Archived News

This Provincial event of The Hertfordshire Knights Templar, is now in its 11th year. It has continued to be a great festival of colourful fun, song and camaraderie. This year the dining hall at Cheshunt was packed with over 100 Knights with their families and friends who gathered again for what turned out to be a wonderful evening.

A preview of the hall before everybody entered, was quite a beautiful sight. The hall was decked out with all forms of red, white and blue decorations and St George’s flags.

In traditional form, the ‘Roast Beef’, carried by Kt Dennis Holmes, was paraded into the hall under an Arch of Steel led by the firm hands of David Sodey, and after circling the hall, was presented to The Provincial Sub Prior – Mike Stanforth, and was duly ‘Knighted – Sir Loin’!! to the loud acclaim of the assembly.

The meal was excellent, and as the afternoon progressed, and much ale was quaffed, the wenches were kissed, and the jollity continued!! Mike Beaty led the Stand Up Bingo, which caused great rivalry.

We were entertained by the lovely soprano – Gemma Turner, who returned by popular request and gave us a medley of traditional English songs, leading up to the wonderful singing of the patriotic hymns. Everybody joined in with great enthusiasm.

Many knights and their guests had by this time shed their formal dinner gowns, and had donned their patriotic fancy dress. It was good to see John Paternoster, recovered from his injury, in full flow, and most elegantly attired. We were also very pleased to welcome The Provincial Grand Master, Paul Gower and his wife.

Our pictures show what a happy and vibrant occasion this was, and we hope will continue to be so for many years to come. Certainly – not an occasion to be missed.

Denis Gibney

At the recent meeting of the Charles Herbert Perram Preceptory, by dispensation from the Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master, the Secrets of the Chair were conferred upon the Provincial Grand Master, Kt Paul Gower, during the ceremony of installing the new Eminent Preceptor. Following the Installation, the Right Eminent Provincial Prior was very pleased to appoint E.Kt. Gower to the rank of Past Provincial Standard Bearer (VB), to the acclaim and warm applause of all present.

Monsoon rain and flash floods in the car park were not sufficient to dampen the enthusiasm at the Annual Meeting of the Provincial Priory of Hertfordshire, which was held on Thursday 23rd June 2016, once again at the Metropolitan Police Sports Club, Bushey.

A large number of Knights of the Province were in attendance at the meeting to support those who were being appointed, re-appointed or promoted by the Provincial Prior, RE Kt Tony Lapsley, including E Kt Michael Stanforth PGtStB(B), who was re-appointed as Sub-Prior. The meeting was also well supported by a number of Provincial Priors and other senior representatives of Provincial Priories from all over the country, many of whom had travelled long distances in appalling weather conditions in order to be there.

As always, a large contingent of the Provincial Bodyguard, under the command of E Kt David Sodey, PProvStB(B), were on hand to support the Provincial Marshal, E Kt Mike Beaty PGtStB(B), and his Deputy, E Kt John Offord with the ceremonial duties in the Temple, which were performed to a very high standard.

During the meeting, the Provincial Prior was delighted to present the first ever Provincial Prior's Certificate of Meritorious Service to be awarded in Hertfordshire to VE Kt Les Butler, PGtReg, in recognition of his many years of long and devoted service to Knights Templar Masonry. This award, which had been kept as a closely guarded secret, was greeted with warm and prolonged applause from all present.

At the Festive Board that followed the meeting, the RE Provincial Prior was pleased to present the RW Provincial Grand Master with a cheque, on behalf of the Knights of the Province, for the sum of £1000 towards the 2019 Festival. A second cheque for £500 was then presented by E Kt John Milner PGtA-de-C, on behalf of the members of the Standon Priory Preceptory No. 581. Both cheques were very well received, and followed the earlier announcement in the Temple of a substantial donation of £2000 by the Province to the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital.

The meeting was held under the Banner of the Stuart Preceptory No. 28, whose members were also proud to display the original banner of the Watford Encampment, from which the Stuart Preceptory is descended. This banner is believed to have originated in 1840, and whilst it underwent extensive renovation by the seamstresses at Great Queen Street approximately ten years ago, it still contains a substantial amount of the original material. Next year's meeting will be held under the banner of the Melita Preceptory No. 37, after the RE Provincial Prior accepted the offer of the Sub-Prior, who is also the current Eminent Preceptor of Melita, on behalf of all the members of the Preceptory, to hold the meeting under their banner.

E Kt Alastair White DepGtSwdB
Provincial Vice-Chancellor

Click here for even MORE pics of the Knights.

The Preceptory was consecrated in 1930 and it's banner, over the past 86 years has now seen better days. The Preceptory General Purpose Committee had decided that it either needed to be refurbished or replaced with a new one. The cost of refurbishment would not have been value for money so it was decided that a new banner of the same design should be the way forward. Together, EKt John Kimm and Kt Lester Wellington researched various manufacturers who were willing and able to produce the banner to the specification required.

The Province were informed of the intentions of the Preceptory and all was agreed and authorised. The Provincial Executive were now tasked with performing the Banner Dedication Ceremony on the night, so work was underway.

The day arrived and there were around 45 knights in attendance to witness this magnificent ceremony. The Right Eminent Provincial Prior entered the Preceptory and took the chair from the Eminent Preceptor in order to conduct this dedication. The Banner Escort team formed up and retired in order to bring the new banner into the Preceptory. On re-entering the temple, Kt Lester Wellington carried the covered banner in and the assembled knights received an oration from the Provincial Prelate, Jeff Hardie, before the Provincial Marshal unfurled the banner. It was then paraded around the Preceptory to the sound of 'Onward Christian Soldiers' when the RE Prior then presented the banner to the Eminent Preceptor. The Banner was then placed in its rightful place. The RE Prior wished the Preceptory the very best for it's future and endorsed the fact that the banner will surely provide at least another 100 years service.

After the Banner dedication, the Preceptory went on to proclaim EKt Rob Gurney, Eminent Preceptor for a further year. He then went on to appoint and invest his officers in both the Preceptory and having opened a Priory of Malta in shortened form, declared his officers. The evening ended with a fantastic Festive Board where the members sat with their guests and enjoyed each others company.

Once again The Knights of The Province of Hertfordshire assembled for The Annual Service of Praise. We were received with a most cordial welcome from The Rector – Revd Peter Smith. Accompanied by Knights of The Temple and Knights of Malta, The Provincial Prior processed in under the assembled banners of the Hertfordshire Preceptories. As always, this is a dramatic sight. The Abbey was again packed with Knights and their families. Fine singing was supported with The Director of Music, Jonathan Lilley, on the piano as the organ was not in a fit state of repair to be used. The church provided fantastic acoustics. We are always most grateful for the continued permissions given by the Abbey, for us to hold our Annual Service in this beautiful medieval building, which never fails to provide a stunning venue.

We were blessed with fine weather, which continued as we strolled across the grounds to the social centre for an excellent tea. Tony Lapsley, The Provincial Prior was pleased once again, to present a substantial cheque to Rev Smith, which goes towards the upkeep of the Abbey. We look forward to being here again next year, and extend a cordial invitation to all Masons and their families, to join us in this very special event next May.

Denis Gibney

Following the great success of the ‘Away Weekend’ to Warwick in 2015, the venue this year was the beautiful city of York. And what a wonderful success it proved to be. Over 100 of us made our way to York with our families and friends. Using the Fairfield Manor Hotel as our base was a wise move. Set a little way to the north of the city, surrounded by the spring-fresh farmland, the venue in this former Manor House, proved an exquisite choice.

Quite a number of families had taken the opportunity of extending their stay and gave themselves more time to explore the region.

The city of York is one of the greatest historic gems in the UK. The original city was enclosed in medieval stone walls to protect the inhabitants from marauding Scots and Norsemen. Sections of these ancient walls are still visible in good condition, as you explore the older parts of the city.

Central to the city is the magnificent York Minster Cathedral Church. As a visitor into this ancient monument, you are immediately aware of the immense size of the building, as can be seen from the photographs. One of the most interesting and helpful aspects is that throughout the Minster, there are displays with thorough and detailed explanations of every part of the 2000 years of construction, decoration and architectural detail. This really has improved over the years, and makes a visit - a most informative and enjoyable experience.

For an architectural and masonic journey, the crypt and undercroft have been opened, so that parts of the foundations and massive supporting stonework are exposed, again with the most informative display cards.

Around the main aisles of the nave, quire and apses, there are exhibitions demonstrating how the stained glass is made and conserved, (you can even design your own panel) along with various icons and decorative panels, which will intrigue not only the KT visitors, but also the Rose Croix and Pilgrims.

Across the road from the cathedral entrance there are many narrow and winding streets of the ancient city, with a considerable number of the original buildings carefully preserved, and still in use.

Close to the main city station is the National Railway Museum, which has original massive locomotives and railway memorabilia, taking you right back to the origins of steam engines and rail travel, including Stephenson’s Rocket. This museum proved popular to a surprising number of very young children as well as many rail enthusiasts in their engine drivers’ hats!!

On the Sunday night we all came together for the banquet and dancing. This was a charming and energetic evening where Tony Lapsley’s daughter could be seen organizing the dance floor, displaying considerable talent with YMCA!!

So – a very successful and enjoyable weekend whatever your interests. Our congratulations and sincere thanks must go to Mike Stanforth, for organizing the weekend, and we shall look forward with intrigue to his choice for next year.

Should anyone require copies of the photos, please contact me.

Denis Gibney

This Provincial event of The Knights Templar, has been held in Hertfordshire for 10 years. It is always a great festival of colourful fun and camaraderie. This year was no exception. Over 100 Knights with their families and friends gathered again for what turned out to be a superb afternoon.

Entering the dining hall before the knights came in was quite a beautiful sight. The whole room was decked out with all forms of red and white decorations and St George’s flags.

In traditional form, the ‘Roast Beef’ was paraded in under an Arch of Steel in the firm hands of Bob Landragin, and after circling the hall, was presented to The Provincial Prior Tony Lapsley, and was duly ‘Knighted – Sir Loin’!!

The meal was excellent, and as the afternoon progressed, and much ale was quaffed, the wenches were kissed, and the jollity continued!! Mike Beaty and Bob Landragin led the Stand Up Bingo, which caused great rivalry.

We were entertained by the lovely soprano – Gemma Turner, who gave us a medley of traditional English songs, leading up to the wonderful singing of the patriotic hymns, when everybody joined in with great enthusiasm.

Many knights by this time had shed their formal dinner suits and had donned patriotic fancy dress. Our Green Dragon re-appeared looking vaguely like Bob Landragin. It was also good to see John Paternoster in full flow, although confined to his wheel chair following his recent injury.

Our pictures will show what a happy occasion this was and we hope will continue to be so for many years to come. Certainly not an occasion to be missed.

Denis Gibney

There were over 50 Knights attending the annual meeting of the Stuart Priory No.28 at Halsey Hall, Watford, these included the Provincial Prior, R.E.Kt. Tony Lapsley, together with a number of Provincial Officers of the Year, and his Bodyguard.

After the Eminent Prior of Stuart Priory, Tony Potton, had opened the Priory and the normal Priory business had been transacted, E.Kt. Michael Beaty PGtStB(B) took the Chair. This was notable in that E.Kt. Beaty took the Chair for the meeting in 2000 when the Stuart Preceptory re-commenced their Malta meetings after a break of many, many years.

The Knights of the Priory having voted to admit them, E.Kt. Peter Mitchell GtStB(VB) Installed the candidates as Knights of St Paul, and entrusted them with the Mediterranean Pass. E.Kt. Michael Beaty then Installed the representative candidate, Kt. Tony Brookfield, and five other candidates, as Knights of the Ancient and Masonic Order of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta, ably assisted by E.Kts. Gavin O’Sullivan PGtStB(B) and Geoff Cheshire PProvHer.

E.Kt. Tony Potton resumed the Chair and proceeded to Install Kt. Steve Batty as Eminent Prior for the ensuing year, and the newly Installed Prior appointed his officers. This meeting marked the end of an era in the retirement of E.Kt. Eric Misselke PGtHer, who had given sterling service to Stuart Preceptory and Priory as Preceptory Registrar and Priory Chancellor since October 1997.

This was, as it always seems to be, a splendid meeting, enhanced by the colourful regalia and the set up of a full Priory of Malta.

The Museum of the Order of St John is delighted to announce that it will play host to an exciting and remarkable production this Easter season: The Devil's Passion (or Easter in Hell), an extraordinary 90-minute solo piece written and performed by award-winning playwright Justin Butcher and directed by the Olivier-award winning director Guy Masterson. This acclaimed production finds its perfect setting in the beautiful and atmospheric Crypt of the Priory Church, where it will premiere on Tuesday 29th March and run through at 7.30pm Mon-Sat until Saturday 16th April.

30% of every ticket sold for The Devil's Passion will go to support the work of St John Ambulance. There will also be a retiring collection after every performance in aid of St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group.

The Church Times has described The Devil's Passion as "A serious and seriously fine piece of writing, a terrific performance, a startlingly original presentation, which crackles with great lines." Framed satirically against a "War on Terror"-style backdrop, The Devil's Passion tells the Easter story from the perspective of the devil, a diabolical Secret Service Chief striving to combat "extremism" in the Middle East in defence of our "freedoms". The Huffington Post praised the play as "A light sandblasting for jaded souls, with a gleefully heretical flavour ... timely, beautifully-written, ingenious, poignant - an impressively versatile performance, in which Butcher's writing shines."

Tickets can be booked through Brown Paper Tickets, or by telephone on 0800 411 8881. There is a special offer of £10 tickets for performances from Tuesday 29th March through to and including Thursday 7th April for Supporters of St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group and St John Ambulance. This offer can be claimed by quoting the code, EASTER16 when booking tickets. This offer is open until Friday 18th March.

Please do book your tickets here and encourage your friends and colleagues to join us for this exciting and inspiring event. We look forward to seeing you at one of the performances!

The RE Provincial Prior, Tony Lapsley, is pleased to congratulate the Knights of the Province listed on the website, via the link below, who the Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master has been pleased to honour with Promotions in, or First Appointments to, Great Priory Rank. It is another great honour to have another active Great Priory officer in the Province.
Promotions & Appointments

On Tuesday 15th September 2015 at The Metropolitan Police Sports Club at Bushey, The Provincial Grand Master - Paul Gower, was Installed as a Knight of the Order into the Charles Herbert Perram Preceptory No 409.

This was a grand occasion and well attended by Hertfordshire Knights as well as many visitors from other Provinces. The meeting was open to ALL Knights of all ranks. The R.E. Provincial Prior was jubilant to see as many Knights of The Province attending to welcome the Craft Provincial Grand Master into our Order.

The Melita Preceptory No 37, Celebrated a unique occasion in their colourful history, 200 years.

From its earliest days in Malta, its travels through Europe to England, and eventually settled in Hertfordshire, and is now at home in The Halsey Masonic Hall here in Cheshunt.

The Eminent Preceptor, E Kt John David Campbell and the Knights of The Melita Preceptory were proud to assemble in the presence of The Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master - Timothy John Lewis, and many distinguished guests. They celebrated their Bi-Centenary on what proved to be an outstandingly glorious and happy occasion.

The Supreme Grand Master was welcomed under The Arch of Steel. He occupied The Chair and gave a brief and happy address to all assembled. EKt Bob Chilvers followed and delivered a brief history of The Preceptory, which was contained in full detail in the remarkable document provided to each Knight. The Provincial Prelate, EKt Jeffery Hardy gave a short oration, offered prayer, and the hymn 'Now Thank We All Our God' was sung by all assembled.

Then, The Knights of The Melita Preceptory were directed to form up around the sepulchre, which was then followed by The Presentation of The Bi-Centenary Warrant by The Supreme Grand Master.

The Preceptory was then adjourned for a Demonstration of 'The Grand Cross of St John' under the direction of VE Kt Les Butler. Several volunteer candidates were happily resplendent in their caps decorated with the purple feathers.

The Festive Board was an equally happy occasion with an added bonus, that in each dining place was a generous gift from The Preceptory - a set of cuff-links.

On 24th July 2015, Stuart Preceptory was 175 years old, having been originally Consecrated as the Watford Encampment in 1840.

For this milestone, in its life, the Preceptory used its Regular June 8th 2015 meeting to celebrate the occasion.

One hundred and ten Knights assembled at the Bushey Sports Club and witnessed (after the Preceptory’s regular items of business) the Dedication, by the Provincial Prior, of its New Banner. This new Banner was an exact copy of the old one which had given valuable service over many years and was “getting tired”.

As part of the celebratory meeting, a recital of part of the Ritual used in the 1840 ceremony was given in a catechism format.

This was followed by a short talk entitled “1840 And All That” giving details of what had gone on in the UK and Watford in that year. Finally a resumé was given, outlining the history of Stuart Preceptory’s 175 years.

Two highlights ensued: Namely the Presentation to the R.E. Provincial Prior of a cheque for £1,750 for the St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital and then the Presentation of a new, large, Ceremonial Sword for the use of the Provincial Prior on his many visits around the Province.

One interesting, additional presentation was that made by the William Stuart Preceptory, No. 76A (Province of Hampshire & Isle of Wight) of a goblet and plate for use during the ceremony of the Installation of a Knight. William Stuart (after whom that Preceptory was named) had been the Founding E. Commander (as Preceptors were called in those days) of Stuart Preceptory in 1840 and a Past Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Knights dined together, where the loyal and customary toasts were duly honoured.

On 27th May, 2015, The Preceptory of St Alban held the Installation of their new Preceptor - EKt Robert Gurney. It was a lovely, enjoyable ceremony, at Ashwell House, attended by The Provincial Prior and his Escort. The evening was concluded with a fine festive board and hearty congratulations to the new Preceptor, and his Installing Past Preceptor, EKt Christopher De La Sel, who installed his successor in a most commendable and sincere manner.

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