Honours And Awards

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
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The Sphere (5 july 1902, p. 21)

Here is a list of Honours, Awards, Appointments and Degrees earned by Arthur Conan Doyle.

It is often ask if "Sir" Arthur was a "Knight Bachelor" (Kt) or a "Knight of Grace" (KStJ). In fact, he was a double knight... He was both of them. Kt in 1902 and KStJ in 1903. [1]

1875 : Matriculation Exam

In july 1875, Arthur Conan Doyle passed London Matriculation Examination at Stonyhurst College. On 20 july, he received his Certificate of Honour from the University of London. He was placed eighty-first.

Certificate of Honour from the University of London (28 july 1875)

1881 : Biology, M.B., C.M.

Around july 1881, Arthur Conan Doyle received his MD in biology. On 1st august 1881, he was graduated Bachelor of Medicine (MB, Medical Bachelor) and Master of Surgery (CM, Chirurgiae Magistrum) with First Class Honours from the University of Edinburgh.

1885 : M.D.

In april 1885, Arthur Conan Doyle submitted his MD thesis An essay upon the vasomotor changes in tabes dorsalis and on the influence which is exerted by the sympathetic nervous system in that disease, and he was awarded Doctor of Medicine (MD, Medicinae Doctor) degree from the University of Edinburgh in july 1885.

1898 : Cavaliere

While visiting Italy in 1898, Arthur Conan Doyle was appointed Cavaliere dell'Ordine della Corona d'Italia (Knight of the Order of the Crown of Italy, an honorary knighthood).

1902 : NSHS, Kt, D.L.

Nova Scotia Historical Society

In february 1902, Arthur Conan Doyle was awarded life membership to the Nova Scotia Historical Society for his patriotic work for the Empire.

Knight Bachelor and Deputy-Lieutenant

In april 1902, he was notified that he would receive a knighthood in the forthcoming Honours List. On 20 june 1902, Conan Doyle received a letter from Lord Salisbury confirming that he would receive a knighthood for his services to the Crown during the Boer War, especially his pamphlet The Great Boer War (and not for his Sherlock Holmes work, though King Edward VII was very fond of the detective). On 26 june, the list was published officially, and on 24 october, he was knighted (Kt, Knight, Sir) by King Edward VII at Buckingham Palace.

He was also appointed a Deputy-Lieutenant of Surrey. However, he wasn't knighted for having created Sherlock Holmes. He was made a knight for his work on a non-fiction pamphlet regarding the Boer War.

At the same ceremony, Arthur Conan Doyle was also appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey (D.L.).

In a correspondence with his mother, Conan Doyle intended to refuse the knighthood. He wrote he disparaged the title as "the badge of the provincial mayor," and believed that the big men such as Kipling and Chamberlain would not stoop to accept such honorifics. "All my work for the State would seem tainted if I took a so called reward." But his mother pelted her son with reproachful letters, and traveled to Hindhead to press her case in person. In the end, she wore him down. "To refuse the honor," she said, "would constitute an insult to the king." If Conan Doyle accepted his knighthood under duress, there was some consolation at the ceremony itself as he met Oliver Lodge, which was knighted the same day, and they could share their views about spiritualism: "We plunged at once into psychic talk, which made me forget where I was, or what I was there for." Once knighted he wrote to his brother Innes : "I feel like a new-married girl who isn't sure of her own name. They also made me Deputy-Lieutenant of Surrey, whatever that means."

Some 20 years later, in october 1924, in the short story The Adventure of the Three Garridebs, Conan Doyle made Sherlock Holmes refuse the knighthood at the same date (june 1902) in the same circumstances (conclusion of South African War). Dr. Watson wrote:

"I remember the date very well, for it was in the same month that Holmes refused a knighthood for services which may perhaps some day be described. I only refer to the matter in passing, for in my position of partner and confidant I am obliged to be particularly careful to avoid any indiscretion. I repeat, however, that this enables me to fix the date, which was the latter end of June, 1902, shortly after the conclusion of the South African War."

1903 : KStJ

Knight of Grace of St. John of Jerusalem

On 7 may 1903, Arthur Conan Doyle received the "Knight of Grace" title from The Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

1905 : LL.D.

On 7 april 1905, Arthur Conan Doyle was awarded his honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D., Legum Doctor) by the University of Edinburgh.

Arthur Conan Doyle leaving St. Giles cathedral (Edinburgh) after receiving his law degree LL.D. (7 april 1905).

1907 : Order of the Medjidie

On november 1907, during their honeymoon in Constantinople, Arthur Conan Doyle received the Order of the Medjidie (second class) and his wife Jean Conan Doyle received the Order of Nichan-I-Chefakat (second class) from the Ottoman Grand Sultan Abdul Hammid II. Read article.

  1. The status of Knight Bachelor (Kt) is the oldest of the British knighthoods, and is not connected with any Order, but is a royal bestowal. Nor does it have a postnominal indication (like KBE for a Knight of the British Empire) though it is sometimes indicated with "Kt", the real indicator is that it entitles the holder to prefix his name with "Sir" so this is whence "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle" derives. The Order of St John ("The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem") is the English branch of the Knights of Malta, and creation as a Knight of Grace in it is a separate honour, usually bestowed in recognition of humanitarian work; though there is a strong medical component, as the Hospital in its title suggests. Members of this Order do not usually make use of the postnomials except in formal settings; and Knighthood in this Order does not entitle use of the prefix "Sir."