When the Imperial Grand Encampment issued their first Warrant to England is beyond our knowledge. The earliest correspondence we have on the matter is an application for a Warrant from Joseph Brown of Liverpool, dated 27th November, 1841: whether it was granted or not we have no means of knowing; but if we suppose it to have been granted it may possibly explain a reference to Liverpool later on. Our next is a letter from the Imperial Grand to G. L. Curless, of Manchester, Master of No. I of England, dated 24th December, 1845, making inquiry concerning the "Britannic" of Manchester (referred to in our Chapter on America) and giving the name of the Master as Robert Ogle Gowan. In this letter reference is made to a previous letter dated 11th November, 1844, to which Sir Knight Curless had not replied, so that we are carried beyond this latter date, unfortunately we know not how far. Our next is from William Curless, Master of No. I, written from Manchester on the 18th of February, 1846. He wrote in complimentary terms concerning Sir Knight John Darby (this is the same John Darby of whom we have had more than a passing acquaintance in reference to No. 28 of Ballymacarrett, Belfast, Ireland) who was at this time Pursuivant of No. I, Manchester. He also makes reference to certain parties in Liverpool having illegal Warrants. He says:--

"John Darby has visited them and they promised not to work
under them until they had communicated with the Grand Lodge of

Sir Knight Curless requested Grand Lodge to send instructions to John Darby as to how he should treat with those Liverpool men. On 7th July, 1846, full instructions and authority were sent to Sir Knight John Darby for treating with these Liverpool illegal lodges. On 20th June, Sir John Darby informed Grand Lodge of the return to England of the 1st Royals and asked for a renewal of their Warrant No. 16, which was granted.

The work thus began went on successfully until 1854 when the Provincial Grand Priory of England was installed, but after two years experience it was cancelled, the Encampments reverting to the Imperial Grand. In 1868 we find they had eight Encampments divided into two districts, No. I "North of England," located at Newcastle-on-Tyne, and No. 2 "North and South Shields." This order of working continued till 17th June, 1876, when a Provincial Grand Priory was again granted, but they evidently were in no great hurry about the installation, as we find that on 25th November, 1876, Sir Knights Robert Stewart and William Johnstone were appointed to go to Newcastle and instal the new Provincial Grand Priory. At a meeting of Grand Council held on 20th January, 1877, the Recorder read a communication from Sir Knight John Cruickshanks, Recorder of the North of England Grand Provincial, drawing their attention to a Grand Encampment that was working in Liverpool, which was issuing Warrants and initiating candidates, and recognising no other Grand but themselves. The Grand Council unanimously cancelled this Warrant, and instructed the Grand Recorder to make known through the public press the finding of the Grand Council, of which the following appeared in the Belfast Weekly News, and Belfast Telegraph:--


"There is at present in Liverpool a so-called Grand Lodge of the above Order, which takes the authority upon it of issuing Warrants, conferring degrees, etc. It is true the Parent Grand Encampment installed a Provincial Grand Encampment in the year 1854. It continued to work about two years and then ceased. It never was empowered to issue Warrants, nor never held the prerogatives of a Grand Encampment. Some time ago it was taken into consideration by the Grand Council of the Imperial Parent of the Knights of Malta, and the aforesaid Provincial Warrant was cancelled and has no connection with any Grand Encampment of the Knights of Malta (working under the Imperial Parent of the Universe) either in England, Ireland, America, or anywhere else, so that all Knights of Malta working under this self-constituted Grand Encampment of Liverpool will be held as expelled men, and will not be recognised by any Encampment of Knights of Malta in any of the aforesaid Kingdoms; and any Sir Knight becoming a resident in Liverpool or any of its suburbs, should be cautious not to deposit his diploma in any Encampment working under the Liverpool Grand Warrant.


It seems plainly inferred that this was the Provincia, Warrant which was granted in 1854. Had it not been so the Imperial Grand Council would not have thought of cancelling a Warrant which they did not issue. To us the one fact proves the other. They cancelled in 1877 the Warrant they granted in 1854.

In 1868 a Provincial Warrant was issued to William Shortis of Liverpool, to be called the "Provincial Grand Priory of Wales, Lancashire, Cheshire, Shropshire, and Staffordshire." Of this Provincial we have no further notice.

In June, 1877, we have the first Provincial report from the newly formed Provincial Grand Priory of England, showing thirteen Encampments in good working order. In 1895 the encampments had dwindled down to four, and the Provincial Grand Priory being in a state of rebellion, the Imperial Grand Encampment in their wisdom cancelled the Provincial Warrant, two of the Encampments reverting to the Imperial Grand, under which our English Encampments are now working.

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