Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2002-09 > 1031428016

From: "Rick Eaton" <>
Subject: Re: arms without knighthood?
Date: Sat, 07 Sep 2002 15:58:24 -0400

My understanding, from lots of reading but no specific
reference, is that knighthood was *not* necessary for the
granting of arms and that one (a man) need only be a
"gentleman" in order to be granted arms. This suggests to me
that (an this is, in part, conjecture) that wealth and,
perhaps, military service were also prerequisites or, I
should say, alternative requisites.

I can support this contention with examples in my own family
of persons -- knights and not, who ere granted arms.

As to the title, Dame. Again, I am no expert. It is my
understanding, however, that a dame was, before modern
times, a knight's lady. Today, a dame can be a female

The following is interesting and amusing:

Dame vs. Sir: Titles of Knighthood by Squire Cuisinart

It is extremely difficult to get a knight's belt. It takes a
lot of skill, time, devotion, honor and integrity. It is the
ultimate Amtgardian achievement. Anybody who wears a white
belt merits respect and deserves recognition for their
accomplishments, so in addition to a white belt, an
opportuntunity to play a paladin or anti-paladin, a right to
punch every new knight, a right to choose a squire to be
your slave, you also receive a title -- Sir for males, and
Dame for females.

It is your right, and deservedly so, to choose your title.
Most knights choose Sir: Sir Corbin, Sir Thorin, Sir Cabal,
Sir Kindrik, etc. However, most of the people knighted are
men. Very few females have, or probably ever will attain
knighthood. This is not a good thing, but we in House
Morrigan are working on it; I don't think there is a fighter
among us who does not at least dream of becoming a knight of
the sword.

In the event that any of our dreams come true and the
kingdom sword is lain upon our shoulder, I hope every one of
we women will choose Dame as our title. Some women choose
not to, for example Sir Esuom, and Sir Aislinn, and that is
their choice, and that's what we call them. However, to me
choosing Sir demeans Dame. It says that a male knight is
better than a female knight, and I just don't think that's
something Dame Selka would agree with. Now of course we
associate Sir with Sir Tunear, Sir Nevron, and Sir Morluck,
and who in Amtgard doesn't want to be like them, but it is
even harder for a woman to become a knight, and I think she
should be proud to have a title of her own that says "I am a
woman and I am a knight." I hope you ladies in House
Morrigan would be proud of both these things and would show
it by using Dame as your title.

According to one web site, the following provide an
explanation and definitions:

01 The ŒLady¹ (LA) - a form of address to any woman of rank
or authority - the legal title of the wife of a knight. 

02 Damsel: a woman of noble birth - a young woman - a

03 Dame Stella Rimington was the first female Director
General of MI5 and the first to be publically named.   Her
duties included the protection of the realm against spies
and saboteurs, etc.   She was offered a job by Channel-4
(England) to front a game show with former Soviet double
agent Oleg Gordievsky! 

Here are dictionary definitions which support my own

dame (d3m) n. 1. Used as a courtesy title for a woman in
authority or a mistress of a household. 2.a. A married
woman; a matron. b. An elderly woman. 3. Slang. A woman. 4.
Chiefly British. a. A woman holding a nonhereditary title
conferred by a sovereign in recognition of personal merit or
service to the country. b. The wife or widow of a knight.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin domina,
feminine of dominus, lord, master.]

Rick Eaton

Voice: 203.453.6261 Fax:203.453.0076

>Subject: Re: arms without knighthood?
>Date: Sat, Sep 7, 2002, 2:47 PM

> Rhonda Jordan wrote,
>> Hello,
>> I'm back again with a followup question to a post I sent a few
> weeks ago.
>> The original question referred to the 16th-century will of Dame
> Joan
>> Blakeney in Norfolk. I wondered if, as Joan was a dame, did this
> mean her
>> husband John was a knight.
>> Tim was kind enough to answer that it was possible but not
> certain, and he
>> suggested I consult Shaw's KNIGHTS OF ENGLAND.
>> I finally got hold of the book today and found that John was NOT
> a knight.
>> There were no Blakeney knights listed prior to 1761.
> Shaw's knights is not complete, and I think just lists those for
> which
> official documentation survives - the preface would give more
> information. I
> imagine the more modern grantees are complete, but I have found
> many
> mediaeval knights are missing.
>> This leads me to more questions, and I would truly appreciate
> input on them.
>> 1. Under what circumstances could Joan have maintained the title
> of Dame
>> if she was not married to a knight?
> I am not sure if there is an exact definition, perhaps others will
> know. It
> often seems to me to be often used for widows owning property, or
> head of an
> household.
>> 2. How could the Blakeney family have been using a consistent
> coat of arms
>> in the 16th and 17th centuries if none of them had been knighted?
> Their
>> coat of arms appears in a Norfolk church with Blakeney tombs from
> the early
>> 1500s. It is also listed with the family in VISITATIONS OF
> NORFOLK, 1552.
>> If not through knighthood, how might these arms have been
> claimed? For
>> that matter, why would they even have been included in the
> I don't think a knighthood is a prerequisite for the grant of a
> shield or
> coat of arms, and certainly not for those who are entitled to use
> the family
> coat of arms.
> Adrian
>> I'm sure there must be helpful clues in these circumstances if I
> only knew
>> how to recognize them. I'll be grateful for any guidance at all.

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