Order of St Patrick

The Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick is a dormant British order of chivalry associated with Ireland. The Order was created in 1783 by George III at the request of the then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, The 3rd Earl Temple (created The 1st Marquess of Buckingham in 1784). The regular creation of knights of Saint Patrick lasted until 1922, when most of Ireland gained independence as the Irish Free State, a dominion within what was then known as the British Commonwealth of Nations. While the Order technically still exists, no knight of St Patrick has been created since 1936, and the last surviving knight, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, died in 1974. The Queen, however, remains the Sovereign of the Order, and one officer, the Ulster King of Arms (now combined with Norroy King of Arms), also survives. St Patrick is patron of the order; its motto is Quis separabit?, Latin for "Who will separate [us]?": an allusion to the Vulgate translation of Romans 8:35, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"[1]

Most British orders of chivalry cover the entire kingdom, but the three most exalted ones each pertain to one constituent country only. The Order of St Patrick, which pertains to Ireland, is the most junior of these three in precedence and age. Its equivalent in England, The Most Noble Order of the Garter, is the oldest order of chivalry in the United Kingdom, dating to the middle fourteenth century. The Scottish equivalent is The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, dating in its modern form to 1687.

Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick
Insignia of Knight of St Patrick
Insignia of a Knight of the Order of St. Patrick
Awarded by the British monarch
TypeOrder of chivalry
MottoQuis separabit?
CriteriaAt the monarch's pleasure
StatusLast appointment in 1922
Dormant order since 1974
SovereignQueen Elizabeth II
GradesKnight (KP)
Next (higher)Order of the Thistle
Next (lower)Order of the Bath
Ribbon bar Order of St. Patrick

Riband of the Order of St. Patrick


Order of Saint Patrick badge (United Kingdom 1860-1880) - Tallinn Museum of Orders
Badge of the order of St Patrick
The installation banquet of the Knights of St Patrick in St. Patrick's Hall, Dublin Castle 1783
The installation dinner for the founding of the order took place on 17 March 1783 in the Great Hall of Dublin Castle.

Early history

The order was founded in 1783, a year after the grant of substantial autonomy to Ireland, as a means of rewarding (or obtaining) political support in the Irish Parliament.[2] The Order of the Bath, founded in 1725, was instituted for similar reasons. The statutes of the Order restricted membership to men who were both knights and gentlemen, the latter being defined as having three generations of "noblesse" (i.e. ancestors bearing coats of arms) on both their father's and mother's side.[3] In practice, however, only Irish Peers and British Princes were ever appointed to the Order. The cross of St Patrick (a red saltire on a white background) was chosen as one of the symbols of the Order. A flag of this design was later incorporated into the Union Flag. Its association with St. Patrick or with Ireland prior to the foundation of the Order is unclear, however.[4] One of the first knights was The 2nd Duke of Leinster, whose arms carry the same cross.[5]

The Irish Crown Jewels

The Order of St Patrick earned international coverage when, in 1907, its insignia, known generally as the Irish Crown Jewels, were stolen from the Bedford Tower in Dublin Castle shortly before a visit by the Order's Sovereign, King Edward VII. Their whereabouts remain a mystery.


The last non-Royal member appointed to the Order was the 3rd Duke of Abercorn in 1922, who served as the first Governor of Northern Ireland. When the Irish Free State left the United Kingdom in December of that same year, the Irish Executive Council under W. T. Cosgrave chose to make no further appointments to the Order.[2] The British Government continued to entertain hopes for the Order's revival as a pan-Irish institution. Therefore, while there was no legal or constitutional bar to the British Government continuing to make appointments from among British subjects resident in Northern Ireland, it chose not to do so.

Since then, only three people have been appointed to the Order, all members of the British Royal Family. The then-Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VIII and later Duke of Windsor) was appointed in 1927[6][7] and his younger brothers, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, in 1934[8] and Prince Albert, Duke of York (later King George VI), in 1936.[9]

It is likely that these appointments were considered possible because the Irish Free State continued to recognise the British monarch as its official head of state. In 1937, however, the Irish Free State adopted a new constitution, rendering the Crown's position in Irish affairs ambiguous. The ambiguity was resolved 12 years later when Éire (as the Irish Free State had been renamed in December 1937) formally declared itself a republic and left the British Commonwealth, officially leaving in April 1949. The basis for such appointments thus ceased and no further ones have been made.

HRH The 1st Duke of Gloucester at his death in 1974 was the last surviving member of the Order. The last living non-Royal member of the Order, The 9th Earl of Shaftesbury, died in 1961. The Order has, however, never formally been abolished.

Possible revival

Order of St Patrick collar vector
Collar of the Order of St Patrick

Prime Minister Winston Churchill suggested reviving the Order in 1943 to recognise the services of General The Hon. Sir Harold Alexander in Tunisia, but the opinion of the other ministers and civil servants was that it would upset the diplomatic balance between London and Dublin.[10] Taoiseach Seán Lemass considered reviving the Order during the 1960s, but did not take a decision.[11]

The Constitution of Ireland provides, "Titles of nobility shall not be conferred by the State" (Article 40.2.1°) and "No title of nobility or of honour may be accepted by any citizen except with the prior approval of the Government" (Article 40.2.2°). Legal experts are divided on whether this clause prohibits the awarding of membership of the Order of St Patrick to Irish citizens, but some suggest that the phrase "titles of nobility" implies hereditary peerages and other noble titles, not lifetime honours such as knighthoods.[11][12]

In recent decades, however, this prohibition has almost never been enforced. Irish citizens who are today offered British honours rarely apply for permission prior to accepting. In practice, it has come to be understood that Irish citizens who receive such awards—including, for example, former Attorney General Peter Sutherland, rocker/political activist Bob Geldof, and the late talk show host Sir Terry Wogan—do so on a purely honorary basis. They cannot use the honorific 'Sir' or 'Dame' unless they subsequently adopt British or Commonwealth nationality (which Wogan did).



Lord Dudley, Grand Master of the Order of St. Patrick
The 2nd Earl of Dudley (Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1902–1905) wearing the Irish Crown Jewels as ex officio Grand Master of the Order of St Patrick.

The British monarch is the Sovereign of the Order of St Patrick. The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the monarch's representative in Ireland, served as the Grand Master.[13] The office of Lord Lieutenant was abolished in 1922; the last Lord Lieutenant and Grand Master was The 1st Viscount FitzAlan of Derwent.[14] Initially, the statutes of the Order did not provide that the Grand Master be admitted to the Order as a matter of right. Before this only some Lords Lieutenant were in fact appointed to the Order, this seems to have been the exception rather than the rule. In 1839 Queen Victoria altered this and though not a member during his Grand Mastership, he was permitted to retain the insignia after his term of office.[15]

The Order originally consisted of fifteen knights in addition to the Sovereign.[16] In 1821, however, George IV appointed six additional knights;[17] he did not issue a Royal Warrant authorising the change until 1830. William IV formally changed the statutes in 1833, increasing the limit to twenty-two knights.[18]

The original statutes, based heavily on those of the Order of the Garter, prescribed that any vacancy should be filled by the Sovereign upon the nomination of the members. Each Knight was to propose nine candidates, of whom three had to have the rank of Earl or higher, three the rank of Baron or higher, and three the rank of Knight or higher, and a vote taken. In practice this system was never used; the Grand Master would nominate a Peer, the Sovereign would usually assent, and a chapter meeting held at which the knights "elected" the new member.[19] The Order of St Patrick differed from its English and Scottish counterparts, the Orders of the Garter and the Thistle, in only ever appointing peers and princes. Women were never admitted to the Order of St Patrick; they were not eligible to become members of the other two orders until 1987. The only woman to be part of the Order was Queen Victoria, in her capacity as Sovereign of the Order. Although it was associated with the established Church of Ireland until 1871, several Catholics were appointed to the order throughout its history.[20]


The Order of St Patrick initially had thirteen officers: the Prelate, the Chancellor, the Registrar, the Usher, the Secretary, the Genealogist, the King of Arms, two heralds and four pursuivants.[21] Many of these offices were held by clergymen of the Church of Ireland, the then-established church. After the disestablishment of the Church in 1871, the ecclesiastics were allowed to remain in office until their deaths, when the offices were either abolished or reassigned to lay officials.[22] All offices except that of Registrar and King of Arms are now vacant.

Player's cigarettes 23 Order of St. Patrick
Knight of the Order of Saint Patrick

The office of Prelate was held by the Lord Archbishop of Armagh, the most senior clergyman in the Church of Ireland. The Prelate was not mentioned in the original statutes, but created by a warrant shortly afterwards, apparently because the Archbishop at the time had asked to be appointed to the post.[23] Since the death of the last holder in 1885, the office of Prelate has remained vacant.[24]

The Church of Ireland's second highest cleric, the Lord Archbishop of Dublin, originally served as the Chancellor of the Order. From 1886 onwards, the office was held instead by the Chief Secretary for Ireland. Since the abolition of the position of Chief Secretary in 1922, the office of Chancellor has remained vacant.[24] The Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral was originally the Registrar of the Order. In 1890, on the death of the Dean who had held the post in at the time of disestablishment, the office was attached to that of the King of Arms of the Order.[24] This position was held by Ulster King of Arms, Ireland's chief heraldic official, a post which had been created in 1552. In 1943, this post was in effect divided in two, reflecting the partition of Ireland in the Government of Ireland Act 1920. The position, insofar as it related to Northern Ireland, was combined with that of Norroy King of Arms (who had heraldic jurisdiction in the north of England). The post of Norroy and Ulster King of Arms still exists, and thus continues to hold the offices of Registrar and King of Arms of the Order of St Patrick. The office of Ulster King of Arms, insofar as it related to the Irish Free State (now officially called Ireland), became the position of Chief Herald of Ireland.

The Order of St Patrick had six other heraldic officers, many more than any other British order. The two heralds were known as Cork Herald and Dublin Herald. Three of the four pursuivancies were untitled, the fourth was held by Athlone Pursuivant, an office founded in 1552.[25]

The Usher of the Order was "the Usher at Arms named the Black Rod".[26] The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod in Ireland was distinct from the English officer of the same name, though like his counterpart he had some duties in the Irish House of Lords.[27] (The latter continues to serve as Usher to the Order of the Garter and as Serjeant-at-Arms of the House of Lords.) The Irish post has been vacant since 1933.

The offices of Secretary and Genealogist were originally held by members of the Irish House of Commons. The office of Secretary has been vacant since 1926. The position of Genealogist was left vacant in 1885, restored in 1889, but left vacant again in 1930.[28]

Vestments and accoutrements

Knight of the Order of St Patrick
Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover, in the mantle of a Knight of the Order
Badges of the Order of St Patrick
The badge of the Order. The statutes of the Order prescribed a sky-blue riband; the exact shade of blue used varied over time.

For important occasions, such as Coronations and investitures of new members of the Order, Knights of St Patrick wore elaborate vestments:

  • The mantle was a celestial blue robe lined with white silk. The star of the Order (see below) was depicted on the left of the mantle. A blue hood was attached to the mantle.[29]
  • The hat of the Order was originally of white satin, lined with blue, but was changed to black velvet by George IV. It was plumed with three falls of feathers, one red, one white and one blue.[29]
  • The collar was made of gold, consisting of Tudor roses and harps attached with knots. The two roses which comprise the Tudor rose were alternately enamelled white within red, and red within white. The central harp, from which the badge of the Order was suspended, was surmounted by a crown.[29]

On certain "collar days" designated by the Sovereign, members attending formal events wore the Order's collar over their military uniform, formal day dress, or evening wear. When collars were worn (either on collar days or on formal occasions such as coronations), the badge was suspended from the collar.

Aside from these special occasions, however, much simpler accoutrements were used:

  • The star of the Order was an eight-pointed figure, with the four cardinal points longer than the intermediate points. Each point was shown as a cluster of rays. In the centre was the same motto, year and design that appeared on the badge. The star was worn pinned to the left breast.
  • The broad riband was a celestial blue sash worn across the body, from the right shoulder to the left hip.[30]
  • The badge was pinned to the riband at the left hip. Made of gold, it depicted a shamrock bearing three crowns, on top of a cross of St Patrick and surrounded by a blue circle bearing the motto in majuscules, as well as the date of the Order's foundation in Roman numerals ("MDCCLXXXIII").[30]

The Grand Master's insignia were of the same form and design as those of the Knights. In 1831, however, William IV presented the Grand Master with a star and badge, each composed of rubies, emeralds and Brazilian diamonds. These two insignia were designated "Crown Jewels" in the Order's 1905 Statutes, and the designation "Irish Crown Jewels" was emphasised by newspapers when they were stolen in 1907, along with the collars of five Knights; they have not since been recovered.[31][32]

A number of items pertaining to the Order of St Patrick are held in museums in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The robes of The 4th Baron Clonbrock, the 122nd Knight of the Order, are on display in the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin; the robe belonging to The 3rd Earl of Kilmorey is held by the Newry Museum; the National Gallery and Genealogical Museum in Dublin both have Stars of the Order; and the Ulster Museum (part of the National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland) in Stranmillis has a large collection on display and two mantles in storage.[33] The Irish Guards take their capstar and motto from the Order.[34]

Chapel and Chancery

Stpatrickcathedral dublin
St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin was the Chapel of the Order.

The Chapel of the Order was originally in St Patrick's Cathedral in central Dublin.[35] Each member of the Order, including the Sovereign, was allotted a stall in the choir of the Chapel, above which his (or her, in the case of Queen Victoria) heraldic devices were displayed. Perched on the pinnacle of a knight's stall was a helm, decorated with mantling and topped by his crest. Above the crest, the knight's heraldic banner was hung, emblazoned with his coat of arms. At a considerably smaller scale, to the back of the stall was affixed a piece of brass (a "stall plate") displaying its occupant's name, arms and date of admission into the Order. Upon the death of a Knight, the banner and crest were taken down and replaced with those of his successor. After the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1871, the Chapel ceased to be used; the heraldic devices of the knights at the time were left in place at the request of Queen Victoria.[36]

The Order was without a ceremonial home until 1881 when arrangements were made to display banners, helms and hatchment plates (the equivalent of stall plates, in the absence of stalls) in the Great Hall, officially called St. Patrick's Hall, in Dublin Castle.[37] On the establishment of the Irish Free State the banners of the living knights were removed. When the Hall was redecorated in 1962 it was decided that it should be hung with the banners of the members of the Order in 1922. The existing banners were repaired or new ones made; it is these banners which can be seen today.[38] The Hall, which was renamed St Patrick's Hall from its association with the Order, also served as the Chancery of the Order. Installation ceremonies, and later investitures, were held here, often on St Patrick's Day, until they were discontinued. A banquet for the Knights was often held in the Hall on the occasion of an installation. St Patrick's Hall now serves as the location for the inauguration of the President of Ireland.[39] If an incumbent Irish president dies in office (such as Erskine Hamilton Childers in 1974), he lies in state in the hall.

Unlike many of the other British Orders, the stall plates (or hatchment plates) do not form a continuous record of the Knights of the Order. There are only 34 stall plates for the 80 or so knights appointed before 1871, (although others were destroyed in a fire in 1940), and 40 hatchments plates for the 60 knights appointed subsequently. In the case of the stall plates this was perhaps due to their size, 30x36 cm (12x14 in).[40]

Precedence and privileges

Order of St Patrick 2006
A panel recording some members of the Order of St Patrick in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.

Since the members of the Order were required to be knights, and in practice had higher rank, many of the privileges of membership were rendered moot. As knights they could prefix "Sir" to their forenames, but the form was never used in speech, as they were referred to by their peerage dignities. They were assigned positions in the order of precedence, but had higher positions by virtue of their peerage dignities.

Knights used the post-nominal letters "KP". When an individual was entitled to use multiple post-nominal letters, KP appeared before all others, except "Bt" and "Btss" (Baronet and Baronetess), "VC" (Victoria Cross), "GC" (George Cross), "KG" (Knight of the Garter) and "KT" (Knight of the Thistle).

Knights could encircle their arms with a depiction of the circlet (a blue circle bearing the motto) and the collar; the former is shown either outside or on top of the latter. The badge is depicted suspended from the collar.[41] They were also entitled to receive heraldic supporters.[42] This high privilege was, and is, only shared by members of the Royal Family, peers, Knights and Ladies of the Garter, Knights and Ladies of the Thistle, and Knights and Dames Grand Cross of the junior orders. (Of course, Knights of St Patrick, normally all being members of the British Royal Family or peers, were mostly entitled to supporters in any event.)[43]

See also


  1. ^ According to Galloway (pp 171–2), the motto was borrowed from the Order of the Friendly Brothers of St Patrick, but was also appropriate politically in expressing a desire for unity
  2. ^ a b "Monarchy Today: Queen and Public: Honours: Order of St Patrick". Official website of the British Monarchy. Retrieved 3 December 2006.
  3. ^ 1783 Statutes, Article III, quoted in Nicolas, p. 9. The 1905 Statutes, quoted in Galloway p281ff, remove these restrictions on membership.
  4. ^ Vincent Morley. "Origin of the St. Patrick's Cross Flag". Flags of the World. Retrieved 17 December 2006.
  5. ^ See Image:Duke of Leinster coa.png
  6. ^ "No. 33282". The London Gazette. 7 June 1927. p. 3711.
  7. ^ According to Galloway, p155, neither Cosgrave or his government registered any protest, possibly because they had no objection
  8. ^ "No. 34065". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 June 1934. p. 4137.
  9. ^ "No. 34265". The London Gazette. 17 March 1936. p. 1738.
  10. ^ Galloway, pp152–6
  11. ^ a b Devlin, Hannah (13 November 2005). "Focus: Does Ireland need its own awards?". Sunday Times Ireland. London. Retrieved 7 December 2006.
  12. ^ "Seanad Éireann – Volume 148 – National Cultural Institutions Bill, 1996: Second Stage". Office of the Houses of the Oireachtas. 17 October 1996. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2006.
  13. ^ 1783 Statutes, Article II, quoted in Nicolas, p. 9
  14. ^ Galloway, p. 103
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ Preamble to 1783 Statutes, quoted in Nicolas, p. 9. According to Galloway, p. 17, it was intended that there be 16 knights in addition to the Sovereign, but George III decided to take one of the 16 stalls which had been allotted in the chapel for himself.
  17. ^ Nicolas, p. 37
  18. ^ Galloway, p. 269
  19. ^ Galloway, p26
  20. ^ For example The 1st Baron O'Hagan and The 4th Viscount Southwell. According to Galloway, p. 69, the first Roman Catholic was appointed to the Order in 1821.
  21. ^ Galloway, p. 27
  22. ^ Warrant dated 14 July 1871, quoted in Galloway, p. 249
  23. ^ Galloway, p. 28.
  24. ^ a b c Galloway, pp. 249–50, 277
  25. ^ Galloway, pp. 27, 31
  26. ^ 1783 Statutes, Article XVII, quoted in Nicolas, p. 15
  27. ^ Galloway, p. 29
  28. ^ Galloway, p. 252
  29. ^ a b c 1783 Statutes, Ordinances touching the Badges, Devices and Habits of our Knights Companion of our Most Illustrious order of St Patrick, quoted in Nicholas pp. 16–17
  30. ^ a b 1783 Statutes, article V, quoted in Nicolas, p. 10
  31. ^ "Dublin Castle – History: The Illustrious Order of St. Patrick". Dublin Castle. 2002. Archived from the original on 7 December 2006. Retrieved 7 December 2006.
  32. ^ Galloway, p.81
  33. ^ Noreen Cunningham and Madeleine McAllister. "A Robe of the Order of St Patrick". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 7 December 2006.
  34. ^ "Irish Guards: The Regiment Today". Ministry of Defence. 2004. Archived from the original on 28 July 2006. Retrieved 7 December 2006.
  35. ^ 1783 Statutes, article VII, quoted in Nicolas, p. 11
  36. ^ Galloway, p. 67
  37. ^ Galloway, p. 70
  38. ^ Galloway, p. 202
  39. ^ "Inauguration and removal of the President". Comhairle. 14 November 2006. Archived from the original on 24 March 2007. Retrieved 6 December 2006.
  40. ^ Galloway, pp. 201–209
  41. ^ The 1783 statutes only mention encircling the arms with the collar and badge of the Order. The 1905 Statutes, article XX (quoted in Galloway, p. 282) mention the circlet and supporters as well.
  42. ^ 1905 Statutes, article XXI, quoted in Galloway, p282
  43. ^ Woodcock and Robinson, p93


Further reading

  • Peter Galloway, The Most Illustrious Order: The Order of Saint Patrick and its Knights. Unicorn Press, London, 1999.

External links

1783 in Ireland

Events from the year 1783 in Ireland.

1902 Coronation Honours

The 1902 Coronation Honours were announced on 26 June 1902, the date originally set for the coronation of King Edward VII. The coronation was postponed because the King had been taken ill two days before, but he ordered that the honours list should be published on that day anyway.

The list included appointments to various orders and honours of the United Kingdom and British India, and the creation of two new decorations:

the Order of Merit

the Imperial Service OrderThere were also some promotions and appointments in the British Army announced in the list.

The honours were covered in the press at the time, including in The Times on the day, but formal announcements in the London Gazette were spread out over the following months, in gazettes dated 26 June 1902, 11 July 1902, 18 July 1902, 22 July 1902, 25 July 1902, and 2 September 1902.A South African list, honouring people for their service during the Second Boer War, was published on the same day.

1911 Coronation Honours

The Coronation Honours 1911 for the British Empire were announced on 19 June 1911, to celebrate the coronation of George V which was held on the 22 June 1911.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

Arthur Plunkett, 9th Earl of Fingall

Arthur James Plunkett, 9th Earl of Fingall KP PC (I) (29 March 1791 – 21 April 1869) was an Irish peer, styled Lord Killeen from 1797 to 1836. He became Earl of Fingall in 1836 on the death of his father the 8th Earl and was appointed a Knight of the Order of St Patrick on 9 October 1846.He married Louisa Corbally and had 8 children, including Arthur, 10th Earl of Fingall, and the noted diplomat Francis Richard Plunkett.

Baron Monteagle of Brandon

Baron Monteagle of Brandon, in the County of Kerry, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. Before he was deposed, James II had intended the title to be conferred upon one of his supporters, Stephen Rice. Instead, it was created in 1839 in the reign of Queen Victoria for the Whig politician Thomas Spring Rice, a descendant of Stephen Rice. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer between 1835 and 1839. He was succeeded by his grandson, the second Baron, his eldest son the Hon. Stephen Edmund Spring Rice having predeceased him. The second Lord Monteagle was a unionist politician and was made a Knight of the Order of St Patrick in 1885. On his death, the title passed to his son, the third Baron. He held minor diplomatic office. He was succeeded by his uncle, the fourth Baron. He was the younger son of the aforementioned the Hon. Stephen Edmund Spring Rice, eldest son of the first Baron. As of 2017 the title is held by the fourth Baron's great-grandson, the seventh Baron, who succeeded his father in 2013.The diplomat Sir Cecil Spring Rice, British Ambassador to the United States from 1912 to 1918, was the son of Hon. Charles William Thomas Spring Rice, second son of the first Baron Monteagle of Brandon.

The family seat was Mount Trenchard House, near Foynes, County Limerick.


A baronet ( or ; abbreviated Bart or Bt) or the rare female equivalent, a baronetess (, , or ; abbreviation Btss), is the holder of a baronetcy, a hereditary title awarded by the British Crown. The practice of awarding baronetcies was originally introduced in England in the 14th century and was used by James I of England in 1611 as a means of raising funds.

A baronetcy is the only British hereditary honour that is not a peerage, with the exception of the Anglo-Irish Black Knight, White Knight and Green Knight (of which only the Green Knight is extant). A baronet is addressed as "Sir" (just as is a knight) or "Dame" in the case of a baronetess but ranks above all knighthoods and damehoods in the order of precedence, except for the Order of the Garter, the Order of the Thistle, and the dormant Order of St Patrick. Baronets are conventionally seen to belong to the lesser nobility even though William Thoms claims that "The precise quality of this dignity is not yet fully determined, some holding it to be the head of the nobiles minores, while others, again, rank Baronets as the lowest of the nobiles majores, because their honour, like that of the higher nobility, is both hereditary and created by patent."Comparisons with continental titles and ranks are tenuous due to the British system of primogeniture and the fact that claims to baronetcies must be proven; currently the Official Roll of the Baronetage is overseen by the Ministry of Justice. In practice this means that the UK Peerage and Baronetage consists of about 2,000 families (some peers are also baronets), which is roughly 0.01% of UK families. In some continental countries, such as Poland the nobility consisted of about 5% of the population, and in most countries titles are no longer recognised or regulated by the state.

Charles O'Neill, 1st Earl O'Neill

Charles Henry St John O'Neill, 1st Earl O'Neill, KP, PC (I) (22 January 1779 – 12 February 1841) was an Irish politician, peer and landowner.

He was born in 1779 to John O'Neill, 1st Viscount O'Neill, of Shane's Castle, County Antrim, Ireland, and educated at Eton before joining Christ Church, Oxford on 23 November 1795. He succeeded as second Viscount O'Neill in 1798 on the death of his father and was made Viscount Raymond and Earl O'Neill in 1800 after the Act of Union, when it was decided that O'Neill should have precedence in the Irish peerage. After the passing of the act he was elected as one of the 28 Irish peers allowed to sit in the House of Lords in September 1800. In 1807 he was appointed one of the joint Postmasters General of Ireland along with Richard Trench, 2nd Earl of Clancarty and in 1809 with Laurence Parsons, 2nd Earl of Rosse; in practice this was merely an honorary appointment, with the Post Office secretary (Sir Edward Lees) doing much of the work. He was made a member of the Order of St. Patrick on 13 February 1809 and Lord Lieutenant of Antrim on 17 October 1831. He died on 25 March 1841 with no heirs; as such the earldom became extinct and the viscountcy transferred to his younger brother John O'Neill, 3rd Viscount O'Neill.

Dermot Bourke, 7th Earl of Mayo

Dermot Robert Wyndham Bourke, 7th Earl of Mayo KP PC (I) (2 July 1851 – 31 December 1927) was an Anglo-Irish peer, styled Lord Naas from 1867 to 1872.

He succeeded as Earl of Mayo on the death of his father Richard Bourke, 6th Earl of Mayo in 1872. In 1890 he was elected as an Irish representative peer and took his seat in the House of Lords. He was appointed a Knight of the Order of St Patrick on 3 February 1905.

He was one of the four landlord representatives during the 1902 Land Conference. Between 1921 and 1922 he served in the Senate of Southern Ireland. He was nominated by W. T. Cosgrave to the Seanad of the Irish Free State on its formation in 1922. He was nominated for 12 years and served until his death in 1927.His wife, Geraldine Sarah Ponsonby (d. 29 November 1944), was the granddaughter of John Ponsonby, 4th Earl of Bessborough, and the great-granddaughter of George Coventry, 8th Earl of Coventry.

Edward O'Brien, 14th Baron Inchiquin

Edward Donough O'Brien, 14th Baron Inchiquin KP (14 May 1839 – 9 April 1900) was the holder of a hereditary peerage in the Peerage of Ireland, as well as Chief of the Name of O'Brien and Prince of Thomond in the Gaelic Irish nobility. In 1862, he was appointed High Sheriff of Clare.

Born the eldest son of Lucius O'Brien, 13th Baron Inchiquin and Mary Fitzgerald. He took the title in March 1872, upon the death of his father, and was appointed a Knight of the Order of St. Patrick on 5 August 1892.

He married firstly Emily Holmes-á Court, the daughter of William Holmes-á Court, 2nd Baron Heytesbury, and together they had four children; Geraldine Mary O'Brien (1863-?), Lucius William O'Brien, 15th Baron Inchiquin (1864-1929), Murrogh O'Brien (1866-1934), and Edward Donough O'Brien (1867-1943).

He then married Ellen Harriet, the daughter of Luke White, 2nd Baron Annaly, with whom he had a further ten children. One daughter, Beatrice, married Guglielmo Marconi, the radio pioneer.

Henry Beresford, 2nd Marquess of Waterford

Henry de La Poer Beresford, 2nd Marquess of Waterford KP, PC (Ire) (23 May 1772 – 16 July 1826) styled Lord Le Poer from 1783 until 1789 and Earl of Tyrone from 1789 to 1800, was an Irish peer.

Beresford entered the Irish House of Commons for Londonderry County in 1790 and sat for the constituency until the Act of Union. In 1798, he also stood for Coleraine but chose not to sit. Beresford became Marquess of Waterford in 1800 after the death of George Beresford, 1st Marquess of Waterford and was appointed a Knight of the Order of St Patrick on 14 March 1806.

Henry Dawson-Damer, 3rd Earl of Portarlington

Henry John Reuben Dawson-Damer, 3rd Earl of Portarlington (5 September 1822 – 1 March 1889) was an Irish peer.

On 17 November 1841, he was commissioned a cornet in the Dorsetshire Yeomanry. He became Earl of Portarlington in 1845 on the death of his uncle John Dawson, 2nd Earl of Portarlington and resigned his Yeomanry commission in November 1848. The Earl was appointed a Knight of the Order of St Patrick on 8 February 1879.

Irish Crown Jewels

The Jewels Belonging to the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick, commonly called the Irish Crown Jewels or State Jewels of Ireland, were the heavily jewelled star and badge regalia of the Sovereign and Grand Master of the Order of St. Patrick. They were stolen from Dublin Castle in 1907 along with the collars of five knights of the Order. The theft has never been solved and the jewels have never been recovered.

Mervyn Wingfield, 7th Viscount Powerscourt

Mervyn Edward Wingfield, 7th Viscount Powerscourt (13 October 1836 – 5 June 1904) was an Irish peer. He became Viscount Powerscourt in 1844 on the death of his father Richard Wingfield, 6th Viscount Powerscourt. Through this Wingfield line he was a maternal descendant of the Noble House of Stratford. His mother was Lady Elizabeth Frances Charlotte, daughter of Robert Jocelyn, 3rd Earl of Roden.

On 26 April 1864, Wingfield married Lady Julia Coke, the daughter of Thomas Coke, 2nd Earl of Leicester. They had five children:

Mervyn Wingfield, 8th Viscount Powerscourt (1880–1947), a great-grandfather of Sarah, Duchess of York

Maj.-Gen. Hon. Maurice Anthony Wingfield (21 June 1883 – 14 April 1956), married Sybil Frances Leyland and had issue. He was Lees Knowles Lecturer in 1924

Hon. Olive Elizabeth Wingfield (6 November 1884 – May 1978), married Maj. William John Bates van de Weyer and had issue

Hon. Clare Meriel Wingfield (5 June 1886–1969), married Arthur Chichester, 4th Baron Templemore

Hon. Lilah Katherine Julia Wingfield (13 January 1888–1981), married Sir Clive Morrison-Bell, 1st BaronetPowerscourt was appointed a Knight of the Order of St Patrick on 2 August 1871. He was created Baron Powerscourt in the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 1885, enabling him to sit in the House of Lords.

Norroy and Ulster King of Arms

Norroy and Ulster King of Arms is the King of Arms at the College of Heralds with jurisdiction over England north of the Trent and Northern Ireland. The two offices of Norroy and Ulster were formerly separate, but were merged in 1943. Norroy King of Arms is the older office, there being a reference as early as 1276 to a "King of Heralds beyond the Trent in the North". The name Norroy is derived from the French nort roi meaning 'north king'. The office of Ulster King of Arms was established in 1552 by King Edward VI to replace the older post of Ireland King of Arms, which had lapsed in 1487.

Ulster King of Arms was not part of the College of Arms and did not fall under the jurisdiction of the Earl Marshal, being the heraldic authority for the Kingdom of Ireland (the jurisdiction of the College of Arms being the Kingdom of England and Lord Lyon's Office that of the Kingdom of Scotland).

He was Registrar and King of Arms of the Order of St Patrick. Norroy and Ulster King of Arms now holds this position, though no new knights of that Order have been created since 1936, and the last surviving knight died in 1974. Heraldic matters in the Republic of Ireland are now handled by the office of the Chief Herald of Ireland (a part of the Genealogical Office in the National Library).

The arms of The new office of Norroy and Ulster King of Arms were devised in 1980 based on elements from the arms of the two former offices. They are blazoned: Quarterly Argent and Or a Cross Gules on a Chief per pale Azure and Gules a Lion passant guardant Or crowned with an open Crown between a Fleur-de-lis and a Harp Or.

The current Norroy and Ulster King of Arms is Timothy Duke, who succeeded Sir Henry Paston-Bedingfeld in 2014.

Order of the Star of India

The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India is an order of chivalry founded by Queen Victoria in 1861. The Order includes members of three classes (regardless of gender):

Knight Grand Commander (GCSI)

Knight Commander (KCSI)

Companion (CSI)No appointments have been made since the 1948 New Year Honours, shortly after the Partition of India in 1947. With the death in 2009 of the last surviving knight, the Maharaja of Alwar, the order became dormant.

The motto of the order was Heaven's Light Our Guide. The Star of India emblem, the insignia of order and the informal emblem of British India, was also used as the basis of a series of flags to represent the Indian Empire.

The order is the fifth most senior British order of chivalry, following the Order of the Garter, Order of the Thistle, Order of St Patrick and Order of the Bath. It is the senior order of chivalry associated with the British Raj; junior to it is the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, and there is also, for women only, the Imperial Order of the Crown of India.

St. Patrick's blue

St. Patrick's blue is a name applied to several shades of blue associated with Saint Patrick and Ireland. The colour blue's association with Saint Patrick dates from the 1780s, when it was adopted as the colour of the Anglo-Irish "Order of St. Patrick". In British usage, it refers to a sky blue used by the Order of St. Patrick, whereas in Irish usage it is often a dark, rich blue. While green is now the usual national colour of Ireland, St. Patrick's blue is still found in symbols of both the state and the island.

Thomas Sadleir

Thomas Ulick Sadleir (1882 - 1957) was an Irish genealogist and heraldic expert. He was successively registrar of the Order of St Patrick, Deputy Ulster King of Arms and Acting Ulster King of Arms.

Sadleir's first involvement with the office of arms at Dublin Castle was when he worked on an unpaid basis whilst an undergraduate at Trinity College, Dublin. He graduated in 1904, and was called to the bar in 1906.

By 1913 he was working on a daily basis at the office, whilst practising as a barrister. In 1915 he was appointed registrar of the Order of St Patrick by George Dames Burtchaell, Deputy Ulster King of Arms. In practice, Sadleir carried out most of the day-to-day work of Ulster's office.

In August 1921 Burtchaell was killed in a tram accident, and in September Sadleir was appointed Deputy to Neville Rodwell Wilkinson, Ulster King of Arms. As Wilkinson was almost always absent from Dublin, Sadleir performed most of the duties of the office.

The Office of Arms was unaffected by the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, continuing to cover the whole of the island of Ireland, and remaining based in Dublin Castle.

In 1940 Wilkinson died, and the government of Ireland requested that no successor be appointed. For the next three years Sadleir was Acting King of Arms.

In 1943 the government of Ireland established the Genealogical Office which took over the records of the Office of Arms, while the title of Ulster King of Arms was merged with that of Norroy to become Norroy and Ulster King of Arms, a member of the College of Arms in London.

Sadleir continued to work for the Genealogical Office until 1944, clearing the large backlog of grants and confirmations of arms that had built up in Ulster's office. After leaving the GO, he continued his private genealogical practice. He maintained links with his former employer, however, remaining a trustee of the Heraldic Museum until his death.

Sadleir subsequently became librarian at King's Inns, Dublin, a post he held until his death.

William O'Brien, 2nd Marquess of Thomond

William O'Brien, 2nd Marquess of Thomond, 6th Earl of Inchiquin KP PC (I) (1765 – 21 August 1846) was an Irish peer. He was born in Ennistymon, County Clare, to Capt. Edward Dominic O'Brien and Mary Carrick. He succeeded by special remainder as Marquess of Thomond in 1808 on the death of his uncle Murrough O'Brien, 1st Marquess of Thomond and was appointed a Privy Councillor and Knight of the Order of St Patrick on 11 November 1809. He was created Baron Tadcaster in the British Peerage in 1826.On his death in 1846 his title passed by the same special remainder to his brother James O'Brien, 3rd Marquess of Thomond.

William Pery, 3rd Earl of Limerick

William Hale John Charles Pery, 3rd Earl of Limerick KP, PC, DL, JP (17 January 1840 – 8 August 1896), styled Viscount Glentworth until 1866, was an Irish peer and Conservative politician. He served as Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard under Lord Salisbury between 1889 and 1892 and again between 1895 and his death in 1896. In 1892 he was made a Knight of the Order of St Patrick.

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