7 The College of St George
7 An Account Of The College of St George
The Royal College of St. George, which has the honour of having the Order of the Garter attached to it, was first incorporated and endowed by letters patent of the 22d of Edward III about three quarters of a year before the institution of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, and and on that day twelvemonths the statutes of the College bear date; being made by virtue of the pope's authority, the King's command, consent of the Bishop of Salisbury, (in whose diocese the Chapel is situated and of the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury.
By the abovementioned authorities, the Bishop of Winchester instituted a College within the Chapel of St. George, consisting of one custos, twelve secular canons, thirteen priests, four clarks, six choristers, and twenty-four alms-knights, besides other officers. These letters patent were confirmed, and several immunities granted by Henry VI and Edward IV as also by an act of Parliament, of the 22d of Edward IV. Several statutes were likewise made for perpetuatlng and well governing this College, by Henry VIII, Edward VI and Queen Elizabeth; and the present establishments on this foundation are as follows:
A Dean, who is president over the rest of the College, both in civil and ecclesiastical jurisdiction. He is presented by the King, and instituted by the Bishop of Winchester.
Twelve canons, or prebendaries, who, with the dean, constitute the legislative body of this College. These also are presented to their prebends by the King, but instituted and installed by the Dean or his deputy.
Seven minor canons, who, at their admission, according to the statutes of the College, are bound to be Deacons, and at the next time appointed for ordination, to be ordained priests. Each of these canons had at first but the annual pension of eight pounds sterling; but this was increased by Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth, and since by the College, to thirty pounds per annum. In addition to this, the late Mr. Isaac Chapman, minor canon of this Chapel, who died February 8, 1781, bequeathed ten pounds a year to each of the minor canons; so that, if we include the value of their houses, which some of them let, their annual income may be estimated at about sixty pounds.
Thirteen clerks, who, after the foundation of the College by Edward III were taken into the choir, for the service thereof. One of them being organist, has a double clerks place, and is therefore accounted as two of the thirteen; their salaries are twenty-two pounds ten shilling per annum each. These also have each an house allowed them.
Ten choristers; these were appointed for
the further service of the Choir, for which, the six seniors
have a stipend of twelve shillings, and the four juniors six
shillings a month. Formerly there were only eight of these, which
is the reason the pay of the four younger ones is but
The officers appointed for the business of the College, are a steward, treasurer, steward of the courts, chapter-clerk, chanter, and verger; two sextons, two bell-ringers, a clock keeper, and a porter.
King Edward III out of the great respect he had for those who behaved themselves bravely in his wars, yet afterwards became reduced in their circumstances, took care to provide an honourable asylum, and comfortable subsistence for them in their old age, by uniting them under one corporation and joint body with the custom and canons. These were called milites pauperes, and since poor, or alms-knights. The number at first was twenty-four. On account of some difference between the dean and canons, and the alms-knights, by an act of the 22d of Edward IV it was enacted, that the death and canons, and their successors, should be for ever quit and discharged from all manner of charge, of, or for, the said knights; and Queen Elizabeth, immediately after her coming to the throne, agreeable to the will of her father, King Henry VIII, made a special foundation for thirteen poor men, decayed in wars, and such like service of the realm, to be called the Thirteen Knights of Windsor, and there kept in succession. Her Majesty likewise established certain rules and orders for the well governing the said Knights; and appointed the dean and canons, and their successors, to enforce their observance of the said rules.
By these statutes it was declared, that the Thirteen Knights should be elected of gentlemen brought to necessity through adverse fortune, and such as had spent their time in the service of their prince; that one of the thirteen should be chosen governor over the rest; that they were to be men unmarried, and none of them afterwards permitted to marry, on pain of losing their places; but these rules, as well as some others, are not strictly adhered to.
The present number of alms-knights is thirteen of the Royal Foundation, and five of the Foundation of Sir Peter Le Maire, in the reign of James I. The former were endowed by Henry VIII with lands of the yearly value of £600 and the latter by Sir Peter Le Maire, with an estate of £230 per annum, and the houses of those on the Royal Establishment are repaired at the expense of the Crown; but those of Sir Peter Le Maire's Foundation, at the charge of the Knights themselves, who also pay nine pounds a year land tax.
In addition to the above-mentioned eighteen, Samuel Travers, who died about 1728, by his will and testament, bearing date the 16th of July,1724; after giving several pecuniary legacies, devised the residue of his real and personal estates to his executors therein named, upon trust, that they should, out of the rents and profits thereof, settle an annuity of £60 to be paid to each of Seven Gentlemen, to be added to the Poor Knights of Windsor, and that a building might be erected or purchased in or near the Castle of Windsor, for an habitation for the said Seven Gentlemen, who were to be superanuated or disabled Lieutenants of English men of war. That part of Mr. Travers's will relating to this endowment is as follows:
7 The College of St George