Provincial Priory of Surrey Service of Rededication and Thanksgiving

After the rain of the previous few days it was a relief to have a dry day for our Biennial Church Service on Sunday afternoon, 12th October. Many Knights, their friends and their families attended the service at the lovely old church of All Saints in Banstead.

The land on which All Saints church was built was donated by the Lord of the Manor, Nigel de Mowbray, nearly 1000 years ago. It was probably built in the 1190s. A South Chapel was added in 1837 but the original Saxon nave was significantly extended between 1861 and 1898 under the auspices of the Lambert family and Lord Egmont, then Patron of the Living. These 'restorations' under the direction of G E Street, the noted architect responsible for London's Law Courts, included the North and South Aisles, West Tower, and vestry, resulting in the building we see today.

Although many of the memorials are those of the Lambert family being 'particularly attentive to their relations' which included a Lord Mayor of London, there are many more of equal distinction such as the unique and touching 17th century wall-tablet to an infant in his 'swaddling cloaths' complete with ruff!

The twenty stained glass windows represent the work of the most famous designers and makers of stained glass in an era when the art was at its zenith: a very rare distinction in a small parish church. The original churchyard which now includes the Garton World War I memorial was enlarged in 1861 and again in 1904. Permission for the Province to use the Church had been given by the Vicar, Rev’d. Maria Pallis. The Curate of All Saints Rev’d Mandy Macvean opened the service by warmly welcoming everyone. The service was conducted by the Provincial Prelate, Very Eminent Knight Rev. David Allonby who also gave the address. (click here to read the address)

The lessons were read by the Provincial Prior, Rt. Em. Knight Michael Banbury, and Sub-Prior, V.Em. Knight Pat Crossan. The Provincial Chancellor, V.Em. Knight Chris Cradock, read the Precepts of the Order. The carefully chosen hymns, which were not only very appropriate to the Christian Precepts of the Masonic Knights Templar Order but all very well known, were lustily sung by the congregation led by the Surrey Provincial Choir under the baton of Robert Soper.

Following the service the congregation adjourned to the Church hall where the 'Ladies of the Church' had prepared a magnificent, really tasty and enjoyable buffet tea.

Article and photo by Chris Eley

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