The Complete Guide to the British Peerage & Baronetage
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Fake Orders of Chivalry and Merit
As the late Robert Gayre of Gayre and Nigg said in the Introduction to his book "The Knightly Twilight: A Glimpse at the Chivalric and Nobiliary Underworld" ".....I suppose all men are subject to some folly associated with aspiring too high, or rating themselves above their value in some field or another. All hope for some recognition of their worth, or imagined worth, by society at large. It is left to a few, however, to have the recklessness to create their own rewards by pseudo Orders of Merit, or valueless academic rewards. Fewer still have the temerity to create for themselves titles to high nobility."
Gayre wrote this in 1973, when the trade in fake titles and Orders was a lot less than it is today. The Internet today is full of web sites offering all sorts of debatable products, from improbable titles to university doctorates. Nevertheless Gayre's comments are as relevant as they were back in 1973: ".....there has been a spate of bogus titles, and a mushroom growth of Orders, allegedly of chivalry. Many people of good reputation, but of little knowledge, or, unfortunately, rather gullible, have found their way into these organisations. The chief personalities of these "outfits" very often bear bogus titles, and confer these on others. In some cases actual forgeries occur."
So how does one tell a fake, false or bogus Order of Chivalry from a real one? To answer this question we shall present a series of articles in future editions showing examples of fake Orders: the "false" Orders of St John, the fake Order of St Stanislas run by Julius Sokolnicki, the fake Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre run by Dr Lloyd Worley, the fake titles and awards formerly sold by Terence Macarthy, etc. These are serious "scams" which in many cases have been going on for years and have resulted in many innocent people being parted from a great deal of money in the belief that they are joining a genuine Order of Chivalry or are acquiring a genuine title.
It is heartening to see that these peddlers of fake Orders and titles do not have it all their own way on the Internet. One of the more interesting web sites to come out against fake Orders and titles is www.faketitles.com. This informative and entertaining web site is written by the Earl of Bradford and details many of the organisations selling fake titles.
Last updated 19 Apr 2004
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