By Ruth Louise Ingamells
PhD Dissertation, Durham University (1992)
Abstract: The royal household lay at the heart of the king’s army in the late thirteenth century. The military importance of the knights attached to Edward’s household has been examined by M.C. Prestwich. Although Prestwich acknowledged that the knights did serve in other areas of royal government no systematic study of their role has been attempted.
Based on an examination of the surviving wardrobe accounts and other documents the role of the household knights in many areas of royal government in England and Edward’s other dominions has been assessed. The part they played in newly or partially conquered territories of Wales and Scotland has also been considered. The knights attached to Edward’s familia were employed as sheriffs, justices, constables of castles and diplomats and councillors.
However the proportion of knights who served in these areas remained small. The knights were appointed With any regularity only to posts which demanded a combination of military and administrative skills. A large number held royal offices in Scotland and Wales.. However, there were a small number of knights whose skills as diplomats and councillors were clearly of more importance to the king than military prowess. This inner circle of knights were probably the forerunners of the chamber knights of the fourteenth century.
The rewards received by the knights in return for their services have also been considered in great detail. The knights were rewarded in accordance with their status and length of service within the household. The major grants of lands, wardships and offices went to a fairly small group of men. The others received more minor gifts of grants of timber and animals. Edward was not a king who was renowned for his generosity. However, the loyalty of the knights to their master suggests that the rewards they received were adequate.