The successor of Godfrey of Bouillon as King of Jerusalem. In his reign the Order of Knights Templar was instituted, to whom he granted a place of habitation within the sacred enclosure of the Temple on Mount Moriah. He bestowed on the Order other marks of favor, and, as its patron, his name has been retained in grateful remembrance, and often adopted as a name of Commanderies of Masonic Templars.
There is at Bristol in England a famous Preceptory of Knights Templar, called the Baldwyn, which claims to have existed from time immemorial. This, together with the Chapter of Knights Rosae Crucis, is the continuation of the old Baldwyn Encampment, the name being derived from the Crusader, King of Jerusalem.
The earliest record preserved by this Preceptory is an authentic and important document dated December 20, 1780, and reads as follows:
"In the name of the Grand Architect of the Universe.
"The Supreme Grand and Royal Encampment of the Order of Knights Templars of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitallers and Knights of Malta, etc, etc.
"Whereas by Charter of Compact our Encampment is constituted the Supreme Grand and Royal Encampment of this Noble Order with full Power when Assembled to issue, publish and make known to all our loving Knights Companions whatever may contribute to their knowledge not inconsistent with its general Laws. Also to constitute and appoint any Officer. or Officers to make and ordain such laws as from time to time may appear necessary to promote the Honor of our Noble 0rder in general and the more perfect government of our Supreme degree in particular.
We therefore the M0ST EMINENT GRAND MASTER The Grand Master of the 0rder, the Grand Master Assistant General, and two Grand Standard Bearers and Knights Companions for that purpose in full Encampment Assembled do make known."
Then follow twenty Statutes or Regulations for the government of the Order, and the document ends with "Done at our Castle in Bristol 20th day of December 1780."
It is not clear who were the parties to this "Compact," but it is thought probable that it was the result of an agreement between the Bristol Encampment and another ancient body at Bath, the Camp of Antiquity, to establish a supreme direction of the Order. However that may be, it is clear that the Bristol Encampment was erected into a Supreme Grand Encampment in 1780, An early reference to the Knights Templar occurs in a Bristol newspaper of January 25, 1772, so it may fairly be assumed that the Baldwyn Preceptory had been in existence before the date of the Charter of Compact.
In 1791 the well-known Brother Thomas Dunckerley, who was Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent of the Royal Arch Masons at Bristol, was requested by the Knights Templar of that city to be their Grand Master. He at once introduced great activity into the Order throughout England, and established the Grand Conclave in London-the forerunner of the Great Priory.
The seven Degrees of the Camp of Baldwyn at that time probably consisted of the three of the Craft and that of the Royal Arch, which were necessary qualifications of all candidates as set forth in the Charter of Compact, then that of the Knights Templar of St. John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta, that of the Knights Rose Croix of Heredom, the seventh being the Grand Elected Knights Kadosh.
About the year 1813 the three Degrees of Nine Elect, Kilwinning, and East, Sword and Eagle were adopted by the Encampment. The Kadosh having afterward discontinued, the five Royal Orders of Masonic Knighthood, of which the Encampment consisted, were: Nine Elect; Kilwinning; East, Sword and Eagle, Knight Templar, and the Rose Croix.
For many years the Grand Conclave in London was in abeyance, but when H.R.H, the Duke of Sussex, who had been Grand Master since 1813, died in 1843, it was revived, and attempts were made to induce the Camp of Baldwyn to submit to its authority. These efforts were without avail, and in 1857 Baldwyn reasserted its position as a Supreme Grand and Royal Encampment, and shortly afterward issued Charters to six subordinate Encampments. The chief cause of difference with the London Grand Conclave was the question of giving up the old custom of working the Rose Croix Degree within the Camp.
At last, in 1862, the Baldwyn was enrolled by virtue of a Charter of Compact "under the Banner of the Grand Conclave of Masonic Knights Templar of England and Wales." lt was arranged that the Baldwyn Preceptory, as it was then called, should take precedence, with five others "of time immemorial," of the other Preceptories; that it should be constituted a Provincial Grand Commandery or Priory of itself; and should be entitled to confer the degree of Knights of Malta.
In 1881 a Treaty of Union was made with the Supreme Council of the Thirty-third Degree, whereby the Baldwyn Rose Croix Chapter retained its time immemorial position and was placed at the head of the list of Chapters. It also became a District under the Supreme Council of the Thirty-third Degree and is therefore placed under an Inspector General of its own.
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