Diary Of An Irish Knight In The Middle Ages

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The journal of Daniel Coughlan of Ireland in year 1187 Tuesday, February 18 In the year of our Lord, 1187 Today it has been fifteen years since my birth date, I am now a squire, and am about halfway through the process of becoming a knight. I think being a squire will be much harder than being a page. As a page all I had to do was be a general servant and learn how to read and write. Now, as a squire, I will be an assistant to a knight and learn how to battle. I will get to battle in the tilting yard with other squires. My father hopes that I will get good enough so I can help out in a battle and become a "knight of the sword". He explained to me that a "knight of the sword" is a squire who does so well in a battle that he is immediately made a knight.

I think that sounds like a good goal but it also puts a lot more pressure on me when I'm in practice battles.

Earlier today I met the knight that I will be an assistant to while I'm a squire. His name is Sir Shaun O'Donnel. He is supposed to be a very good and experienced knight from what my father has told me. I am excited to begin working with him. Today when I met him he was very polite. He seems like a good man who will take me far both in life and as a knight. Tomorrow I begin training with him and the other squires.

Tuesday, February 25 In the year of our Lord, 1193 It is the week after my twenty-first birthday and I am an official knight. I regret not taking the chance to become a knight sooner but I believe the extra training will help me when in battle. At seventeen years old, while I was still a squire my father had me marry a beautiful woman named, Megan. She is completely wonderful and is everything I could have hoped for in a wife. Together we now have two wonderful children named, Kelly, after Megan's mother, and Patrick, after my father.

So far life in the kingdom has been pretty calm. Life at home is relaxing, but I am getting anxious to be able to participate in a battle. Its not that I want to fight, but it would be nice to have some excitement around here. My father is growing old and very much wants me to be rewarded for doing something great before he dies. Hopefully something will happen somewhere very soon… Thursday, November 4 In the year or our Lord, 1196 I just got word that the battle is now over. I can't believe I was only in it three days then wounded. The doctor says that I should be bed ridden for the next two weeks and after that I should talk to the king about getting permission to not go into battle anymore. My wife and children are glad to have me home but they all fear for my life. I am not afraid. I know god will do what is right and whichever way his decision will take me I am ready for it. Just before I left home for the battle, Megan had our third child. He is a healthy boy named Shaun and he is also the second son in the family who is destined to become a knight. Although his birth was very joyful, the death of my father on the very same day was not. He had been sick for quite sometime but I was hoping he would pull through and stay alive to see the birth of my third child. I know it would have brought him much joy to see the third amazing child that I have created with my wonderful wife. I am still recovering with his sudden death but I am glad he no longer carries the pain of his sickness with him and his suffering has ended.

I think I should explain about the battle as well. It was provoked by one of the neighboring kingdoms who felt we are more prosperous then them. Well, of course we are but its their fault they are poor and not ours. We offer to do trading with them because they often have crops we will pay good money for that can't grow where we live. They refuse to cooperate then blame us when they don't have enough money to build a new chapel and anything else they want. The battle started when they came in and tried to burn our oldest and most sacred chapel down. Well, I was on the roof trying to protect it when it was set on fire. I couldn't get out in time and when the roof caved in I fell. Luckily, someone saw what happened and pulled me out. Although I am suffering from severe burns and a broken leg I am still alive. Of course, at the end of the battle we were victorious because we had more supplies and stronger men. The doctor says that after my wounds heal I will no longer be able fight so I'm thinking about starting a farm. My wife likes the idea and my children can help too. Well, I must rest now.

Monday, August 15 In the year of our Lord, 1198 I am now is the process of starting a farm. I have fifty acres of land and have hired peasants to work for me for food and shelter. Although my family and I will be doing most of the work on the farm we do need people to help us during the harvest. I have split up my land into four areas. Three are for growing and one is where my home is and where all the peasants live. This is called crop rotation. My farm will be growing mainly grains and oats but if weather permits we will try and grow other things. At one time in each field I am growing oats, grains, and leaving one empty. Each season I will rotate the crops to different fields but always leaving one fallow, or empty, so nutrients in the soil aren't completely used up. I enjoy the feeling of owning this land and it is very peaceful to just spend an afternoon walking around it. I think I will enjoy owning and running a farm very much.

My eldest son, Patrick is a page and beginning the path toward knighthood. I am very excited for him and I hope he is too. My daughter Kelly is now seven and learning how to be a proper housewife. She will be a wonderful wife to a good husband. She looks just like her mother and people tell me that my sons look just like me. I am so happy with the life that I am leading and I hope farming will keep me happy. I enjoyed fighting but I think the peacefulness of watching things grow and become full of life is more rewarding than killing people is.