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Prince of Wales been considered a Knight of the Garter until he has been elected like the other knights. But prospectively this statute may continue in full force; and all successors of George IV. in the principality of Wales, may, under this statute, become Knights of the Garter without election, and as a constituent portion of the order. Thus the present heir to the throne, having been created Prince of Wales at a time when the number of twenty-five knights companions was full, may either be elected an extra knight, as a lineal descendant of George II., or be considered a constituent portion of the Order without election.
In 1813, a special statute was issued dispensing with the restrictions as to numbers, in order to confer the Order of the Garter upon the Emperor Alex. ander of Russia, and in the next year a similar statute enabled the knights to elect Louis XVIII. into the Order. Subsequently this practice was extensively followed, not only for the election of foreign potentates, but even of British subjects ; so that the restrictions as to numbers were nullified by the appointment of these extra knights.
By the sixteenth article of the statutes, it was ordained that there should be thirteen poor knights attached to the Order, and in the reign of Charles I. five more were added to this number. In September, 1833, William IV. determined to change the name by which these were known; and instead of being called the Poor Knights, they are, under special statute, now designated as the “MILITARY KNIGHTS OF Windsor,” in consequence of having all held commissions in the army. Originally these were really knights, but as early as the reign of Edward IV. persons were chosen who had not received the honour of knighthood. The class was established for twentysix veteran knights, "infirm in body, indigent, and decayed;" but their present condition is due to King Henry VIII., who, by his will, bequeathed lands to the value of six hundred pounds per annum, for the maintenance of thirteen poor knights. James I. doubled this pension, and the five additional knights were added on foundations by Sir Peter La Maire, and Sir Francis Crane.
The Naval Knights of Windsor are seven in number, and are maintained on a distinct foundation, established under the bequest of Samuel Travers, Esq.; but the two classes are more usually regarded as forming two foundations; one the royal or upper foundation, which consists of the original thirteen military men, and the other the lower or private foundation, which consists of twelve knights; viz. five military men on the foundations of Sir Peter La Maire and Sir Francis Crane, and seven naval officers on that of Mr. Travers.
The officers of the Order of the Garter are a prelate, a chancellor, a registrar, a king of arms, and an asher. The Prelate is the highest officer, and has always been the Bishop of Winchester for the time being. He performs divine service at the Feast of St. George, writes the names at all elections of the knights, and conducts the scrutiny.
The Chancellor was first appointed under letters patent in 1475, which annexed the office to the bishopric of Salisbury, on account of the Castle at Windsor being within that diocese. From the year 1485 to 1669, however, the office was not held by any Bishop of Salisbury, but was conferred upon laymen. In the latter year it was restored to the bishopric of Salisbury; and in January, 1837, the county of Berks being separated from the see of Salisbury, and united to that of Oxford, the Chancellorship of the Order of the Garter was ordained to be in future annexed to the bishopric of Oxford. This officer keeps the great seal and the signet of the order, which he affixes to statutes, commissions, licences, certificates, &c.; he is also required to announce the services of each of the knights at the annual feast of St. George.
The Registrar appears to have been always one of the canons of St. George's college, Windsor, in accordance with the earliest statutes of the order. The office was first granted to the Dean of Windsor, as one of the canons, in 1519 ; but it is not necessarily filled by an ecclesiastic, for one of the statutes expressly contemplates the Registrar being a layman, in which case it is ordained that he should be a knight. His duties consist in keeping two copies of a register or chronicle, containing all ordinances, warrants, statutes, elections, &c.
The Garter king of arms was first appointed in 14!7. His duties consist in certifying the death of knights, assisting at all ceremonies, regulating the arms, and notifying the election of the members of the Order. He is provided with a residence at Windsor Castle, and is usually knighted on his appointment. He is nominated by the earl marshal, subject to the approbation of the Crown.
The Usher of the black rod was appointed at the first institution of the order. To him is intrusted the custody of the privy chamber, of the chapter. house of the Order, and of all doors where councils are held, “as well in our high court of parliament as in other places.” He is entitled to a residence at Windsor castle, and to the custody of Windsor Little Park. As "principal officer of the house of Lords,” his emoluments are considerable, and the office has usually been granted to the king's first gentleman usher.
The habits and ensigns of the order of the Garter will be found under the head of “ Costumes ;” while the details respecting installations, investitures, &c., will be considered in the division of the volume which is appropriated to “ CEREMONIES.”
The full title and ceremonious designation of this Order of knighthood is, the most noble Order of St. George, or the Garter."
ORDER OF THE THISTLE.
“ Around him in their stalls of state
Scott, Marmion, canto iv. The antiquity of this Order of Knighthood is believed by some authorities to have been considerably overrated; but those who claim for it an ancient origin, ascribe its foundation to Achaius, king of the Scots. This monarch, it is said, in a contest with Athelstan, king of the West Saxons, was assured of victory by the appearance in the heavens of the cross upon which St. Andrew had suffered martyrdom; and having been eventually successful in the battle, he
Thus we see that the large proportion of the honours of knighthood dedicated to the military and naval service of the country, the discrimination usually exercised in conferring it upon civilians, and the general respect and estimation which its antiquity should engender, are topics wholly forgotten or disbelieved by those who expatiate on the decline of chivalry, or the mis-appropriation of the institutions of our ancestors.
Until the reign of Charles II., every man who held a knight's fee immediately of the Crown, was compelled on coming of age, to receive the order of knighthood or pay a fine for exemption ; but at the general dissolution of military tenures, this practice was abolished.
Till of late years the ceremonies constituting the creation of knights varied considerably, and included investiture, cincture with arms, putting on of golden spurs, &c., but knights bachelor are now created by the accolade, namely, a stroke upon the neck or shoulder, received from the “honour-giving sword," of the sovereign. As king Henry VI. is made to knight his son by the words,
“ Edward Plantagenet, arise a knight,
And learn this lesson--draw thy sword in right," so the king always accompanies the accolade with the future title of the person receiving the honour, and bids bim “ Arise sir John
or arise sir William
Much dispute has arisen among antiquaries respecting the persons formerly in the habit of confer. ring knighthood. But in England, since the twelfth century, knights only could be created by others who had already participated in that honour, with