The Order of the Bath

George I

The Order of the Bath is the fourth most senior order of chivalry in Britain. It was created by Letters Patent of the first Hanoverian king, George I, on 18th May, 1725. The name derives from the ancient ceremony whereby applicants for knighthood took part in a ceremonial vigil of fasting, prayer and bathing prior to being ordained.

The Order of the BathOrder of the Bath

The motto of the order, Tria juncta in uno (Three joined into one) is perhaps a reference to the trinity or alternatively the union of England, Scotland and Ireland. The chapel of the Order is the Henry VII Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey. The Order initially consisted of the monarch, a Prince of the Blood Royal as Principal Knight, a Great Master and thirty-five Knights Companion. The Order was enlarged in 1815 and three classes of knights were formed, these were Knights Grand Cross, Knights Commander and Companions.

The mantle is of crimson satin, lined with white taffeta, on its left side the star of the Order. A hat of black velvet is worn bearing a plume of feathers. The collar is made of gold with nine imperial crowns and sets of flowers, English roses, Scottish thistles and Irish shamrocks.

The badge is of varied design, the Star given to Military Knights and Dames Grand Cross is a maltese cross on top of an eight-pointed star. For Military Knights and Dames Commander, it is an eight-pointed silver cross, Pattee. Both bear three crowns at the centre surrounded by a red ring on which is written the motto of the Order. The outside of the circle is adorned with leaves of laurel, below it is a scroll on which is written the words Ich Dien ( I serve). Civil Knights and Dames Grand Cross wear an eight-pointed star from which the maltese cross is absent. The star for Civil Knights and Dames Commander is an eight-pointed silver cross Pattee, with the laurel leaves and the motto omitted.

Famous holders of the Order have included Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, Field Marshal Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig, Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein and Lord Kitchener.

The Order of the Garter

The Order of the Thistle