The Knights Bachelor's Annual Service

Thursday 16th July 2015

The Knight's Bachelors gathered in the Crypt of St Paul's for their Annual Service of Dedication on July 16th. I together with several Livery Masters was a guest of the Knight Principal, Sir Colin Berry and the Council. The Service took place in St Faith's Chapel which occupies the same space in the east end of the crypt as the OBE Chapel. St Faith's presence in the Crypt dates back somewhat longer than that of the OBE having been established in the pre-fire Cathedral in the 14th century as the chapel of the parish of St Faith under St Paul's. The story goes that the parish church of St Faith, once in the north east corner of St Paul's churchyard was demolished in the early 1300's when the medieval cathedral was extended. The crypt was offered as a replacement for their church. This has never been verified but it remains a good story. The Knights Bachelor opened their very pretty little chapel adjacent to St Faith's in 2008 having moved from St Bartholomew the Great. The space offered by St Paul's was a disused part of the crypt and has been turned into a beautiful small chapel containing many symbols of the Imperial Society. It was opened by the Queen in 2008 the centenary of their foundation as the Society of Knights Bachelor (They became Imperial in 1912) Knights of course go much further back than that and are one of the oldest chivalric honours. Every year they come together to make their vows afresh and newly appointed Knights are encouraged to come and make their vows for the first time. The sermon was given by the Bishop of London as their prelate and a subset of the cathedral choir sang. After the service we were all invited to Apothecaries' Hall when we stood in their lovely courtyard drinking fizz and eating nibbles in the sunshine. An excellent opportunity to meet and talk to so many very interesting men who had been awarded this ancient honour. It remains exclusively a male only award since there is no feminine equivalent of a Knight. Women who are similarly honoured are usually given the DBE.