Knight Bachelor

Knight Bachelor

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Encyclopedia
The rank of Knight Bachelor is a part of the British honours system
British honours system
The British honours system is a means of rewarding individuals' personal bravery, achievement, or service to the United Kingdom and the British Overseas Territories...

. It is the most basic rank of a man who has been knight
Knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

ed by the monarch but not as a member of one of the organised Orders of Chivalry
Chivalric order
Chivalric orders are societies and fellowships of knights that have been created by European monarchs in imitation of the military orders of the Crusades...

. Knights Bachelor are the most ancient sort of British knight (the rank existed during the reign of King Henry III
Henry III of England
Henry III was the son and successor of John as King of England, reigning for 56 years from 1216 until his death. His contemporaries knew him as Henry of Winchester. He was the first child king in England since the reign of Æthelred the Unready...

 (1216-1272)), but Knights Bachelor rank below knights of the various orders. There is no female counterpart; women deserving an honour of this rank are appointed Dames Commander
Dame (title)
The title of Dame is the female equivalent of the honour of knighthood in the British honours system . It is also the equivalent form address to 'Sir' for a knight...

 of the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (DBE) instead.

Criteria


It is generally awarded for public service; amongst its recipients are all male judges of the High Court of England and Wales. It is possible to be a Knight Bachelor and a junior member of an order of chivalry without being a knight of that order; this situation has become rather common, especially among those recognised for achievements in entertainment. For instance, Sir Elton John
Elton John
Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, Hon DMus is an English rock singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor...

, Sir Bruce Forsyth
Bruce Forsyth
Sir Bruce Joseph Forsyth-Johnson, CBE , commonly known as Bruce Forsyth, or Brucie, is an English TV personality...

 and Sir Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee
Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE, CStJ is an English actor and musician. Lee initially portrayed villains and became famous for his role as Count Dracula in a string of Hammer Horror films...

 are Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

), Sir Patrick Stewart
Patrick Stewart
Sir Patrick Hewes Stewart, OBE is an English film, television and stage actor, who has had a distinguished career in theatre and television for around half a century...

 is an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

), and Sir Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney
Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, Hon RAM, FRCM is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer. Formerly of The Beatles and Wings , McCartney is listed in Guinness World Records as the "most successful musician and composer in popular music history", with 60 gold discs and sales of 100...

 is a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

). None of them would be entitled to the honorific "Sir" by virtue of their O.B.E. honours. However, all are also Knights Bachelor and thus each may preface their name with that title.

Honorifics and post-nominals


Like other knights, Knights Bachelor are styled "Sir
Sir
Sir is an honorific used as a title , or as a courtesy title to address a man without using his given or family name in many English speaking cultures...

". Since they are not knights of any order of chivalry
Chivalric order
Chivalric orders are societies and fellowships of knights that have been created by European monarchs in imitation of the military orders of the Crusades...

, there is no post-nominal associated with the award. However, when the style "Sir" is awkward or incomplete due to a subsequent appointment, recipients may sometimes use the word "Knight" or "Kt" (note the lowercase 't', which distinguishes it from "KT", the post-nominals of a Knight of the Thistle) after their name in formal documents to signify that they have the additional honour. This style is often adopted by Knights Bachelor who are also peers
Peerage
The Peerage is a legal system of largely hereditary titles in the United Kingdom, which constitute the ranks of British nobility and is part of the British honours system...

, baronet
Baronet
A baronet or the rare female equivalent, a baronetess , is the holder of a hereditary baronetcy awarded by the British Crown...

s or knights of the various statutory orders (e.g. Sir William Boulton
Sir William Boulton, 1st Baronet
Sir William Whytehead Boulton, 1st Baronet DL was a British soldier and Conservative Party politician.-Background:...

, Bt., Kt.).

Insignia


Until 1926 Knights Bachelor had no insignia which they could wear, but in that year King George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 issued a Warrant authorising the wearing of a badge on all appropriate occasions. The Knights Bachelor badge may be worn on all such occasions upon the left side of the coat or outer garment of those upon whom the degree of Knight Bachelor has been conferred. Measuring 2 inches in length and 1 inches in width, it is described in heraldic
Heraldry
Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander"...

 terms as follows:

Upon an oval medallion of vermilion
Vermilion
Vermilion is an opaque orangish red pigment, similar to scarlet. As a naturally occurring mineral pigment, it is known as cinnabar, and was in use around the world before the Common Era began. Most naturally produced vermilion comes from cinnabar mined in China, and vermilion is nowadays commonly...

, enclosed by a scroll
Scroll
A scroll is a roll of parchment, papyrus, or paper, which has been drawn or written upon.Scroll may also refer to:*Scroll , the decoratively curved end of the pegbox of string instruments such as violins...

 a cross-hilted sword belted and sheathed, pommel
Pommel
Pommel may refer to:* pommel, the raised area at the front of an equestrian saddle.* Pommel, the counterweight at the end of the hilt of a European sword* Pommel horse, an artistic gymnastics apparatus...

 upwards, between two spurs
Spurs
Spurs are tools worn on the heel of a boot, used when riding horses.Spurs can also refer to:* The Chancellor's Spurs, a traveling trophy awarded to the winner of the college football game between Texas Tech University and the University of Texas at Austin...

, rowels upwards, the whole set about with the sword belt, all gilt.


In 1974, Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 issued a further warrant authorising the wearing on appropriate occasions of a neck badge, slightly smaller in size, and in miniature. In 1988 a new certificate of authentication, a knight's only personal documentation, was designed by the College of Arms
College of Arms
The College of Arms, or Heralds’ College, is an office regulating heraldry and granting new armorial bearings for England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

.

Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor


The Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor
Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor
The Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor was formed in 1908 and received royal recognition in 1912. Its patron is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It is a registered charity and seeks to uphold the dignity of knight bachelor and the rights of the degree of knighthood at all times, to register...

 was founded for the maintenance and consolidation of the Dignity of Knights Bachelor in 1908, and obtained official recognition from the Sovereign in 1912. The Society keeps records of all Knights Bachelor, in their interest.

See also

  • Bachelor
    Bachelor
    A bachelor is a man above the age of majority who has never been married . Unlike his female counterpart, the spinster, a bachelor may have had children...

  • Knight banneret
    Knight banneret
    A knight banneret, sometimes known simply as banneret, was a Medieval knight who led a company of troops during time of war under his own banner and were eligible to bear supporters in English heraldry.The military rank of a knight banneret was...

  • Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood
    Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood
    The Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood is a small office within the Royal Household of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom responsible for the administration of Orders of Chivalry and some aspects of honours in general...

  • British honours system: Knighthood