Saturday, April 5, 2014


The history and sketch of this Order is already given under Austria.

Utrecht, was one of the twelve Bailiwicks, of which the Order consisted in Germany. It originated from a gift bequeathed to the Order, by a nobleman of Munster, a certain Suedre, (of Dingete and Ringenburg), and his wife, Beatrix, of all their estates situated in the diocese of Utrecht.

The first Great Commander of this Bailiwick, was the Chevalier Anthony of Ledersake of Printhagen. Since 1231, thirteen Commanderies were established, besides that of the Great Commander, eleven of which are still extant, viz : Dieren, Maasland, Tiel, Rhene, Leyden and Katneyk, Schooten, Doesburg, Schaluinen, Middelbxirg and Schoonhoven.

The Commander of Dieren is always co-adjutor of the Order and is next in rank to the Great Commander.

Since the 8th September, 1837, there are, in addition to the actual Knights, noblemen who have obtained the expectancy or reversion of a Commanderv, and are on that account allowed to wear a small cross.

When the Reformation was introduced into the Netherlands, and the Protestant became the established religion of the country, the Bailiwick of Utrecht was withdrawn from the authority of the then Grand Master, Mergenthein, as were, indeed, all the old church domains then disposed of for the benefit of the towns. The States of Utrecht, however, took in 1580, the Bailiwick under their protection, under the conditions that the Grand Master should follow their instructions, exclude priests from the Order, receive into it those noblemen only who professed the new religion, and enjoin the Commanders to renounce celibacy, in fine, dissolve all ties that might bind the Order to Rome. Of all the vows, there remained, consequently, but one : that of obedience.

In course of time, however, the Grand Masters endeavoured to bring the Bailiwick back under their own jurisdiction, and the consequence was, that at the meetings of the General Assembly of the States, the chair of the Grand Master remained vacant, its arms being turned towards the table. Things remained in this state of uncertainty until the war with France, in 1795, when by a decree of Napoleon, (February 27th, 1811), the Bailiwick of Utrecht ceased to exist, as did indeed the Teutonic Order in the whole of Germany, by a similar decree of Napoleon (24th April, 1809).

After the return of the House of Orange-Nassau, King William proposed to the States- General, the restoration of the Bailiwick, which the States consented to, and by a law of the 8th August, 1815, all the previous rights and privileges were restored to it.

The candidates must, previous to their nomination, prove their noble descent, of, at least, two hundred years' standing.

 The members are now divided into Great Commanders, Commanders, and Knights, to all of whom the revenues of the Bailiwick belong. They owe obedience and loyalty to the Great Commander, as the representative of the King.

Source : the book of orders of knighthood and decorations of honour of all nations, sir Bernard BURKE, 1858

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