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Mervyn Mitton

INSIGNIA FOR ORDER OF KNIGHTHOOD

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One of the oldest types of Knighthood , King Henry 3rd. created Knight Bachelors in the 11th. century. He reigned from 1207 to 1272. This was the period that knights - who had to be Gentlemen - fought on horseback and most European Countries created them.

The lowest Gentleman was an Esquire - and had to own a given area of land. As boys they were 'apprenticed' to knights to learn how to be a gentleman and how to handle weapons - they became known as Squires.

Knight Bachelors may be the oldest, but they rank lower then the Orders of Knighthood - e.g. Garter; Thistle; Bath, etc.. They do not have the status of the Orders and do not have the initials of the order after their name. On occasions when they need to show they have a knighthood, they can use Kt.. Most of them in modern days are politicians or, ex chairmen of the gas board...

Until 1926 there was no insignia for them to wear - however, there is an Association of Knight Bachelors and they petitioned King George 5th. , who in 1926 had a badge created for them to wear on formal occasions.

There have been three versions over the years - but, the one shown here is hallmarked for London 1926 , and is therefore, in that rare first group issued. Made of silver, the centre is of red enamel and all of the gold parts are gilt. The badge shows a cross hilted sword, suspended from a belt. (Hence the expression - a belted knight or, a belted Earl ) On either side are spurs - with the rowels at the top.

These of course represented the accroutrements of a Knight 700 years ago and , it was death to wear them if you were not entitled.

I have looked back through the index and can find no ref. to Knights' Badges - over the years there must have been others ?

I hope others can add to this post - Knighthood,as in Chivalry - is a wonderful subject.

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Hi,

It is my understanding that subsequent to the initial granting of insignia, the knights also petitioned for a neck badge as well. I also understand that this was granted and that the insignia is essentially a smaller scale version of the "star" that is suspended from a neck ribbon (color unknown to me).

Anyone have examples or illustrations to show?

wem

One of the oldest types of Knighthood , King Henry 3rd. created Knight Bachelors in the 11th. century. He reigned from 1207 to 1272. This was the period that knights - who had to be Gentlemen - fought on horseback and most European Countries created them.

The lowest Gentleman was an Esquire - and had to own a given area of land. As boys they were 'apprenticed' to knights to learn how to be a gentleman and how to handle weapons - they became known as Squires.

Knight Bachelors may be the oldest, but they rank lower then the Orders of Knighthood - e.g. Garter; Thistle; Bath, etc.. They do not have the status of the Orders and do not have the initials of the order after their name. On occasions when they need to show they have a knighthood, they can use Kt.. Most of them in modern days are politicians or, ex chairmen of the gas board...

Until 1926 there was no insignia for them to wear - however, there is an Association of Knight Bachelors and they petitioned King George 5th. , who in 1926 had a badge created for them to wear on formal occasions.

There have been three versions over the years - but, the one shown here is hallmarked for London 1926 , and is therefore, in that rare first group issued. Made of silver, the centre is of red enamel and all of the gold parts are gilt. The badge shows a cross hilted sword, suspended from a belt. (Hence the expression - a belted knight or, a belted Earl ) On either side are spurs - with the rowels at the top.

These of course represented the accroutrements of a Knight 700 years ago and , it was death to wear them if you were not entitled.

I have looked back through the index and can find no ref. to Knights' Badges - over the years there must have been others ?

I hope others can add to this post - Knighthood,as in Chivalry - is a wonderful subject.

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Good point - The Queen gave them permission to wear a neck badge as well as the breast. I presume, not both at the same time ???

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I could be mistaken, but I believe the current neck badge replaces the badge worn on the coat like a breast star.

Here's a news photo of singer Tom Jones after he was awarded his knighthood.

tomjoneskt.jpg

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The Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor has the full story on its website: http://iskb.co.uk/Insignia.htm

Since 1998, the neck badge and breast badge can be worn together. A lapel rosette was introduced in 2001, so nowadays there's quite a variety of ways in which the knights bachelor can display their insignia.

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The Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor has the full story on its website: http://iskb.co.uk/Insignia.htm

Since 1998, the neck badge and breast badge can be worn together. A lapel rosette was introduced in 2001, so nowadays there's quite a variety of ways in which the knights bachelor can display their insignia.

Thanks, Arthur, very informative.

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Here's my version. I notice that the red background is significantly less well done than yours, so I assume that it's a later style. Can anyone date it? It would be fun to see examples of each of the three styles.

Another question - I've somehow gotten the impression that when the Queen knights foreigners, that she confers some level of the Order of the British Empire. I seem to remember a picture of GEN Schwartzkopf with one. Can anyone confirm / deny?

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Here's the reverse, which has four hallmarks at the bottom right - l. to r. initials "J.R.", then first of the group of three is a lion (passant, if I remember my heraldry, but don't bet on it - he's standing with one paw up as in the Royal Standard.); next, an animal face on (possibly a cat,but could stretch to a bear); thirdly a Gothic "S". At the top where the pin is attached, there is a fifth hallmark, but not nearly so clear, and the stamped figures "A9"

Don't know how well they'll come out in the reduced picture, but they're quite clear in the 2MB image. If we find an expert, I can PM the full image. I'm sure someone amongst you can identify from this.

Thanks,

Hugh

Edited by Hugh

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Here's the neck badge:

The ribbon is one of those few that you are NOT permitted to wear in uniform, although the badge may be worn on those occasions when it is appropriate to turn out with all your medals on.

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Hi - Hugh. Your Insignia is dated for 1933 - which is the 2nd. pattern. The red enamel lacke the pattern on the earlier version and - strangely - there looks like more hallmarks on the reverse, upper right. Silver - if it is in two parts, is normally marked with the full set of hallmarks on the main part - and just a partial set on the other piece,or pieces. This makes it strange to show both marks on the same back - perhaps you could take a close-up. Have a look at the one I illustrate and you will see on the front - bottom left on the belt - the marks I mean. Not very visible, on either side of the sword point, are the initials for the artist who made the design. Yours does not have either of these.

With your set of hallmarks, the meanings are as follows - Initials : the maker. Lion Passant: - signifies Sterling quality silver. That is 925 parts of silver per thousand - the other 75 parts being tin to strengthen the silver. The mark was established by the Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Guild in the 12th.Century. The Leopards Head : - this is the assay mint mark for London. (Birmingham is an anchor, Sheffield a Crown etc..) Without a hallmark - which the maker has to pay for - you cannot legally call an item - silver. Date Mark: - is the S with diagonal bars. This is the year letter for 1933. When combined with the assay mark you can say with certainty that it is 925 Sterling silver, you know where it was assayed (usually where it was made) and the year date. No other Country has such exact marking of silver - and the Common Market have been trying to get us to drop the system. Have just seen that you say the top letters are A9 - that will be the makers pattern number for that award. (Probably)

I will post a full set of marks for the different assay offices - valuable ref.. Please remember that we specialise in silver in the shop and I will always be pleased to help.

The Govt. - through the Queen - often confer a Knighthood on distinguished overseas people, who they wish to honour. They are Knighted with the sword and receive the regalia - this is always done with the approval of the persons Govt.. They are not allowed to use the title of 'Sir' - but many do - not illegal, just bad manners. Members of Commonwealth Countries, e.g. Canada, Aust., N.Z., use the title in the usual way. The sword the Queen uses belonged to King George 6th. - Her father.

Megan - how strange that they can't wear the ribbon in uniform - I never understand all these weird rules - who decides these things...

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Thanks for all this, it's the kind of detail that geeks like me delight in. Do you happen to know who the maker is (J. R.)?

And from my never-ending store of questions, with respect to knighthood for foreigners, you've stated that "They are Knighted with the sword and receive the regalia." That's the essence of my question - what regalia? The OBE - if so, what degree?

Thanks,

Hugh

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They receive whatever regalia is appropriate... sometimes a foreigner is given an honorary knighthood within one of the orders, so the appropriate badge & star, or if they have just received a knighthood, the insignia being discussed in this thread.

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Aha! The fog parts and the curtain lifts.

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Always a relief as term approaches to discover that I haven't lost the art of explaining....

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'JR' - probably Joseph Ridge of Sheffield - a well known maker. However, I'm surprised it wasn't one of the London firms - I suppose they 'farmed' the contract out.

I am going to list the different Knighthoods - in their Order of Precedence. Initials that go after the name , are also shown.

THE VC AND THE GC TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER ALL OF THESE.

ORDER OF THE GARTER - KG

ORDER OF THE THISTLE - KT

ORDER OF THE BATH - GCB - KNIGHT GRAND CROSS ;

KCB - KNIGHT COMMANDER

ORDER OF ST.MICHAEL & ST.GEORGE - GCMG- KNIGHT GRAND CROSS ;

KCMG- KNIGHT COMMANDER

ROYAL VICTORIAN ORDER - GCVO- KNIGHT GRAND CROSS ;

KCVO- KNIGHT COMMANDER

ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE - GBE - KNIGHT GRAND CROSS

BARONET'S BADGE - Bart.

KNIGHT BACHELOR - Kt - (ON OCCASION)

There are several other Orders - some have been dis-continued - others are for the Royal Family. These are the ones usually mentioned.

I am going to start a new post - on the Lounge - showing the more usual Silver and Gold hallmarks.

(I expect everyone has heard the standard jokes associated with the Order of St.M & St.G. ? Because it used to be given mainly to Civil servants,it was common for the initials to have a meaning. MBE - my bloody effort. OBE - Other B.....s efforts. KCVO - kindly call

me God. GCMG - God calls me God. )

Edited by Mervyn Mitton

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The Govt. - through the Queen - often confer a Knighthood on distinguished overseas people, who they wish to honour. They are Knighted with the sword and receive the regalia - this is always done with the approval of the persons Govt.. They are not allowed to use the title of 'Sir' - but many do - not illegal, just bad manners. Members of Commonwealth Countries, e.g. Canada, Aust., N.Z., use the title in the usual way. The sword the Queen uses belonged to King George 6th. - Her father.

Hello Mervyn,

I am not certain you have got this right.

The "accolade", the act of dubbing a knight with a sword on each schoulder formally marking his introduction into knighthood, is only conferred on the Queen's subjects, i.e. a citizen of the UK or one of her other Commonwealth realms such as New Zealand, Papua New Guinea or Jamaica.

This applies to the knight's classes of the various British orders of chivalry, the rank of knight bachelor (here discussed) and a number of orders in Commonwealth countries such as the New Zealand Order of Merit, the Knights of St Andrew of Barbados, Antigua, etc.

Foreigners , i.e. in British law those who are not from Commonwealth countries, may receive appointment as honoraray knights commander or knights grand cross/grand commander in an order of chivalry. However, they are not entitled to the accolade and therefore cannot assume the title "Sir" nor their wives "Lady". Their appointments also do not count towards the limited membership numbers. Honorary Knights Grand Cross/Grand Commander do not now also receive the collar of the respective order, unless in unusual circumstances such as being a foreign head of state.

'Men of the cloth', are similarly not supposed to receive the accolade because they could not bear arms. But this practice seems to have been abandoned in all cases save the Church of England within the UK itself and its existing dependent territories.

Knights Bachelor, contrary to the strap line in this thread, are not members of any order. Hence the designation "bachelor", which signifies that they did not take the usual vows associated with any articular order. They simple recived the title of a knight after being dubbed.

Traditionally, nobody was permitted to assume the title of knight (Sir) until the accolade was actually conferred. So someone on whom HM announced her intention of conferring a knighthood, say on New Year's Day, could not assume the title until such time he had been called to the palace some months or even years later and was dubbed on the shoulders. The only exceptions were where local Govenor-General or Governor had been given the authority to confer the accolade or beacuse someone simply could not attend in person, letters patent were issued to him dispensing with the ceremony. In 1971 all this changed. Thenceforward, all British or Commonwealth (realm) citizens whose appointments had been announced in the London or local national Gazette, could assume the title from their date of appointment.

From 1971 Knights Bachelor received an official set of insignia at the same time as the accolade was conferred. A small neck badge suspended from the red and gold striped ribbon. Until then there was no officially conferred insignia. Those who had been knighted could purchase the large breast badge featured above from their "trade union", the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor. The latter had been established with Royal permission from George V in 1912, one of their aims and objectives being to secure the right to receive or wear some badge, insignia or token of outward recognition of their status as status, to which until then they had none. The right to purchase the breast badge was finally granted by the King in 1926. Thus the insignia is, strictly speaking, a "title badge" not an order, not unlike in manner to the title badges instituted by him for various Indian titles in 1911, or going back two reigns for the three or four Burmese titles.

Until the reign of George IV, British subjects who were received into a foreign order of knighthood could petition the King to receive the titular honour of "Sir" in the UK and were usually kngihted along the same lines as Knights Bachelor. Although that custome then ceased, in practice it continued for those Knights Grand Cross and Knights Commander of the Royal Family Order the Order of the Guelphs of Hannover until the dissolution of the union of the two crowns in 1837. Also until the reign of George IV, foreigners could be made Knights Bachelor and receive the accolade. There are several such examples, perhaps the artists Sir Peter Paul Rubens and Sir Peter Lely are the best known. But again, George IV ended that tradition.

Cheers

James.

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Thanks - James. Makes things a little clearer - although I did point out that they are not an Order. I thought I had seen overseas dignitaries being given the accolade - I suppose when you see the decoration being handed over, that one assumes the full procedure has been followed.

The KB insignia is not common - despite it being the most common award. I think families like to keep them. We have had a number over the years - they always sell quickly - probably people awarding themselves a knighthood...

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The KB insignia is not common - despite it being the most common award. I think families like to keep them. We have had a number over the years - they always sell quickly - probably people awarding themselves a knighthood...

Hi Mervyn,

I think that may also be because the insignia has only been around since 1926 and there being no foreign awards, they rarely get into the hands of the continental dealer market.

Cheers

James

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