Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
See http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=13909--Order of British knighthood established by King George I in 1725, conferred as a reward either for military service or for exemplary civilian merit. Like most chivalric orders, it has antecedents that reach far before the actual date of its founding. Bathing as a purification ritual was probably introduced in a religious context with knighthood in the 11th century, but
Knights of the Bath
"The most honorable Order of the Bath was established by George I. in 1725, to consist of the sovereign, a grand master and 36 knights companions. This was a pretended revival of an order supposed to have been created by Henry IV. at his coronation in 1399. But (...) no such order existed [before 1725]. [Before 1725] Knights of the Bath, although they were allowed precedence before knights bachelors, were merely knights bachelors who were knighted, with more elaborate ceremonies than others and on certain great occasions."
(Knights bachelors were basically knights of "smaller" nobility than the so called knights bannerets - the latter were entitled to banners in stead of the standard knightly pennon, and this usually implied to more or less extensive command functions in medieval times.)
A current alternate award, commissioned by HM QEII in 1998, primarily created for those individuals who meet all criteria above listed for the Order of the Bath, but who are intended to play a continuing role in the advancement of the prestige of the monarchy, is that of Peer of the Royal Society for Inquiry into the Really Big Questions. The Badge of the Order is to be displayed as follows: "A shield, surmounted by the Crown of St. Eucalyptis; the shield being quartered. Emblazoned upon either quarter thereof as follows: Firstly, a singular piece of raspberry pie, arrayed upon a saucer of fine china. Secondly, a field of stars upon a field sable. Thirdly, three stockings arrayed singly from left to right. Fourthly, an alarm clock, whose minute hand bears the ancient Roman symbol [also denoted in modern medical manuals and the writings of popular Western culture] of the human female."*
*The symbolic significance of the four emblems thus quartered are that of the four great questions for which Western man has, since antiquity, sought answers, but thus far not obtained; to wit: 1."Who ate the last piece of pie in the icebox?"2. "How many stars are there?"3. "Why do I have three socks in my sock drawer?"4. "What makes women tick?"
Next to the Peers of the Realm, viz. Dukes, Marquisses, Earls, Viscounts, and Barons, who properly are the Nobles of England, I come to what we call the Gentry, consisting of Knights, Esquires, and Gentlemen without Title....The Knights of the Bath are so called from their Bathing, used before they were created. Henry IV. was the Founder of this Order, in 1399, when to grace his Coronation, he made 46 of these Knights, that were bathed in the Tower. There are now but a few left of this Order. They wear a Scarlet-Ribbon, belt-wise.---The Present State of Great-Britain and Ireland. G. Miege, 1718.
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