A Housecarl (sometimes spelled Huscarl or houseceorl, originally huskarl) was a professional soldier retained by a Scandanavian king. This term was eventually exported to Anglo-Saxons who took it to mean warrior who had sworn fealty to a lord. As vassals living in a noble's household, Housecarls were the standing fighters of Anglo-Saxon England, comparable to knights elsewhere in Europe.
They were required to have the best quality equipment and if they failed to do so they would be expelled from the Huscarls. They had additional duties acting in their lord's stead in a number of tasks.