Knights of the Realm
The King's Eyre
Eyre (rhymes with “air”) comes from the word meaning “to journey,” and the King’s Eyre is his itinerant court. Uther travels from place to place throughout the kingdom. Many of his stops are at his own castles and residences, where his goods have been collected to feed him and his court. Other stops are at his tenants-in-chiefs’ castles to check on how they are keeping his castle (and to eat up the extra food). Everywhere he goes he holds royal court, making judgments for the local courtiers, receiving ambassadors, communicating with all the regional lords, and delegating the thousand small things to his staff.
The eyre totals about 450 people on any given day. The king is always present. His chief councilors number 8-12, with that many secondary department officers, and that many again of local barons present. All of these have small staffs. Thus, about 30 high-ranking people (with their attendant entourages) are the core of the eyre. The body of royal servants who support the court number about 200, give or take 10-20 on any given day. These are divided into departments, each being a practical work unit with members devoted to its duty. The king’s knights number at least fifty at all times, and a hundred footmen as well. Not counted are the numerous visitors, petitioners, hawkers, gawkers, and squawkers whose number is another hundred or more.
The cost to feed this crowd is about £2 per day. (An equal amount is necessary to support them in their appropriate lifestyles, but that is paid by the king from other resources.)