General requirements and initiation
Members must have a desire to live by a code of conduct that is defined by Chivalry. They are free to find their own personal path and engage in self discovery of their own accord, and are in fact encouraged to do so. Personal freedom and responsibility are highly valued by the Order, and as such the Order does not seek to restrict its members, except to ensure they do not act in a manner that is in conflict with the Order's ideals.
New prospects must be honorable people, drawn to Chivalry by a force within themselves. They must have a desire for self improvement, spiritual growth, and improving the world around them.
A prospect must also show a dedicated interest in the Order and its activities. He will be expected to understand what the Order is about, and what its ideals are.
To join the order, a prospect must find two current Knights or Squires to sponsor him or her (at least one of which must be a Knight), and must already possess a kit/garb appropriate to a knight or man-at-arms within the medieval period, as defined by the years 1066-1600. It should have a "medieval look" even if it's not completely historically correct, and appear as such from a distance of ten feet (the so-called "ten foot rule").
This may or may not be a complete kit, perhaps just a soft kit with a helmet as an example. But the prospect must show a desire to improve and develop his look if it is incomplete, and be the "knight in shining armor" so to speak.
With two sponsorships from active knights or squires (at least one must be a knight), the prospect's admission request can be presented to the commander who can add him to the roll of membership, with the rank of "Page".
The Page level is introductory, and will last a period of time no less than 90 days to show that the Page is here to stay and shares our values. This gives the Page time to learn about the order and work on improving his kit, while letting the existing knights learn about the Page as well. Once the 90 day introductory period has passed, the Page will then be known as a Yeoman. Both the Page and Yeoman ranks can be collectively referred to as Men-at-Arms.
When the Yeoman feels that he or she is ready, and has passed beyond the probationary Page period, the Yeoman can seek to become a Squire. The primary requirements for becoming a Squire is that the Yeoman must create heraldry (coat of arms), and receive sponsorship from two Knights, who are not the same Knights/Squires that sponsored them for membership initially. There is no minimum or maximum time that a person must spend as a Yeoman, but this is meant to be an important stepping stone toward knighthood, that has its own position of nobility.
After becoming a Squire, a member can seek to be knighted. As with the Yeoman rank, there is no minimum or maximum time limit on the Squire rank. If the Squire is a minor, parental or guardian permission will be required for knighting. Before the knighting can occur, the Squire must find three existing knights in good standing to perform the accolade, and get approval from the Commander. The latter is mostly a formality, but gives a central authority the opportunity to veto a knighting if it appears that the person is simply being accelerated into knighthood without being ready.
The Order may also have "associate members" in the form of squires and pages (not in title, only in temporary duties), who are not knights of the order, or official members, but help at events or donate their time.
Membership rules and benefits
Members who do not live up to the Orders ideals, whose actions reflect badly on the Order, can be voted out and removed.
Members may also resign at any time, or request to be made temporarily "inactive". Inactive members do not vote, but may return at a time of their choosing. The commander can also place members into inactive status if they have been unreachable for some time or have shown no interest in participating in votes.
Squires and Knights may submit custom heraldry for the roll of arms (required to attain the rank of Squire). Personal arms must be sufficiently different from existing arms in the Order, and may be updated as needed. Arms may be updated at the discretion of the member, within reason. The Knight Commander, or a designated Herald, will have final discretion.
Once an Squire has progressed beyond the introductory period and has learned about the Order and its ideals, and is satisfied that he or she wishes to continue, and has looked inside and decided that the time has come, the Squire can seek to be knighted.
At this point, the Squire must also have a complete kit, within the rules for the "medieval look" outlined above.
The Squire must approach knights in good standing, and find three that will participate in the accolade. A first, to perform the ceremony, and two seconds to aid in it. One of them may be the Knight Commander, however this is not a requirement. The number is three to reduce the likelihood of a couple of knights accelerating a friend through the system. Also, during the ceremony, it is customary for the two additional knights to affix the new knight's spurs. Approval must also go through the Knight Commander.
The format of the ceremony is otherwise up to the knights involved, particularly the one receiving the accolade. It is customary, but not required, to gift the new knight with a set of gilded spurs, or something of similar value if they already have spurs.
If an Squire is not of the age of majority (eighteen years of age), he or she will need the consent of a parent or legal guardian.
Ranks and Titles
This is a summary of the Order's ranks and titles, and what their roles are:
- Page: New member, non-voting. May proceed to becoming a Yeoman after 90 days of probationary membership.
- Yeoman: Normal member, non-voting. Members may remain as Yeomen as long as they desire/need.
- Squire: Established member, non-voting. Members may remain as Squires as long as they desire/need.
- Knight: Voting member who has been knighted by the order after meeting the requirements.
- Knight Commander: Organizational role, elected periodically