Bruges Garter Book

William Bruges dressed as Garter King of Arms, kneels before St George, from his Garter Book

The Bruges Garter Book is a 15th-century illuminated manuscript containing portraits of the founder knights of the Order of the Garter. It was made to the order of William Bruges (c. 1375-1450), Garter King of Arms, and constitutes the first armorial covering members of the Order. It has been held since 1883 by the British Library (formerly the British Museum Library) in London under catalogue reference Stowe MS 594, indicating its former existence within the Library of the Dukes of Buckingham at Stowe House.


It was made between about 1430 to 1440, probably in London.[1]


The cover probably dates to the years following 1600, of brown leather tooled in gold-leaf with a floriated pattern, measuring 385 * 285 mm. The text is in Latin, written in a gothic and gothic cursive hand. It contains 27 full page miniatures in pen and watercolour, of which 26 depict standing knights displaying on a panel sitting on the ground to their right hand sides the heraldic escutcheons appertaining to their successors in the same Garter stall in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. The remaining page depicts William Bruges himself in the dress of Garter King of Arms kneeling before St George, the patron of the Order.[1]

The pages have been removed from their original positions and now exist mounted on modern paper leaves.

  • Folios 1–3 consist of subsequently made notes.
  • Folio 4 is a printed page imported from another book


Emblem of the Order of the Garter, a cross of St George within a Garter inscribed: Honi soit qui mal y pense. It is shown embroidered onto the left shoulder of the Garter Robes of each of the knights depicted in the Bruges Garter Book, over a tunic or tabard bearing his own armorials

The manuscript is now held by the British Library in London. From William Bruges the manuscript passed successively to the ownerships of:


The illustrations depict the 25 Founder Knights and King Edward III the sovereign of the Order of the Garter as follows, shown in ascending order of Garter-Stall number in St. George's Chapel:

Portrait Name Arms
Edward III of England (Order of the Garter).jpg

King Edward III (1327–1377) (Anachronistic: fleurs de lys in Royal Arms of England not reduced to three until reign of King Henry IV (1399–1413)[2]
Royal Arms of England (1340-1367).svg
Edward the Black Prince 1430.jpg

Edward, the Black Prince, Prince of Wales (1330–1376)
Arms of the Prince of Wales (Ancient).svg
Portrait of Henry, Duke of Lancaster - William Bruges's Garter Book (c.1440-1450), f.8 - BL Stowe MS 594 (cropped).jpg

Henry of Grosmont, 4th Earl of Lancaster (c. 1310–1361)
Arms of Edmund Crouchback, Earl of Leicester and Lancaster.svg
Warwick 1430.jpg

Thomas de Beauchamp, 11th Earl of Warwick (d.1369)
De Grailly 1430.jpg

Jean III de Grailly, Captal de Buch (d.1377)
Blason Jean de Grailly.svg
Stafford 1430.jpg

Ralph de Stafford, 2nd Baron Stafford (1301–1372)
Stafford arms.svg
Salisbury 1430.jpg

William de Montacute, 2nd Earl of Salisbury (1328–1397)
Montacute Arms.svg
Conte de la Marsche.jpg

Roger Mortimer, 2nd Earl of March (1328–1360)
Arms of the House of Mortimer.svg
De Lisle.jpg

John de Lisle, 2nd Baron Lisle (1318–1356)
Blason Lisle de Rougemont.svg
Burghersh 1430.jpg

Bartholomew de Burghersh (died 1369)
Old French Escutcheon.svg
Beauchamp 1430.jpg

John de Beauchamp (died 1360)
Thomas de Beauchamp Arms.svg
Mohun 1430.jpg

John de Mohun, 2nd Baron Mohun (c. 1320–1376)
Old French Escutcheon.svg
Courtenay 1430.jpg

Hugh de Courtenay (died 1349)

Blason Courtenay.svg
Thomas Holland 1430.jpg

Thomas Holland (died 1360)

Old French Escutcheon.svg
Grey 1430.jpg

John de Grey (c. 1300–1359)

Old French Escutcheon.svg
Fitzsimon 1430.jpg

Richard Fitz-Simon (b.1295)

Armoiries de la famille de Boubers.svg
Stapleton 1430.jpg

Miles Stapleton (died 1364)

Miles Stapleton of Bedale Arms.svg
Walle 1430.jpg

Thomas Wale (died 1352)

Insignia Germany Order Teutonic.svg

Hugh Wrottesley (died 1381)

Hugh Wrottesley Arms.png
Lorying 1430.jpg

Nele Loring (died 1386)

Arms of Sir Neil Loring, KG.svg
Chandos 1430.jpg

John Chandos (died 1369)[3]

Blason Jean Chandos.svg
JamesDeAudley BrugesGarterBook.jpg

James Audley (died 1369)

Blason ville fr Mesquer (Loire-Atlantique).svg
Holland 1430.jpg Otho Holand (died 1359) Old French Escutcheon.svg
Eam 1430.jpg Henry Eam (died before 1360) Old French Escutcheon.svg
Dabrichecourt 1430.jpg Sanchet D'Abrichecourt (died 1345)[4] Sanchet D'Abrichecourt Arms.svg
Paveley 1430.jpg Walter Paveley (died 1375) Old French Escutcheon.svg

Further reading

  • O'Conor, Charles, Bibliotheca Ms. Stowensis: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Stowe Library, 2 vols (Buckingham: Seeley, 1818-1819), II, 552-53.
  • Catalogue of the Stowe Manuscripts in the British Museum, 2 vols, London, 1895-1896),vol. I, no. 594.



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