Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Sovereign Great Priory

In “The Hierarchy of the Knights Templars”, I compared the officers of the American Templary to that of the medieval progenitors. I have recently started researching the officer line of the British Templars. Like other British Masonic organizations, they have a governing body broken up into provinces and down to the constituent or local bodies.

In American Templary, the constituent or local body is known as a Commandery, then a State (or countries for those outside of the US) it is a Grand Commandery that may fall under a Department, and then all authority is vested in the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar USA. American Templary comprises the three Orders of Red Cross, Malta, and Temple. In the British system, the basic organizational unit is the Preceptory which falls under a Provincial Priory and the governing authority is known as 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. Also, In the British system, the Order of Malta comes after the Templar order and is conferred in a Priory, not the Preceptory

A Preceptory of Knights Templar is presided over by an Eminent Preceptor and the following officers:


First Constable 

Second Constable




Deputy Marshal


First Herald

Second Herald

Standard Bearer (Beauceant)

Standard Bearer (Vexillum Belli or Banner of War)

Banner Bearer

Captain of the Guards



An Eminent Preceptor only needs to appoint a Chaplain, First Constable, Second Constable, Treasurer, Registrar, Marshal, Captain of Guards, and Guard. There could be a Pro Preceptor appointed if a Prince of the blood royal is elected and accepts being Preceptor. 

Most Preceptories fall under a Provincial Priory which is presided over by a Right Eminent Provincial Prior and the following officers:

Very Eminent Provincial Sub-Prior 

Eminent Provincial Prelate 

Eminent Provincial Chancellor 

Eminent Provincial First Constable 

Eminent Provincial Second Constable 

Eminent Provincial Treasurer 

Eminent Provincial Registrar 

Eminent Provincial Vice-Chancellor 

Eminent Provincial Marshal 

Eminent Provincial Deputy Marshal 

Eminent Provincial Almoner 

Eminent Provincial Herald 

Eminent Provincial Standard Bearer (Beauceant) 

Eminent Provincial Standard Bearer (Vexillum Belli) 

Eminent Provincial Banner Bearer 

Eminent Provincial Sword Bearer 

Eminent Provincial Aide-de-Camp 

Eminent Provincial Warden of Regalia 

Eminent Provincial Chamberlain 

Eminent Provincial Captain of the Guard 

Eminent Provincial Organist 

Eminent Provincial Guard

Every Provincial Priory shall be composed of the Provincial Prior, past and present officers, Preceptors, Past Preceptors, Constables of every Preceptory in the Province, and any Installed Preceptors who are members of a Preceptory within the Province. 

Some Preceptories do not fall under a Province and are referred to as Unattached Preceptories similar to our Subordinate Commanderies. These Unattached Preceptories report directly to the Great Priory, but they may also be grouped and overseen by a Group Inspector. 

Provinces, Groups, and Unattached Preceptories fall under the Great Priory, the supreme Templar authority headquartered in England. The Great Priory is presided over by the Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master and the following officers:

Most Eminent and Supreme Pro-Grand Master

Very High and Right Eminent Great Seneschal

Very Eminent Great Prelate

Very Eminent Great Chancellor  

Very Eminent First Great Constable  

Very Eminent Second Great Constable  

Very Eminent Great Treasurer  

Very Eminent Great Registrar  

Very Eminent President Grand Masters Council

Very Eminent Group Inspector

Very Eminent Great Vice-Chancellor

Very Eminent Great Marshal

Eminent Deputy Great Vice-Chancellor  

Eminent Deputy Great Marshal  

Eminent Great Almoner  

Eminent Great Herald  

Eminent Great Standard Bearer (Beauceant)

Eminent Great Standard Bearer (Vexillum Belli)

Eminent Grand Masters Banner Bearer  

Eminent Great Sword Bearer

Eminent Deputy Great Registrar

Eminent Deputy Great Almoner  

Eminent Assistant Great Vice-Chancellor

Eminent Deputy Great Sword Bearer

Eminent Assistant Great Chancellor

Eminent Great Aide-de-Camp

Eminent Great Warden of Regalia

Eminent Great Chamberlain

Eminent Great Captain of Guards

Eminent Great Organist

Eminent Deputy Great Organist

Eminent Great Guard

For the purposes of rank, the Provincial Prior ranks after the Great Seneschal. 

The Great Priory is composed of the Preceptors and Constables of its constituent Preceptories, and all Great Officers must be Installed Preceptors. 

As I mentioned earlier, the Order of Malta is separate and comes last in English Templary, but is still tied in with the hierarchy. Every Templar Preceptory is also a Priory of Malta. In most cases, the officers are the same although it depends on the nature of the Preceptory and Priory (sometimes the Eminent Preceptor is not the Prior). For a Preceptor to be also be a Prior, he must be a member first which requires you to have been elected to membership in a Priory of Malta. It is interesting to see how much closer an American Priory of Malta and a British Priory of Malta are in terms of their officer titles versus that seen in Templary. 

A Priory is presided over by an Eminent Prior and the following officers:

Captain General

Lieutenant General

First Lieutenant

Second Lieutenant



Deputy Mareschal 








Captain of the Outposts


Just like the Knights Templar, a Provincial Priory is presided over by a Rt. Em. Prov. Prior. A Provincial Prior may appoint a Provincial Sub-Prior and officers corresponding to the Great Priory.

The Order of Malta is governed by the Great Priory and is presided over by the Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master and the following officers:

Very Eminent Great Prior of Malta 

Very Eminent Great Captain General 

Very Eminent Great Lieutenant General 

Very Eminent Great First Lieutenant 

Eminent Great Second Lieutenant 

Eminent Great Sub-Prior of Malta 

Very Eminent Great Prelate 

Eminent Great Mareschal 

Eminent Great Hospitaller 

Eminent Great Admiral 

Eminent Great Conservator 

Eminent Great Baillie 

Eminent Great Turcopolier 

Eminent Great Chancellor 

Eminent Great Treasurer 

Eminent Deputy Great Mareschals 

Eminent Great Banner Bearer 

Eminent Great Sword Bearer 

Eminent Great Captain of Outposts 

Eminent Great Organist 

Eminent Deputy Great Organist 

Eminent Great Guard

The Great Seneschal, Great Chancellor, President of the Grand Masters Council, Great Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Great Registrar, and Assistant Great Chancellor have no ceremonial duties but rank as Grand officers of Malta. 

There are also two awards given to those who have earned them: the Knight Grand Cross of the United Orders (KGC) and the Knights Commander of the United Orders (KCC).

Also see: The Rite of Baldwyn


Knights of Malta. (n.d.). Retrieved from Mark Masons' Hall, London: 

Statutes. (2022). Retrieved from Great Priory of the United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta of England and Wales and its Provinces Overseas:

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