Knights of the Garter
Founded in 1727 by British aristocracy and presided over by the Knights of The Garter whichis a non military honorary order founded by Edward III around 1348 as “a society, fellowship and college of knights.” This is not the same tenure as the old crusade knight groups. This was a social status club. It was something to belong to. The order of the garter apparently was founded by a prince who picked up a garter and donned it after it fell. Their motto is something like “Let none think ill of it” in gaelic, I believe. You can double check it on the net under knights of the garter origins. http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/sociopol_garter02.htm
Knights of Malta
Having had its beginnings at the behest of Merchants who obtained permission from the Kaliff to build a convent hospital and church in Jerusalem to care for the needy in 1048 they carried duty till the first fall of Jerusalem and returned to their duties again after the conquest in 1099. They were one of the military branches of the Knights of St John. They originally were The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes (1310–1523) and of Malta (1530–1798). This order is still around. is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world’s oldest surviving order of chivalry. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta is headquartered in Rome, Italy, and is widely considered a sovereign subject of international law. From its beginning, the independence from other nations granted by Pontifical deed, and the universally recognized right to maintain and deploy armed forces, constitute the grounds for the international sovereignty of the Order, thus it retains its claims of sovereignty under international law and has been granted permanent observer status at the United Nations. The goal is to assist the elderly, handicapped, refugeed, children, homeless, those with terminal illness and leprosy in five continents of the world, without distinction of race or religion. It sounds all nice and caring doesn’t it?
Also known as the Hospitalers did exactly as the name implies. They were hospital workers founded in around 1023. You need to understand that things like hospitals or medical set ups were not really done a lot in those days. Most of the Europeans empire might have been considered barbaric by our standards today. To even go so far as press a cold cloth against a fevered brow or take clean linen to dress injuries after that at least some water was used to rinse out dirt. Rudimentary splinting for bone injuries meant the difference in many cases especially of war between the life and death of those who were part of the servant class. (It is simply in poor taste and bad business to let your employees die!)
Knights of St John of Jerusalem
They were hospitalers who also doubled as military protection. Founded in Jerusalem around 1050 they were a branch of the many groups that fall under the Knights Hospitaller or The Hospitallers.
Knights of the Garter
These do not need knighting they are a more unmilitary order that is supposed to be purely honorary. They were founded by Edward III of England and copied everywhere else later on.
Originally known as The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon. Officially endorsed by the Catholic Church around 1129, the Order became a favored charity throughout Christendom, and grew rapidly in membership and power.
They were a military unit. The Templars’ existence was tied closely to the Crusades; when the Holy Land was lost, support for the Order faded. They were also suspected of double dealing and harrassing and killing off the Turks. They created a lot of havoc in some of their zeal.
Non-combatant members of the Order managed a large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom, innovating financial techniques that were an early form of banking, and building fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land.
These are German groups who apparently started up fraternities to garrison Jerusalem and care for the sick as did the British Knights of St John.
There was an awful lot of knighting going on in a time when swords and sheilds were the weapons of choice on broad expansive plains where two groups would clash with loud matalic banging about to determine who got what or who was right