaching action, when he was said to win his spurs. It is well known, that, at the battle of Cressy, Edward III refused to send succours to the Black Prince, until he should hear that he was wounded or dismounted, being determined he should, on that memorable day, have full opportunity to win his spurs. It may be easily imagined, that on such occasions, the courage of the young knights was wound up to the highest pitch, and, as many were usually made at the same time, gallantry could not fail to have influence on the fortune of the day.  At the siege of Tholouse, (1159) Henry II of England made thirty knights at once, one of whom was Malcolm IV King of Scotland. Even on these occasions, the power of making knights was not understood to be limited to the commander in chief…’

The text above is from Sir Walter Scott’s “Essay on Chivalry”.  Malcolm IV was knighted by Henry II six years after he became King of Scotland, which occurred on May 27, 1153.

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