Set up to provide support to retired seamen, the institution was intended to operate along the lines of the already established Military Knights of Windsor. In 1799, land was purchased in Datchet Lane for the construction of living quarters for the Naval Knights, and Travers College was built.
However, by the 1860s it was clear that the ideal of devout men living in common was not being achieved. The records reveal many instances of fighting, drunkenness and profane language among the Naval Knights, along with their complaints about compulsory attendance in chapel and their enforced bachelorhood. In 1892, the institution was formally disbanded and the buildings became St George’s School.
Further information on the Naval Knights, including what records we hold, can be found in the new research guide.
Eleanor Cracknell (Assistant Archivist)