Graaf Floris V

Sovereign order of Saint James of Holland

Beschrijving / discription

Chronology of The Souverein Order of ( St. James) St. Jacob of Holland

The history of the order starts not with the birth of Count Floris V but several years later in

1279. Floris V was born in july 1254 and was  the son of  Willem II  King of Germany and Count of Holland and Elizabeth van Brunswijk Lüneburg

In the year 1277 he is knighted by Duke Jan van Brabant, this Duke is with the Duke of Gelre the important rulers of  the Low Countries at that time, Floris becomes a knight after a tournament at  's Hertogenbosch.

On july 25th 1279 the Order of St. Jacob of Holland is instituted on the day of St. James the Mayor and is blessed by Bishop elect Jan van Nassau.

The first 12  knights who were installed were:

Diederik , Count of Cleve

Lancelot Lord of Hamilton, the Ambassador of Scotland

Godevaert Lord of Bochholt, the Ambassador of Westphalen

Hendrik Lord of Hennenberg, the Ambassador of Keulen

Dirck Lord of Brederode

Jan Lord Heusden

Jan Lord of Arkel

Dierck Lord of Lynden

Otto lord of Asperen

Jaques Lord of Wassenaer

Gijsbrecht Lord of Amstel

Hugo Lord of Vianen

In history  is the year of installation 1279 or 1290 a matter of discussion, the last year  seemed historically more acceptable because of the political situation those days. It could be a miswriting of  MCCLXXIX  MCCLXXXX  Becoming a member of an order undre the crown of Holland  is becoming a friend and brother for life.

After the institution of the Order more knights were accepted in the Order.

On the Christmas day Floris V Granted 40 members of his household (huysluiden) knighthood and so we find the name of Lord Anssum van Weer, from Vuurcapelle as knight. The first book that tells us the story of knighthood of Floris V is the Cronyk van Holland written in 1316 by the Clerc of the lage landen by der Zee, a clergyman who wrote under a pseudonym, the book was first printed in 1740.

Beka (The Cronycks of Joannes van der Beke) and Melis Stoke they are the important witnesses of history at that time. Melis Stoke did not write about the Order and this could be a political deciscion because after the death of Floris no writings could come from his hand .

 Despite of his power and his loyal knights Floris V is vulnerable, there is much jelousy and Floris V a brave diplomatic but tempered man.  His ongoing dispute with Lord Gijsbrecht van Amstel comes to an end when Count Floris V is kidnapped and murdered by van Amstel and his companions Herman van Woerden Gerard van Velzen and Jan van Cuyk  close to Muiderberg op june 27 1296. The first Grand Master is dead but the Order continues.

The year 1304 is important because the Siege at Zierikzee where the Count of Holland fights against Flandres and with the help of the French, Holland wins the war. Rewarding his effort in the siege Witte van Haemstede, the basterd son of the late Floris V is knighted and also with him  48 companions receive the “”Order of the Count”, or sometimes called "The  Order of the Shell”. In a important historical book called the Reygersberg Croniek ( also Divisie Croniek) published in 1551 Jan Jansz. Reygersberg van Cortgene writes about this story in chapter 31.

Tells us that Gerard van Voorne  squire of Floris V becomes viscount of  Zeeland.

The Reygersberg Croniek from Zeeland has been twice issued  in 1551 and in 1634 ( see  booklist ) Jan Reygersberg. In the first and second isuue is written about Jan van Renesse, Dadaijn van Cruningen and Wolfert II van Borselen as the most important Lords who carried the chain of the Order with the shells The second issue is corrected by Boxhorn who adds severeal items and corrections to it.

In the seventeenth century the famous historian Boxhorn writes of the Order in his Book Theatrum Sive Hollandiae comitatus et urbium descriptio, 1632 , also Christofor Butkens tells us that there is a Order of St. Jacob founded in 1290.  Butkens was a monk and made an study of chivalry and heraldry with a description of the family Lynden who. His work describes  Annales Généalogique de la Maison de Lynden 1626. With the shield mark of Dierk van Lynden with the chain and on a bow St. James on page 88 of the Annales de la Maison de Lynden.

Thomas the Rouck  writes about this charter on page 162 also with two names of knights of the Order on page 295 and 296, the Lord of Hem, knight of St. Jacob, and Philips, knight in the Order of St. Jacob . 

Dordrecht was a important city during the reign of Floris V for their trade and stratigical position and in the history of the City of Dordrecht we find a few lines written about the Order of St. Jacob (Beschryvinge der stad Dordrecht 1677 page 722.)

In 1677 publishes Adriaan van Schoonebeek a book called History of all Orders of Chivalry. Again he tells us of the chain of the Order in gold with 6 shells ( according Chr. Butkens ) later it becomes a chain with 7 shells. The Investiture is in The Haque in de Ridderzaal. In this same year a famous tournaiment is given for the members of the Order; with champions Dirk van Brederode,  Jan van Heusden, Dirk lord of  Lynden , and Arend lord of IJsselstein. 

It is a pity that  other writings of Holland about the insitution of the Order noted by Elias Ashmole, English armorist (1617-1692) besides the information of Butkens is never found (1626.) Butkes stays disputed  up till now , but no opponent of the Order can tell why he would fake an armorial for an important noble family of Lynden who would absolute not accept any falsification in history.Butkens was a monk of the Salvator Cloister in Antwerpen and made a vow the the Holy Church.

Chain and cross

In the middle of the 18th century most Orders of Chivalry changed their decorations to get a uniform cross. In 1744 in the Beschreibung alter Geist und Weltlichen Ritterorden is written that in these years the medaillon is changed in a eight pointed cross suspended under a shell( a coquille) as a neck ribbon. From this time it is possible to find writings about the Order in different countries, besides Germany, as written  above  Lancelot Lord Hamilton ambassador from the king of Scots was one of the twelve first knights. Hugh Clark is the author of the  Concise History of Knighthood( London 1784)and  he even shows a complete chain with 12 cockle shells and a medallion of St. James.

Et Dambreville publishes in 1807 a work of orders of chivalry in which he writes of the diplomatic works of Floris V and his notes are from Aubert Mirée,  discribed by Boxhorn in 1632 as Professor Aubertus Myraeus. Myreaus was one of the most importand late Medieval heraldics and historians.

The 19 th century

With the return of the King of Holland, William I, the Order does not become a royal order but stays independent, and calls herself Sovereign. After that time a lot of discussions are made in writings about the genealogie and the acceptance of the coat of arms, and almost every 20 years the order appears in a work or essay. And it seemed what historical was accepted in the 17th century needed to be dicusessed again in the 19th century. In the first half the discussion with the High Court of Heraldry between Max . L. Baron D’Yvoy van Mijdrecht and Baron Lijnden van Hemmen in presentation and letters, while the second half of this century a romatic revival shows in writings about the installation of the Order by Beloo and the feast of knights by Jongbloed 1845, and the Maskerade  and a Charter of Floris V Meylink e.o.appear.

Mr. de Roever and Dozy documented the Order in school books from 1906.  

The status of the order changes, from a catholic order it becomes a independent order under the authority of a Grand Master and not always a priest or nobleman. During World War II the order lost his Grand Comander  Rev.L.M. Penders from  and his Grand Master Rev. E.A.G. Boorn the rector of the Ursulinde Cloister in Posterholt as a victem of the nazi occupation.

With them a lot of information and archive was lost, but the order could survive through al this misery, and florishes these days with new members and gains.

Thanks to the effort of Grand Master E.A. Ates in 1990 the Muiderslot accepted a plaquette from the Order of St. Jacob which is situated in the Floris Room. In 1996 the museum in Rijsburg opens a exposition of The Order and in 2001 a statue of Count Floris V is unvealed in the same city.

Under the leadership of H.E. drs. A.H.Chr. de Bruijn, G mSJ, the Order will continue her works and charity and is stays in  international contact .

The Chancery is very proud that in 2003 the order received a place in one of the most importing books of the last years about the dutch decorations written by J.A. Zelm van Eldik.

We continue our search to the roots of the Order and accept humble our position in history.

Count Floris V takes his first twelve knights in his order. source:

The history of the Order of St. James in Holland

After studying the historical facts, it is generally accepted that the Order of St. Jacob, known as ‘de Soevereine Orde van St. Jacob in Holland’ was founded in 1279. On the 25th of July that year, twelve noblemen were knighted in the Ridderzaal (Knights' Hall) in The Hague. The Ridderzaal was part of the count's palace, which was situated in the Binnenhof (Inner Court). 

Like most Chivalry Orders at that time, the name of a Patron Saint was linked to the Order, and there are several theories about St. Jacob. St. Jacob was the warrior, the apostle and protector of Count Floris V. He was born on St. Jacob's day - 25th July 1254. This might have been a deciding factor for choosing this name. 

A little church was built - called St. Jacob's church - around 1270 in the ¨Buitenhof¨ (Outer Court). This church, which was built from stone, has been renovated several times, and therefore the connection between Floris V and St. Jacob was no coincidence at that time. 

According to literature, 1290 appears to be the founding year of the Order (1) and this seems to correspond better with historical facts. The disagreement between the Count and his companions the well known Gijsbrecht van Amstel was not that obvious at that time. In literature composed by Le Petit there is a summery of many knights related to the Order.

In the ¨Cronyck der Lage landen¨ it is stated that Floris V knighted 40 ¨huyslieden¨ on Christmas Day, presumably this Investiture took place in 1290 or later. (2) After this Floris V was named der keerlen God, ( he thinks that he is God himself.) 

History writing was less accurate in those days; ultimately it has been shown that many men were knighted after the first Investiture. (3) Many documents were not saved in this century.

In 1304, after the siege of Zierikzee, squire Jan van Henegouwen knighted 48 men; they became knights in the Order of the Shell, also known as the Order of the Count. 

After the waning of the Middle Ages and the disappearance of many Chivalric Orders,   the Order of St. Jacob was not absolved. By fact  it was no longer an Order representing power and prestige, such as other Chivalric Orders had become more prominent, but the Order survived the Reformation. 

The Order of St. Jacob  is mentioned in several historical writings and changes of chain and cross were noticeable. The eight-pointed cross was introduced and many other Orders adopted this cross. 

When William I as king of  the Low Countries decided to select a new Chivalric Order in 1815  it seemed for a moment that the Order of  St. Jacob would be related again to a sovereign of Holland. However, neither St. Jacob's cross nor the Cross of Burgundy  was chosen, but instead the descision was made to create a new order: the William Order (or later Militaire Willemsorde). (4) 

The Order is still acknowledged by Catholic clergymen, but documentation of the past is  unfortunately poor. All what was left in the archives are a few names from the previous century and some pictures from knights, when the Order was dormant. 

However, 1980 heralded a revival. 

After many years of internal transfers amongst Roman Catholic priests, the Order stepped into the limelight again. The celebration of 700 years of the Order of St. Jacob - the most ancient Chivalric Order in The Netherlands – the efforts are crowned with the unveiling of a memorial stone at the ¨Muiderslot¨ in 1990. The Chancery of Dutch Orders accepted the decorative ribbon for their collection. A committee was formed to make a memorial monument of  Floris V. 

Material relating to the Order was found in several locations, and as a result of many publications an extensive archive was created. (5) 

Since 1996, a permanent exposition regarding the Order is kept in the Museum of Rijnsburg, and in 2001 the Floris V monument was unveiled. It is placed near the Church of the Abby.  With this unveiling a milestone was reached.  With the fact  that the Order is growing in membership beside ceremonies also charitable activities take place. 

For admittance to the Order, approval of the Chapter is necessary. Admission to the fraternity takes place through nomination by the Chancellor and Grand Commander to the Grandmaster.  At annual meetings the Treasurer and the Secretary General assist the Chapter. The Order knows a ranking system:
Grand Commander-Chancellor, Commander, Knights, Dames of Honour, Sisters and Brothers. For outstanding membership an Order of Merit is given. Working out historical discussions in the archives, as well as the careful documentation of the literature and pictures, form the effort for the Order's preservation. Each member commits him or herself to perform these objectives.    

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