History of the Order

The Knights Templar - and its associated body the Knights of Malta - represents one of the oldest Masonic Orders, emerging as it did in the middle of the 1700s. It first became established in the south of Wales in 1812 and has been a constant feature of Freemasonry in the Principality ever since.

Great Priory - Order of The Temple


Today, the two Orders are governed by The Great Priory of the United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta of England and Wales and its Provinces Overseas. Both of these ‘United Orders’ take the inspiration for their ritual, regalia, organisation - and much else - from the two medieval Orders of the Templars and the Hospitallers which emerged in the 12th century at the time of the Crusades.

The Knights Templar grew to be one of the most prominent and important of all the military religious Orders, while the Hospitallers became one of the most long-lasting and charitable. Nowadays, the Preceptories (lodges) of the ‘United Orders’ are major supporters of the fine work undertaken by the St John’s Eye Hospital Group in Jerusalem.

Great Priory - Order of Malta

Membership of the United Orders brings with it the opportunity to engage in some of the most colourful and impressive ceremonial in Freemasonry and to develop strong and warm friendships with fellow knights and their families throughout the Principality and beyond. Initially, candidates become members of the Knights Templar and soon afterwards they usually graduate to become Knights of Malta.

If you would like to know more, please make contact with another knight. Your interest would be very much appreciated and welcomed. If you do not think that you know a brother knight whom you can approach then please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Provincial Vice-Chancellor (see under contacts).

The above history is an extract from the excellent book written by Frederick Smyth ‘A Reference Book for Freemasons’ (London: QCCC, 1998) and is acknowledged with deep appreciation.