Order of the Garter
Honi soit qui mal y pense
Evil to him who thinks evil of it
Edward III established the Order of the Garter on St George’s Day 1349, his aim to bind into a brotherhood a select group of knights, twenty-five in all.
An honourable intent?
The Black Death raged across Europe. The monks in their monasteries, the lords in their manor halls and castles – the king’s own family – the paupers, the hard-working, the idlers, indiscriminate of whom it infected, the plague wiped out between a third and half of all England’s population. Famine and starvation followed. Yet the king ordered a grand tournament – the main event to be a battle to decide which of the countess of Salisbury’s two husbands had the legal right! And for the accompanying festivities the king’s court dressed in their finest. Unsurprising, the monks, clerics and priors objected.
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