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On Monday 4th October 2021, the new Provincial Prior for Hertfordshire, R.E. Kt. Alastair White, made an official visit to The Harold Devereux Still Preceptory No. 543 - his first such visit to his Mother Preceptory in his new capacity.
At the meeting, the Provincial Prior was delighted to be able to present the Swift statue that he had accepted from the Most Eminent & Supreme Grand Master on behalf of the Preceptory, at the meeting of Provincial Priory held on 2nd September.
The Swift statue is dedicated to the memory of E. Kt. Peter James Butcher, P.Prov.A.-de-C., a member of the Preceptory for over 17 years, whose generous legacy enabled the Preceptory to make the requisite donation to the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group in order to qualify for the award.
Bro. Keith Goddard, of the Scholars in Amity Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 1710, has mounted the Swift on a beautiful, hand-crafted wooden plinth, which has enabled the attachment of a silver memorial plate. The Preceptory has made a donation to Bro Keith’s nominated charity - the “Room to Learn” Indian Schools Charity - as a token of appreciation for his fine workmanship.
The Provincial Prior said “As the sum of £5000 that has to be donated to the Eye Hospital by a Preceptory is calculated on a per unit rather than a per capita basis, I anticipate that it will be extremely rare for an individual Preceptory to qualify for the award of a Swift. As such, this is an incredibly special tribute, and a fitting memorial to E. Kt. Peter Butcher, who was a stalwart supporter of our Order in general and of The Harold Devereux Still Preceptory in particular.”
After the meeting, the Swift was placed on display at the Festive Board, where sales of Swift lapel badges by the Provincial Registrar added further support to the Grand Master’s ongoing appeal in aid of the Eye Hospital.
2nd September 2021 saw the installation of the new Provincial Prior for Hertfordshire, R.E.Kt. Alastair D White by the Most Excellent and Supreme Grandmaster Paul Raymond Clement. He, together with his Great Priory team which included the Great Seneschal, Great Prelate and the Great Marshal amongst others. The Chapter for the Priory of Hertfordshire was opened. The Preceptory Banners were paraded and the register called. All Preceptories were well represented.
The M.E. & S.G proceeded to install E.Kt. Alastair D White as the new Provincial Prior in a most professional and confident manner. R.E.Kt. Alastair White then went on to install his Sub-Prior V.E.Kt. Michael A Stanforth. The Provincial officers for the year were appointed and invested by the Provincial Prior. The M.E. & S.G took the opportunity of congratulating those officers who were appointed to Great Priory this year and last year.
After the meeting the Knights dined together.
As of 24th June 2021, Right Eminent Knight Tony Lapsley KCT, retired from his appointment as Provincial Prior for the Province of Hertfordshire. Our Provincial Sub-Prior Very Eminent Knight Michael Stanforth will take over as Provincial Sub-Prior in Charge and remain in post until the new Provincial Prior is installed at Provincial Priory on 2nd September 2021.
Very Eminent Knight Michael Stanforth will be attending the meeting of the Hatfield Preceptory 424 on Tuesday 20th July 2021. Would be great to see Brother Knights attend and support him.
Brother Knights, the Annual Meeting of Provincial Priory, at which the Most Eminent & Supreme Grand Master will install E. Kt. Alastair David White, P.Dep.Gt.Swd.B. as the new Provincial Prior for the Province of Hertfordshire will be held at:
The Metropolitan Police Sports Club,
Under the Banner of St John the Evangelist Preceptory, No. 281
Provincial Priory will be opened at 11 a.m. Knights are to assemble in the Temple by 10.45 a.m.
Dinner will be served at 1 p.m.
Please ensure you book your place and dining with the Brother Registrar, E.Kt. Rhys Madoc. The Calling Notice has been sent to all Preceptory Registrars.
The Preceptory of Improvement is scheduled to re-open from 5th September 2021 and onwards on the first Sundays in October, November, December, February, March, April, June & September. The POI starts at 10am and is expected to last about 2 hours. Please bring your sword, scabbard and belt.
Please note that there will be a special POI held at Radlett Masonic Hall on Sunday 22nd August 2021 in order to prepare for the Provincial Priory on 2nd September. All knights welcome. It would be appreciated for those Knights receiving Appointments, promotions and members of the Bodyguard to attend.
The Provincial Prior, R.E.Kt Tony Lapsley was pleased to inform the Knights of the Province that the suspension imposed on our meetings will come to an end. The following was sent to the Knights via the Provincial Vice-Chancellor:
To: All Members of the United Orders
Dear Sir and Brother Knight,
RE: LIFTING OF THE SUSPENSION OF FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS IN HERTFORDSHIRE
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, on Tuesday 12th January 2021, the Right Eminent Provincial Prior exercised his right to suspend all face-to-face meetings in the Province until further notice. This decision has been kept under constant review.
Following the ongoing progress made in the suppression of the COVID-19 virus, the success of the nationwide vaccination programme, and the phased relaxation of restrictions by HM Government, the Right Eminent Provincial Prior has decided that this suspension will be lifted at 00:01 hours on Monday 17th May 2021.
Any meetings held after that date MUST fully comply with all relevant directives from HM Government, Mark Masons’ Hall, and venue-specific risk assessments that are in place at the relevant time.
Preceptories not wishing to meet in person at this time may still make use of the Virtual Business Meeting Scheme instead.
I am absolutely delighted to be able to announce to the Province that on 19th May 2021, the Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master will confer the honour of Knight Commander of the United Orders (K.C.T./K.C.M.) on our Provincial Prior, R.E. Kt. Tony Lapsley in recognition of his many years of devoted service to our Order.
I am sure that you will all wish to join with me in offering hearty congratulations to R.E. Kt. Tony on his receiving such a high, and indeed very well-deserved, accolade.
E.Kt. Alastair White
Brother Knights, R.E.Kt. Ryan Williams, Great Vice-Chancellor has informed the Province of Hertfordshire, of the appointment of the new Provincial Prior. In his letter, he said:
"I am delighted to inform you that E.Kt. Alastair White, P.Dep.Gt.Swd.B., has accepted the Grand Master’s invitation to be the next Provincial Prior for Hertfordshire in succession to R.E.Kt. Anthony (Tony) Lapsley who will retire later this year having completed nine years in office."
The full letter may be read by clicking HERE.
I am sure you would like to congratulate our Provincial Vice-Chancellor, E.Kt. Alastair White, P.Dep.Gt.Swd.B, on the honour that has been bestowed upon him together with our hearty thanks to our Provincial Prior, R.E.Kt. Tony Lapsley for the sterling manner in which he has served the Province for the past nine years.
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At the Virtual Business Meeting of the Charles Herbert Perram Preceptory No. 409. held on Tuesday 9th February, the Right Eminent Provincial Prior was pleased to "virtually" present V. E. Kt. Sidney Tuck, P.Gt.Reg. with a certificate marking 40 years of service to the Order.
Sidney was installed in the St John the Evangelist Preceptory No. 281 on the 20th May, 1980.
After the presentation, Sidney expressed his sincere thanks to the Provincial Prior for the award, which he said had come as a complete surprise to him, as he hadn't realised that he had been in the Order for that long!
Hearty congratulations were offered to V.E.Kt. Sidney by all of those present.
6th January 2021
PRINCESS RAIYAH BINT AL-HUSSEIN SHOWS SUPPORT FOR THE ST JOHN OF JERUSALEM EYE HOSPITAL GROUP
LONDON, ENGLAND, January 2021
Her Royal Highness Princess Raiyah Bint Al-Hussein has given her support to the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group (SJEHG). During a briefing on the Eye Hospital’s work last month, she learned about the SJEHG’s role in providing expert eye care in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem as well as the wider region.
The SJEHG hope that Her Royal Highness’s support will raise the profile of the charity in the months and years ahead. Sir Andrew Cash, Chairman of SJEHG said: 'I am absolutely delighted and grateful that Her Royal Highness Princess Raiyah bint All-Hussein and her husband Faris Ned Donovan are so interested in our Eye Hospital, especially as we approach our 140th anniversary in 2022. We are sure that their support will offer encouragement to the many people of all ages who are struggling with eye disease in the region, as well as our supporters across the world.’
The Eye Hospital was established in 1882 and SJEHG is the only charitable provider of expert eye care in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, treating patients regardless of their ethnicity, religion or ability to pay. Its medical centres and mobile outreach clinics are accessible to a widest number of people, and this is why despite the COVID 19 pandemic it reached in 2020 almost 102,000 patients and performed over 5,700 major surgeries.
Her Royal Highness Princess Raiyah bint Al-Hussein is the youngest daughter of His Late Majesty King Hussein of Jordan and Her Majesty Queen Noor Al Hussein, and the sister of His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan. HM King Hussein was an ardent supporter of the Eye Hospital and was made a Bailiff Grand Cross of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in 1955. HM King Abdullah II has carried on his father’s legacy by supporting the Eye Hospital since coming to the throne in 1999. HM Queen Noor has also been a long-term supporter of the Eye Hospital and was made a Dame Grand Cross of the Order in 2013 in recognition of her work.
Princess Raiyah is an academic expert in pre-modern Japanese literature. She earned a BA and MA in Japanese studies, and a further MA in Japanese literature from Columbia University. She is currently completing a PhD in pre-modern Japanese literature at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Source: Arabian Royal Agency
As we approach the New Year let us look forward for a better time to come. The year 2020 has been unlike any other and we have all suffered from separation from family and friends, indeed some of us have lost loved ones. As Freemasons, and particularly as Knights Templar, we have been denied joining together in our Preceptories, practicing our ritual and the many things that bind us together. The initiative and encouragement of the Rulers in all our Orders should be an inspiration to us all. They have provided clear guidance on how we can and should operate in these difficult times but more importantly a constant stream of information has kept us together. We have also seen many examples of people working together for the benefit of their communities and it has brought out the best in Freemasonry.
We do not know what 2021 will bring, but it will see the retirement of out Provincial Prior, R E Kt Tony Lapsley and we are grateful for his leadership and friendship. I am sure we will have the opportunity to express our thanks is a suitable way. We do not yet know who his successor will be, (the Grand Master has not taken me into his confidence!), but whoever it may be I know that we will all show the loyalty and support that his office requires.
There is reason for optimism, the next few months may not be easy but we can see light at the end of the tunnel. I think we can all take comfort from the fact that Freemasonry has faced many challenges in its 300 year history and has survived and it will again. The ingenuity that you have all shown in keeping going and maintaining contact through virtual meetings augers well for the future, who would have thought this time last year that Zoom would be such a major part of our lives.
We belong to a Christian Order and I hope that many of you took part in the Christmas Day Observance at 5pm on Christmas Day; there is something deeply reassuring in knowing that you are not alone and that thousands of Knights are united with you in common purpose. The New Year is a time for hope and renewal and may this be especially true of 2021. We may have to wait for the green shoots of Spring before we truly resume a normal way of life when we can meet again in peace and harmony. Until then I wish you and your families a safe and healthy New Year and may the blessing of our Heavenly Captain descend upon us, and remain with us now and evermore.
I remain Yours in the Bonds of the Order
On Friday 20th November 2020, Temple Chelsin Preceptory No. 269 held a Virtual Business Meeting, at which they were joined by the Right Eminent Provincial Prior and the Provincial Vice-Chancellor.
This was a rather special occasion, at which the Right Eminent Provincial Prior was very pleased to present a certificate marking 40 Years' Service to the Order to Very Eminent Knight Les Butler, P.Gt.Reg. who was installed as a Knight of the Order in the Temple Chelsin Preceptory No. 269 on the 8th November 1980.
On behalf of all of the Knights in the Province, the Right Eminent Provincial Prior extended hearty congratulations to V.E. Kt. Les, congratulating him on his outstanding commitment and contribution to the Order over the past 40 years.
V.E. Kt. Les expressed his sincere thanks, and confirmed that he would be hanging the certificate alongside the Meritorious Service Award, which he received from the Provincial Prior back in 2016.
Right Eminent Knight John Stuart HAY, K.C.T. the Past Provincial Prior of Hertfordshire (1991-1998), recently celebrated the highly significant milestone of 50 Years’ Service to Knights Templar Masonry.
On Friday 25th September, 1970, John was installed as a Knight of the Order in the John F. Cleeves Preceptory, No. 315, meeting at Cheshunt, and has remained an active member ever since. This is in addition to his ongoing active membership of fourteen different Masonic Orders.
Exactly fifty years to the day later, on Friday 25th September 2020, the Preceptory was due to hold their regular meeting, and arrangements had been made behind the scenes with Great Priory for the presentation of a 50 Year Certificate to be made at that meeting.
Sadly, however, the effects of the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic meant that it was not possible for the meeting to go ahead as planned. John was delighted, however, to receive a telephone call from the Great Vice-Chancellor, R.E. Kt. Ryan WILLIAMS, K.C.T. on the day, congratulating him on reaching this historic milestone.
On Thursday 15th October, the Provincial Prior, R.E. Kt. Tony LAPSLEY, accompanied by the Provincial Vice-Chancellor, E. Kt. Alastair WHITE and V.E. Kt David SHARMAN, Registrar of the John F. Cleeves Preceptory, visited John and his wife Jean at home. The Provincial Prior was delighted to be able to present John with his 50 Year Certificate, along with the hearty congratulations of Great Priory and all of the Knights of the Province of Hertfordshire.
On Thursday 6th August 2020, the funeral of E. Kt. Ronald FIDLER, P.Gt.Her. was held at Holy Innocents Church, Epping Forest (pictured). Due to social distancing requirements, numbers attending were strictly limited.
In March this year, the Right Eminent Provincial Prior was due to have presented Ron with his Certificate of 50 Years' Service to Knights Templar Masonry, for which he qualified in September 2019. This was to have been done at Cheshunt, at the meeting of the John F. Cleeves Preceptory No. 315. Unfortunately, the meeting had to be cancelled due to the pandemic, meaning that the certificate could not be presented at that time.
On behalf of the Right Eminent Provincial Prior, the Provincial Vice-Chancellor attended the funeral, in company with the Registrar of the John F. Cleeves Preceptory, V.E. Kt. Dave Sharman, P.Gt.Reg.
At the request of Ron's family, the Provincial Vice-Chancellor delivered a eulogy detailing Ron's long and distinguished career in Freemasonry, before presenting his widow, Rita, with Ron's 50-year certificate.
Any Knight wishing to make a donation to St Clare Hospice in Ron's memory can do so via the following webpage:
Thursday 23rd July 2020 marked a first in the history of the Province of Hertfordshire, when the Provincial Prior, Right Eminent Knight Tony Lapsley, presided over our first ever Provincial Virtual Business Meeting. Authorised by the Great Vice-Chancellor, this meeting was held in lieu of the Annual Meeting of Provincial Priory, which was due to take place on 25th June, but had to be cancelled due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, and the General Suspension of all Masonic Activity. Using the “Zoom” video conferencing facility, 41 Knights were able to join together and conduct important items of Provincial Administration, including the decision to make a donation of £2000 to the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group.
Whilst, clearly, an online meeting could never hope to replicate the fraternal fellowship that we would enjoy at a regular meeting, the Provincial Virtual Business Meeting did, nevertheless, afford an opportunity for the Provincial Prior to formally confirm the appointments to, and promotions in Provincial Rank, which became effective on 25th June 2020, and to pass on his best wishes to all of the Knights of the Province during these uncertain times.
The Provincial Vice-Chancellor also took the opportunity to remind members of the “20 in 2020” campaign launched earlier in the year by the Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master, in aid of the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital, full details of which can be found on the Knights Templar section of the Mark Masons’ Hall website www.markmasonshall.org/orders/knights-templar
Whilst this was the first ever Provincial Virtual Business Meeting to be held in Hertfordshire, it was not, however, the first Virtual Business meeting to be held in the Province: that accolade went to the Joseph Moffett Preceptory, who held one in lieu of their regular meeting on 7th July. It is expected that further such meetings will follow, as we emerge from the lock-down.
To participate, your name must be registered with the Facebook group:
Freemasons Without Borders.
This can be done by joining their page or adding yourself to the mailing list by clicking this link:
On Wednesday, 22nd May 2019, The Preceptory of Saint Alban 266, held it's Installation meeting at Ashwell House, Verulam Road, St Albans to install Kt John Tombs as their new Eminent Preceptor. The RE Kt Tony Lapsley, the Provincial Prior for the Province of Hertfordshire attended the meeting, in company of the Vice Chancellor EKt Alastair White and the Provincial Marshal EKt Mike Beaty, and presented a duplicate Keystone Jewel to the outgoing Eminent Preceptor EKt Jason Jordan as the previous jewel had been mislaid during previous years.
The Eminent Preceptor then went on to install Kt John Tombs into the Chair of his Preceptory. This is the first time Kt John, aged 91yrs, had been installed as Eminent Preceptor.The jewel was then presented to the new Eminent Preceptor EKt John Tombs who proudly wore it on behalf of the Preceptory. Having appointed and invested his officers for the year, he was then installed as Eminent Prior of the Priory of Saint Alban 266.
At the Festive Board, EKt John Tombs presented the Provincial Prior with a donation of £300 for the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital which was gratefully received. Eat John Kimm the Preceptory Registrar, was then congratulated by the Provincial Prior on his recent appointment to Great Priory Rank at the Great Priory meeting on 15th May 2019, a week prior to this meeting. The Brother Knights then dined together.
Today was the last meeting of the Hertfordshire Bodyguard Preceptory - Crossed Swords 618 in their current Masonic Centre St Michael's Hall, Bishop's Stortford.
The Centre is being sold off and the Preceptory decided that they would prefer to meet at Hertingfordbury which is central within the Province. Meeting dates are slightly different. See the Preceptory page for details.
This meeting culminated with the Installation of EKt Mark Trembling as the new Eminent Preceptor and Eminent Prior of 618 and the appointment and investiture of his officers.
On 26th February 2019, we were privileged to have the full Malta Ceremony at the Stuart Priory No 28, at Halsey Hall, Watford. 71 Knights assembled in the packed Temple for The Installation of the new Prior for 2019. EKt Alfred Smith Installed his successor - EKt Bill Wilkinson, in a most exemplary manner. The Malta Degree Ceremony in full, is only performed three times in Hertfordshire each year, so it was a marvellous occasion for so many Knights to be present. In addition, nine KT Knights were Installed as Knights of St Paul, so experienced a wonderful ceremony given by EKt Richard Hime.
The meeting was hi-lighted by the presence of our Provincial Prior RE Tony Lapsley and the Provincial Prior of Northampton, Huntingdon & Bedford – RE Kt Roger Wortley, who was accompanied by the Provincial Vice Chancellor – EKt Russell Laxton. They had brought with them, Knights from their Province to complete their Degree with us.
The Great Priory and Provincial Appointments and Promotions have been published on the website. Please use the NEWS > PROMOTIONS & APPOINTMENTS link on the website menu to access.
Brother Knights, It does appear as though Great Priory has managed to produce a new website for all of the Orders they manage. It is a lot friendlier and easier to navigate and can be accessed via our LINKS page.
The Right Eminent Provincial Prior is very pleased to congratulate Eminent Knight Christopher Sharwood-Smith, MBE, PGtWofR, on his appointment by HM the Queen to the exalted position of Vice Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, with effect from 19 August 2018.
This event has unfortunately been cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation, to protect everyone from either cashing the virus or indeed spreading it. I hope you understand. If you have paid for this event, you will be refunded soon.
Our Annual Service was once again held at the ancient medieval Abbey Church at Waltham Cross. It is always a great privilege to be able to hold our annual service in this beautiful and well-preserved monument. Most of which dates back to the C12th, and - in the grounds are former structures dating back as far as 610AD. It is also believed that following his death during the Norman Conquest of 1066, that King Harold was entombed in the ground before the original altar by the east wall. Since that time, the Abbey has undergone several extensions and modifications.
This year, the congregational areas of The Abbey were restricted due to the extensive restoration work to the grand organ. However, this didn’t interfere with the delivery of the service. Our usual parade in with the Banners of The Province and The Preceptories, processed in from the side entrance, as the main entrance was taken over with scaffolding and renovation materials. The procession of The Banners is a very colourful part of the service, and set the stage for a very lovely service.
It was good to see that again we were supported by the families and friends of members.
This year we were privileged to have singer, Helen Strange, who gave excellent renditions of familiar hymns, including part of Handel’s Messiah. Her rich and powerful voice was wonderful to hear, and we hope she be with us again next year.
Following the service, we had plenty of opportunity to explore the Abbey which is rich in memorial monument, artefacts, and decoration covering many hundreds of years.
In the Abbey grounds where there are substantial historic remains of some of the ancient structures, where we made our way through to the social area, and enjoyed a fine tea during which the Provincial Prior passed a substantial donation to Rev Peter Smith Team Rector, who - as always, is most appreciative and welcoming to us.
We look forward to seeing you all in May 2020.
The St George's Day Dinner celebrations, took place at the Metropolitan Police Sports Club for the second year. It has proved to be a fantastic venue once again. The attendees consisting of Knights of the Province and their guests gathered in the Sports bar from 4pm onwards. The Provincial Prior's Bodyguard were meeting early to rehearse their part of the proceedings during dinner as the venue is new and the dining layout has been changed from last year.
Feeling confident that rehearsals were in hand, the Knights of the Bodyguard returned to t join the other attendees in the bar for a well deserved drink. It was so nice to see the familiar faces of the regular attendees as well as new faces of those who were making their first appearance at this event. The Provincial Marshal called the diners in at 6.20pm sharp so they would be seated and ready to start for 6.30pm.
The dinner was hosted by the Very Eminent Provincial Sub-Prior Mike Stanforth, as the Right Eminent Provincial Prior Tony Lapsley was unfortunately indisposed and unable to attend.
After the first course, the Provincial Priors Bodyguard escorted the beef from the kitchen to the Provincial Sub-Prior who addressed the beef with the usual "Sir Loin" reference. The main course and desert was served and the caterers at Bushey delivered an exceptional meal. Well done.
After a short comfort break, the evenings entertainment began with Stand Up Bingo followed by Miss Gemma Turner and her Last Night of the Proms show which she has been performing for the past thirteen years. A good night was had by all. See you next year!
Photo credits: © Sylvie Thurston
On 8th February 2019, The Macleod Preceptory received a remarkable and enlightening presentation on the work of the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group.
Our Provincial Prior and over 40 Knights were present and gave a hearty welcome to Amy Foster from St Johns. Amy gave a fully illustrated presentation to the assembled knights. Many of us are aware of the hospital in Jerusalem, and to some extent, the work that it accomplishes. Little did we know exactly what an incredible and valuable service it provides to the considerably disadvantaged groups in that troubled region, which has had life changing effects on those in desperate need.
It was wonderful to see at close hand the ground-breaking work at St John, and we were pleased to confirm our continuing support with the presentation of a cheque for £250 by The RE Provincial Prior, Tony Lapsley. This was complemented by further pledges of £850 from representatives of other Preceptories present.
The Province was privileged this year to experience an extended day as the Annual Meeting was preceded by The Dedication Ceremony of The New Provincial Banner, by the The Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master, Paul Raymond Clement, assisted by a retinue of Great Officers. The Grand Master processed in with his dedicating team, and took the chair. An Escort was formed, and the New Banner was processed in with much pomp and precision. It was a pleasure to observe. The Supreme Grand Master gave an address, and the New Banner was unveiled and paraded. The Banner was then advanced and dedicated. The Provincial Prior – Right Eminent Tony Lapsley formally received The Banner, which was then saluted, and placed beside the altar.
The Banner is richly ornate and displays the elements of Hertfordshire, Malta and Christianity within the cross-pattée, on a white ground, that forms the background. It will be a pleasure to see the new Banner from now on when it accompanies The Provincial Prior during his visits to our Preceptories.
After the completion of the dedication ceremony, Provincial Priory was opened in due form. This meeting was at capacity with a very large number of Knights in attendance, with all the Preceptories well represented. Visiting dignitaries were warmly welcomed, and the business of the Annual Meeting continued. Our new Officers for the year were Appointed and Invested. A full list of those officers can be found here. The Provincial Prior gave his address with his usual blend of humour. He is confident that the Province is in good heart and moving forward in strength and health.
The Festive Board, again was a happy and lively affair, with the dining hall packed to the brim. The Provincial Prior was noticeably pleased with the high attendance and ambience of the occasion.
We look forward the remainder of 2018 and an extremely successful 2019.
Denis Gibney 2018
Please note that the scheduled date for the Installation of the new Eminent Preceptor of Hatfield Preceptory No. 424 of 17th July has now been moved to Monday 23rd July 2018. This has been necessary as it clashed with the Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Masons meeting and it is easier to move this one, than that one! If you have any queries, please direct the to the Registrar of Hatfield Preceptory, EKt Bill Rumford. His email address can be found on the Preceptories page of this website.
On Monday 4th June Standon Priory preceptory 581 celebrated its 25th anniversary at Sawbridgeworth masonic hall. The provincial prior Rt EKt Tony Lapsley and the sub prior V EKt Mike Stanforth attended along with the consecrating Prior Rt EKt John Hay.
It was the installation meeting of a new eminent preceptor and prior of Malta.Kt Stephen Hammond being the only nomination was installed in a first class ceremony by EKt Brian James.The festive board is always a lively occasion and this one was no exception.
Rt EKt John Hay, and the only founder present EKt Tony Wiseman cut a celebratory cake, which the knights ate with coffee and port. EKt John Milner entertained with a few songs which added to the ambiance of the evening.
A good time was had by all and 35 knights raised their glasses to the next 25 years.
As in the past, the Annual Service of Praise for the Province of Hertfordshire took place at the Abbey Church of Holy Cross and St Lawrence, Waltham Abbey. Setting up for the event started around noon and rehearsals for the procession of the Banners, Knights of the Province and the Bodyguard closely followed. By 2.50pm, the processions assembled in the porch way of the church, under the direction of the Provincial Marshal, EKt Mike Beaty.
The Banner procession was first and entered the church, down the aisle and assembled in front of the altar. Having placed their banners, the banner bearers took the their seats and the Bodyguard recessed to form up for the second procession which were the Great Priory Officers, Malta delegation, and the Eminent Preceptors and Knights of the Province, including the Provincial Officers of the Year. The next procession was lead by the Deputy Provincial Grand Marshal, Paul Allen, and the Provincial Sword Bearer, EKt Rob Gurney was followed by the Provincial Prior, R.E.Kt. Tony Lapsley who was accompanied by the Provincial Prelate and Vice Chancellor, together with the Distinguished Guests. The Provincial Banner was proudly on show, carried by EKt Tony Potton as acting Provincial Banner Bearer. It was especially nice to welcome Mrs Wall, wife of Brian Wall - Provincial Banner Bearer - who passed away during his year in office.
Once everyone had been escorted to their places, the Bodyguard Commander and his Deputy Commander, EKt David Sodey and Kt Lester Wellington, then escorted the Reverend Peter Smith to his place. The Templar Hymn was then sung by all present.
The RE Provincial Prior opened the Bible in preparation of the commencement of the Service. Reverend Smith welcome the congregation and gave the opening prayer. This was followed by a Bible reading from our Vice-Chancellor, EKt Alastair White, from Daniel 7, verses 9 to 14. Helen Strange, Soprano, accompanied by Jonathan Lilley, the Director of Music, then sang Laudate Dominum from the 'Solemn Vespers' by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The RE Provincial Prior then read the Precepts of our Order and we were entertained further by Helen Strange, singing 'Let the Bright Seraphim' from the oratorio "Samson"
The Provincial Banner was then presented to Reverend Smith who proceeded to bless it. Our Prelate, EKt Barry Searle, then took prayers culminating with the whole congregation reciting the Lord's Prayer. An alms collection took place prior to the final blessing from Reverend Smith. The Provincial Prior closed the Bible and the National Anthem was sung. The Reverend was escorted out of the Service to the Hymn Jerusalem followed by a recession of the Banners; Provincial Prior and Knights of the Province. Many of the attendees then had tea and refreshments in the Church Hall where the Provincial Prior addressed the ladies, gentlemen and fellow knights during which he presented the Reverend with a cheque, to do with as the church wished. The Reverend informed us that the Organ fund was complete and with luck, it will be been sent off, fixed and returned in time for next year’s Service. Looking forward to another great event next year.
Please make a note in your diaries that due to the fact that POI would fall on Sunday 1st April which is Easter Sunday, POI will also be held the last Sunday of March (25th) as well as the first Sunday (4th)
At the UGLE Masonic Quarterly Communications on Wednesday 13th December 2017, the MW The Grand Master announced that he was going to make additional appointments to and promotions to be conferred at a meeting on the 14th March 2018. Amongst these additional appointments, we are proud to hear that Provincial Prior, RE Kt Tony Lapsley will receive his first appoint Grand Rank as PAGDC. EKt Jon Lydon will also receive his first appointment to PAGDC. I am sure you will wish to join the Provincial Executive team for Knights Templar in congratulating both Tony and Jon on this unexpected honour.
On 21st November 2017 many Knights from Hertfordshire were amongst hundreds of Knights from all over England and Wales who gathered at Freemasons Hall for the meeting of the Great Priory of Malta.
This wonderful annual occasion took place in the splendid surroundings of the Grand Temple, and those present were privileged to witness Kt. Lewis (very aptly named) Clement, the son of the Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master, Paul Clement, receiving the Mediterranean Pass, and being admitted into the Order of Malta by the Great Prior of Malta, V.E.Kt. Jonathan Whitaker, and the Great Priory Malta Officers of the Year. This ceremony is a regular occurrence at this meeting, but it was made even more special this year by the candidate being who he was.
It was also the occasion for those Knights being Appointed to Great Priory of Malta Rank, or receiving promotion within the Great Priory of Malta, to be Invested by the M.E.&S. Grand Master. Including in these were the following Hertfordshire Knights, V.E.Kts. Eric Misselke and David Sharman, who received promotion to Past Great First Lieutenant, E.Kt. John Wickes, promoted to Past Great Second Lieutenant, and E.Kt. Peter Beresford, appointed to Past Great Turcopolier.
The occasion was further marked by the promotion and investiture of three Knights to the rank of Knights Commander of the United Orders.
The meeting was followed by a splendid reception and meal in the Connaught Rooms.
All in all, a very special and enjoyable day. One open to all Knights of Malta, and not to be missed.
EKt M Beaty
I was privileged to be in attendance at the Temple Chelsin meeting which took place at Hertingfordbury Masonic Hall, Mayflower Place on Friday 17th November. On this occasion our Provincial Prior was in attendance with his escort and Bodyguard. These alone totalled 25 Knights and together with the members of the Preceptory and their new Knight, there was an impressive number of knights packing the Temple. 12 members of the Bodyguard formed the Arch of Steel for the Provincial Prior and proved to be a sight worth seeing. The atmosphere was commanding and euphoric.
The Ritual for the ceremony was delivered with sincerity and meaning and to top it all the Festive Board was fantastic!
So all in all, any meeting that can capture these points can only enhance what we already have. Take time to see if you can get out to more meetings and help support and enhance another Preceptory's meetings. A good way to do this is to become a member of the Hertfordshire Pilgrims. It's FREE. Contact EKt Mike Beaty - The Pilgrims - for an application form.
As you are aware, our Province performs the Ancient and Masonic Order of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta degree three times a year throughout the Province. We have two left this year, the first at Melita Preceptory at Cheshunt on Saturday 21st October and the last one at Crossed Swords Preceptory on 1st November. Don't miss the opportunity to witness this fantastic ceremony if full.
Nearing the end of the Masonic KT year, the Provincial Prior's Bodyguard spent a pleasant afternoon in the company of each other and in the main their partners, at The Ruby Indian Restaurant in Hertford. The Provincial Prior's Bodyguard is made up of a number of Hertfordshire Knights from the different Preceptories in the Province. Therefore, the only time they get together is usually whilst on duty either at Preceptory meetings; Provincial Priory or at the Annual Church Service at Waltham Abbey. Unfortunately, this does not allow any time to socialise with each other.
This was a great opportunity for the hard working Knights to get together outside of the Preceptory, relax and get to know one another a little better. Some of the Knights met at the nearby Public House before venturing to the restaurant. We sat down at 2pm but due to our number, the restaurant could not seat us all on one table but this did not detract from the intimate atmosphere we created. Such a good time was had, we eventually left just after 5pm. This was such an experience, I am sure this could be a regular feature of being a member of the Bodyguard.
It's been a long time coming. The Vice Chancellor received a request from E Kt Rob Gurney of The Preceptory of St Alban 266 and also a member of King Henry the Eighth Chapter, to attend and give a lecture on Knights Templar to the other members of the Holy Royal Arch at their next meeting, which took place at Ashwell House. Permission was obtained from the Right Eminent Provincial Prior and the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent for the lecture to take place.
This was made at very short notice and our Vice Chancellor, E Kt Alastair White attended the Chapter meeting together with Kt Lester Wellington where he delivered a very interesting and enlightening lecture on the history encompassing the formation of Knights Templar, what they did, their demise and how they are connected to the Masonic Knights Templar. An extremely brief and vague outline of what the ceremony is about was given.
Following on from this, E Kt Alastair White went on to explain and describe the regalia used in both KT ceremonies as well as the Malta degree, both sets of regalia being amply modelled by Kt Lester Wellington. A question and answer session took place afterwards and the Companions were delighted with the lecture delivered to them.
It was so nice to be able to communicate what we are all about in this type of forum, seeing as this is the pool we acquire all our Candidates from, in one way or another. We must always remember that we are reliant on the Holy Royal Arch.
On 9th March a discovery was made beneath a field in Shifnal, Shropshire. It is believed that a 700 year old cave used and probably built by the Knights Templar was found in an excellent and preserved manner.
As usual, there are varying stories in circulation as to the origins of the cave and its use. Cults, conspiracy theories and even the fact that it was previously used by pagan and druid followers wanting to hold ceremonies during Summer Solstice, Halloween and other times of the year. As a result the farmer sealed up the entrances in 2012 to prevent their visits.
It is suggested you read the articles and believe what you will. Links provided below:
The RE Provincial Prior received the following message earlier today from the Great Vice-Chancellor;
Very Dear Brother Knights
I am pleased to inform you that following a recommendation from the Grand Master’s Advisors and now endorsed by the Grand Master’s Council at an emergency meeting held today at Mark Masons’ Hall, that R.E.Kt. Paul Raymond Clement, G.C.T. has been nominated for election as the Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master of our Order.
Subject to election, R.E.Kt. Paul will be Installed at the meeting of Great Priory to be held at Freemasons Hall, London on Wednesday 17th May 2017.
Would you please advise the Knights of your Province of the nomination and also ask them to support R.E.Kt. Paul at the Installation meeting and also, at the Family Church Service to be held in Lincoln on Saturday 16th September 2017.
Yours in the Bonds of the Order
Lt Cdr Angus Hannagan, RD, KCT
The meeting of Great Priory to be held on 17th May 2017 will now start at 11.30am, rehearsals will commence at 9am, and all proceedings will be over by 5pm.
On Tuesday 20th September 2016, the Provincial Grand Master of Hertfordshire, R W Bro Paul Gower, passed through the Degree of a Knight of St Paul to enable him to be installed as a Knight of Malta in the Charles Herbert Perram Priory No.409, at the Masonic Hall, Radlett, Hertfordshire.
R W Bro Paul Gower was ably supported by 40 plus knights of the Order under the guidance of the Provincial Prior for Hertfordshire, Right Eminent Knight Tony Lapsley.
The Ceremony was conducted in an absolutely superb fashion by the Sub-Prior for Hertfordshire Eminent Knight Mike Stanforth, who was most notably supported in delivering the Degree of a Knight of St Paul by Eminent Knight Colin Hellyer, also known (when dressed in slightly different regalia,) as the District Grand Master of the Grand Council of Hertfordshire.
Eminent Knight John Linley, also known as the Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra of Hertfordshire, delivered a major address to the Candidate in a faultless fashion. The Provincial Prior’s Bodyguard were there, as ever, to assist with anything that needed assisting with…..
All in all, a great ‘knight’ (if you’ll pardon the pun) for Freemasonry in Hertfordshire!
E.Kt Darren Bending
FHLBC contacted the RE Provincial Prior at the beginning of the year and asked if he would like to send a representative along to an event they had arranged to visit the Royston Cave on Saturday 9th July 2016. The event proved to very popular and as such, they had to arrange two tours of the cave instead of the one. The tour lasted about 45 minutes each and to point out and explain the special carvings in the cave, the FHLBC had invited Stephen Andrews, an independent researcher from suffolk. His masonic information includes PAGDC Hartismere lodge 1663 (Suffolk Province); Hartismere Chapter 1663 PZ; KT- Martyn Preceptory 544. Also attending the tour of the caves was Sylvia Beamon, M.A. (Cantab) who gave an invaluable insight to the carvings in the cave. Sylvia lives in Royston and is the author of a number of books on the subject. She studied archaeology and anthropology, graduating from Cambridge University in 1977(Lucy Cavendish College). She has held a long-term interest in underground structures and the reuse of the galleries and chambers left within disused mines. She has lectured and published widely in this field. Sylvia founded the national society Subterranea Britannica in 1974 editing its journal of the same name for ten years. Sylvia co-authored The Ice-houses of Britain (1990) Routledge, London which is recognised as the definitive work on Icehouses in this country. The National Monuments Record and the British Academy supported the project, with Dr Susan Roaf, which gained a British Archaeological Award in 1986. In addition to her roles as book reviewer, archaeological excavator, TV / radio contributor and conference organiser, Sylvia has interests in childcare and health issues. Since 1996, she has become a reviewer and consumer for the Cochrane Collaboration and continues research into the underground treatment of asthma known as Speleotherapy. Other titles by Sylvia include: Royston Cave Used by Saint or Sinners? The Ice-houses of Britain, Exploring Royston Cave, Underground Mythology and Speleotherapy for Asthma
Royston Cave is an enigma. No records of its age or purpose exist, but it is manmade and contains an extensive range of wall carvings representing the Crucifixion, the Holy Family and several saints including St Katherine, St Laurence and St Christopher. Other carvings are less easily identified and have been interpreted as possible pagan symbols.
Some studies have drawn comparisons with Knights Templar sites. Others point to possible Masonic symbols, that could link it to James I who maintained a hunting lodge at Royston. Some believe the Cave is a spiritual centre where two ley-lines cross.
Having completed the tours, the groups met back at the Royston Masonic Centre for lunch which was greatly appreciated. Once punch was finished, the 23 FHLBC attendees were presented with their first talk on the experiences of Kt Lester Wellington, a relatively new Hertfordshire Knight, whom the RE Provincial Prior had asked to attend. He gave a very informative presentation of what the Knights Templar Masonic Order was all about, explaining the Regalia worn by both KT and Malta knights and the qualifications needed to become a member of the Order. There was a question and answer session following the presentation which then lead to a digital presentation of KT related buildings and carvings around the world from Stephen Andrews.
There was a host of information on offer at both the presentations and the Royston Cave tour which is certainly recommended. If you need further information regarding the Royston Cave, please visit their website Royston Cave Website
Commencing at 10.00am on the first Sunday of the months of February, March, April, June, September, October, November and December.
Formed for the purpose of helping the Knights of the Province to learn and practise the drill and ritual, and so improve the standards throughout the Preceptories in the Province of Hertfordshire. ALL Knights are invited and encouraged to attend.
Click here for full details about the POI