Friday, 23 April 2010

God for Harry, England and Saint George!

Saint George's Chapel, Windsor.
In 1348 Edward III adopted Saint George as the Patron of his new order of chivalry - the Knights of the Garter. It is believed that the name of this order came from the garter shown in traditional depictions of Saint George and the insignia of the order is known as the George. The badge is of gold and shows a richly enamelled depiction of Saint George slaying the dragon on horseback. A second medal worn on the sash also shows Saint George. Although the early records of the Order were destroyed by fire, Edward also proclaimed Saint George as Patron Saint of England around this time, replacing Saint Edmund (Eadmund) King of East Anglia who had been England's patron saint since the 9th century and who was martyred by the Vikings.
Edward founded the religious college of Saint George's at Windsor and this became the home of the order.
In the fifteenth century Edward IV began to redevelop the chapel and this was continued by Henry VII and Henry VIII. It still remained the home for the order, as it is today, and saw much pomp and circumstance at the celebration of its patron saint's day.

William Hastings's chantry.

Edward and his long-time friend William Lord Hastings are buried here; Edward in a chantry with Elizabeth Wydeville and William in a chantry built by his wife Kathryn Neville with the permission of Richard III who had executed him!

Edward IV's chantry.

Warwick and his brother John as well as their father before them (and numerous Nevilles before that) had been made Knights of the Garter, though Warwick's garter stall plate was removed following his escape to France in 1470 after the debacle of Loose Coat Field. It is listed as having been in Stall S5 next to, of all people, that of Charles the Bold (whose plate is still there)! John and Salisbury's stall plates are still visible in Stall S11. William Hastings's is opposite them in Stall N9.
Saint George's Day stirred feelings of patriotism in the fifteenth century just as it does today and always reminds me of the WoTR and those who took part in it.


Ragged Staff said...

Great photos, Su. As a Scot by birth, an Australian by residence and the mother of a daughter born on 23 April, St George kind of gets a bit lost. Thanks for the reminder!

Susan Higginbotham said...

Beautiful pictures! Hoping to make it there in person one day.

Su_H said...

We are trying to reclaim our Patron Saint's Day from certain people!
It is a marvellous place, Susan. I'd been there as a teenager and but then not until 2008 on a research trip focusing on the death of William Hastings! I shed a few tears I don't mind telling you! :-)