One of the most solemn occasions of combat, excepting for the proof of treason, was the assumption of a family bearing which admitted a double claim.

-From Inquiries into the Origin and Process of the Science of Heraldry in England by James Dalloway, p98

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A Joust

dalloway96

 

From Inquiries into the Origin and Processes of the Science of Heraldry in England by James Dalloway, p96

Artist’s rendition of a joust from an unspecified manuscript in the Oxford Museum

No one was admitted to the lists, who could not prove himself, at least maternally, to be one of four descents and display a legitimate coat armour.

-From Inquiries into the Origin and Process of the Science of Heraldry in England by James Dalloway, p90

Essentially, in order to compete in a tournament, you had to have at least one great-great-grandfather, if not more, who was noble and bore arms.

Of such extreme cost were these entertainments [tournaments], that the royal treasury only could support them, when carried to the greatest height of decoration and magnificence.

-From Inquiries into the Origin and Process of the Science of Heraldry in England by James Dalloway, p89

It was peculiarly congenial with the warlike spirit of early times to encourage the representations of these combats in which the splendour and solemnity were equal, and personal danger in a general measure avoided.

-From Inquiries into the Origins and Process of the Science of Heraldry in England by James Dalloway, p86

The fairest conjecture seems to be, that the tournaments held with such magnificence towards the end of the tenth century under the auspices of Hugh Capet, were introductory of the more general use and assumption of arms.

From Inquiries into the Origin and Processes of the Science of Heraldry in England by James Dalloway, p26

The word Knight came from the Saxon Cnyt, which was in French called Chevalier, in Latin Miles and Eques Auratus, from their golden spurs.

From Historical Anecdotes of Heraldry and Chivalry by Susanna Dawson Dobson, p253