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.
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 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.
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.
Fairfield Manor Hotel,
York. YO30 1XW
York has evidence of for the presence of people as far back as 7 to 8,000 yrs. BC. It was settled by the Romans then known as “EBORACUM” and to this day the Archbishop of York second most senior bishop in the Church of England signs as “EBOR”. From about 400AD the Anglo Saxons took over and the name became “EOFORWIC” meaning rich in wild boar. They were followed by the Vikings who called it “JORVIC”. Following the Norman Invasion in 1066 York suffered and was badly damaged although it recovered to become the administrative centre for Yorkshire. York began to prosper during the Medieval period and particularly so during the late 14th and early 15th centuries. Being a royalist city York was besieged during the English Civil War eventually being captured by Lord Fairfax in 1644. Recovering from this conflict the city grew and became the 3rd largest City in England after London and Norwich. Each of these periods has left a rich legacy making this one of the most beautiful cities in England.
Please see below for all the details and booking arrangements. The documents give you full details of the weekend. Please view them. The Application form can be downloaded and completed and emailed or printed and posted to the organiser.
Your Registrar will also have these forms and can send them to you. If in any doubt, contact Mike Stanforth, and he will be pleased to assist you.
Places to go
Click here to read our latest issue of Jerusalem Scene.
In the footsteps of Saint Thomas
Thursday 12th Oct 2017
St Wilfrid's Hall, Brompton Oratory, Brompton Rd, London, SW7 2RP
£30 (£15 students) Ticket includes talk followed by wine and canapes.
Serena Fass is a lecturer, photographer and author who is passionate about history, art, architecture and landscape. These all combine perfectly in the period of the first century AD at the time of Jesus' life, death and His Apostles' journeys to fulfil the Great Commission of taking His message to the ends of the Earth. Over the years, she has followed many of these routes by land and sea.
In the Footsteps of St Thomas is Serena Fass' third book and follows the Apostle's supposed journey from Jerusalem to Parthia and India and finally the route taken by his body from Mylapore to Edessa in Mesopotamia, the Greek island of Chios and Ortona in the Abruzzi, Italy.
Click here to buy tickets online or contact the office to order tickets over the phone or by post.
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