Knights Templar

The Great Priory of the United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders
of the Temple and of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta
of England and Wales and its Provinces Overseas

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KT Clement 300According to legend, the Knights Templar was founded in 1118 AD to protect pilgrims heading for Jerusalem and the Christian Holy places, where the small band of warrior monks established a headquarters. In the year 1118 AD King Baldwin II granted the Templars quarters on the Temple Mount and this forms the link to the Royal Arch.

Many men, of noble birth, joined the ranks of the Templar Order. Those who were unable to join often gifted the Templars with land and other valuables.
Modern Masonic association with these medieval defenders of the Christian Holy places is linked by the ceremony of Installation in which the Candidate takes the part of a Pilgrim who, by symbolically embarking on a Crusade, is elevated to Knighthood.

The earliest reference to modern Masonic Knight Templar activity in England can be found in the minutes of the Chapter of Friendship (Royal Arch) in Portsmouth, dated 1778, where it was worked as an Appendant Degree. In 1791 a Grand Conclave was formed comprising seven ‘Encampments’ with Thomas Dunckerley as Grand Master. By 1873 ‘Grand Conclave’ was now known as ‘Great Priory’, and ‘Encampments’ were now known as ‘Preceptories’.

The ceremony is very realistic and the regalia spectacular, based upon that worn by the Medieval Knights.

Prospective Candidates must be Master Masons, a Royal Arch Masons and Christian.

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It’s not often that a Preceptory celebrates its Centenary meeting some 151 years after it was Consecrated but his was the unusual position that The de Tabley Preceptory found itself in on Wednesday 27 February.

The de Tabley Preceptory, or Encampment as it was then known, was consecrated on 15 April 1868 and named 'de Tabley' in celebration of the appointment of George Leicester, or Leicester-Warren, the 2nd. Baron de Tabley, as the Provincial Grand Master for Cheshire.

In 1873, as a result of falling numbers, the Preceptory moved to Altrincham where it continued to meet for a number of years. Membership remained low and in 1884 the Preceptory committee proposed to move to Crewe or elsewhere.

A year later there was a change of mind and the Preceptory remained in Altrincham, but numbers did not improve.

The Preceptory had made no Returns to Great Priory since 1881, and held no meetings at all after December 1886. Eight more years elapsed before anyone noticed, it seems, for it wasn’t until 1894 that Provincial Priory advised that as de Tabley had not complied with a Resolution of Great Priory, and not sent the required Returns, the Warrant was forfeit and must be surrendered.

Whether it was by accident, or intent, the Warrant could not be found and so was not returned as instructed. By a stroke of luck, it was re-discovered a year later in 1895, when The Great Sub-Prior, Lord Euston, came to Chester to Install the Hon. Alan de Tatton Egerton - soon to be Lord Egerton of Tatton, and who was already the Provincial Grand Master - as Provincial Prior. Discussions took place whereby the Resuscitation of de Tabley Preceptory found favour, ultimately resulting in Great Priory cancelling the forfeiture of the Warrant and waiving all unpaid fees.

On the 16 May 1896 the Resuscitation meeting took place at Altrincham Town Hall.

However, records could not be found in 1996 to support one-hundred years of continuous working and only recently did the requisite proofs come to light.

The Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master, Paul Raymond Clement, G.C.T. was delighted to be present to join the Preceptory in the long-awaited celebrations. (Pictured left to right, the M.E. & S. Grand Master hands the Centenary Warrant to E.Kt. David Hinde, P.Gt.W. of R. in the company of R.E.Kt. Dr Anthony George Mathie, Provincial Prior for Cheshire and North Wales.)