Knights of the Royal Oak

Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), p. 89.


George C. Boase, per J. H. R.

Prepared by Michael Steer

The Knights of the Royal Oak was an intended order of knighthood. It was proposed in 1660 at the time of the restoration of Charles II. It was to be a reward to those Englishmen who faithfully & actively supported him during his exile in France. The knights so created were to be called "Knights of the Royal Oak", and bestowed with a silver medal, on a ribbon, depicting the king in the Royal oak tree, a reference to the oak tree at Boscobel House, then called the "Oak of Boscobel", in which King Charles hid to escape the Roundheads after the Battle of Worcester in 1651. Men were selected from all the counties of England and Wales, with the number from each county being in proportion to the population. William Dugdale in 1681 noted 687 names, each with a valuation of their estate in pounds per year. The estates of 18 men were valued at more than £3,000 per year. The names of the recipients are also listed in the baronetages, published in five volumes, 1741. The award was abandoned before being formally established, out of concerns that it might perpetuate dissension and keep alive the differences between Parliament and the King, which were better left forgotten. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

Note 74. KNIGHTS OF THE ROYAL OAK. - Gentlemen of Devon and Cornwall chosen by Chas. II. to be invested; the project was never carried out, however. (Burke's Landed Gentry, ed. 1837, Vol. I., 688.)

Gentlemen and the value of their estates, A.D. 1660.
 per ann.
Francis Buller, Esq.£3,000
[John] Ellyott, Esq., of Port Ellyott2,500
Samuel Pendarvis, Esq.1,500
Colonel Godolphin1,000
[John] Penrose, Esq.1,000
[Edward] Boscowen, Esq.4,000
- Hallett, Esq.800
Edmond Prideaux, Esq.900
Charles Grylls700
Oliver Sawle, Esq.1,000
Joseph Tredenham, Esq.900
John Vivyan, Esq.1,000
Charles Roscarrocke, Esq.800
William Scawen, Esq.800
Pierce Edgcombe, Esq.2,000
James Praed, Esq.600
From the MSS. of the late Mr. George C. Boase
                                                                   per J. H. R.