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Knights Templar

The United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta, in England and Wales, and its Provinces Overseas. As the title suggests it is a Christian Order and there are two distinct Orders within it. The Order of The Temple, the Knights Templar, and the Order of the Knights of Malta. There is, however no claim, or indeed evidence, to any historical link between the Masonic Orders and the mediaeval military orders. Each Order has its own distinct ceremonies, and regalia.

The earliest records of Masonic Knight Templar activity appear in 1777 when the minutes of some Royal Arch Chapters show that the rituals were being worked as appendant degrees in that Order. It is known that in 1791 a Grand Conclave was formed when, the well known Mason, Thomas Dunkerley was installed as Grand Master. The Grand Conclave then consisted of 7 Encampments. From 1845 onwards the Order grew steadily and there are currently in excess of 650 Preceptories on the role of The Great Priory of England.

The Knights Templar ceremony commemorates the actions of a band of Medieval Knights in 1118 who were granted accommodation by King Baldwin 2 in the Temple at Jerusalem. By way of repayment these warrior monks undertook to protect Pilgrims on their journeys to the Holy Temple. Originally they were known as ’the Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon‘, later shortened to Knights Templar. The ceremony is a story reflecting a Pilgrims progress to becoming a Knight of the Order. The Knights Templar meet in Preceptories and it is in this Order that all general business of the United Orders is transacted. All candidates for this Order are expected to be Royal Arch Masons.

The Warrant of a Preceptory empowers it to hold a Priory of Knights of Malta and all Knights Templar are expected to be, and indeed are subsequently, installed as Knights of Malta. The Knights of Malta, sometimes known as the Knights Hospitaller were founded to provide medical care for the pilgrims to the Holy Land. The ceremony in this Order traces the history of its struggle with the infidel, and of its progress from the time that the Order of Jerusalem until arriving at its final home in Malta. The Knights of Malta meet in Priory’s. Whilst the two Orders are distinct, with their own ceremonies and regalia, a candidate only has to pay one set of fees. Whilst it is permissible for a Knight of Malta to attend a Priory of Malta meeting wearing Knight Templar regalia most members of the Order eventually prefer to acquire the appropriate Regalia.

The structure of the United Orders is similar to that of other Masonic Orders. The overall governing body is Great Priory, which in turn delegates authority to Provincial Priories who are responsible for the Preceptories within its jurisdiction. The Provincial Prior is Graham L Perkins. In Worcestershire the Provincial Priory boundary corresponds with the Craft & Royal Arch Provinces. The Provincial Priory of Worcestershire consists of 16 Preceptories with a total membership of just under 400. 

2007 marked the 150th anniversary of the oldest Preceptory in the Province and the Provincial Priory of Worcestershire also celebrated its 150th Anniversary.

The governing body, or equivalent to Grand Lodge in the Craft, is known as “The Great Priory of the United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta

in England and Wales and its Provinces Overseas”. For obvious reasons commonly known as “Great Priory”. At its Annual Meeting in May, Great Priory Officers (both Past & Present) are appointed and Invested by the Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master.

The Great Priory is divided into Provinces headed by a Provincial Prior, appointed by the Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master. Each Provincial Priory holds an Annual Meeting where Provincial Officers (both Past and Present) are appointed.

Each Province, with the exception of the City & County of Bristol, supports a number of Preceptories (equivalent to a Craft Lodge) where candidates are installed into the Order.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The main progressive offices in the Preceptory are shown below together with the similar Craft office in brackets:-

  • Eminent Preceptor (Worshipful Master)
  • 1st Constable (Senior Warden)
  • 2nd Constable (Junior Warden)
  • 1st Herald (Senior Deacon)
  • 2nd Herald (Junior Deacon)
  • 1st Standard Bearer (No equivalent)
  • 2nd Standard Bearer (No equivalent)
  • Captain of Guards (Inner Guard)
  • Arch of Steel (Stewards)

 

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