A Knight was the mounted warrior of medieval Europe. In England, it is likely that the system of Knighthoods was originally a Norman innovation. A Knight being created by his Feudal Lord in return for an obligation to be available for military service for a stated period of time. This service could be either for a field campaign or Garrison duty (or sometimes in return for financial support or providing counsel to the Lord). In return the Knight would receive payment in the form of a Fee (a piece of land of variable size with which the knight could provide for his needs).

In the late 11th and early 12th century most knights were relatively humble professional fighting men, who held only one or two fees, but their status rose during the 12th century as they were often called upon to serve in local and central government. This combined with the increasing cost of military equipment and the chivalric code would further enhance their prestige and status in society.

By the late 15th century however, changes in the techniques of warfare and its increasing specialization and professionalism, combined with the needs of English Kings for armies for long-term campaigns, reduced the military importance of knights, although the wealthier knights would continued to play an important part in the politics and administration of the realm.

Knights are still created to the present day, although their obligation to perform military service, and the payment of Fees, no longer exists. A knighthood today being a Royal reward for some outstanding service provided to the nation.

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