Further Historical Reading

Formally, it is said that Canadian Templarism dates from 1782, when an encampment (later, preceptory) is known to have existed in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1800,a second Templar warrant was issued under the authority of Craft Lodge No. 6 at Kingston, Upper Canada. Neither of these lodges flourished, however, and the continuous history of the movement should actually be dated from 7 October 1855, when Captain William James Bury McLeod Moore (fl. 1831-d. 1890) of the 69th Regiment, an ardent freemason, exchanged the dormant Craft Lodge warrant for a new warrant to establish the Provincial Grand Conclave at Kingston, Canada West, under the name of Hugh de Payens. On 11 May 1868, the Provincial Grand Conclave’s name was formally changed to the Grand Priory of Canada. At the Annual Meeting of the Grand Priory on 7 July 1884, the organization became a Supreme and Independent body under the title of the Sovereign Great Priory of Canada, Knights Templar.


The Sovereign Great Priory (SGP) is the governing body in Canada of the United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta — the chivalric orders in the York Rite of Freemasonry or Masonic Knights Templar. The object of the Sovereign Great Priory of Canada is to promote Christian ideals. Membership is restricted to Royal Arch Masons (York Rite) who declare themselves to be Christians and who are willing to submit to and obey the usages, customs and statutes of the Order.


The United Grand Lodge of England, the Mother of regular and legitimate Freemasonry in the world, set forth at the time of the Union the following: “It is declared and pronounced that pure and Ancient Craft Masonry consists of three degrees and no more, namely, those of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason, including the Holy Royal Arch. And that the Grand Lodge might not create any misconstruction of their declaration, it was added:”This article is not intended to prevent any Lodge or Chapter from holding meetings in any of the degrees of Chivalry, according to the Constitution of said Order.” Thus, the Order of the Temple was given an official place and standing in the structure of Masonry.


During the early and unwritten history of the Masonic Fraternity, there was a strong tone of Christianity which ran throughout the Symbolic structure, but by the time Anderson published his Constitutions, Christianity was virtually taken out of the ritual and Constitutions, because of a great desire to make the fraternity such as might be acceptable to men of any religion who subscribe to a belief in a Supreme Being.


Further Historical Reading


You can read about the history of The Sovereign Great Priory of Canada of the United Orders of Malta and the Temple compiled and edited by Michael Jenkyns, K.T. below.


National Archives of Canada Sovereign Great Priory Collection

Prepared in 1988 by Marilyn E. Armstrong- Reynolds of the Pre-Confederation Archives Section and updated in 1994 by Patricia Birkett of the Social and Cultural Archives Section.


Copy of “Grand Prior’s” Patent. Read in Provincial Grand Conclave.


William Stuart, Grand Master.


To all and every our Eminent Commanders, and other Eminent Knights and Companions of the Royal, exalted, Religious, and Military Order of Grand Elected Knights Templar Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes, and Malta.




We, Sir Knight William Stuart, Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master of the Most Exalted, Religious, and Military Order in England and Wales, and of the Colonial Dependencies of the British Crown, do hereby appoint Sir Knight Colonel WM. JAMES BURY MacLEOD MOORE,Grand Prior of the Dominion of Canada, to be responsible to us and our successors for the proper discharge of his duties, in strict observance of the Rites and Ceremonies established by our Predecessors, as well as the Statutes, Laws and Ordinances enacted for the good Government of the Order, for which purpose we enjoin each and every Knight of our Exalted Order, within the above Dominion, cheeerfully to obey the commands of their Grand Prior.


Whom God Preserve


In witness whereof, we have affixed our Signature and Grand Seal of the Order, this first day of May, A.L.5872, A.D. 1868. A.O. 750.




Deputy Grand Master


Deputy Grand Master

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