The Registrar of Stuart Preceptory, E.Kt. Eric Misselke, came across a number of jewels including a Past Commander's Breast Jewel dated 1885 and a Preceptor's Collar Jewel dating from around 1897.
These jewels have been loaned to the Province for display at Fleet House accompanied by the following information:
Past Commander’s Breast Jewel
Knights Templar commenced in Hertfordshire on 24th July 1840 with the Consecration of Watford Encampment at Freemasons Hall, Watford by (Sir) J.C. Burckhardt, the Grand Sub-Prior.
The Encampment’s name was changed on 28th January 1861 to the Stuart Encampment and this Past Commander’s (now called Preceptor) breast jewel, is hall marked 1885 . The badge on the ribbon is part of William Stuart’s family Coat of Arms.
William Stuart was the first Commander and later, in May 1861, he was Installed as the Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master. A painting illustrating his Installation hangs on the back stairs at Halsey Masonic Hall, Watford. These breast jewels were phased out many years ago and have been replaced by one which is suspended on a ribbon around the neck. This is the earliest jewel known to be in existence for what is now known as Stuart Preceptory.
On 18th January 1897 the Encampment’s name was changed to the Stuart Preceptory and the minutes of that meeting, for the first time, refer to the Eminent Commander (Dr. Henry Wilson Iles) as being the Eminent Preceptor.
Stuart Preceptory was the only presence of Knights Templar in Hertfordshire until the Preceptory of St Alban was Consecrated on 23rd May 1930.
Preceptor’s Collar Jewel
It is believed that this jewel was presented to the Preceptory on it’s change of name to Stuart Preceptory by John Robert Cocks who was the Eminent Preceptor in 1885.
There was also a Past Preceptor's Collar Jewel presented to E.Kt. H. Wharton-Wells, Preceptor 1938-39, passed to E.Kt. Eric and V.E.Kt. Bryan Bailes found a Past Preceptor's Collar Jewel presented to E.Kt. J.W. Underhill, Preceptor 1923 to 1924, which he kindly passed over to Stuart Preceptory. These jewels, being part of the Preceptory's history, will in future be worn by the Immediate Past Preceptor and his immediate predecessor so that they are regularly on view to the members.
E.Kt. Mike Beaty