The Order of the Garter was founded by King Edward III, under the patronage of St. George. At the time it was written that he ‘appoynted his Souldiers to wear white coats or jackets, with a red crosse before and behinde over their armour, …” and “it was not only a comely but a stately sight to behold the English battles, like the rising sunne, to glitter far off in that pure hew; when the souldiers of other nations in their baser weedes could not be discerned” ( Speed). So for many years the red cross remained the uniform of the English armies, and even after it ceased to be used the soldiers continued to wear its martial red until the vagaries of warfare compelled them to don “baser weedes” which “could not be discerned”. Richard II invaded Scotland in 1386 and he commanded his followers to bear “ a sign of the Arms of St. George, large, bothe before and behynde, lest he be slain in default thereof by his own party; and that non enemy do bere the same token or crosse of St. George, notwithstanding if he be prisoner upon payne of deth.”Many families that have crosses in their shields claim that they signify an ancestor’s participation in one of the crusades. The writer Camden tells us that “the Lord Barkleys, who bare first Gules a Chevron Argent, after one of them had taken upon him the cross ,… to serve in those wars, inserted ten crosses ‘paty’ in his shield”.
Several of the crusading military orders adopted an eight-pointed cross, each point supposedly standing for on of the Beatitudes ( Blessings from Jesus supposedly given at the service on the mount). The Knights Templar bore the cross red on white the Hospitallers white on black. The red eight-pointed cross with the motto Sic Deus Vult ( For the greater glory of God) is still used by the Order of the Crusaders, a twentieth century revival of the orders of chivalry, which waged the “Tenth Crusade” against class hatred and social evils in Great Britain and the British Empire. The cross of the Hospitallers survives to this day as the badge of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, which assigns significance to each of the points, namely, Observation, Tact, Resource, Dexterity, Explicitness, Discrimination, Perseverence and Sympathy- essential qualities in ambulance work.