In the twilight of Tuesday the 14th May 2019 Candia Preceptory No. 415 saw a ceremonial visit by the Provincial Prior, Rt. E. Kt. Andrew Christopher Rainbow KCT and his full Provincial team. This visit was in recognition of the Preceptories 150th meeting but had a more poignant significance which has marked it as an important historic event of the Province.This was the last official duty of the Provincial Prior before his retirement at midnight.
Having entered the Preceptory under an arch of steel provided by his Bodyguard, the Prior was welcomed by the Eminent Preceptor, E. Kt. Colin Bainbridge, accepted the baton and opened the meeting. He then gave a short address on the purpose of the visit and handed the Preceptory back to the Eminent Preceptor.
The first item on the agenda was electing Andrew as an Honorary member in recognition of his services to the Province as Prior, and the Order in general, which was received with much acclaim by the 54 Knights assembled. A joining member, Knight Colin Mackie of the Abbey Chapter Letter A, was received and Companion Kieran Meakin installed as a new Knight by the Eminent Preceptor, who then went on to the install his successor, E. Kt. Steve Eustace.
The closing of the meeting was preceded by the Prior requesting the Provincial Marshal, E. Kt. David Hubbard to present the Provincial Vice Chancellor, E. Kt. Roger Cheetham to him, when he then removed his Priors collarette and ring, and along with his baton of office, entrusted them to the Vice Chancellor's charge until the installation of his successor on the 11th October. The assembled Knights could not have failed to have been moved by this final sombre act of his retirement after nearly 10 years in post. At the festive board he received a standing ovation after giving his last reply to the Provincial toast and at midnight his retirement was ratified when the Provincial Sub Prior, E. Kt. Jim Crossley became the Sub Prior I.C.
The dawn of Wednesday 15th May heralded a new Chapter in the Province's history, when as the now Past Provincial Prior KCT, Andrew attended Gt. Priory in London and in the presence of over 700 Knights, of which 39 were Knights of Nottinghamshire, was installed as the Very High and Right Eminent Great Seneschal and invested with his chain of office as a Knight Grand Cross by the Most Eminent and Supreme Grand Master, Paul Raymond Clement. His own personal Coat of Arms banner was unfurled as part of the ceremony.
The day was further enhanced by the re-appointment of Rt. E. Kt. John N. G. Howitt KCT as the Great Treasurer, the promotion of E. Kt. Alan Sears to Past Great Herald, and the appointments of E. Kt. John Stanley Bennington Hayes as Past Great Aide de Camp and Roger Gordon Cheatham as Past Great Warden of Regalia. E. Kt’s Sam Sammakia and Robert Orridge are both current members on the Grand Masters Bodyguard, thereby making a quartet of Nottinghamshire Knights with active office within Great Priory.
At the festive board at the Connaught Rooms, Andrew's toast was received with rapturous applause, particularly from the four tables at which the Nottinghamshire Knights were seated, the noise of which brought a comment by the Grand Master to his new deputy. Andrew is the first member of the Nottinghamshire Province to attain this illustrious office, eclipsed only by Thomas Boothby Parkyn our Provincial Grand Master from 1783 to 1800, who became the Grand Master of the Knights Templar in 1797. It is not known whether the GM was a member of the Province’s only Royal Encampment at that time, now called Abbey Chapter Preceptory Letter A, but Andrew is an honorary member of this and two others, plus being a subscribing member of 3 within the Province and 2 within London (the GM’s Preceptory and the Preceptory of St. George).
The Province is justly proud of Andrew’s achievement of becoming the Great Seneschal and we wish him good health and many happy years in his new role.
E. Kt. Jim Crossley
Provincial Sub Prior