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Jousting and Heraldry

To keep in practice for battle, knights took part in specially organised fights called jousting tournaments. Two knights on horseback would charge at each other with long lances and try to knock each other to the ground.

Collisions and injuries were common so they started to use blunt weapons and a wooden barrier called a tilt to separate the two jousting knights to make things safer.


Heraldry helped knights to be identified on a battlefield. It used designs called coats of arms which usually included: a family motto, a shield divided into parts with an ornamental crest on top and two animals or people called supporters holding it up. They were worn on: the surcoat (a coat covering the suit of armour), the trapper (the cloth covering the horse) and the shield.

University of Plymouth Coat of Arms

When a new knight appeared at a jousting tournament, it was the job of a herald to blow a trumpet and describe the look or blazon of their coat of arms.