Provincial Grand Lodge of Dorset

The official website of Dorset Freemasonry


For Province P0060 - Province of Dorset.


Oct. 2019

Beyond The Craft - Knights Templar Provincial Priors Bodyguard in Malta

A guest article by Les Miskimmin on the Knights Templar, Province of Dorset and Wiltshire, Provincial Priors Bodyguard Visit to Valletta Malta in October 2019.
'Firstly, we are grateful to the Provincial Prior John Cave for giving his approval for his bodyguard members, past and present, to visit the Priory of the Order of Malta and the Knights Templar Preceptory in Valletta, Malta. This presented a wonderful opportunity for the Bodyguard members to get together to renew or make new acquaintances, socialize in the warm Mediterranean climate, explore the historical city, and visit two highly regarded Preceptories.

For those unfamiliar with Valletta, it is a fortified city and a World Heritage Site. Valletta was built by the Knights Hospitaller – The Knights of Malta – in a military style for the sole purpose of defence. Valletta is an ideal location for our visit because it is home to a wealth of Knightly artifacts and monuments i.e. forts, bastions, watchtowers, aqueducts, churches, cathedrals, palaces, and two museums.

Nineteen Knights from Dorset and Wiltshire set off from Bristol, and/or Bournemouth airport(s) for a trip of a lifetime. The trip had an action-packed itinerary, and on Thursday, the day of our arrival the Knights had a wonderful cocktail reception and dinner at the famous Rampila restaurant in Valetta.

The next day, Friday, we had free time in the morning and afternoon, when the Knights visited some of the many museums and sights of Valletta. In the evening we had our first sight of the Valletta Masonic Hall. This beautiful old building stands at the corner of Marsamxett Street and Saint. Michael's Street. It was built about 1650 and was originally known as the 'Casa Viani', having presumably been built for a Knight of that name. It is a double - storey building and in the time of the Knights the owner or tenant lived on the upper floor, the 'Piano Nobile', while the 'ground floor, the Pianterreno', was given up to the domestic staff. It was leased in 1907 by W Bro. A.M. Macfarlane, DD, GM. for 25 years as a Masonic Hall, and has been in use as such ever since, except for a short period during World War II when it was badly damaged by enemy action. It is now open as a Masonic Museum to the general public.

As guests of honour, we all attended the La Vallette Priory No 649 meeting, and were afforded the honour of having some of our Knights take part in the ceremony. For those who took part we know it is an experience they will never forget, taking part in a Malta degree ceremony in Malta.
The La Valette Priory is dedicated to the heroic spirit of Jean Parisot de Valette. Jean Parisot de Valette was born in 1494 and died in Malta on 21st August 1568. He was born into a noble family in Quercy and joined the Order of the Knight of St. John in the Langue de Provence. He was noted for fighting with distinction against the Turks at Rhodes and, as the Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of St. John, he became the Order's greatest hero and most illustrious leader. He dedicated his life to protecting the Island of Malta and is celebrated for his bravery in successfully commanding the resistance against the Ottomans at the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, which was widely regarded as one the greatest sieges of all time. He became the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller on 21st August 1557.

On Saturday we again had free time in the morning and visited the fantastic Knights of Malta epic adventure museum, deep inside the bastion walls of Mdina a wonderful walled city just 30 minutes from Valletta, which was originally the capital of Malta. In the early afternoon we all attended a Bodyguards Luncheon, held at Cockneys restaurant, right on the water's edge. Here we took the team photograph.
The visiting Knights resplendent in their Malta 2019 tops showing the bodyguard's 'Bumble Bee 'the tops were specially commissioned for the visit.

In the evening, again as guests of honour, we all attended the Waller Rodwell Wright Preceptory and Priory No 640, and once again, we were delighted to be, invited to take part in the ceremony, with some of our members providing the 'Arch of Steel'.
This Preceptory is a tribute to the spirit of Waller Rodwell Wright, an important Masonic personality who was Provincial Grand Master of Malta, Gozo and the Mediterranean from 1815 until his death in 1826. Born in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk in 1775, he was educated at Cambridge where he read civil law, in 1804 he took a constructive interest in the reorganising of the degree of the Red Cross of Constantine. He was the 4th Grand Master of the Order from 1807 to 1812 and followed the HRH Prince Edward (later the Duke of Kent) and was succeeded by HRH the Duke of Sussex. Waller also played an important part in the greatest Masonic transaction of all time, for his name appears as one of the five signatories (immediately following that of the Duke of Sussex) in the Articles of Union of the two Grand Lodges - the Moderns and the Ancients, to form the United Grand Lodge of England. The signing took place at Kensington Palace on the 1st December 1813.
On Sunday morning we had an early start to catch our morning flights back to the UK. The whole trip was a great experience, enjoyed by all, and a wonderful example of fraternity and masonic hospitality. Special thanks to Alan Lester for organising the whole trip.

If you want to learn more about The United Religious Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta in England and Wales and Provinces Overseas, more widely known as KT, or the Province of Dorset and Wiltshire in particular, please visit the Provincial website below, or speak to a Knight near you.


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