The banners of living Knights of the Garter hang in the Quire of St George’s Chapel but those of deceased Knights are, following presentation at the High Altar in the Chapel, displayed publicly or kept privately depending on family wishes. The attached list <click here> shows the known location of some banners from parish churches, university colleges or stately homes throughout the UK to places as far afield as New Zealand or the Falkland Islands.
The following account of the offering of heraldic achievements was written by the late Peter Begent (1930-2001):
“In medieval times the ceremonial offering of his heraldic achievements, sword, helm and crest at the altar, formed an important part of a knight’s funeral service. Although few Knights of the Garter were buried at Windsor, a practice developed of offering the achievements of all deceased Knights Companion, which from the time of their Installation would have hung above their Stall.
Probably from the mid fourteenth century the offering was made during a Requiem Mass for Deceased Companions, which was celebrated on the day following the Feast Day (usually the 24th April). The achievements, when offered, became the property of the College, which not infrequently sold them. Some however were retained-such as the sword of King Edward III which was offered on his death in 1377 and which now hangs in the South Quire Aisle.
The early Garter records make no mention of banners, although they were certainly being displayed by 1416, and King Henry V, who in 1421 issued instructions as to how the offering was to be made, says nothing of them. The first record of their inclusion in the ceremony is in 1503, but the tone of the entry suggests that the practice was not new. The offering of achievements continued until 1805 when, for more than a century, all religious observances associated with the Order ceased.
Following the revival of both the Garter services and the personal installation of Knights Companion in 1948, the then Dean, Bishop Eric Hamilton, devised a ceremony in which the Banner of the deceased Companion, escorted by the Military Knights, was received by the Dean and placed upon the altar. This ceremony, formally approved by King George VI in January 1952, continues to be observed.”