Entering the Order of the Golden Fleece

Jean le Fevre

Translated by Ursula Georges

From the fifteenth-century Chronique of Jean le Fevre, Toison d'Or King of Arms.

Item, that said elected knight, when he has accepted said election, and come before the sovereign to make the oath and receive the collar of the order, will present himself to the sovereign, and say to him, according to his manner of speaking: "I saw by your letters that, by your grace and the grace of the greatly honored brothers and companions of the honorable order of the golden Fleece, I have been elected to this order and friendly company, by which I find myself very greatly honored. This I have reverently and gratefully received and accepted, and thank you for it from the bottom of my heart. Thus I have come before you and present myself ready to obey and to do all that I am called to do touching this order." To which will be responded by the sovereign, to the company of the greatest number of knights of the order that is able to do so: "Sir, we, our brothers and companions of the order, since we have heard say so much good about you, hoping that you will persevere and increase these deeds to the exaltation and honor of the order of chivalry, and to your merit, praise and exaltation and recommendation, have elected you to be perpetually (if God pleases) brother and companion of this order and friendly company. Wherefore, you must make the oaths which follow: "Namely, that, by your loyal power, you will aid and guard, sustain and defend the high lordship and rights of the sovereign of the order, so long as you shall live and belong to said order.

"Item, that with all your power, you will work and labor to maintain said order in a state of honor, and take pain to increase its honor without suffering it to decay or change, as far as you are able to remedy.

"Item, if it should happen (God prevent!) that some fault is found in you whereby, according to the constitution of this present order you should be removed and dismissed, and summoned and required to return the collar, you, in this case will return it sound and entire to the sovereign, or the treasurer of the order, within three months after said summons is made, without ever after this summons wearing said collar or another similar, nor will you bear rancour or ill-will toward said sovereign for this event, nor the brother knights, nor anyone else.

"Item, that all other pains, punishments, or corrections, which for other lesser cases you are charged with or enjoined to by the order, you will bear peaceably and will complete, again without having or holding any rancor or hate toward the sovereign.

"Item, that you will come to and appear at the chapters and assemblies of the order, or send word according to the statutes and ordinances of said order; and that you will obey the sovereign, or his delegates, in all reasonable [matters] touching and regarding the duty and affairs of this order.

"Item, by your loyal power, you will understand and carry out all the statutes, ordinances, articles and points of order which you have seen written or heard read, and these promised you swear in general and at the same time particularly and on each point you make a special oath."

Item that said knight will promise this and will swear thus, in the hands of the sovereign, on his faith and oath and on his honor, and will touch the Cross and the holy Gospels.

Item, and this done, said elected knight will place himself reverently before the sovereign who will take the collar of the order and place it around his neck, while saying or having said similar words: "Sir, the order receives you to its friendly company, and as a sign of this, presents you with this collar. God grant that you will be able to wear it long to his praise and service, exaltation of the holy Church, growth and honor of the order, of your merits and good name. In the name of the Father and the Son and the holy Ghost." To which said knight will respond: "Amen. May God grant me the grace." And, after this, the knight of the first seat, who will be present there, will lead the knight newly received before the sovereign in his seat, and this sovereign will kiss him in sign of perpetual love; and also all the other knights will kiss him, in order.

Laurel Elevation - Ursula Georges