Upon a very remarkable Seal, used by Henry IV. a short time before his accession, the shield with helm and crest are placed between two tall Feathers, about each of which is entwined a Garter charged with his favourite and significant Motto—the word SOVEREYGNE, as in No. 402. His father, Prince John of Ghent, placed a chain upon the quills of his Feathers, as in the very curious boss in the cloisters at Canterbury. The uncle of Henry IV., Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, on one of his Seals, differenced his two Feathers with Garters (probably of the 236 Order) displayed along their quills, as in No. 403. And, about A.D. 1440, John Beaufort, K.G., Duke of Somerset, on his Garter-plate placed two Ostrich Feathers erect, their quills componée argent and azure, and fixed in golden escrolls; No. 404. In the Harleian MS. 304, f. 12, it is stated that the Ostrich Feather of silver, the pen thus componée argent and azure, “is the Duke of Somerset’s”: also that the “Feather silver, with the pen gold, is the King’s: the Ostrich Feather, pen and all silver, is the Prince’s: and the Ostrich Feather gold, the pen ermine, is the Duke of Lancaster’s.”
The Shield charged with three Ostrich Feathers, No. 401, was borne by Prince John of Ghent; and it appears on the splendid Great Seal of Henry IV., between the Shields of the Duchy of Cornwall and the Earldom of Chester. Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, is also recorded to have borne this same Feather Shield.
In the Vaulting of the ceiling over the steps leading to the Hall at Christchurch, Oxford, the Ostrich Plume Badge is carved within a Garter of the Order: and, again, the Badge is represented after the same manner, environed with the Garter, in the beautiful binding of a copy of the Bible which is reputed to have been used by Charles I. in his last moments.
The Ostrich Feathers are repeatedly mentioned in early documents; and they are shown to have been constantly used for various decorative purposes, always evidently with an heraldic motive and feeling, by the same Royal personages who blazoned them on their Seals, and displayed them elsewhere as their armorial insignia. A well-known example of a diaper of White Ostrich Feathers on a field per pale argent and vert, is preserved in the stained glass now in the great north window of the transept of Canterbury Cathedral.
“Standing by the Shield
—Idylls of the King.
A supporter is a figure, sometimes of an angel, frequently of a human being, but more generally of some animal, bird, or imaginary creature, so placed in connection with a Shield of Arms as to appear to be protecting and supporting it. In English Heraldry a single Supporter is of comparatively rare occurrence, but a number of examples are to be found in the Heraldry of Scotland. In early examples, when two Supporters appear, they are in most cases alike: but, more recently (except in the Heraldry of France), the two figures are generally quite distinct the one from the other, the earlier usage of having the two Supporters alike being less frequent. The modern prevailing practice in England is happily exemplified in the well-known instance of the present Royal Supporters, the Lion and the Unicorn.
Supporters are considered to have been introduced into the Heraldry of England during the reign of Edward III.; but they may with greater accuracy be assigned to the middle of the fifteenth century, than to the second half of the fourteenth. As armorial insignia of a very high rank, Supporters are granted in England only by the express command of the Sovereign, except to Peers and Knights Grand Cross and Knights Grand Commanders. In Scotland, where they occur more frequently than in 238 the Heraldry of the South of the Tweed, the “Lord Lyon” has power to grant Supporters. Originally by the Scottish Heralds these accessories of Shields were entitled “Bearers.”
Supporters are now granted, on payment of fees, to all Peers of the Realm to descend to the holders of a specified Peerage, and to Knights of the Garter, Thistle, and St. Patrick, and to Knights Grand Cross and Knights Grand Commanders of all other orders of knighthood to be borne for life. Most Nova Scotia Baronets and Chiefs of Scottish Clans have supporters registered with their arms.
Supporters probably owe their origin rather to several concurrent circumstances, than to any one particular circumstance. The mere fact of a Knight carrying his own armorial Shield, or his Esquire bearing it beside him, might suggest the general idea of some supporting figure in connection with a representation of that Shield. The act of carrying a Banner of Arms, in like manner, might suggest a representation of a “Supporter” for a Shield of Arms. To early Seals, however, Heraldry is in an especial degree indebted for the development of the idea of Supporters, and for bringing it into a definite form. Again, the prevalent use of Badges in the fourteenth century, and in the fifteenth also, would necessarily exercise a powerful influence in the same direction; and would lead Heralds to associate with Shields of Arms certain other figures which, while in themselves distinct and independent, were closely allied with certain Shields of Arms. The prototypes of true Supporters, indeed, as they appear on Seals, are Badges. In fact, it is often difficult to determine whether specified figures on the Seals of a certain period are heraldic supporters or merely representations of Badges.
An Effigy represented upon a Seal, as in No. 405, the 239 Seal of Devorguilla Crawford, about A.D. 1290, from Laing’s Volume: or in Nos. 316, 317, would be even more than a suggestion of a Supporter. The same may be said, when some figure, almost certainly a Badge, was introduced into the composition of a Seal, holding or supporting a Shield by its guige, as in No. 203; or when a Shield, or two or more Shields, were charged upon some figure, as in No. 204: both of these examples, indeed, might be regarded as illustrations of the origin or first adoption of single Supporters.
No. 405.— Seal of Devorguilla Crawford, about 1290.
The introduction of angelic figures, which might have the appearance of acting as “Guardian Angels,” in their care of Shields of Arms, was in accordance with the feeling of the early days of English Heraldry; and, while it took a part in leading the way to the systematic use of regular Supporters, it served to show the high esteem and honour in which armorial insignia were held by our ancestors of those ages. In No. 159 I have already shown an example of a sculptured Shield thus supported by Angels, from St. Albans. In the same noble church there are other examples of the same character in stained glass. Angel Supporters, the figures treated in various ways, occur in very many Gothic edifices; particularly, sculptured as corbels, bosses or pateræ, or introduced in panels, and employed for the decoration of open timber roofs, as in Westminster Hall. They appear also on Seals; as on the Seal of Henry of Lancaster, about A.D. 1350, which has the figure of an Angel above the Shield, and a lion on each side of it.
No. 406.— Part of Seal of Margaret, Lady Hungerford.
The representation of armorial Banners upon Seals would lead to at least the occasional introduction of some figure to hold, or support, the Banner; and here, again, we 240 discern the presence of some of the immediate predecessors of “Supporters,” properly so called. In the Seals, Nos. 391, 392, the Banners are not supported, and yet they are indirectly suggestive of giving support to the Shield which is marshalled with them in the same composition. Another Hungerford Seal, that of Margaret Botreaux, widow of the second Baron Hungerford (who died in 1477), in the centre of the composition has a kneeling figure of the noble lady, and on each side a banner of arms is held (supported) erect, so that the two banners form a kind of canopy over her head, by a lion and a gryphon. In No. 406 I give a part only of this elaborate Seal, sufficient to show how its general composition bears upon the adoption of Supporters. The Monument in Westminster Abbey of Sir Ludovic Robsart, K.G., Lord Bourchier, Standard-Bearer to Henry V. at Agincourt, has two banners sculptured in the stone work of the canopy, which are placed precisely in the same manner as the banners in No. 406; and, like them, they are held by Badges acting as Supporters. Two well-known seals of the Percies are charged with banners, and 241 in each case the banner-staff is held by a single Supporter: one of these figures is a man-at-arms, A.D. 1386; the other is a lion, A.D. 1446. At the same period, two lions appear on another Percy Seal. Another, of the same date, has the shield supported by an armed man, without any banner, but having a lance with a long pennon charged with the Crescent badge of Percy, No. 412, p. 247. Other Percy Seals, again, of the fourteenth century, on either side of the Shield have two lions or two birds.
No. 407.— Seal of Earl Edmund de Mortimer; A.D. 1400.
Numerous examples of great interest illustrate the early introduction of Badges into the composition of Seals, as accessories of Shields. A Seal of Prince John of Ghent, which has two falcons and padlocks, is one of the most beautiful and suggestive works of its class: in this Seal the two birds are addorsed, and consequently they also have their backs turned towards the central achievement. This position of the figures on early Seals is not uncommon; but it is an illustration that the use of Badges in the form from which they developed into supporters was an artistic necessity, arising from the form of the spaces to be occupied by the figures upon the Seal. Another most characteristic example of that marshalling of Badges upon Seals, which certainly led the way to true Supporters, is the Seal of Sir Maurice de Berkeley, A.D. 1430, upon which a mermaid—the Berkeley badge—is blazoned on each side of the Shield. The two figures are drawn with much skill and elegance. The Shield itself quarters Berkeley within a bordure, and a differenced coat of Bottetourt: it hangs from a large helm, which, in its turn, is ensigned by as large a mitre—the singular Crest of the Berkeleys. The two figures, generally animals, which fill up the spaces to the dexter and sinister of the central achievement on Seals, in the fifteenth century are almost invariably drawn of a comparatively large size; and, for the most part, they really act as Supporters to the Crested Helm, being themselves supported by 242 the Shield. The composition of the Seal of Edmund de Mortimer, Earl of March, A.D. 1400, though now mutilated, exhibits in a most satisfactory manner this very effective arrangement, from which true Supporters to a Shield of Arms might obviously be derived. In this Seal, No. 407, the Shield quarters Mortimer, No. 131, and—or, a cross gu., for Ulster. The Seal of Wm. de Wyndesor, No. 382, illustrates with no less happy effect the occasional use of birds instead of beasts, as Supporting Badges. Other examples exist in great numbers, and in abundant variety: the two that I add from Mr. Laing’s Volume, Nos. 408 and 409, are in every respect most characteristic; they are severally the Seals of Robert Graham, of Kinpont, and of Sir William Lindsay, of the Byres.
No. 408.— Seal of Robert Graham, of Kinpont, A.D. 1433. No. 409.— Seal of Sir Wm. Lindsay, of the Byres, A.D. 1390.
It is scarcely necessary for me to point out to students that Supporters always have a decided heraldic significance. In supporting a Shield of Arms, they discharge an heraldic duty: but, in themselves, Supporters are armorial symbols 243 of a high rank; and, with peculiar emphasis, they record descent, inheritance, and alliance, and they blazon illustrious deeds.
Supporters should always be represented in an erect position. In whatever direction also they actually may be looking, they always ought to appear to fulfil their own proper office of giving vigilant and deferential support to the Shield. It would be well, in our blazoning of supported Achievements, not only for us to regard a becoming position and attitude for Supporters to be matters determined by positive heraldic law, but also that some satisfactory arrangement should be made and recognised for general adoption, by which an equally becoming support would be provided for “Supporters.” An unsatisfactory custom has been either to place the Supporters, whatever they may be, upon some very slight renaissance scroll work that is neither graceful nor consistent, or, to constrain the Motto scroll to provide a foundation or standing-place for them. In the latter case, an energetic lion, or a massive elephant, and, in a certain class of achievements of comparatively recent date, a mounted trooper, or a stalwart man-of-war’s man, probably with a twenty-four pounder at his feet, are made to stand on the edge of the ribbon that is inscribed with the Motto. Mr. Laing has enabled me to give an excellent example of 244 Supporters—two lions standing upon a motto-scroll or ribbon—in No. 410, the Seal of John Drummond, created Earl of Melfort and Viscount Forth in the year 1686: the Shield is Scotland, within a bordure componée; the Supporters are gorged with collars charged with thistles; and the Crest is the Crest of Scotland issuing from a celestial Crown. As says the Motto of Sir William Mahon, “Moniti, meliora sequamur”—now that we have been told of it, let us produce something better than this support for our Supporters. Happily the best heraldic artists of the moment seem very generally to have reverted to the older and more preferable form.
No. 410.— Seal of John Drummond, Earl of Melfort, A.D. 1686.
The Heralds of France still restrict the term “Supporters”—“Les Supports”—to animals; whilst to human beings, to figures of angels, and to mythological personages or other figures in human form, when supporting a Shield, they apply the term “Les Tenants.” When trees or other inanimate objects are placed beside any armorial shield, and so discharge the duty of Supporters in French achievements, they are distinguished as “Les Soutiens.” An old French writer on Heraldry, Palliot, however, says that in his time (A.D. 1660), Tenant is used in the singular number, and 245 denotes any kind of single Supporter, while Supports is used when there are two.
In the French Heraldry of the present time, a single Tenant or Support is of rare occurrence; and when two Tenants or Supports appear in blazon, they are generally, though not always, alike.
The Pennon— The Banner— The Standard— The Royal Standard— The Union Jack— Ensigns— Military Standards and Colours— Blazoning— Hoisting and Displaying Flags.
“Many a beautiful Pennon fixed to a lance,
And many a Banner displayed.”
—Siege of Carlaverock, A.D. 1300.
“Prosper our Colours!” —Shakespeare, Henry VI., Part 3.
Admirably adapted for all purposes of heraldic display, rich in glowing colours, and peculiarly graceful in their free movement in the wind, Flags are inseparably associated with spirit-stirring memories, and in all ages and with every people they enjoy an enthusiastic popularity peculiar to themselves.
In the Middle Ages, in England, three distinct classes of heraldic Flags appear to have been in general use, each class having a distinct and well-defined signification.
1. First, the Pennon, small in size, of elongated form, and either pointed or swallow-tailed at the extremity, is charged with the Badge or some other armorial ensign of the owner, and by him displayed upon his own lance, as his personal ensign. The Pennon of Sir John d’Abernoun, No. 286, fringed and pointed, A.D. 1277, bears his arms—Az., a chevron or: and No. 411, another example of the pointed form of Pennon, is from the Painted Chamber, Westminster, about A.D. 1275. No. 412, a long swallow-tailed Pennon, charged with the Percy crescent Badge, is from the Seal of Henry de Perci, first Earl of Northumberland. 247 Before the true heraldic era, Lance-Flags with various decorative devices, but without any blazonry having a definite signification, were in use: See Nos. 5, 6. The Pennoncelle was a modification of the Pennon.
No. 411.— Pennon, from the Painted Chamber. No. 412.— Pennon of Percy; A.D. 1400.
2. Second, the Banner, square or oblong in form, and of a larger size than the Pennon, bears the entire Coat of Arms of the owner blazoned over its whole surface, precisely as the same composition is blazoned upon a Shield: No. 162. The Banner has been described as the ensign of the Sovereign, or of a Prince, a Noble, or a Knight who had been advanced to the higher rank or degree of a “Banneret”; but it would seem almost certain that the display of Arms upon a Banner was never confined to a Banneret. Two Banners are represented in each of the Hungerford Seals, Nos. 391, 392. A small group of oblong Banners, with two pointed Pennons, is represented in No. 413, from the Painted Chamber.
No. 413.— Oblong Banners and Pointed Pennons, from the Painted Chamber.
In the olden time, when a Knight had distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry, it was the custom to mark his meritorious conduct by prompt advancement on the very field of battle. In such a case, the point or points of the good Knight’s Pennon were rent off, and thus the 248 small Flag was reduced to the square form of the Banner, by which thenceforth he was to be distinguished. Froissart, in his own graphic manner, has described the ceremonial which attended the first display of the Banner of a newly-created Banneret on the field of battle. Sir John Chandos, one of the Knights Founders of the Garter, appeared with his maiden Banner on the field, on the morning of the battle of Naveret, in Castile, April 3rd, 1367:—“He brought his banner in his hands,” says the chronicler, “rolled up” (rolled round the staff), “and said to the Prince of Wales”—it was the Black Prince,—“’My Lord, behold, here is my Banner: I deliver it to you in this way,”—still rolled round the staff, that is—“’that it may please you to display it, and that this day I may raise it; for, thank God, I have land and heritage sufficient to support the rank as it ought to be!’ Then the Prince and the King”—Don Petro, King of Castile—“took the Banner, which was of silver with a sharp pile gules, between their hands by the staff, and displayed it, and returned it to him, the Prince saying—’Sir John, behold your Banner; may God grant you may do your duty!’ Then Sir John Chandos bore his Banner (displayed) to his own Company, and said—’Gentlemen, see here my Banner and yours; 249 preserve it as your own!’” We see that, like another hero of a later period, the Black Prince held the maxim—“England expects every man to do his duty.”
Quarterings, Marks of Cadency, and Differences (but not impalements) are blazoned on Banners under the very same conditions that they appear on Shields of Arms. For example, the Banners, as well as the Shield, on the seal of Sir Robert de Hungerford, No. 392, are Differenced with a label for Cadency, and thus are distinguished from the corresponding Banners and Shield on the Seal of Sir Robert’s father, No. 391.
Crests, Badges, Supporters, and other external accessories and ornaments of Armorial Shields have no place on Banners, a Banner representing a Shield, and being charged 250 as a Shield. In the seventeenth century, however, English Banners sometimes were charged with Achievements of Arms, including all the accessories and ornaments of Shields.
In early times Banners appear in use at sea, as well as on land; and the same Banners were used both on shore and afloat. The sails of our early shipping, also, are constantly represented as covered with armorial blazonry, and they thus were enabled to act as Ship-Flags. Many curious and interesting representations of the strange, unwieldy, unship-shape looking craft that were the ancestors of the British Navy, are introduced with their heraldic sails and their Banners into the compositions of Seals. A fine example of its order is the Seal of John Holland, Earl of Huntingdon, A.D. 1436, “Admiral of England, Ireland, and Aquitaine,” No. 414. The ship is really a noble-looking vessel, with her solitary sail blazoned with the Lord Admiral’s Arms—England, within a bordure of France,—the same arms that were borne by Prince John of Eltham, No. 24. In this example the crew are not represented: but in other Seals of early shipping figures are commonly introduced, and almost always they are drawn of ludicrously disproportionate size. This ship does not display any Banner from a banner-staff, but has a nautical Pennon of ample size flying at the mast-head: when Banners are displayed on board ships upon early Seals, they are generally narrow in proportion to their height, a form of Banner adopted on land as well as at sea, in consequence of the greater inconvenience attending the display of broad or really square Banners. At a later period, however, Ship-Flags of very large size came into favour.
No. 414.— Seal of Earl John Holland, Admiral of England, &c., A.D. 1436.
3. The Standard, the third variety of early heraldic Flags, which first appears about the middle of the fourteenth century, and was in general use by personages of high rank in the two following centuries, appears to have been adopted for the special purpose of displaying the 251 Badge. The Badge was worn on his livery by a servant as retainer, and consequently the Standard by which he mustered in camp was of the livery colours, and bore the Badge, with both of which the retainer was familiar.
This Flag is of ample proportions, and great length; but its size varies with the owner’s rank. Next to the Staff was usually to be found the red cross on a silver field of St. George. The rest of the field is generally divided per fesse into two tinctures, in most cases the livery colours of the owner, or the prevailing tinctures of his Coat of Arms, which in such cases may almost be assumed to have been his livery. With some principal figure or device occupying a prominent position, various Badges are displayed over the whole field, a Motto, which is placed bend-wise, having divided the Standard into compartments. The edges are fringed throughout, and the extremity is sometimes swallow-tailed, and sometimes rounded.
No. 415.— Standard of Sir Henry de Stafford, K.G.: about A.D. 1475.
The Standard of Sir Henry de Stafford, K.G., second son of Henry, second Duke of Buckingham (executed in 1483), is represented in No. 415, from a drawing in the Heralds’ College. It is charged, first, with a cross of St. George: then, on a field per fesse sable and gules (the colours of the Duke’s livery), the White Swan of the De Bohuns, with the silver Stafford-knot (No. 304), differenced with a Crescent gules for Cadency; the Motto is HVMBLE: ET: LOYAL; and the fringe, of the same colours as the field, 252 is componée sa. and gu. In other examples a greater variety of Badges is introduced. The student will not fail to take notice of the systematic display of the ensign of St. George in these Standards, as the national armorial device of England. The use and heraldic display of these standards had practically lapsed, but the College of Arms has now reverted to its ancient practice of recording them in cases of the grant or confirmation of a Badge.
No. 416.— The Royal
Standard, or Banner.
The Royal Standard (to give it its popular name) is not really a Standard at all, but is the King’s Banner of his arms. It stands at the head of our English Flags of the present day, and bears the full blazonry of the Royal Arms of His Majesty The King, as they are marshalled on the Royal Shield: No. 416. It is personal to the King, and its use by other people is not permitted. This splendid Flag, so truly heraldic in its character, and charged with Coat-Armour and not with Badges, ought to be styled the Royal Banner. The same Standard is duly differenced with their own Marks of Cadency and their Shields of Pretence for the different members of the Royal Family. For use at sea, whilst the Prince of Wales has his own Flag or Banner of his arms, all other members of the Royal Family use a flag showing the Royal Arms within a bordure ermine. Queen Mary and Queen Alexandra fly flags of their impaled arms.
The Union Jack, which is regarded as the national British Flag, as we now display it, is the second of its race. Strictly speaking, it is as much the property of the Sovereign as the Royal Banner, but objection to its use and display is not officially made. The First Union Jack, No. 417, was produced 253 in obedience to a Royal Proclamation of James I. in the year 1606. Its object was to provide a single National Flag for both England and Scotland as a single kingdom, which might put an end to certain serious disputes concerning the precedence of their respective Banners of St. George and St. Andrew, Nos. 418, 419, between the natives of England and Scotland—of “South and North Britain.” This “Union” Flag combined the blazonry of the two rival ensigns, not marshalling them by quartering after the early heraldic usage, but by reviving a still earlier process, and by blending the cross and the saltire of Nos. 418 and 419 in a single composition. This was effected, accordingly, by charging the Cross of St. George, with a narrow border or “fimbriation” of white to represent its white field, upon the Banner of St. Andrew, the result being the Flag shown in No. 417. On the final “Union” between England and Scotland in 1707, this device was formally declared to be the “Ensign armorial of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.”
No. 418.— St. George. No. 417.— The First Union Jack. No. 419.— St. Andrew.
Upon the first day of January, 1801, the Second Union Jack, the “Union Jack” of to-day, No. 420, superseded the Flag of King James and Queen Anne. The “Union” with Ireland rendered a change necessary in the Union Jack, in order to incorporate with its blazonry the Banner of 254 St. Patrick, No. 421, arg., a saltire gu. There seems good reason to believe that the so-called Cross of St. Patrick had little, if indeed any, separate or prior existence. The process that had been adopted before was again brought into action, but now a single compound device had to be formed by the combination of a cross and two saltires, Nos. 418, 419, and 421. As before, in this new Flag the blue field of St. Andrew forms the field: then the two Saltires, the one white and the other red, are formed into a single compound Saltire counter-changed of the two tinctures alternating, the white having precedence; a narrow edging of white is next added to each red side of this new figure, to represent the white field of St. Patrick, as the narrow edging of white about the red cross represented the white field of St. George in No. 418; and, finally, the red cross of St. George fimbriated with white, as in the First Jack, is charged over all. Such is the Second Union Jack, No. 420. In this compound device it will be observed that the broad diagonal white members represent the silver saltire of St. Andrew, No. 419: that the red diagonal members represent the saltire gules of St. Patrick, No. 421, and that the narrow diagonal white lines are added in order to place this saltire gules on a field argent: that the diagonal red and 255 the broad diagonal white members represent the two Saltires of St. Andrew and St. Patrick in combination: and that the fimbriated red cross in the front of the goodly alliance declares the presence of the symbol of St. George.
No. 420.— The Second Union Jack. No. 421.— St. Patrick.
Sir Harris Nicholas has suggested that this flag may have acquired its name of “Jack” (“Union” is obvious enough) from the original author of the First Union Flag, King James, who, in the Heralds’ French language, would be styled Jacques: and so the Flag would be called “Jacques’ Union,” which would easily settle down into “Jack’s Union,” and finally would as easily become “Union Jack.” The Second Union Flag is always to be hoisted as it is represented in No. 420, the diagonal white having precedence in the first canton. To reverse the proper display of the Flag implies distress or danger; or such a procedure (very often, as I am aware, unconsciously adopted, through ignorance of the real meaning of the Flag itself) subjects the Union Jack to degradation.
By a recent warrant Lords Lieutenant fly the Union Jack charged with a sword fesseways.
The Ensigns now in use are:—
No. 422.— The Red Ensign.
1. The Red Ensign, a plain red Flag cantoning a Union Jack—having a Jack in the dexter chief angle next to the point of suspension: No. 422. This Ensign shares with the Union Jack the honour of being the “Ensign of England”—the Ensign, that is, of the British Empire. When displayed at sea, it now distinguishes all vessels that do not belong to the Royal Navy: but, before the year 1864, it was the distinguishing ensign of the “red squadron of the Navy,” and of the “Admirals of the Red”—the Admirals of the highest rank.
2. The White or St. George’s Ensign is the old banner of St. George, No. 418, with a Jack cantoned in the first quarter. It now is the Ensign of the Royal Navy: but, before 1864, it distinguished the “white squadron” of the Navy, and the Admirals—second in rank—of that Squadron.
3. The Blue Ensign differs from the Red only in the field being plain blue instead of red. It now is the Ensign of the Naval Reserve: before 1864 it was the Ensign of “Admirals of the Blue,” third in rank, and of their Squadron of the Royal Navy.
A Red Ensign is often charged with a Crown, or with some appropriate device, to denote some particular department of the public service.
With the Ensigns may be grouped the Flag of the Admiralty, which displays a yellow anchor and cable set fesse-wise on a red field.
The Ensigns are always to be hoisted so as to have the Jack next to the point of suspension, as in No. 422.
Military Flags. 1. Cavalry Standards, being lineal descendants of the knightly Banners of mediæval chivalry, are small square Flags, the colour of the field the same as the regimental facings; and each Standard bears the Number, Motto, and specific Title of its own Regiment, with whatever heraldic Badge or Device may be associated with it. Upon these Standards also are blazoned the regimental “Honours”—such words as Waterloo, Alma, Lucknow, and others, which briefly and with most emphatic significance declare the services of the corps. The Household Cavalry, the Life Guards and Blues, have all their Standards of Crimson, and they are blazoned with the Royal Insignia and their own “Honours” and Devices.
2. Infantry Colours. In the first instance, each Regiment of Infantry had one “Colour”: subsequently, two others were added: and, finally, in the reign of Queen Anne, it was decided that every Infantry Regiment or 257 Battalion of the Line (the Rifles of the Line excepted, who have no “Colours”) should have its own “Pair of Colours.” Of this “Pair,” one is the “King’s Colour”—a Union Jack charged with some regimental Devices: the other, the “Regimental Colour” is of the tincture of the facings, on which the “Honours” and “Devices” of the Regiment are charged, and in the dexter chief angle a small Jack is cantoned: in fact, the “Regimental Colour” is the same as the Red or Blue Ensign (No. 422), the Colour of the field varying with the regimental facings, and the field itself being charged with the various Devices.
In their Colours, the Guards reverse the arrangement that obtains with the Regiments of the Line. With them, the Kings Colour is always crimson, with or without a Jack, but charged with the Royal Cypher and the regimental Devices: the Regimental Colour of the Guards is the Union Jack.
3. The Royal Artillery have no Colours or Standards.
Military Flags are not now used in actual warfare by British troops.
I conclude this Chapter, which treats briefly of the Heraldry of the most important English Flags, with four still more brief general remarks:—
1. First: by all English people who are disposed to exclaim, making Shakespeare’s words their own, “Prosper our Colours!” it ought to be understood that their National Flags are endowed with heraldic, that is, with historical significance, recorded after an heraldic fashion.
2. Second: this significance of their Flags ought also to be understood, that it may be appreciated, by all true English people.
3. Third: our Flags ought always to be made and represented correctly.
And 4. Lastly: our Flags, and all other Flags also, ought always to be hoisted and displayed rightly and properly.
THE ROYAL HERALDRY OF ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND
Shields of Arms of the Reigning Sovereigns of England; of Scotland; of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland— Crests— Supporters— Mottoes— Crowns— Banners— Armorial Insignia of the late Prince Consort; of the Prince and Princess of Wales; of the other Princes and Princesses.
“On his Banner were three Leopards, courant, of fine gold, set on red: fierce were they, haughty and cruel, to signify that, like them, the KING is dreadful to his enemies; for his bite is slight to none who inflame his anger: and yet, towards such as seek his friendship or submit to his power his kindness is soon rekindled.” —Roll of Carlaverock.
“With Scotland’s Arms, Device and Crest
Embroidered round and round.”
How the “three Leopards courant” of the shrewd chronicler of Carlaverock are identical with the “three Lions passant guardant” of the Royal Shield of England I have already shown (see page 84). To the Norman Sovereigns of England, William I., William II., Henry I., and Stephen (A.D. 1066-1154), the same Shield of Arms has been assigned—Gu., two lions pass. guard., in pale, or, No. 22. It must be distinctly understood, however, that there exists no certain authority for these Arms.
In like manner, Stephen is also said to have borne on a red Shield three golden Sagittaries, or Centaurs, with bows and arrows. And, again, Henry II. is considered to have added a third lion to the two on the Shield of his father, 259 a single golden lion passant guardant on red being (also considered to be) the armorial ensign of the province of Aquitaine, acquired by Henry in right of his Consort, Alianore.
As early as the reign of Henry III., a Shield of Arms, No. 23, was assigned to the Anglo-Saxon Kings: another Shield, No. 2, was assigned to Edward the Confessor: and a third Shield, No. 3, to another sainted Anglo-Saxon Prince, Edmund.
From the appearance of the Second Great Seal of Richard I., about A.D. 1195, all uncertainty concerning the Royal Arms of England is at an end, and they are borne as follows by the successive English Sovereigns:—
No. 22.— Royal Arms, supposed to have been borne before A.D. 1189. No. 187.— Royal Arms, from A.D. 1189 to 1340.
Richard I.: John: Henry III.: Edward I.: Edward II.: and Edward III., till the thirteenth year of his reign, A.D. 1340:—Gu., three lions passant guardant in pale or,—No. 187.
Edward III., from the thirteenth year of his reign, when he claimed to be King of France as well as of England, and so styled himself: Richard II.: and Henry IV., till about the fifth year of his reign:—France Ancient and England quarterly,—No. 252.
Richard II. sometimes bore the Arms of the Confessor, No. 2, with his own, on a separate shield, as at Westminster Hall; and sometimes he impaled the Confessor’s 260 Arms with his own quartered Shield, the arms of the Confessor having the precedence.
No. 252.— Royal Arms from A.D. 1340 to about 1405. No. 253.— Royal Arms from about A.D. 1405 to 1603.
Henry IV. from about 1405: Henry V.: Henry VI.: Edward IV.: Edward V.: Richard III.: Henry VII.: Henry VIII.: Edward VI.: Mary: and Elizabeth, to A.D. 1603:—France Modern and England Quarterly, No. 253.
The Royal Shield of Scotland, No. 138, first appears upon the Seal of Alexander II. about A.D. 1235; and, as Mr. Seton well observes, the origin of its bearings “is veiled by the mists of Antiquity.” The same Shield, without any modification or change, was borne by all the Sovereigns of Scotland.
No. 138.— Royal Arms of Scotland.
James I.: Charles I.: Charles II.: James II.: William III. and Mary: and Anne, till May 1, 1707: Quarterly: 1 and 4, Grand Quarters, France Modern and England (No. 253): 2, Grand Quarter, Scotland (No. 138): 3, Grand Quarter—Az., a harp or, stringed arg., for Ireland: No. 423.
No. 423.— Royal Arms of the Stuart Sovereigns.
No. 425.— Diagram
of Shield of William III. and Mary. No. 426.— Diagram
of Shield of William III. alone.
No. 424.— Arms of Nassau.
William III., as an elected Sovereign, charged his paternal shield of Nassau, No. 424—Az., billettée, a lion 261 rampt. or,—in pretence upon the Royal Shield: also, during the life of his Consort, till Dec. 28, 1694, he bore the Stuart shield with Nassau in pretence on the dexter half of his Shield, and thus impaled in the sinister half of his Shield the same Stuart arms, as in the Diagram, No. 425, to denote their joint Sovereignty: the Shield represented in this Diagram, No. 425, bears the whole of No. 423 on its dexter half, with No. 424 in pretence; and on its sinister half it also bears the whole of No. 423. When he reigned 262 alone, William III. bore his own dexter half of the impaled Shield alone, as in the Diagram, No. 426: the Shield represented in this Diagram being the dexter half of No. 425.
Queen Anne, from May 1, 1707, till 1714, bore the Royal Arms marshalled as in the Diagram, No. 427:— 1 and 2, England impaling Scotland; 3, France Modern (No. 253); 4, Ireland (the Harp, as in the third quarter of No. 423).
Diagram of the Second Royal Shield of Queen Anne. No. 428.— Arms of Hanover. No. 429.
Diagram of the Royal Shield from A.D. 1714 to 1801.
The Arms of Hanover, on the accession of George I., August 1, 1714, were added to the Shield of the United Kingdom. This was accomplished by removing the charges (England and Scotland impaled) from the fourth quarter of the Shield, No. 427, and charging that quarter with the arms of Hanover as they appear on the Shield, No. 428:—Per pale and per chevron, 1, Gu., two lions passant guardant or, for Brunswick: 2, Or, Semée of hearts, a lion rampt. az., for Lunenburgh: 3, Gu., a horse courant arg., for Westphalia: 4, Over all, on an inescutcheon gules, the golden crown of Charlemagne. This marshalling is shown in the 263 Diagram, No. 429, which represents a Shield bearing,— 1 and 2, England impaling Scotland; 3, France Modern; 4, Ireland; 5, Hanover (as in No. 428, without the Crown).
On January 1, 1801, the Fleurs de Lys of France were removed from the Royal Shield of Great Britain, which then was marshalled as in the diagram, No. 430, quarterly, 1 and 4, England; 2, Scotland; 3, Ireland; 5, Hanover—the shield of Hanover being ensigned with the Electoral Bonnet, No. 240, till 1816, but, after Hanover became a kingdom, with a Royal Crown in place of the Electoral Bonnet from 1816 till 1837, as it appears in No. 428.
No. 430.— Diagram of the Royal Shield from A.D. 1801 to 1837.
George I.: George II.: George III., till Jan. 1, 1801:—The arms indicated in the diagram, No. 429.
George III., till 1816:—The arms indicated in the diagram, No. 430, the inescutcheon ensigned with an electoral bonnet.
George III., after 1816: George IV.: William IV.:—The same arms as No. 430, but the inescutcheon ensigned with a Royal Crown.
Queen Victoria, King Edward VII., and King George V.:—The same as No. 430, but without the inescutcheon, the four quarters being marshalled as on the Royal Standard, No. 416.
No. 431.— Royal
Crest of England.
For England:—A golden lion statant guardant, imperially crowned; assumed by Edward III., and by him borne on his Helm standing upon a Cap of Estate; retained from his time, and now borne standing on an Imperial Crown. No. 431.
For Scotland:—First Crest. A lion statant guardant gu., assumed by Robert II., about A.D. 1385; retained, and with some modifications used by his successors, till about A.D. 1550. Second Crest. On an Imperial Crown, a lion sejant affronté erect gu.; imperially crowned, holding in the dexter paw a sword, and in the sinister paw a sceptre, both erect and ppr.; with the motto—IN: DEFENSE; assumed by James V.; borne by Mary, and shown in her signet-ring, No. 432, about 1564; retained, and now in use.
For England. Of uncertain authority before Henry VI., who bore two white antelopes: also, a lion and a panther, or antelope.
Edward IV.:—A lion or, or argent, and a bull sable: or, two lions argent: or, a lion and a hart argent.
Richard III.:—A lion or and a boar arg.: or, two boars arg.
Henry VII.:—A dragon gu., and a greyhound arg.: or, two greyhounds arg.: or, a lion or and a dragon gu.
Henry VIII.:—A lion or and a dragon gu.: or, a dragon gu., and either a bull sable, a greyhound argent, or a cock arg.
Edward VI.:—A lion or, and a dragon gu.
Mary and Elizabeth:—A lion or, and a greyhound arg., or a dragon gu.
For Scotland.—First Supporters:—Two lions rampt. guard.; first seen on a Seal of James I., A.D. 1429. Second Supporters: Two silver unicorns, crowned with imperial and gorged with open crowns and chained or; 265 assumed by James IV., and retained in use. On the signet of Queen Mary Stuart, No. 432: for this beautiful cut once more I am indebted to Mr. Laing.
No. 432.— The Signet of Queen Mary Stuart, considerably enlarged.
For the United Kingdom. Dexter Supporter: A lion rampt. guard., royally crowned, or. Sinister Supporter: A unicorn rampt. arg., armed, crined and gorged with a coronet composed of crosses pattée and fleurs de lis, and chained or. Assumed by James I. of Great Britain: retained, and still in use.
The ancient English war-cry—DIEU . ET . MON . DROIT!—“God and my Right!” assumed as a regular Motto by Henry VI., has been retained in use since his time.
Queens Elizabeth and Anne also used—SEMPER . EADEM—“Always the Same.” James I. used—BEATI . PACIFICI—“Blessed are the Peace-makers.”
Mottoes of Scotland: NEMO . ME . IMPUNE . LACESSIT—“No man with impunity attacks me:” and, above the Crest—IN . DEFENSE. The former is really the Motto of the Order of the Thistle.
Till the time of Henry IV., the Crown, the symbol of the Sovereignty of England, was a golden circlet richly jewelled, and heightened with conventional strawberry-leaves: fine examples are represented in the effigies of Henry III., John, and Edward II.
Henry IV., as shown by his splendid effigy at Canterbury, introduced fleurs de lys, alternating with the leaves.
From the time of Henry V., the circlet has been heightened by crosses pattées and fleurs de lys alternating, four of each, and without any leaves. Henry V. also first arched the circlet with jewelled bands, which at their intersection he surmounted with a mound and cross.
No. 234.— Crown of
H.M., The King.
The arched Crown of Henry V. has four half-arches,—that is, it is arched over twice: Henry VI. and Charles I. arched their crown three times: all the other Sovereigns have had two complete arches only, and the Crown still retains these two arches intersecting at right angles, as in No. 234. At different periods, while the design of the Crown has remained unchanged, the contour of the arches, and the artistic treatment of the ornamentation have undergone various modifications.
The Royal Banners, or Standards, are charged with the bearings of the Royal Shield of Arms for the time being.
The Armorial Insignia of H.R.H. the late Prince Consort. The Shield was—Quarterly, 1 and 4,—The Royal Arms of the late Queen, as in No. 416, but differenced with a silver label of three points charged on the central point with 267 a cross of St. George: 2 and 3,—Saxony, No. 225. This Shield was encircled with the Garter of the Order, and ensigned with the Prince’s own Coronet, shown in No. 441.
The Crest was the Royal Crest of England, No. 431, the lion having the same label that differences the Shield adjusted about his neck as a collar, and being crowned with the coronet, vide No. 441, in place of the Imperial Crown.
The Supporters were those of the Royal Arms, the golden lion and silver unicorn, both of them differenced with the same label, and the lion crowned with the same coronet.
The Motto.—TREU . UND . FEST—“True and Faithful.” To the dexter of this Achievement, the complete Royal Achievement of Queen Victoria.
The Arms of King Edward VII. were and those of King George V. are practically the same as those of Queen Victoria. As Princes of Wales, these Arms were differenced by a plain label of three points argent, and an inescutcheon of Saxony was superimposed. In each case upon accession to the throne, the inescutcheon of Saxony was removed, and consequently there has been no change whatsoever in the Royal Arms, those of King Edward and King George being the same as those of Queen Victoria, save, of course, the necessary change in the Royal Cyphers—the full blazon of the Royal Arms for the present reign being:—
Arms.— Quarterly, 1 and 4, gules, three lions passant guardant in pale or (England); 2, or, a lion rampant within a double tressure flory and counterflory gules (Scotland); 3, azure, a harp or, stringed argent (Ireland).
Helmet—of gold, affronté and with grylles.
Mantling, cloth of gold lined with ermine.
Crests upon the Imperial Crown, a lion statant guardant, crowned or (England).
Upon the Crown of Scotland, a lion sejant erect affronté 268 gules; crowned or, holding in the dexter paw a sword, and in the sinister a sceptre, both proper (Scotland).
On a Wreath, or and azure, a tower triple-towered of the first, from the portal a hart springing argent, attired and unguled gold (Ireland).
Supporters (dexter), a lion guardant or, crowned as the crest; (sinister), a unicorn argent, armed, crined and unguled or, gorged with a coronet composed of crosses patée and fleurs de lis, a chain affixed thereto, passing between the forelegs and reflexed over the back of the last.
1. The Red and White Rose, united and crowned (England).
2. The Thistle, crowned (Scotland).
3. A Harp or, stringed argent, crowned (Ireland).
4. A Trefoil slipped vert, crowned (Ireland).
5. The Rose, Thistle and Shamrock united on one stem and crowned (United Kingdom).
6. A Shield, crowned and bearing the device of the Union Jack (United Kingdom).
7. Upon a mount vert, a dragon passant with wings elevated gules (Wales). N.B.—This badge is not crowned.
Motto.—DIEU . ET . MON . DROIT in the compartment below the Shield, with the Union, Rose, Shamrock, and Thistle engrafted on the same stem.
The Shield is encircled by the Garter of that Order.
The Arms of H.M. Queen Alexandra, early in the reign of King Edward, were declared by Royal Warrant. Within the Garter are impaled (dexter) the Arms of King Edward VII. and (sinister) the undifferenced Arms of Denmark as under:—
The Royal Arms of Denmark. The Shield divided into four quarters by the national white cross, having a border of red to represent the red field of the Danish Ensign. 269 First Quarter:—Denmark—Or, semée of hearts gu., three lions pass. guard. in pale az. Second Quarter:—Sleswick—Or, two lions pass. in pale az. Third Quarter:—Per fesse, in chief, Sweden—Az., three crowns or; in base, Iceland—Gu., a stock-fish arg., crowned or; impaling, for Faroe Islands—Az., a buck pass. arg.; and, for Greenland—a polar bear rampt. arg. Fourth Quarter:—Per fesse, in chief, for Jutland—Or, ten hearts, four, three, two, one, gu., and in chief a lion pass. az.; in base, for Vandalia—Gu., a wyvern, its tail nowed and wings expanded, or.
On an Inescutcheon, quarterly: First, for Holstein—Gu., an inescutcheon per fesse arg. and of the first, in every point thereof a nail in triangle, between as many holly-leaves, all ppr. Second, for Stormerk—Gu., a swan arg., gorged with a coronet or. Third, for Ditzmers—Az., an armed knight ppr., brandishing his sword, his charger arg. Fourth, for Lauenburgh—Gu., a horse’s head couped arg.
Over all, in pretence upon a second Inescutcheon, Oldenburgh—Or, two bars gu.; impaling—Az., a cross patée fitchée or, for Dalmenhurst.
The above-mentioned warrant for Her Majesty declares the arms to be surmounted by the Royal Crown, and supported (dexter) by a lion guardant, and imperially crowned or, and (sinister) by a savage wreathed about the temples and loins with oak and supporting in his exterior hand a club all proper.
The Arms of H.M. Queen Mary, as declared by Royal Warrant, are:—Within the Garter ensigned with the Royal Crown the Arms of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland impaling quarterly (for Cambridge) the Royal Arms as borne by George III. differenced by a label of three points arg., the centre point charged with the St. George’s Cross, and each of the other points with two hearts in pale gu., 2nd and 3rd (for Teck) or, three stags’ attires fesseways in pale, the point of each attire to the sinister sa., 270 impaling or, three lions passant in pale sa., langued gu., the dexter fore paws of the last, over all an inescutcheon paly bendy sinister sa. and or. Supporters (dexter) a lion guardant or, crowned with the Royal Crown ppr.; (sinister) a stag ppr.
H.R.H. the Prince of Wales bears a Shield—Quarterly, 1 and 4, England; 2, Scotland; 3, Ireland, differenced by a plain label of three points argent. In pretence over these Arms he bears an Inescutcheon of the Arms of Wales, viz. quarterly or and gu., four lions passant guardant counter-changed, the Inescutcheon surmounted by the Coronet of the Heir-Apparent. His Crest is the Crest of England, and his Supporters are also the same, but the Crest and each of the Supporters are differenced by a similar label, and for the Imperial Crown in the Crest and dexter supporter the coronet of the Prince of Wales is substituted. The Badges of the Prince of Wales are two:—viz. 1, A plume of three ostrich feathers arg., quilled or, enfiled by a coronet composed of crosses patée and fleurs de lys, with the Motto, “ICH DIEN”: 2, on a mount vert, a dragon passant with wings elevated gu., differenced with a label of three points arg. Below the Shield the Motto “ICH DIEN” is repeated, and the Shield is surrounded by the Garter.
The other Princes and Princesses, younger children of the late Queen Victoria, all bore the Royal Arms of the Sovereign, the Princes on Shields, the Princesses on Lozenges. All their Royal Highnesses bore the Royal Supporters; all have a Shield of Saxony, in pretence on their own Shield or Lozenge; all ensign their Shield or Lozenge with their own Coronet, No. 290; and the Princes bear the Royal Crest. In every case, the dexter Supporter is crowned and the sinister Supporter is gorged, and the Crest stands upon and is ensigned with the same Coronet which appears above the Shield as their particular coronet of rank: all the Shields, 271 Lozenges, Crests, and Supporters, are differenced with a silver label of three points, the labels being differenced as follows:—
H.R.H. the late Duke of Edinburgh, &c.:—On the central point a red cross; on each of the other two points a red anchor (when the Duke succeeded to the throne of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a radical change in his Arms was made). H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught:—Red cross, and two blue fleurs de lys. H.R.H. the late Duke of Albany:—Red cross, and two red hearts. H.I.M. the late German Empress, Princess Royal of England, on the central point of her label had a red rose, and on each of the other two points a red cross. H.R.H. the late Princess Alice of Hesse had on her label a red rose, between two ermine spots. H.R.H. the Princess Helena, Princess Christian, has on her label a red cross between two red roses. H.R.H. the Princess Louise (Duchess of Argyll):—Red rose, and two red cantons. H.R.H. the Princess Beatrice:—Red heart, and two red roses.
The Warrants for the three daughters of King Edward were issued in the lifetime of Queen Victoria when they were grandchildren of the Sovereign, and no change has since been made. Consequently the labels are of five points instead of three. The Charges upon the label of H.R.H. the Duchess of Fife (Princess Royal of England) are: Three red crosses, and two thistles slipped alternately. H.R.H. Princess Victoria has a label of five points argent, charged with three roses and two crosses gules; and H.M. the Queen of Norway a similar label, charged with three hearts and two crosses gules.
The label of H.R.H. the first Duke of Cambridge was silver, of three points, and the points differenced with a red cross in the centre, and on each of the two side points two red hearts in pale. The second and late Duke bore the same label as his father, and below it a second label of three 272 points gules. The label of H.R.H. the first Duke of Cumberland (son of King George III.) was of silver, and of three points charged with a fleur de lys between two crosses gules. The second Duke bore an additional label of three points gules, the centre point charged with the white horse of Hanover. These Dukes bore the Royal Arms as used in the reign of George III. and not as altered for Queen Victoria, differencing the accessories as well as the Shield with their labels.
In 1904 a warrant was issued for H.R.H. Prince Arthur of Connaught. The label was of five points charged with three red crosses and two blue fleurs de lys alternately. The coronet assigned to him was of crosses patée and strawberry leaves alternately.
An interesting warrant was issued for the Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, now Queen of Spain, in view of her then approaching marriage. This assigned to her the arms of her father within a bordure of England, and each of the supporters had a banner of the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom placed in his paws.
Even more interesting was the warrant issued in 1913 to H.H. Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife. This assigned to her upon a lozenge the Royal Arms, differenced by the same label as that of her mother the Princess Royal, and upon an inescutcheon the quarterly coat of Duff, the inescutcheon being surmounted by the coronet of a Duchess of the United Kingdom, and the lozenge itself being surmounted by the coronet of a Princess of the rank of Highness. The dexter supporter is the Royal Lion of England crowned with the last-mentioned coronet and charged with the label as in the arms. The sinister supporter is a savage taken from the supporters of the late Duke of Fife.
ORDERS OF KNIGHTHOOD AND INSIGNIA OF HONOUR
Feudal Knighthood— Orders of Knighthood: Knights of St. John; Knights Templars; The Order of the Garter; of the Thistle; of St. Patrick; of the Bath; of St. Michael and St. George; of The Star of India— Order of Merit— Royal Victorian Order— Imperial Service Order— The Victoria Cross— The Albert Medal— Naval and Military Medals— Foreign Insignia bestowed on British Subjects.
“The same King would make an Order of Knights of himself and his Sons, and of the bravest of his land.” —Froissart.
“I will say as I have said,—
Thou art a noble Knight.”
—Lord of the Isles.
Knighthood, as that term is generally understood in its comprehensive acceptation, has been well defined to be “a distinction of rank amongst freemen, depending not upon birth or property, but simply upon the admission of the person so distinguished, by the girding of a sword or other similar solemnity, into an order of men having by law or usage certain social or political privileges,” and also a certain appropriate title. It is evident, therefore, from this definition that Knighthood implies the existence of these two conditions: the one, that the man to be admitted to the rank of Knighthood should possess such qualifications as may entitle him to that distinction; and the other, that Knighthood should be conferred by a personage endowed with a competent power and authority.
In feudal times the qualifications for Knighthood were military exploits of a distinguished character, and eminent 274 services, of whatever kind, rendered to the King and the realm: also, the holding a certain property in land (in the time of Edward I., land then of the yearly value of £20, or upwards), whether directly from the King, or under some Noble, by the feudal tenure of personal military service to be rendered under certain established conditions; but it has been disputed whether there was any necessary connection between Knighthood, as such, and the Knight Service of Feudal Tenure. During the first two centuries after the Conquest, Knighthood was conferred by the great Barons and by the Spiritual Peers, as well as by the King himself, or by his appointed representative: but, after the accession of Henry III., the prevailing rule appears to have been that in England no persons should be created Knights except by the King, or the Prince Royal acting for his Father, or by the King’s General-in-Chief, or other personal representative.
The knightly rank, as it gave an increase of dignity, implied also the maintenance of a becoming state, and the discharge of certain civil duties: and, more particularly, all Knights were required to make such a provision for rendering military service as was held to be consistent with their position and their property; and it was expected from them that they should take a dignified part in the chivalrous exercises and celebrations of their times. It followed, that feudal Knighthood was a distinction which, if not conferred for the sake of honour, became obligatory; and fines, accordingly, were imposed upon men qualified for Knighthood who, notwithstanding, were found not to be Knights. In the course of time, as the rigour of the feudal system abated, the numbers of the military tenants of small tenures greatly increased: and, since many of these persons had no inclination for the profession of arms, they gladly accepted the alternative of paying a fine, which enabled them to evade an honour unsuited as well to their means as to their 275 personal tastes and their peaceful avocations. A fruitful source of revenue thus was secured for the Crown, while the military character of Knighthood was maintained, and at the same time a new and important class of the community gradually became established.
The Knights of Norman England, who at first were soldiers of the highest order, derived their designation from their warlike predecessors of Anglo-Saxon times, the word “cniht,” in the late Anglo-Saxon tongue, signifying a military attendant. When they had established themselves in the position and in the possession of the lands of the Anglo-Saxons, the Anglo-Norman Knights retained their own original title. The Latin equivalent for that title of “Knight” is “Miles,” and the Norman-French is “Chevalier.”
These Knights may be grouped in two classes. The first class contains all persons who had been admitted into the comprehensive Order of Chivalry—who were Knights by reason of their common Knighthood. The second class is formed of Knights who, in addition to their Knightly rank, were members of some special and distinct Fraternity, Companionship, or Order of Knighthood. Every Society of this kind has always possessed Laws, Institutions, Titles, and Insignia peculiar to itself.
The peculiar character and object of the Crusades led to the formation of two Orders of Priest-Knights—Orders not belonging to any particular nation, but numbering amongst their members men of all nations. These are the Orders of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, or Hospitallers, and of the Knights Templars.
The Hospitallers, instituted about A.D. 1092, were introduced into England about 1100. In the year 1310 they were established at Rhodes, and in 1530 at Malta, under their forty-third Grand Master, Philippe de Villiers de L’Isle-Adam. Their device is a silver cross of eight 276 points, No. 107, charged upon a black field, or worn upon a black surcoat or mantle. The Order was finally suppressed in England in 1559.
The Templars, instituted about A.D. 1118, were introduced into England about 1140. In the year 1309 they were suppressed, and in 1312 their Order was finally abolished. They wore a Cross of the same form as No. 107, but of a red colour upon a white field. This red cross they charged upon a white banner: and they bore another banner, No. 13, of black and white, entitled “Beau Seant.” The same words, “Beau Seant!” were their war-cry. The Badges of the Templars were the Agnus Dei—the Holy Lamb, holding a red-cross banner; and a device representing two Knights mounted on a single horse, intended to denote the original poverty of the Order.8
No. 433.— Insignia of the Order of the Garter.
The Order of the Garter, a military Fraternity under the special patronage of “St. George, the good Knight,” was instituted at Windsor by King Edward III. in, or about, the year 1350—very probably in the summer of 1348, but the exact time is not positively known. It may safely be assumed, that the occasion which led to the institution of this most noble and renowned Order, was a Tournament or Hastilude of unusual importance held at his Castle of Windsor by Edward III. at the most brilliant period of his reign: and it is highly probable that the Order suggested itself to the mind of the King, as a natural result of his own chivalrous revival of a knightly “Round Table,” such as flourished in the days of King Arthur. How much of historical fact there may be in the popular legend, which professes to derive from a certain romantic incident the 277 Title certainly borne by King Edward’s Order from the time of its original institution, it is not possible to determine: but the legend itself is not in any way inconsistent with the spirit of those times; nor would the Knights Founders of the Garter regard their Order as the less honourable, because its Title might remind them of the happy gallantry, with which the casual misadventure of a noble Lady had been turned to so good an account by a most princely Monarch. The Statutes of the Order have been continually modified and altered, and the original military character of the Institution has long ceased to exist: still, no changes in the Order of the Garter have affected the pre-eminence of its dignity and reputation. Illustrious now as ever, and foremost in rank and honour in 278 our own country, the Garter is second to no knightly Order in the world.
The Most Noble Order of the Garter consists of the Sovereign and Twenty-five Knights Companions, of whom the Prince of Wales always is one. By a Statute of the year 1805, the Order includes such lineal descendants of George III. as may be elected: and still more recent statutes have provided for the admission of foreign Sovereigns, and also of certain “Extra Knights,” who are elected “Companions” as vacancies occur.
The Officers of the Order are—The Prelate, the Bishop of Winchester: the Chancellor, the Bishop of Oxford: the Registrar, the Dean of Windsor: the Herald, Garter King of Arms: and, the Usher of the Black Rod.
Knights of the Garter place the initials “K.G.” after their names; and these letters take precedence of all other titles, those of Royalty alone excepted.
The Stalls of the Knights are in the choir of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, where their Garter-plates are fixed, and their Banners are displayed.
The Insignia of the Order of the Garter are—The Garter itself, of a light blue originally, now of a dark blue, with border, buckle, and pendant of gold. On it, in golden letters, the Motto—HONI . SOIT . QVI . MAL . Y . PENSE—“Dishonour to him who thinks ill of it;” and not, as it is commonly rendered, “Evil to him that evil thinks.”
The Badge of the Order is circular, and formed of a buckled Garter enclosing a Shield of St. George, the whole blazoned in the proper tinctures: it is worn on the left shoulder of the blue velvet Mantle. When irradiated with eight rays of silver or diamonds, a device resembling the Badge in every respect, except that the cross of St. George is enclosed within the Garter without being charged on a Shield, forms the Star of the Order.
The Collar, of gold enamelled, is formed of twelve buckled Garters, each encircling a Tudor Rose, and as many knots of intertwined cords. Attached to this Collar is the George—a mounted figure of the Saint in the act of trampling down the dragon and piercing him with his lance. The Collar and George were added to the Insignia by Henry VII.
The Lesser George,
of the Garter.
The Lesser George, or Jewel, added by Henry VIII., has the same device placed on an enamelled field, and forming a jewel generally oval in form; it is encircled by a buckled Garter of the Order, and represented in No. 434. It was this Lesser George that Charles I., immediately before he suffered, delivered to Archbishop Juxon, with the word, “Remember.” As a matter of course, the figure of St. George ought always to be represented as a Knight, armed and equipped as one of the Christian chivalry of the Middle Ages—not as a pagan horseman of antiquity, and more particularly not in the guise of such a nude champion as appears on some of our modern coins. The Lesser George, often incorrectly called the Badge, at first was sometimes worn from a gold chain, and sometimes from a black Ribbon. The Colour of the ribbon was changed to sky blue by Queen Elizabeth; and it has since been again changed to the dark blue of the broad Ribbon now worn. This Ribbon of the Order crosses the figure of the wearer, passing over the left shoulder, and the Lesser George hangs from it under the right arm.
Since the time of Charles II. it has been customary 280 for the nearest representatives of a deceased K.G. to return his Insignia to the Sovereign.
Each Officer of the Order, except the Usher, has his own proper Badge.
No. 450.— Insignia of the Order of the Thistle.
The Order of the Thistle, of Scotland, styled “Most Noble and Most Ancient,” and indicated by the Initials “K.T.,” was originally instituted long before the accession of a Scottish Sovereign to the Crown of England; but it is now governed by statutes framed by James II. of Great Britain, Anne, and George IV.
The Order consists of the SOVEREIGN and sixteen Knights. Its Officers are—The Dean; the Lord Lyon King of Arms; and the Gentleman Usher of the Green Rod.
The Insignia are—The Badge of gold enamelled, being 281 a figure of St. Andrew standing upon a mount holding his silver Saltire and surrounded by rays in the form of a glory. This Badge is worn from the Collar of the Order, formed of sixteen Thistles alternating with as many bunches of rue-sprigs; or, from a broad dark green Ribbon, which crosses the left shoulder. There are fine examples of these Insignia sculptured upon the Monument of Mary, Queen of Scots, in Westminster Abbey. The jewel is shown in No. 435.
The Star of this Order, of silver or diamonds, is in the form of a St. Andrew’s Saltire, having its four limbs alternating with the four points of a lozenge: in the centre, surrounded by the Motto (NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT), is a Thistle proper.
No. 435.— Jewel of the Thistle. No. 436.— Badge of St. Patrick.
The Most Illustrious Order of St. Patrick, of Ireland, indicated by the Initials, “K.P.”, and instituted in 1783 by George III., consists of the SOVEREIGN, the Grand Master, and twenty-two Knights. The Officers are the Grand Master, the Chancellor, the Secretary, Ulster King of Arms and Registrar, two 282 Heralds, and one Pursuivant, the Genealogist, and the Usher of the Black Rod.
No. 451.— Insignia of the Order of St. Patrick.
The Insignia are—The Badge or Jewel, of gold enamelled, and oval in form. It has a Shamrock (or Trefoil slipped) having on each leaf a Royal Crown, charged on the Saltire of St. Patrick, the field being surrounded by the Motto—QVIS . SEPARABIT . (“Who will sever?”) MDCCLXXXIII., on a blue band, which in its turn is encircled with a wreath of Shamrocks on gold. This Badge, No. 436, is worn from the Collar, composed of Roses and Harps, alternating with each other and with knotted cords, a Crown surmounting a Harp being in the centre; or, the Badge is worn from a broad sky-blue Ribbon, crossing the right shoulder.
The Star resembles the Badge, except that its centre is circular instead of oval; and that it has eight rays of silver or diamonds, in place of the wreath of Shamrocks.
No. 452.— Collar and Military Badge. Insignia of the Order of the Bath.
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is an early Institution which, after having long been in abeyance, has been revived and remodelled, and has received fresh statutes in the years 1725, 1815, 1847, and 1859.
The Order, now numbering about a thousand members, consists of several distinct Groups or Classes, which include, with the SOVEREIGN, the Royal Princes, and some few distinguished Foreigners, Officers of our own Navy and Army, and also Diplomatic and Civil Servants of the Crown.
The Three “Classes” of the Order alike include members of the Three Services, and each class is divided into two divisions, viz. Military and Civil.
The “First Class,” of Knights Grand Cross of the Bath—G.C.B.—has 55 Military and 27 Civil Knights.
The “Second Class” numbers (with power to increase these numbers) 145 Military and 108 Civil Knights Commanders of the Bath—K.C.B.
The “Third Class,” not of Knights, but of Companions of the Bath—C.B.—has 705 Military and 298 Civil Members, who take rank between Knights and Esquires.
The Military Insignia are—The Badge, a complicated combination of devices, characteristic of the debased period which produced it. It is represented in No. 437.
No. 437.— Badge of the Bath (Military Division).
The Cross is white; the circle with the Motto, red; and the small scroll in base, blue; all the rest being enamelled “proper.” This Badge is worn by the G.C.B. attached to a Collar, formed of nine Crowns and eight clusters of the Rose, Thistle, and Shamrock issuing from a Sceptre, alternating with seventeen Knots enamelled argent: or, 285 this Badge is suspended by the G.C.B. from a broad red Ribbon, crossing the left shoulder. By the K.C.B. the Badge is worn from a narrower red Ribbon about the neck, or a still narrower at the button-hole. Also, by the C.B. it is attached to a narrow red Ribbon at the button-hole.
No. 453.— Star of Knight Grand Cross (Civil). No. 454.— Star of Knight Commander (Military).
The Star of the G.C.B. is similar to the Badge without The Cross and the lions, surrounded by silver rays having a lozenge-shaped outline. The Star of the K.C.B., which is in the form of a Maltese Cross, omits the Cross of the Badge. The C.B. have no Star.
No. 438.— Badge of the Bath (Civil Division).
The Diplomatic and Civil Insignia are—The Badge, No. 438, worn with the same distinctions as the Naval and Military Badge; but the C.B. Badge is of smaller size than the Badges of the two higher Classes.
The Star of the G.C.B. has eight silver rays encircling their Badge in a circular form. The Star of the K.C.B. is the same as that of the Naval and Military K.C.B., omitting the laurel-wreath and the small scroll and motto.
The Motto of the Order—TRIA . JUNCTA . IN . UNO—“Three 286 united in one,” refers to the Union of the three Realms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, in the Order.
The Stalls of the Knights of the Bath, before the Order was divided into classes, and those of their Esquires, are in Henry the Seventh’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey; but no installation has taken place since 1815, when the Order was reorganised, and no new plates or banners have been set up.
No. 455.— Order of Merit.
The Order of Merit (O.M.) instituted in the year 1902, although it gives to its members neither style nor precedence, ranks next to the Order of the Bath, and is divided into two classes, Military and Civil. The only Insignia are the Badge and the Ribbon parti-coloured of red and blue. The Badge is a cross pateé of four arms, the outline of the cross being circular. The cross is of blue enamel and superimposed thereupon a smaller cross of the same design of red. The centre is blue, bearing the words, “FOR MERIT,” in gold letters within a laurel wreath. The cross is surmounted by the Royal Crown. The reverse of the Badge shows the Royal and Imperial Cypher. To the Badge two swords saltirewise in the 287 angles of the cross are added in the case of members of the Military Division.
The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, instituted by Queen Victoria in 1861, to render especial honour to high merit and loyalty in the Indian Empire, was enlarged on the 24th of May 1866, and ordained to consist of the Sovereign, a Grand Master, and 291 Ordinary Companions or Members; together with such extra and Honorary Members as the Sovereign at any time may be pleased to appoint.
No. 456.— Collar and Insignia of the Exalted Order of the Star of India.
The Viceroy and Governor-General of India for the time being is always the Grand Master. The Ordinary Members are divided into Three Classes:—The “First Class” comprises 36 Knights Grand Commanders: 288 G.C.S.I. In the “Second Class” there are 85 Knights Commanders: K.S.I. And, the “Third Class” numbers 170 Companions: C.S.I.
No. 439.— Badge of the Star of India.
The Insignia are—The Badge, No. 439, formed of diamonds, having the Motto on a field of light blue enamel, and the bust of the late Queen executed as an onyx cameo. This Badge is attached by a mullet to the Collar, composed of heraldic roses and lotus flowers alternating with palm-branches, a crown being in the Centre: or, the Badge is worn from a Ribbon of pale blue with white borders crossing the left shoulder. The Star, of diamonds, has a mullet upon an irradiated field in its centre, within the Motto—HEAVEN’S . LIGHT . OUR . GUIDE, the whole being environed with wavy rays having a circular outline.
No. 457.— Star and Collar of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.
The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George, originally instituted in 1818 for use in Malta 289 and the Ionian Islands, has been extended and enlarged in 1868, 1877, and 1902, and now is awarded for Colonial and for Foreign Services. It consists of 100 Knights Grand Cross (G.C.M.G.), 300 Knights Commanders (K.C.M.G.), and 600 Companions (C.M.G.), in addition to Honorary Members. The numbers are not adhered to. The Star is of seven long rays, smaller rays intervening. This is charged with the Cross of St. George, and in the centre is a representation of St. Michael encountering Satan within a blue circle, bearing the Motto of the Order, “AUSPICIUM MELIORIS ÆVI.”
The Collar is composed alternately of lions of England, Maltese Crosses, and Cyphers, S. M. and S. G. In the centre is the Crown over two winged lions passant guardant, each holding a book and seven arrows.
The Badge is a gold cross of fourteen points of white enamel, and has in the centre, within the Motto of the Order (on the one side), St. Michael encountering Satan (and on the other side), St. George and the Dragon. The Badge is surmounted by the Crown.
No. 458.— Eminent Order of the Indian Empire.
The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, instituted in 1878 and subsequently enlarged, is the second Indian Order, and consists of three classes, Knights Grand Commanders (G.C.I.E.), Knights Commanders (K.C.I.E.), and Companions (C.I.E.).
The Star is of five rays of silver, alternated with as many rays of gold. In the centre, within a purple circle, inscribed with the Motto, “IMPERATRICIS AUSPICIIS,” and surmounted by the Crown, is an effigy of Queen Victoria.
The Collar is composed of elephants, lotus-flowers, peacocks in their pride, and Indian roses, all connected by gold chains.
The Badge is a red enamelled rose, in the centre of which is the effigy within the Motto as on the Star.
The Royal Victorian Order was instituted in 1896 as the personal Order of the British Sovereign, and is divided into five classes—Knights Grand Cross (G.C.V.O.), Knights Commanders (K.C.V.O.), Commanders (C.V.O.), and Members of the Fourth and Fifth Classes (both M.V.O.).
The Star is of eight points, and of chipped silver, having in the centre a representation of the Badge.
The Badge is a white Maltese Cross. It has an oval enamelled centre of crimson with the monogram V. R. I., within a blue enamelled circle, carrying the Motto of the Order “VICTORIA,” the circle surmounted by the Crown. There is no collar for the order, but the King occasionally bestows, as an extreme mark of favour, “The Royal Victorian Chain,” a decoration not governed by express Statute.
The Distinguished Service Order is a Military Decoration instituted in 1886, but which does not carry the style of Knighthood. The Badge is a gold cross enamelled white and of a circular outline. In the centre (on the one side) is the Crown on a red enamel ground within a wreath of laurel, (and on the other side) the Royal Cypher takes the place of the Crown.
No. 464.— Distinguished Service Order. No. 465.— Imperial Service Order.
The Imperial Service Order, a purely Civil Decoration instituted in 1902, is confined to the Administrative Services of the Empire. The Badge is an eight-rayed star bearing (on one side) the Royal Cypher and (on the other 293 side) “For faithful service,” surrounded by a wreath of laurel and surmounted by the Crown.
The Victoria Cross, of bronze, was instituted by her late Majesty Queen Victoria in 1856, to render honour to “conspicuous bravery” in actual conflict, by sea or land. This Cross, No. 440, is worn on the left breast, attached to a blue ribbon for the Navy, and to a red ribbon for the Army. A Bar is attached to the ribbon for every additional such act of bravery as would have won the