Members of Knightly Orders

Ursula Georges

In this article, I collect references to members of knightly orders made prior to 1600. My sources are Darcy Jonathan Dacre Boulton's The Knights of the Crown, a lengthy work on monarchical orders, the Oxford English Dictionary, and the Dictionary of the Scots Language. Though Boulton usually preserves medieval spellings, he may have normalized the title Dame de la Fraternité de St Georges. The other sources use original spellings.

In most monarchical orders, the status of knight was a prerequisite for membership. Thus, one of the most popular ways to refer to a member of a chivalric order was by a word meaning 'knight', such as French chevalier or Latin miles. Other terms, such as companion and the French frere 'brother', emphasized the fraternal nature of the organization; these terms were also used to refer to members of other types of medieval fraternal organizations, such as religious guilds and confraternities.

More information about order names may be found in my companion article, Medieval Names of Some Knightly Orders, or in Juliana de Luna's article Medieval Secular Order Names.

How were members of knightly orders referred to in the Middle Ages?

By words meaning knight:

By words meaning companion:

By words meaning lord or lady:

By words meaning brother:

Bibliography

Darcy Jonathan Dacre Boulton, The Knights of the Crown. Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 1987.
Oxford English Dictionary. http://www.oed.com
Dictionary of the Scots Language. http://www.dsl.ac.uk/dsl/


Onomastics Articles - Ursula Georges