When about seven years old a boy of noble birth who was to become a knight was usually sent away to a nobleman's house, often that of his uncle or a great lord, to be a page. Here he learned how to behave and how to ride. When he was 14 he was apprenticed to a knight whom he served as a squire. He was taught how to handle weapons and how to look after his master's armour and horses, and even went into battle with the knight, helping him with his armour and assisting him if he was hurt or unhorsed. He learned how to shoot a bow and how to carve meat. Successful squires were knighted when they were around 21 years old.

Sons of noble families who were sent away at a very early age to the household of a great lord learned a variety of skills. They learned to serve a knight, to attend noble ladies, and to learn the art of noble manners and good breeding.

The word squire comes from the French word ecuyer (which means shield bearer). In the 11th and 12th centuries many squires seem to have been servants of a lower social class, but later on noble families would send their sons to be squires before coming knights. In the 13th century becoming a knight became so expensive that most people wanted to stay a squire. Squire later meant landowner.

A squire was finally made into a knight through the process of dubbing. This was originally a blow to the neck with the hand, though by the 13th century this was replaced by a tap of the sword to the shoulder. The knight's sword and spurs were fastened on and celebrations would commence afterwards, where he could show off his skills. Another knight (often the squires master), or even the king would perform the dubbing.