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 candidates 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 candidate 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 candidate does not to have to have begun on an armor/garb kit, but having a soft kit, or having begun on armor will definitely be a plus.
The candidate must first fill out a membership application on the website. The application will be made available to the active Squires + Knights in a thread in the private section of the forum, where it will be discussed and voted on by those two ranks, requiring a 2/3 majority to pass (with the understanding that if a full third of the voting members have a problem with the applicant, that's a good sign that there's a problem). The voting period is between 7 and 14 days (discretion at the start of the vote), and those who fail to participate in the vote during this time are considered abstentions that do not count toward the voting total. A minimum of 1/3 of the eligible voters (or a minimum of 10) must participate, or else the vote can not pass. If it fails due to lack of participation, a second vote will be held by the Review Board, also requiring a 2/3 majority to pass. In the event that the applicant is rejected, they must wait at least 30 days before applying again. If the vote succeeds, the applicant will be added to the roster 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 or her kit, while letting the existing knights learn about the Page as well. Once the 90 day introductory period has passed, the Page becomes eligible to advance to the rank of "Yeoman". If the Page has remained active in the Order, the Review Board will vote on advancing the Page to the rank of Yeoman. If the Page has been absent for 30 days or more, the vote can be deferred until the Page returns. If the vote fails, the Page may attempt to advance again after another 90 days.
When a Yeoman feels that he or she is ready, or at the request of a sponsor, the Yeoman can apply 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. 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. This will initiate a private discussion thread amongst the knights, and the sponsors will act as intermediaries and representatives for the Yeoman. The Review Board will vote on the rank advancement. If the vote fails, the Yeoman must wait at least 90 days before another attempt.
As with the Yeoman rank, there is no minimum or maximum time limit on the Squire rank. After becoming a Squire, a member can seek to be knighted.
Before being knighted, the squire must develop a complete armor kit 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"), and be the "knight in shining armor" so to speak.
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 active knights in good standing to act as sponsors, and three knights to perform the accolade (they may or may not be the sponsors, depending on the circumstances and preferences), 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 Squire must also have a complete "kit" at this stage, and can then seek to apply for knighting. This can be initiated by the Squire or one of the sponsors. As with the previous stage, the sponsors and the active knights will discuss the application in a private thread, which will be followed by a vote by the Review Board. If the vote is negative, the Squire must wait at least 90 days before applying again.
In the case of negative votes at all promotion levels, the member can request a single appeal within the 90 days after the initial vote. The sponsors will act as intermediaries to work with the member to correct issues, and aid them in the appeal. The Review Board will vote again with the new information provided.
The Knight Commander can not be a sponsor for Squiring or Knighting, since the Commander has a permanent seat on the Review Board.
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.
Members who are inactive for 6 months or more on the forum will be automatically considered to be "inactive" members. Inactivation does not mean the member is kicked out, or barred from participation, or anything of the sort. It merely means they will be removed from the voting totals, and will be sorted to the bottom of the roster on the website. The member may ask to be reactivated at any time.
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, and has met the requirements outlined above, 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