Henry of Grosmont, Hose of Plantagenet, King Edward III of England and Lord of Ireland, Knighthood, Order of Chivalry, The Most Noble Order of the Garter, The Prince of Wales (eldest son of sovereign)
The Most Noble Order of the Garter is an order of chivalry founded by Edward III of England, Lord of Ireland in 1348. It is the most senior order of knighthood in the British honours system, outranked in precedence only by the Victoria Cross and the George Cross. The Order of the Garter is dedicated to the image and arms of Saint George, England’s patron saint.
Appointments are at the sovereign’s sole discretion and are usually in recognition of a national contribution, for public service, or for personal service to the sovereign. Membership of the order is limited to the sovereign, the Prince of Wales, and no more than 24 living members, or Companions. The order also includes supernumerary knights and ladies (e.g., members of the British royal family and foreign monarchs).
The order’s emblem is a garter with the motto Honi soit qui mal y pense (Middle French for ‘Shame on him who thinks evil of it’) in gold lettering. Members of the order wear it on ceremonial occasions
King Edward III founded the Order of the Garter around the time of his claim to the French throne. The traditional year of foundation is usually given as 1348 (when it was formally proclaimed). However, The Complete Peerage, under “The Founders of the Order of the Garter”, states the order was first instituted on April 23, 1344, listing each founding member as knighted in 1344.
The list includes Sir Sanchet D’Abrichecourt, who died on October 20, 1345. Other dates from 1344 to 1351 have also been proposed. The King’s wardrobe account shows Garter habits first issued in the autumn of 1348. Also, its original statutes required that each member of the Order already be a knight (what would now be referred to as a knight bachelor) and some of the initial members listed were only knighted that year. The foundation is likely to have been inspired by the Spanish Order of the Band, established in about 1330.
The earliest written mention of the Order is found in Tirant lo Blanch, a chivalric romance written in Catalan mainly by Valencian Joanot Martorell. It was first published in 1490. This book devotes a chapter to the description of the origin of the Order of the Garter.
Henry of Grosmont was the only son of Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster (c. 1281–1345); who in turn was the younger brother and heir of Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster (c. 1278–1322). They were sons of Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster (1245–1296); the second son of King Henry III (ruled 1216–1272) and younger brother of King Edward I of England (ruled 1272–1307). Henry of Grosmont was thus a first cousin once removed of King Edward II and a second cousin of King Edward III (ruled 1327–1377).
List of Founder Knights
At the time of its foundation, the Order consisted of King Edward III, together with 25 Founder Knights, listed in ascending order of stall number in St George’s Chapel:
King Edward III (1312–77)
Edward, the Black Prince, Prince of Wales (1330–76)
Henry of Grosmont, 4th Earl of Lancaster (c. 1310–61)
Thomas de Beauchamp, 11th Earl of Warwick (d. 1369)
Jean III de Grailly, Captal de Buch (d. 1377)
Ralph de Stafford, 1st Earl of Stafford (1301–72)
William de Montacute, 2nd Earl of Salisbury (1328–97)
Roger Mortimer, 2nd Earl of March (1328–60)
John de Lisle, 2nd Baron Lisle (1318–56)
Bartholomew de Burghersh, 2nd Baron Burghersh (d. 1369)
John de Beauchamp, 1st Baron Beauchamp (d. 1360)
John de Mohun, 2nd Baron Mohun (c. 1320–76)
Sir Hugh de Courtenay (d. 1349)
Thomas Holland, 1st Earl of Kent (1314–1360)
John de Grey, 1st Baron Grey de Rotherfield (c. 1300–59)
Sir Richard Fitz-Simon (b. 1295)
Sir Miles Stapleton (d. 1364)
Sir Thomas Wale (d. 1352)
Sir Hugh Wrottesley (d. 1381)
Sir Nele Loring (d. 1386)
Sir John Chandos (d. 1369)
Sir James Audley (d. 1369)
Sir Otho Holand (d. 1359)
Sir Henry Eam (d. before 1360)
Sir Sanchet D’Abrichecourt (d. 1345)
Sir Walter Paveley (d. 1375)
They are all depicted in individual portraits in the Bruges Garter Book made c. 1431, and now in the British Library.