An important and historic office has been recently restored to the Priory of Scotland.
At a gathering of members of the Order, Officers of Arms from the Court of the Lord Lyon, family and friends at a luncheon at his home near Torphichen, the Prior, Major General Mark Strudwick CBE KStJ, announced that he had reinstated the ancient office of Preceptor of Torphichen, dormant since 1999. The new incumbent is former Priory Hospitaller, Ian Wallace KStJ.
In 1947 when the Priory of Scotland of the Venerable Order of St John was established, the office of Preceptor of Torphichen was recognised as a vital connection with our historic past. The office is honorary. Anciently however, the Preceptor was a senior figure in the Order – and as our immediately past Hospitaller, Ian Wallace befits this office.
Around 1124, the original Order of Knights of St John (the Knights Hospitaller), were granted lands in Torphichen by King David and began building their headquarters, the Preceptory, around 1140. King David's grandson, Malcolm IV, in 1153 issued to the Order a Royal Charter. The earliest Master of Torphichen of whom we know was Richard in 1160. From then follows an incomplete list of Masters, eventually becoming known as Preceptors. At the time of the Reformation in Scotland, the last Preceptor of Torphichen of the Order of St John was Sir James Sandilands (1546-1554) appointed by the Grand Master in Malta, who later became the 1st Lord Torphichen and whose descendent, the current Lord Torphichen, is an Officer of our Order.
Mr Wallace took up office as Preceptor at the annual Torphichen service on Sunday 25 August. His honorary appointment is understood to run for three years.
Written by James Alexander Bingham KStJ
Director of Ceremonies