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Fount of honour


Fount of honour

The fount of honour (Latin: fons honorum) refers to a person, who, by virtue of his or her official position, has the exclusive right of conferring legitimate titles of nobility and orders of chivalry to other persons.


  • Origin 1
  • Legality of honours today 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4


During the

  1. ^ Spielvogel, Jackson J. Western civilization : a brief history (7th ed.). Boston: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning. p. 179.  
  2. ^ Gautier, Léon, translated from French by Henry Frith (1891). Chivalry. Glasglow: G. Routledge and Sons. p. 223. Every knight has the power to create knights 
  3. ^ Wollock, Jennifer G. Rethinking chivalry and courtly love. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger. p. 75.  
  4. ^ Anna, ed. by Luigi G. De (2003). Milites pacis : Military and peace services in the history of Chivalric orders : proceedings of the Conference: The Monks of War - the Monks of Peace, Military and Peace Services in the History of Chivalric Orders, Turku 15. - 26. 5- 2001. Turku: Univ. p. 82.  
  5. ^ Roy, Ann Ball ; introduction by Neil (2003). Encyclopedia of Catholic devotions and practices. Huntington, Ind.: Our Sunday Visitor. p. 286.  
  6. ^ Bunson], Matthew Bunson ; foreword by Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan ; [interior art by Margaret (2004). OSV's encyclopedia of Catholic history (Rev. [ed.]. ed.). Huntington, Ind.: Our Sunday Visitor Pub. Division. p. 602.  
  7. ^ Stevenson, Katie (2006). Chivalry and knighthood in Scotland, 1424-1513. Woodbridge [u.a.]: Boydell Press. p. 8.  
  8. ^ Mills, Charles (1861). The history of chivalry. Philadelphia: H.C. Carey and I. Lea. p. 34. 
  9. ^ Bush, M.L. (1988). Rich noble, poor noble. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 65.  
  10. ^ McCreery, Christopher (2005). The Order of Canada : its origins, history, and development (Reprint. ed.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press. pp. 3–16.  
  11. ^ Pitt-Rivers, Julian, Honor and Social Status, Honour and Shame: The Values of Mediterranean Society, Jean G. Peristany, ed., 20-77 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965), 30.
  12. ^ Paul Meyer, L'Histoire de Guillaume le Maréchal (Paris: Société de l'histoire de France, 1891–1901), with partial translation of the original sources into Modern French. Edition, History of William Marshal, (3 vols) Volume 1 Volume 2 Volume 3.
  13. ^ a b Kaeuper, Richard W. (1999). Chivalry and violence in medieval Europe (Repr. ed.). Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press. p. 95.  
  14. ^ Matikkala, Antti (2008). The orders of knighthood and the formation of the British honours system, 1660-1760. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. pp. 211–13.  
  15. ^ Duren, Peter Bander van (1995). Orders of knighthood and of merit : the pontifical, religious and secularised Catholic-founded Orders and their relationship to the Apostolic See. Gerrards Cross: Smythe. pp. 307–94.  
  16. ^ Hieronymussen, Paul; Crowley], photographed by Aage Strüwing ; [translated into English by Christine] (1970). Orders, medals, and decorations of Britain and Europe in colour (2d ed.). London: Blandford Press.  
  17. ^ McCreery, Christopher (2008). Maple leaf and the white cross : a history of the Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in Canada. Toronto, Ont.: Dundurn. p. 26.  
  18. ^ Official Website of the British Monarchy
  19. ^ "Queen and Honours". The Official website of the British Monarchy. London: The Royal Household. 2009. Retrieved 29 November 2012. As the 'fountain of honour' the Queen has the sole right of conferring all titles of honour, including life peerages, knighthoods and gallantry awards. 
  20. ^ a b 1.pdf JSP 761: Honours and Awards in the Armed Forces] (PDF) (2nd ed.). London: Joint Service Publication, Ministry of Defense. May 2008. pp. 12B–4. Retrieved 29 November 2012. only the Life Saving Medal of the Order of St John, The Royal Humane Society medals, Stanhope Gold Medal and the medal of The Royal National Lifeboat Institution may be worn on the right side of the chest 
  21. ^ The King's regulations and orders for the army. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. 1908. p. 287. 
  22. ^ "The Crown Today: Functions of the Head of State". Official Page of The Royal Household of His Majesty the King. owned by the House of His Majesty the King (Palacio de la Zarzuela, Madrid 28071, Spain). Retrieved 29 November 2012. Pursuant to the Constitution, the King is a symbol of the unity of the State, and as such, it is incumbent upon him to participate in important State acts...It is also incumbent upon the King to...Confer civil and military positions, as well as award honours and distinctions (Article 62 f). 
  23. ^
  24. ^ a b
  25. ^ Press Release of the Secretariat of State (Holy See), December 2012:


See also

The [25]

"These two dispositions are meant to protect the ensemble of authentic national and foreign distinctions by attempting to prevent the attire of fake decorations. These may stem from territorial entities which have not acceded to sovereignty or even from countries, nations, empires or kingdoms that are the pure and simple products of someone's overactive imagination, a fan of fiction or even a megalomaniac, if not purely mercantile acts or even the patent intention to abuse and swindle others." (Website of the Chancery of the Legion of Honour)[2]

In France, only decorations recognised by the Chancery of the Legion of Honour may be worn publicly, and permission must be sought and granted to wear any foreign awards or decorations. Dynastic orders are prohibited unless the dynasty in question is currently recognised as sovereign.[23] (For example, the Royal Victorian Order is explicitly recognised, whereas the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus is not.[24]) Failure to comply is punishable by law. A non-exhaustive list of collectively authorised orders is published by the government.[24]

The Official Website of the British Monarchy[18] states: "As the 'fountain of honour' in the United Kingdom, The Queen has the sole right of conferring all titles of honour, including life peerages, knighthoods and gallantry awards."[19] Some private societies in the United Kingdom (such as the Royal Humane Society)[20] have permission from the monarch to award medals which may be worn by those in uniform provided the private society's medal is worn on the right-side rather than the usual left.[20][21] In Spain the fount of honour is King Felipe VI as the head of state.[22]

[17] Other persons, whether commoners, knights, or noblemen, no longer have the right to confer titles of nobility, knighthood or orders of chivalry upon others.[16][15] The question whether an order is a legitimate

Legality of honours today

Many of the old-style military knights resented what they considered to be a royal encroachment on their independence. The late British social anthropologist, Julian A. Pitt-Rivers, noted that "while the sovereign is the 'fount of honour' in one sense, he is also the enemy of honour in another, since he claims to arbitrate in regard to it."[11] By the early thirteenth century, when an unknown author composed L'Histoire de Guillaume le Marechal[12] (a verse biography of William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, often regarded as the greatest medieval English knight[13]), Richard W. Kaeuper notes that "the author bemoans the fact that, in his day, the spirit of chivalry has been imprisoned; the life of the knight errant, he charges, has been reduced to that of the litigant in courts."[13]

The 13th century witnessed the trend of monarchs, beginning with Emperor Frederick II (as King of Sicily) in 1231,[7] retaining the right of fons honorum as a royal prerogative, gradually abrogating the right of knights to elevate their esquires to knighthood.[8] After the end of feudalism and the rise of the nation-states, orders and knighthoods, along with titles of nobility (in the case of monarchies), became the domain for the monarchs (heads of state) to reward their loyal subjects (citizens)[9] – in other words, the heads of state became their nations' "fountains of honour".[10]

[6] which later received official sanction from church and state.[5]

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