Knights Templar


The earliest speculative Freemasons were probably all Christians as a matter of course. Although Anderson’s ‘Constitutions’ of 1723 and 1738 opened the door of English Freemasonry to ‘all Good Men and True’ who were not ‘stupid atheists’, in the late 1740’s specifically Christian Masonic Rites began to appear in France, possibly England also.

For the most part these Rites were ‘chivalric’, and by the 1770’s vestiges of the Templar-Malta ceremonies took place in ‘Encampments’ derived from Royal Arch Chapters under the Grand Lodge of the ‘Antients’.

The word Masonic is included in our title and this is because we are not directly descended from the original Knights Templar, but we came into being in the British Isles in and around the 1760’s. The present day Templar ritual was introduced in the 1850’s, and a few years’ later, the same occurred to the Malta degree.

The original Templars were granted an encampment in Jerusalem, on the site of King Solomon’s Temple. On 15th July 1099, the city walls of Jerusalem were breached, and the city captured by the Crusader army of the first crusade.

In 1118 a group of nine knights took their name from this site and were originally known as The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon, the Knights of the Temple and finally Knights Templar.

The current Great Priory under which we operate is, after the Grand Lodge of the Craft itself, the longest established English Masonic authority. It presides over more than 500 Preceptories at home and abroad.