Midrealm Squire Customs
The Middle Kingdom has some unique customs among its squires. This page attempts to explain them, in case you are traveling through our fair lands, or are thinking of relocating here. Please note that these are customs only, and thus are not Society or Kingdom law. So, for example, you can wear a red belt if you like. Be aware that the long custom of wearing a red belt and/or a silver chain is a powerful tradition. You may freely do so, just be prepared that you will be frequently asked who you are squired to.
The use of any of these customs are entirely dependant on the Knight/squire relationship. Some of these are used more in some regions of the Kingdom than others (e.g., blue belts for men-at-arms).
Squires typically wear a red belt, or if they are sworn to a Master, a red baldric. The color red is usually meant to show the blood they will shed in training for the accolade of Knighthood. An associated custom is for the red belt to be paired with another color. This second color usually bisects the red (for a two-tone belt). Occasionally you see a red belt with a thin border of color along the top or bottom. This second color is often the main color of their knight's blazon, or household. The wearing of the red belt is the most universal custom in our Kingdom and Society. It is very common for the squire to have their knight's device somewhere on their belt, usually at the very tip.
Midrealm squires also wear a neck chain of silver, to show that they are bound by their oath of fealty to serve their knight. It is unadorned. When traveling abroad, if a chain is worn at all, Midrealm squires often adorn them to better comply with the traditions of the host Kingdom.
Squires sometimes are allowed to wear spurs, as long as they are silver and not gold (since gold is the color Knights wear). Quite often, they are attached with red (most common) or black (second most common) colored straps to further differentiate them from Knights. Again, the wearing of spurs is entirely dependant upon the Knight/squire relationship.
Finally, squires are often allowed to have a dependant. This is meant to help train the squire in leadership and being publicly accountable for another, as they will be responsible for their squires should they become a Knight themselves. These dependants are most often called a man-at-arms, and wear a blue belt. A man-at-arms usually does not wear a silver chain or spurs. Sometimes a Knight will take a person on as a man-at-arms before making them a squire. This is usually done to see if the added public attention and duties will be a good fit between the two of them.
The best use of these symbols is to make the squire publicly accountable for their actions, to their Knight and the Kingdom. A Knight will usually take a squire at an event, and in a public ceremony place the red belt and silver chain upon them. The squire then swears an oath of fealty to the knight. At this time the squire is officially a part of the Knight's household (if they were not already).
Past tradition meant that the squire was in service to their Knight for the rest of their SCA life. In the past few years, a "year-and-a-day" custom has developed among some Knights, where the squire and the Knight review and renew their vows annually. This is done as a way to make sure that the relationship is still mutually beneficial, since life has a way of changing things. It is quite common for a squire to be released from his oath of fealty when he is about to be Knighted.
Account of the Origin of Red Squire Belts in the Midrealm
BACK to the Squires of the Midrealm
See also the Middle Kingdom Encyclopedia