Distraint of Knighthood

Distraint of Knighthood
As the office of knight became a more costly proposition to uphold, many gentlemen decided not to accept the accolade of knighthood, which seemed to carry uneven responsibilities and few additional privileges. By the early 12th century this problem was already acute. Henry III issued a command called the ‘distraint of knighthood’ in order to require all landholders holding a knight’s fee to be accorded the accolade of knighthood. Such distraints were extended by subsequent monarchs, as in the following example issued by Edward I in 1278:
"...to destrain without delay all those in your bailiwick who have lands worth twenty pounds per year, or one whole knight’s fee worth twenty pounds per year, and hold this in chief and ought to be knights but who are not, to receive from us before Christmas or on that feast the arms of a knight..."

Medieval glossary. 2014.

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