2017-11-11 14:17:00 UTC
The known historical data from what I´ve been able to find:
As of Cartae Baronum, 1166, the King of England was owed service of 5000 knights. The lords were also owed service of knights not owed to King, giving an attested total of over 6500. Not counting the knights free of service.
From 1224, there are attestations of shortage of knights in England, and distraint of knighthood was employed to honour deserving wealthy men.
By 1300, the total of live knights in England seem to have stabilized at slightly under 1500, till end of 14th century.
In early 15th century, the number of knights dropped again and was under 300 by 1450.
By 1558, there were about 600 knights in England. The number dropped again under 300 in 1580s, then rose back to 600 by 1603, partly due to generous accolades from a viceroy of Ireland.
James I, reversing Elizabeth I-s parsimony, created knights so as to bring the total of over 1000.
But what is the current total?
Despite searches, I have not found easily available the simple number of living men who hold a valid rank of Knight Bachelor.
Also, there are multiple grounds to be a knight. Besides Knight Bachelor, there are Orders:
British Empire - limit of 300 Knights and Dames Grand Cross and 845 Knights and Dames Commander, meaning 1145 knights, minus Dames;
Royal Victorian Order - Grand Cross and Commander
Order of St. Michael and St. George - limit of 125 Knights Grand Cross and 375 Knights Commander, total 500;
Order of the Bath - limit of 120 Knights Grand Cross and 355 Knights Commander, total 475
Order of Thistle - 16 knights
Order of Garter - 24 knights
But these are not exclusive of each other.
So: does anyone have even an approximate number of distinct living men who are British knights by one or more grounds of having been made a Knight Bachelor or above listed ranks of orders