THE HISTORY OF THE WEST YORKSHIRE EMMAUS SOCIETY
(J.C. Pullan June 2007. Revised Feb 2008)
The seeds were sown in mid-1998 when the then Provincial Prior, Rt.E.Kt. John S. Nesbitt considered it a loss to the Degree of Knights Templar when the comradeship attained during a years occupation of ‘The Chair’ ended with the Installation of a successor. The links between individual Preceptories paused until the new man re-created them once again with his own contemporaries.
The retiring Preceptor sometimes faded into the background and moved to other things ‘Masonic’ - although several groups seemed to continue their friendships.
Rt.E.Kt. Nesbitt confirmed his wishes at the Provincial meeting at Batley in October, 1998, and he then requested E.Kt. John Pullan to research the possibility of finding those who, from the past, fitted in with his idea. The qualification being that only subscribing Eminent Brother Knights who were serving ‘In the Chair’ or who had ‘Served in the Chair’ were to be eligible.
The work began almost immediately with the search for a name and after much thought ‘the Emmaus Society’ was chosen.
Invitations were sent out to all 329 eligible members on 1st March, 1999.
A set of formal Rules was created in later years and these now confirm our Aims & Objectives and Rules & Procedures.
Over the following years we have been privileged to have had speakers of merit, including:
1999 Revd. & Rt. E. Kt. Neville Barker Cryer, MA. KCT. Past Great Prelate, Past Provincial Prior of Essex (1984/ 1990), Past Prov. Prior of Yorkshire North and East (1990/ 1995)
(‘A fresh route to our roots’)
2000 Michael Baigent Esq. Author of ‘The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. Etc. Etc.
(‘The underground mysteries of the Knights Templar’)
2001 James Munro Esq. Member of the Grand Council of Freemasons in Scotland and a leading Official guide at Roslyn Chapel .
2002 Revd. & Rt. E. Kt. Neville Barker Cryer – a second visit – by request.
('The Knights Templar in Yorkshire. Their presence and their disappearance')
2003 Revd, Dr. Michael Morgan KCT. Past Great Prelate; Past Provincial Prior of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (1990) (He presented the Emmaus Stone which graces our Top Table)
2004 Anthony Chignell Esq. FRCS. The ‘Hospitaller’ and a leading part of the Hospital of St. John. of Jerusalem, operating in Jerusalem and Gaza.
('The work of the St. John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem')
2005 Professor Jonathan Ryley-Smith MA: The Chair of Theology, Cambridge University.
('The Templars and the denial of Christ')
2006 Professor Andrew Prescott MA. Department of Masonic Research. Sheffield University ('The Old Charges re-visited')
2007 Revd and Rt. E. Kt Neville Barker Cryer. (On the 700th Anniversary of the dissolution) ('The Absolution of the Knights Templar?')
2008 Dr. Helen J. Nicholson, MA(Oxon), PhD, FRHS. Reader in Mediaeval History at Cardiff University. Authority on the Crusades and Military Orders.
('The Trial of the Templars in England 1308 -1311')
Ron Murtagh was elected Convenor and George W. Quinn Co-Convenor.
2009 Dr. Alan Murray, MA, PhD, FRHS, Senior Lecturer in Medieval Studies, University of Leeds, Editorial Director, International Medieval Bibliography.
(“The Long Road to Jerusalem”. The experience of Crusaders to the Holy Land')
2010 V.E.Kt. Dr. Vivian Thomas P.Gt.Reg. the Provincial Sub-Prior for Northampton, Huntingdon & Bedford.
('The Early History of Masonic Knights Templar')
2011 Diane Holloway & Trish Colton, Authors.
('The Knights Templar in Yorkshire')
2012 Kenneth Threlfall Esq. appointed by H.M. The Queen as a Serving Brother of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. Former Unit General Manager of NHS in Durham, CEO for Durham Ambulance NHS Trust and South Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust for 12 years, Hospitaller for South & West Yorkshire (set up to raise the profile of the Eye Hospital and its links with St John's Ambulance Service).
('A History of the Hospitallers up to the Present Time')
2013 Dr. Helen J. Nicholson, MA(Oxon), PhD, FRHS. Head of History, Cardiff School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University. (See above)
('The everyday life of the Templars')
2014 W. Bro. Mike Neville. Author of Sacred Secrets - Freemasonry, The Bible & Christian Faith.
('Sacred Secrets and Knights Templar Masonry')
Rupert Jorissen was elected Convenor and Peter Firth Co-Convenor.
2015 Dr. Archie Walls, PhD, MSc, DA(Edin), FSA, FRSA, FSA(Scot). Retired historic buildings architect restoring buildings in this and eleven Arab countries as far away as Zanzibar.
('The Sunbeam Struck The Roof - a Journey of Discovery')
2017 Carol M. Wilson, MA. Author.
(‘Westerdale: the origins and development of a medieval settlement’.)
The Society is now an established part of the Order of Knights Templar in the Province of West Yorkshire, and meets at Blenheim House, Batley Field Hill, Batley (or peripatetic as notified) on or near to the day of the birth Saint John the Baptist’s, the 24th June, usually on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at 6.30pm. The day and date are flexible to suit the speaker’s diary.
It is open to all subscribing Preceptors, Present or Past, of or in the Province of West Yorkshire.