The institution, laws & ceremonies of the most noble Order of the Garter collected and digested into one body by Elias Ashmole ...
Ashmole, Elias, 1617-1692., Hollar, Wenceslaus, 1607-1677., Sherwin, William, fl. 1670-1710.
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CHAP. XXIV. THE Degradation OF A Knight-Companion.

SECT. I. Of the Degradation of a Knight-Batchellor.

SO hainous an Offence as that of High Treason, hath been thought deser∣ving the loss, not only of Life and Estate, but Honor also: and thereup∣on when Sentence hath been to be given against a Knight, for so great a Crime, sometimes Degradation from his Degree hath preceded: and this as our Learned Selden faith, is done aas a respect of Honor to Knighthood in general; lest so much ignominy as accompanied the Iudgment for such an Of∣fence, should lye on any that were a Knight, when he suffered it.

In the Example of Sir Andrew Harclay, created Earl of Carlisle by King Ed∣ward the Second, whose Degradation is reported in the bTitles of Honor, it may be observed, that the principal part of the Ceremony was, a solemn taking from him his Sword, and chopping off his Spurs, the chief Ensigns of his Honor. And in that of Sir Ralph Grey, an. 4. E. 4. (one of whose Crimes was for c be∣traying Sir Iohn Astley, a Knight of this Order, into the hands of the Kings Ene∣mies, where he remained Prisoner for many years) besides the striking off his Spurs, the tearing his Coat of Arms from his Body, and putting on another Coat, whereon his Arms were reverst, was appointed to be done; but by the Kings favour, the Iudgment was not pronounced: To these, Sir William Segar adds the d bruising every piece of the Knights Armor, and casting it aside: be∣side which, some e other Ceremonies of Degradation are mentioned by him, to have been more anciently used.

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SECT. II. The manner of Degraing a Knight-Companion of the Garter.

THE Ensigns of this Noble Order, are not to be withdrawn from a Knight-Companion so long as he lives, unless he be found guilty of some of those points of Reproach, set down in King Henry the Eighth's fStatutes, to wit, He∣resie, Treason, or flying from Battel: We also find, that Prodigality was made a fourth Point, where a Knight had so wasted his Estate, that he was not able to support his Honor. And the not being a Gentleman of Blood, both by Father and Mother, was the pretence, for devesting William Lord Paget, an. 6. E. 6. But Fellony comes not within the compass of this Statute, as not being particu∣larly specified among the Reproaches there reckoned up, and so it was adjudged in a Chapter held the 6. of Iuly an. 14. Iac. R. in the case of gRobert Earl of So∣merset, then lately condemned for that Fact; whereupon his Hatchments were not removed.

When a Knight-Companion is found guilty of any the Offences mentioned in King Henry the Eighth's Statutes, he is usually degraded at the next Chapter after; and therefore, where the Soveraign intends to have this Ceremo∣ny put in Execution, after he hath acquainted the Knight-Companion there∣with, he commands Garter to attend such of them, as are appointed to go to the convict Knight, who in a solemn manner, first takes from him his George and Ribband, and then his Garter. And at the following Feast of St. George (or sooner if the Soveraign appoint) Publication of his Crimes and degradation is made by Garter (a *Warrant in the mean time issuing out to him, for taking down the Atchievements of the Knight) in the ensuing order.

First Garter, in his hCoat of Arms, (usually before Morning Prayer, if the Grand Feast, or Feast of Installation be then held) standing on the highest step ascending to the Brazen Desk, placed in the middle of the Choire in St. George's Chappel at Windesor, the Officers of Arms standing about him, and the iBlack Rod also present, reads aloud the Instrument for Publication of the Knights Degra∣dation; a Precedent whereof we have placed in the kAppendix.

In which form, run all other Instruments in this kind, that have come to our view, and only varied in the Preamble, where the nature of the Offence is particularly set down for which he hath deserved Degradation.

This being read, l one of the Heralds deputed thereunto (a Ladder being raised to the backside of the convict Knights Stall, and he, in his Coat of Arms, placed there before hand) when Garter pronounceth the words, Expelled and put from among the Arms, &c. m takes his Crest, and violently casts it down into the Choire, and after that his Banner and Sword, and when the Publica∣tion is read out, all the Officers of Arms spurn the Atchievements out of the Choire into the Body of the Church, first the Sword, then the Banner, and last of all the Crest, so out of the West-Door, thence to the Bridge, and over into the Ditch, and thus was it done at the degradation of nEdward Duke of Buckingham the 8 of Iune, an. 13 H. 8.

In reference to the degradation of Thomas Percy Earl of Northumberland, he was first o Proclaimed Traitor (the 26 of November an. 12 Eliz.) at Windesor Castle: which Proclamation was directed to the Constable of the Castle, and made by sound of a Trumpet and the voice of an Herald, other of his Fellows assisting: and on the day following, the Sentence of his degradation was pub∣lished, and Chester Herald (after Rouge Croix Pursuivant had read the Sentence) threw down the Atchievements,p first his Banner, next his Sword, then his Crest, and lastly his Helm and Mantlets, which Garter, assisted by the Officers of Arms, spurned out of the West-Door of the Chappel into the Castle Ditch.

But in the case of qRobert Earl of Essex (25 of May, an. 43 Eliz.) his At∣chievementsPage  622 were only thrown down; and those of rHenry Lord Cobham (12 Febr. an. 1 Iac. Reg.) only spurned out of the Church Door, but by the Kings Clemency not into the sDitch.

But Degradation was not alone thought sufficient, and therefore an. 32 H. 8. it was considered in Chapter,t what course should e taken with the Names of such of the Order, as were convicted of High Treason, and whether they should remain in the Registers, or be razed out; for it seemed just, that Traitors, who had deserved to have their Atchievements disgracefully thrown down, should also have their Actions and Names extinguished, and the Books wherein they were entred, to be esteemed as polluted.

This being debated before the Soveraign: He, keeping a mean between both extreams, determined, u That wheresoever the Actions and Names of such Of∣fenders should be found, these words [vah Proditor] should be written in the Margent; by which means the Registers would be preserved fair, and not defa∣ced with razures and blots.

SECT. III. Of Restauration into the Order after Degradation.

SOme of the Knights-Companions, who have injuriously suffred Deprivation of the Ensigns, and Degradation from the Order, have lived to enjoy the Ho∣nor of Restauration, and both re-elected and re-invested, and their Atchieve∣ments again set up, as were the Lord Pagits, an. 1 Mar. and the Marquess of Northampton's, an. 1 Eliz. whose Cases we have w before Reported.

Another Instance there is of Thomas Howard Duke of Norfolk, who being Degraded by King Edward the Sixth, was, upon Queen Maries's coming to the Crown, restored into this Noble Fellowship, as will fully appear by the Order for his Restauration, which was this,

By the Queen.

Trusty and wellbeloved we greet you well; And whereas our Right Trusty and right entirely beloved Cousin and Councellour the Duke of Norfolk, for the good and valiant service by him of long time done to the King our Father, of most famous memory King Henry the Eight, as well here within the Realm as abroad with Foreign Princes, both in Peace and in War, and in respect of other his good qualities and vertues, was by our said Father elected into the Company of the most Honourable Order of the Garter, and duly invested in the same, from which nevertheless afterward, in the time of our late Brother King Edward the Sixth, whom God assoil, the said Duke was by our said late Brother and other the Companions of our said Order of the Garter, through wrong information and accusation cleerly expelled and removed, and his Hatch∣ments to his no small slaunder and dishonour openly cast down, and taken from the Stall appointed for him in our Chappel at Windesor. We let you wet, that we, minding to do Iustice to all men, have sythence our coming to the Govern∣ment of the Realm, called a Chapter for the redress of the Injuries aforesaid, and such like, and at the same holden at our Mannor of St. James the 27. day of Sept. last, by the advice and consent of the Companions of our said Order, have restored the said Duke of Norfolk to his former room and place, among other the Companions of our said Order, as one that was injuriously put from the same, wherefore like as we have willed him to use and wear the Garter, Col∣lar, George, Robes, and other the Apparel of our said Order, in such sort as he was wont to do before his said wrongful deprivation. So have we also Page  623 thought good to will and require both you the Register of our said Order, to cancel and utterly to put out of your Register all Writings, Records, or other mynyments making mention of the said deviation: And you also Garter King of Arms for our said Order, to see his Hatchments honourably set up in the place appointed for them, and his Banner to be of such Arms as his Father bare and had set up aforetime, being late Knight of the said Order, there to remain and continue among the Hatchments of other our Companions of our said Order, according to the ancient Ordinances and landable usages here∣tofore accustomed, at the seting up whereof, our Pleasure is these our Letters shall be openly read, for a more plain Declaration of our pleasure in the pre∣mises. And these our Letters shall be to you and either of you, for the doing of the premises, and every part thereof a sufficient Warrant and discharge.

Given under our Signet of our said Order, at our Palace of Westminsterthe 7. of March, the first year of our Reign.

To our Trusty and Well-beloved the Dean of our Chappel at Windesor, Register of our Order of the Garter, and Sir Gilbert Dethick alias Garter Knight King at Arms for our said Order, and to either of them.