Wednesday, 20 October 2010

CASE 117 - Order of the garter

In January 1344 Edward III held the 'The Round table Tournament' at Windsor, where the King and 19 Knights fought all comers for 3 days. Edward III announced the founding of a round table to number 300 Knights, with blue robes, St George as their Patron. The Scala Chronica and Froissart give the date of the founding of the order of the garter as 1344.

King Edward III of England founded the
Order of the Garter in 1348.

At a feast on St Georges day 23rd April 1348 Edward III announced that the order would consist of a smaller and more select number of knights. The Order, consisting of the King and Prince Edward each leading a team of twelve knights, making twenty six in total, was intended by Edward III to be reserved as the highest reward for loyalty and for military merit. The number of knights in the order fitted the number of the round table constructed at Winchester, and was probably the number of Jousting teams of the time. New appointments to the Order of the Garter were made as knights died. The founder-knights had all served in the French campaigns of the time, including the battle of Crécy, three were foreigners who had previously sworn allegiance to the English king, four of the knights were under the age of 20 and few were much over the age of 30. In the stalls at St Georges chapel Windsor, they would pray with each other in teams as at the jousts. Later in the year of 1348, the Black Death was to reach Englands shores.

The annual Garter Procession of the Order at Windsor Castle.

The order today

The order still exists and is an important and powerful order of the sovereign military order of malta through the pillgrim societies, their home or HQ is the sovereign city state of London, St. Georges chapel, Windsor castle. The Prince and Grandmaster His Most Eminent Highness, Frà Andrew Bertie, The Grand Commander H.E Giacomo DALLA TORRE del TEMPIO di SANGUINETTO, and our very own queen head of the British order.

H.M. Queen Elizabeth II
The Sovereign's mantle is decorated with the Star. All other companions have a shield of St. George surrounded by the garter embroidered on their mantles.

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