The Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor was established in England in 1908, to act as a Registry for those endowed with the title of Knight Bachelor and uphold the designation’s dignity. The Imperial Society is now a registered charity and maintains the spirit of modern Knighthood.

A definition of what it means to be a Knight in England can be seen in the embedded short video.

Sir Peter Birkett was awarded a Knighthood at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Birthday Honours in 2012, and is now a member of the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor. The title of Imperial was granted to the Society by His Majesty King George V.

Derivation of Knight Bachelor

Historians have oft debated the derivation of the term ‘Knight Bachelor’ and in particular the use of the word ‘bachelor’. Many believe this particular term is used as this is a title that cannot be passed down through generations but dies with the person it is bestowed upon.

Other scholars have suggested that the term is a portmanteau derived from confusion over the use of the French words battelier or battalere, meaning one who has fought on a battlefield, and the Latin word baccalaurius, denoting a specific subdivision of soldiers. This confusion led to an anglicized version of baccalaurius, namely bachelor, to enter into common use. [4]

The PDF attachment looks at some of the insignia used by members of the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor over the years.

Charitable Objectives

The Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor is known for pursuing a number of charitable initiatives, with a particular focus on areas such as poverty relief, support for the elderly, support for hospitals, educational advancement, and support for the vulnerable and needy.

Knights Bachelor members are also strongly encouraged to help develop cooperation and understanding between all people of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Register of Knights

While the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor acts as the modern Registry of Knights, there has long since been some form of registry. This practice dates back to the era of King James I, to prevent people from pretending to the honour. However, early lists were often incomplete and there were several high-profile cases of individuals pretending to Knighthoods or surreptitiously obtaining them at the levee.

The infographic attachment looks at some of the most recent Knights Principal of the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor.