By Eric Vandenbroeck

The following comes in the wake of a discussion about the difference between the self-styled Orders of St. John and the real Order.  For an overview of the topic see here, this was followed by a closer look at the alleged Order in Russia, and next when the remnants of the original Order settled in Rome in the 1830s to begin the process of re-organizing. Because some confusion exists about the various "Orders" in England and Germany I next will try to (somewhat complex as it is) entangle this by taking a look at what happened there in the nineteenth century, and at the end how it is now.

The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, in short referred to as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) was founded by Pope Paschal II's bull on February 15, 1113. The Order's motto is Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum (Defense of the Faith and Assistance to the Poor and Suffering). Following the loss of Malta, as we have seen, the tradition survived, and while not anymore functioning as a military Order, a doctrine of sovereignty evolved that led to renewed emphasis on medical and charitable activities. Thus today, in the age of the Red Cross, of the United Nations, of NATO and other such bodies, multinational institutions have become attractive. In many countries, the welfare state is increasingly unable to meet constantly expanding demands for medical and other care, and in consequence, the various branches of the Order of Saint John have acquired a role as effective alternatives. This can be seen, for example, with the Malteser Hilfdienst and the Johanniter in Germany or with the Saint John's Ambulance Service in Britain.

The foundations of the National Associations of the Order in England and Germany in the nineteenth century have in common their roots in Catholic movements of revival in Protestant countries, together with the parallel appearance of two Protestant orders, the Venerable Order of St John and the Johannlterorden, which are now recognized as allies by the (SMOM) Sovereign Order. In England, however, the early history of the Protestant order is intertwined with that of the Order of Malta to an extent that has not usually been recognized, so that it is impossible to tell the Catholic story without the Protestant one; this marks a difference with Germany, where the origins of the National Association and of the Johanniterorden, though related, are completely distinct.

A bit of intrigue and a failed attempt

The French knights gathered themselves again in Paris in April 1826 and formed the Ordinary Council of the French Langues. The object of some of them was to win a Greek island for the Order by mounting an armed expedition, and to achieve it they were looking for two prerequisites: money and the support of the Powers that would decide the fate of Greece. For both of these, they thought it essential to establish links with England, and their measures soon took the form of proposing what was described as the revival of the English Langue.

The earlier Antonio Miari, when he took over as the Lieutenancy's chief delegate, decided not to attempt the recovery of Malta, so as not to set Britain irrevocably against the Order, and the same judgment was made by the French petitioners of the Congress. It was a question therefore of what territory might be claimed as a compensation. A number of possibilities were mentioned, but by far the most likely was the old Venetian possessions of the Ionian Islands. These had been set up in 1800 as an independent republic under Russian protection, had been ceded to France by the Treaty of Tilsit, and reconquered by Britain between 1809 and 1814. The British did not really know what to do with them (they eventually handed over the islands to Greece in 1859 after forty-five years of protectorate) and were considering various candidates to whom to cede them, including Russia and Austria. There was Widespread public opinion that this was the obvious place to put the Knights of St. John. We should also not forget that when "The Peace of Amiens" in 1802 decided that Malta should be returned to the Order it was the British, having their own geostrategic interests, who refused.

To understand the background of some of the personalities that made this initiative we have to start with a bit of intrigue. During a meeting of French Knights in April 1826 a few knights decided to withdraw, including the Bailli de Calonne d'Avesnes and the Chevalier Legroing, who objected to what they saw as disobedience to the Lieutenant.1 The majority of the knights continued, under the presidency of the Commander de Mesgrigny, but even he seems to have had nothing to do with the overtures to England; these were the work of an imposter whose real name was Pierre-Hippolyte Laporterie but who called himself Marquis de Sainte-Croix de Molay, and a small group of his associates. Among them, the only professed knight was the aged Commander Jean-Louis de Dienne, who by all accounts was considered no longer in possession of his faculties. The disruption of 1824 had thrown him into close dependence on Sainte-Croix, and it seems that the link was fostered by the Commander's nephew, Count Jean-Louis de Dienne 2, In addition, there were two associates of Sainte-Croix, the Comte de Feuillasse and Philippe Chastelain the latter who promoted himself to the dignity of Comte de Chastelain. One also finds the name of the Irish knight Dennis O'Sullivan, who had entered the Langue of France in 1783 and who was involved in 1827 in some unspecified capacity 3, These six, of whom the prime mover at least was not a genuine Knight of Malta, were the individuals who took it upon themselves to represent the Langues of Provence, Auvergne and France, and for good measure those of Aragon and Castile, in forming a new division of the Order in England. 

This point can be supported by another deception that was practiced: when writing to England on 23 June 1826, Sainte-Croix, earlier calling himself Chancellor of the French Langues, declared that the president of the Ordinary Council was the Commander de Dienne, to whom he also attributed the rank of Lieutenant of the Grand Marshal.4 Clearly, therefore, he was not representing the authentic French Council at all, under the Commander de Mesgrigny;  Dienne at this time was incapable of presiding over anything. Even less was Sainte-Croix representing the Order's legitimate though tottering Council in Catania, where the Lieutenant of the Grand Marshal was Amabile Vella. One comment on these proceedings would be pertinent: historians putting the view of the Order have denounced the irregularity of the French overtures to England, but it is worth noting that if Busca had not left the French knights without an official organ of government after 1824 the misrepresentation practiced by Sainte-Croix would not have been possible.

Nevertheless, the question of legitimacy is different from that of intention. What Sainte-Croix was seeking to do was to establish a branch of the Order that would in due course win ratification from the Lieutenancy, and he was striving to promote a political project of which the Lieutenancy at this time was completely incapable. If he had simply been out to peddle knighthoods he would have gone to England himself, a step that he did not take until after 1830, when the Revolution in France destroyed the chances of a Mediterranean expedition.

Sainte-Croix's two emissaries in June 1826 were the Comte de Feuillasse and Philippe Chastelain, sent to England to find influential supporters who would gain the government's goodwill. One may suppose that Feuillasse, as a genuine nobleman and as a minor member of the French government, might have had some success in finding the right people, but he returned home at an early stage, and subsequent negotiations were handled by Chastelain. The two of them initially made contact with a Mr Donald Currie, who was to be the main link between the French and their English offshoot for the next ten years or so. Here Chastelain's absurd incapacity for his task became apparent. The French thought that Mr Currie, "of Springfield", was a Scottish landed gentleman. In fact, he was a maker of military accouterments with trading premises in London; but as one of his first services was to rescue Chastelain from a debtor's prison in which he rapidly found himself there was no incentive to study his credentials too critically. In France, Sainte-Croix had always been able to gain men of genuine usefulness (even if not of the best reputation) for his schemes, but Chastelain's recruits in England were frankly ridiculous. Nevertheless, the so-called representatives of the French Langues signed with Currie three" articles of convention", dated 11 June and 24 August 1826 and 15 October 1827, which were eventually regarded as the basis for the English Langue. Their initial purpose was to empower Currie, on commission, to raise 450,000 USD by private subscription to enlist armed men and buy weapons, munitions, and ships for an expedition to Greece.

Currie did not succeed in raising much money, but he gathered a handful of supporters over the first four years. In 1830 Sainte-Croix authorized him to form a committee to revive the Langue of England. This met on 12 January 1831 and conferred presidential power on the self-styled Count Alexander Mortara. His rival was a clergyman, the Rev. Robert Peat, who had been brought in by Currie in the recent weeks. Peat had been an Extraordinary Chaplain to King George IV (an appointment that was less exclusive than it sounds) and called himself Sir Robert Peat on the strength of a Polish knighthood that he claimed to have inherited. Without going into details, one can state that he was a distinctly bad hat. He may well have been right, though, when in April 1831 he accused Mortara of selling knighthoods and himself set up a rival center, with the support of Donald Currie. This group expelled Mortara from the Order, dismissing him as unworthy, but the Count continued to run his own chivalric brotherhood.

In March 1832 the Rev. Robert Peat's section complained, through Chastelain, to Sainte-Croix, who to their horror took the side of Mortara. There were thus two rival Priories, of which Mortara's was recognized by "the French Langues". In fact, as we have seen, the Ordinary Council of the French knights was at this time in complete inactivity, and when it revived in 1835 Sainte-Croix had no standing in it; the link between the English aspirants and the French Langues thus consisted solely in the spurious Marquis de Sainte-Croix and the spurious Comte de Chastelain. On 24 February 1834 Robert Peat allegedly presented himself before the Lord Chief Justice and took an oath of good administration as Lord Prior of St John in England. The declared basis for this gesture was the Letters Patent of 1557 whereby Queen Mary restored the Priory of England after its suppression by Henry VIII; according to the revived "knights", that legal disposition was still in force.

Sainte-Croix made visits to England in 1835 and 1837, and it is interesting to read the description of him given by Dr Robert Bigsby, who was an initiate of one or other incarnation of the English Priory: "He was a man of singularly refined and pleasing manners, of a handsome person, and dignified address ... I never retired from the conversation of any stranger with more regret."5 Sainte-Croix, as far as one can see, had by now given up hopes of a military expedition and was simply enjoying his status as "Grand Chancellor of the Order of Malta"; this can have been little more than a hobby, to which he devoted two or three visits to England. While he was there in 1835, he repented of his previous decision and transferred his support to Peat, whose position was further strengthened when Count Mortara disappeared from England early in 1837 to escape a challenge to a duel. Peat himself, however, died that April and his office as Prior was not filled for over a year.

These departures enabled the association of would-be Knights of St John to move into a different and more respectable phase. Until now, it can hardly be said that there had been an English Priory at all, whatever its legitimacy; there were rather two rival groups, both of them with somewhat disreputable leaders, and successively enjoying the approval of their originator Sainte-Croix. Yet somehow they had gained the adherence of one or two men of good position, in whose hands the affairs of the aspiring Langue took a new turn. The most important of these for his activity was Richard Broun, who later inherited a baronetcy. One might also note the above-mentioned plans in reference to the Ionian islands.

This now took a curious new turn. Another curiosity was the Irish baronet Sir Joshua Colles Meredyth (1771-1850), who claimed to have visited Malta as a young British infantry officer before the French conquest and to have been made a knight by Grand Master Hompesch. That is conceivable, though unlikely unless he represented himself as a Catholic. On the strength of it, he later thought himself entitled to confer knighthood on a number of Englishmen.6 A further recruit was Sir William Hillary, Bt, who had been equerry to one of George Ill's sons, the Duke of Sussex; Hillary assumed the office of Lieutenant Turcopolier after the Duke had turned down the request to head the Langue as Turcopolier.

Richard Broun, who had been admitted by Peat in 1835, had little idea of the earlier history of his group. When he asked Currie for the documents on the subject, the latter (who quarreled with Peat about this time) refused to give them up, and when he died in 1841 Broun was only partially successful in rescuing them. Broun, however, was responsible for a step which put the "Priory" on a new footing. In July 1838 he asked Sir Henry Dymoke, Bt, the Hereditary Champion of England, to join that body as its Prior, and the offer was accepted. Dymoke held the title until 1847 when he was promoted to Lieutenant Turcopolier and was succeeded as Prior by Colonel Sir Charles Montolieu Lamb, Bt, who was Knight Marshal of the Kingdom. The would-be Knights of St John were delighted to have the holders of such ancient offices among their members, and it reflects the inspiration of their society in the mediaeval romanticism of the time - the sentiment that found contemporary expression in the Eglinton Tournament - in reaction to the assault on the old order made by the Great Reform Act and the growing industrialism. The feeling was expressed by one of their members, Robert Lucas Pearsall, who described what he saw as the virtue of the revival of the Knights Hospitaller: "It seems to me to offer to the genuine old English Gentry a means of distinguishing themselves from the crowd which now usurps their titles. Nor can I believe that any Gentleman of an ancient family can look contentedly on such usurpation, the more especially as the result of it must be to mix him up with the ranks of the Lower Commons."7

One may thus modify the hostile view of the prehistory of the Venerable Order that has often come from the side of the Order of Malta. The origins of the English body, as can be seen, are if anything more disreputable, and its links to the French Langues even more tenuous, than has hitherto been realized; but from 1837 onward there is little ground for the disparaging account that has generally been given of it. Its members were now, for the most part, authentic (though in various ways rather peculiar) members of the upper class; but they had very little to do with the two shadowy groups of the previous eleven years.

This brings us to the question of the validity of the English Langue, as it thought itself to be, and the first objection to it is that of religion. Since the two non-Catholic entities, the Grand Bailiwick of Brandenburg and the Russian Orthodox Priory, were both suppressed by their respective sovereigns in 1810, the Order of Malta has subsequently been able to regard itself (in principle quite rightly) as an indispensable Catholic institution, and thus to rule out the possibility of a Protestant Langue of England. In fact, the records of this period point to a qualification of that view. As the efforts for the restoration of the Order failed after 1814, its government began to consider changes in the Constitution, among which would have been the creation of non-Catholic sections. The Lieutenant Di Giovanni envisaged admitting non-Catholic knights without obligations of celibacy, who would be placed in a Langue of their own, and that policy was accepted by the Sacred Council in Catania on 20 February 1818 (when at the Congress of Vienna the delegate of King of Naples and Sicily to no avail protested the British occupation of Malta, the grand magistry of the Order was transferred to Messina and Catania and finally, in 1834, to its present location in Rome). 8 The fact that the policy was not carried out was the result of incapacity, not of principle. Nevertheless, this decision must be called a measure of desperation rather than a lead to be followed. As suggested earlier, the notion of having a non-Catholic Langue, viewed as an organic part of the religious order of St John, was not canonically acceptable, and if Di Giovanni and his officers had had a proper grasp of the point they should have ruled that any non-Catholic entities - such as the Grand Bailiwick of Brandenburg and the Russian Orthodox Priory had recently been - were to be regarded merely as chivalric adjuncts to the Order, with their own rules to make allowance for their non-Catholic character. That would have avoided the danger, to which the Lieutenancy was also opening the door at this time, that relaxations such as the dispensation from vows and from celibacy would infect the Catholic part of the Order too.

The lesson from this is that the nineteenth-century government of the Order might have been not only ready but too ready to consider the project of a non-Catholic Langue. But this brings us to the next point, which is the very concept of reviving the Langue of England. That Langue had already been revived, as the Anglo-Bavarian, in 1782. It continued to be represented in full legal form in the Sacred Council by the Lieutenant Turcopolier, Rechignevoisin de Guron, until his death in June 1826. The two founders of the Langue died at about the same time - Flachslanden, the former Turcopolier, in 1825, and Cardinal Haeffelin in 1827 - but there were certainly surviving members for some years afterward, including perhaps French knights who had transferred as emigres to the Russian Catholic Priory. One Englishman who joined Broun and his associates, Sir Warwick Tonkin, claimed to have been received somehow into the Anglo-Bavarian and Russian Langue in 1830; if so, he had a better claim to belong to the "Langue of England" than his compatriots. One might mention also that the titular Grand Prior of England, Girolamo Laparelli, was in possession of his dignity until he died at Cortona in 1831 9; he, however, was a member of the Langue of Italy. The implications of all this were that, if there was a question of admitting English members, the correct procedure would have been to aggregate them to the existing Langue. Sainte-Croix's plan of "reviving" the English Langue could only have been conceived by somebody extraneous to the Order's constitution.

The third point is that, obviously enough, nobody involved in the project, whether on the French or the English side, had any competence to create either a Langue or a Priory, even as a supernumerary Protestant entity. The Prussian Grand Bailiwick of Brandenburg and the Russian Orthodox Priory were institutions which had the sanction of their respective monarchs, they were endowed with commanderies, and their knights were noblemen admitted by the authority of the Crown; they thus had an official status which permitted the Order to acknowledge them, however anomalously. None of those features were found in the body which began to call itself the Langue of England. If we imagine that Candida had been Lieutenant before 1830 in place of Busca, he would probably have favoured the French plans to conquer an island in Greece, and he might well have accepted forming an English Priory even with Protestants - as a way of promoting it; but he would have had to introduce special measures to make such a foundation possible, and they would not have included the random co-option of Englishmen attributing to themselves the title of Knight, Prior or Turcopolier.

From these considerations, we can see how remote the would-be Hospitallers in England were from realities in the Order of St John. They were further deceived by the bombast which Sainte-Croix had used in gaining their support, and which resulted in the following account written by Sir Richard Broun: "From the period of the General Chapter of the French, Spanish and Portuguese Langues under Prince Camille de Rohan, when the plenary Capitulary Commission was constituted which revived the Langue of England, the executive sovereignty of the Order may be said to have been exercised exclusively by the six Langues of Auvergne, Provence, France, Aragon, England, and Castile. Within that time, indeed, the formality of electing a Lieutenant of the Magistry has been kept up by a chapter of conventual knights, which at one time has been seated at Catania, at another period in Ferrara, and latterly at Rome. But the proceedings of this body, isolated as it is, and devoid of power as a representative Council of the eight Langues, have no weight with those preponderating administrative Councils of the Order in Western Europe that constitute virtually the sovereignty."10

Those words were written after the rebuff which will presently be described, but in 1837 Broun and his confreres thought of themselves as part of the Order of Malta, and were not aware of any rift within it. It was a sign of their more respectable recruitment that they no longer relied for their Continental contacts on Chastelain, who had now become resident in Britain, or on Sainte-Croix. In July 1837 the self-supposed Priory (currently without a head) sent two emissaries, William Crawford to France and Robert Lucas Pearsall to Germany, to establish relations with the Knights of Malta there. Crawford made inquiries in Paris and found that the General Secretary of the French knights was the Chevalier de Taillepied de la Garenne. That officer opened his eyes to the background of the events since 1826; he said that the authority of the French Commission had been revoked by the Lieutenant Busca and that Sainte-Croix, who at this very time was in England speaking with Bigsby and others, had been accused of fraud (he may have meant the one relating to the Greek loan) and was no longer a member of the French Council. From the point of view of establishing contact with the Lieutenancy, however, the meeting did not take things much further; let us remember that at this point the French knights did not even know that Busca had died or that the Lieutenancy had moved to Rome. The news of the current plan to establish the Order in Monaco was further calculated to obscure the understanding of where the legitimate government lay.

By December Taillepied was able to inform the English that Candida was now Lieutenant, but communication with Rome remained virtually nil for several years. What is strange is that nobody in France, or in Austria where Pearsall got to know the Chevalier Neuhaus, was able to point out the intrinsic impossibility of a body set up on the lines of the "English Langue" being a part of the Order of Malta. Direct contact with the Lieutenancy was made almost by chance; in the summer of 1843, the Bali Ferretti traveled to London to claim a legacy to the Order deposited in an English bank. After contacts established by the French knights, he spoke several times with Broun and Tonkin and showed himself very pleasant, promising to do his best to further the views of the "Langue" with the Lieutenant. Candida must have been mystified by this newly discovered entity; it is unlikely that he understood the details of its origins, and Sir Warwick Tonkin's alleged Anglo-Bavarian sponsorship can only have helped to cloud the issue. On 17 August Candida wrote the English a highly apologetic letter telling them that he could not recognize the Langue unless it revised its statutes to restrict membership to Catholics. Richard Broun took offence at this rebuff, which the previous contacts made" completely unexpected; he replied on 4 December that the English Prior and Council "will have no alternative left but to decline to act in cooperation with the Langue of Italy until a Chapter General of the Eight Langues shall be held."10 This threat cannot have meant anything to Candida and, if he had known its basis in Broun's view of the Order, previously quoted, he would have laughed. Not many months later came Candida's serious illness and eventually his death, and the whole question lapsed for more than a decade.

For internal reasons, the body calling itself the English Langue almost died out after 1849; activity was resumed as a result of a chance meeting between two members, Sir Richard Broun and Dr Robert Bigsby, in 1855. They still thought of themselves as forming part of the Order of Malta, but their communication with the Continent was diminished by the collapse of the French knights in recent years. Contact was restored, with unexpectedly disruptive results, by one of their members, John James Watts (1808-83), who had been received in 1832. Watts was a country gentleman from the north of England, and he had little to do with his confreres after his reception because he went to live in Malta. In the summer of 1857 the "English Priory" took advantage of his residence to appoint him Commissioner to the Langues of Italy and Spain. Watts by now was acquiring a better understanding of the relation between the English group and the Order of Malta, and as a Catholic he wanted to join the latter. He went to Rome in June 1858 and informed the Lieutenancy about the body of which it had been given a fleeting glimpse in 1843. Two details made Colloredo and his Council prick their ears up: the first was the claim that Queen Mary's Letters Patent of 1557 gave the English Priory continuing legal status, and the second was the assertion that Peat had sworn as Prior before the Lord Chief Justice in 1834. Lucas Gozze in particular saw possibilities of taking advantage of this established English institution and linking it with the Catholic Priory of England, which he already envisaged.

The basis of that plan was the reception in the same year of two Englishmen as Knights of Justice, Edmund Waterton and Sir George Bowyer, Bt, the first to be admitted in that class since sporadic Jacobite exiles in the eighteenth century. George Bowyer (1811-83) was a weighty figure, being a Member of Parliament, and as a rich man he notably promoted the Order's work in England. Received into the Church in 1850, he had the zeal of a convert, besides a markedly difficult personality. Edmund Waterton (1830-87) was a member of an old Catholic family, of ebullient character and enthusiastic piety. It was proposed that Watts should join them, and they would form the nucleus of the new English Priory. On 25 June Gozze presented a paper suggesting that the Catholic Priory should be formed first, claiming the rights under Queen Mary's Letters Patent, and the Protestant branch could then be attached to it. The Lieutenancy's relations would be direct with the Catholic Priory and indirectly with the Protestants, and Gozze drew the parallel with the Grand Bailiwick of Brandenburg between 1763 and 1810. Watts was keenly in favor of the union and was in correspondence with Sir Richard Broun about it. Gozze arranged to travel to England to carry it further.

The plan was killed stone dead, however, by Bowyer and Waterton. They both had a fairly detailed, but ex parte, knowledge of what had happened among the French knights from 1824 onward 12, and it made them regard the members of the self-styled English Langue as a collection of frauds. Bowyer, as a lawyer, demolished their legal claims, pointing out that the Letters Patent of 1557 had no force without corporate continuity, and that Peat's oath-taking did not imply official recognition. Gozze arrived in London on 26 August and immediately had this view of the case put to him. The following day Bowyer and Waterton sent a telegram to Watts: "Hold no communication whatever with Broun and his friends till we meet. Do not accept their offer. When will you come?" Watts still wanted to rescue the Catholic-Protestant union, but Bowyer and Waterton threatened to object to his entry as a Knight of Justice, and on 1 October he wrote to Broun that the negotiations were to be suspended and that he had been ordered to resign from the English group. Though Watts accepted the decision, he regarded it as a catastrophe.13

The "English Langue" had just published a Synaptical Sketch of the Order of St John, treating Colloredo and his government as their superiors. On 20 December the Lieutenant, Vice-Chancellor and magistral secretary demanded that their names be removed from the publication, and Bowyer was asked to convey a letter of protest to the Prince Consort, who had held the Sovereign Order's cross of Devotion since 1839. The English would-be knights had already held a meeting (as it happens under a genuine Knight of Malta, the Swiss Count de Salis-Soglio, who had been granted the cross of Devotion in 1843 under the misapprehension that he was a Catholic), and they voted that their earlier negotiations for recognition by the Lieutenancy be revoked. From that point until 1963, the corporate relations between the English Hospitallers and the Order of Malta were severed, while the personal relations were sometimes acrimonious. One should not overlook, however, that for a time the Lieutenancy in Rome had been willing to accept this Protestant body as an associated part of the Order, and that the plan was only stopped by two English knights who had a somewhat unfair view of the society they would be expected to keep.

Cooler brains than Bowyer's and Waterton's might have begun to regret their decision with the progress made by the Protestant group in the following years. Sir Charles Lamb was briefly succeeded as Prior by Rear-Admiral Sir Alexander Arbuthnot, but in 1861 the position was offered to the sixth Duke of Manchester. The Duke, who was described by Disraeli as "silly but not dull", personally added little weight to his association, but he soon became a member of the circle of the Prince of Wales, whom he persuaded to join the Priory. In 1888 the Duke gave way to the Prince as Prior, and Queen Victoria granted a charter instituting the Venerable Order of St John in the British Realm. The Order provides the anomalous example of a chivalric body authorized by the Crown but whose knighthoods do not convey the right to the normal title. The Venerable Order has gone from strength to strength as the controlling authority of St John Ambulance, founded in 1887 and since then grown into one of the best-known organizations for medical assistance in the country. In 1872 St John's Gate, the remains of the old prioral palace in Clerkenwell, was acquired and turned into the headquarters of the Venerable Order, where over the years an interesting museum has been developed. The cross of the Order has been worn by many in official positions and the Grand Prior has always been a member of the royal family.

The foundation of the British Association

Relations between British Catholics and the Order of Malta were begun by the Irish gentleman John Taaffe, a branch of whose family was also established in Austria. Taaffe was received as a knight with his son in 1836, and, as previously mentioned, he founded a commandery in Rome. It is interesting to find that he wrote in July 1836 to King William IV and received a reply from his secretary: "You have His Majesty's full sanction for appearing at his  levee in the uniform and with the insignia of the Order of St John of Jerusalem."14 The first Englishman to be admitted was John Webbe- Weston, of Sutton Place, who was granted the cross of Devotion in 1840 on the strength of his descent from the family of Sir William Weston, the last Prior of England before Henry VIII suppressed the Order. These were exceptional appointments, and the beginning of real interest in the Order in England was the entry of Waterton, Bowyer and Watts in 1858, all of them as Knights of Justice; Cardinal Wiseman, the Archbishop of Westminster, received the cross of the Order in the same year. In Scotland Robert Monteith of Car stairs also became a Magistral Knight and founded a family commandery.

Through Bowyer's patronage in the next few years the community of Sisters of Mercy who conducted the Hospital of St Elizabeth in London were given the privilege of wearing the cross of Malta, and their establishment later developed into the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth built on the pre-Reformation property of the Order in St John's Wood. Bowyer also built the fine baroque church of the Order, originally in Great Ormond Street, and transferred in 1898 stone by stone to St John's Wood. After a period of quiescence, the interest in founding an English Priory had a resurgence in 1870, and five more Knights of Justice entered in the next four years; Waterton, however, was by then married. Watts had made his full profession as a knight but Bowyer had not, and his behavior in these years was characteristically willful. When the 9th Lord Beaumont became a Knight of Justice in 1870, Bowyer found himself outranked, and he probably realized that he was too unpopular to be elected Grand Prior; his support for the Priory, therefore, underwent a change. A further difficulty was a feeling in some quarters that the founding of a Grand Priory by the Roman authority would be bad for Court relations. The English Knights of Justice appointed one of their number, George Errington, to represent them in Rome, but some of his confreres doubted whether he was the right man to negotiate with an Italian, and he displeased the Lieutenant with a scheme for starting a hospital in Dover.15 On 12 February 1873 the proposal was submitted to the Ordinary Council for the creation of a Priory in England; the assumptions of the time were that it must be an endowed foundation, and it would also imply a change to the Constitution of the Order, since the Priory would be entitled to a representative on the Ordinary Council, besides the four already existing. On 31 March J.J. Watts wrote to Waterton describing the cross-currents in the affair:

We are working very hard in Rome to get our Priory established on the conditions they have always insisted on to wit - six Knts. of Justice, two professed (which we now have), three Commanderies of Justice (two of which of £200 each will be forthcoming as soon as they consent to the Priory - and the 3rd we have every reason to hope for very soon after) and one Com. for a Chaplain (which is also waiting for them to decide) so we have done everything they asked - and the result rests with the S.c. [Sacred Council] and we wait for their resolution. Our brother Bowyer, I am told, is intriguing in Rome secretly against the Priory and for a Congregation although he headed the subscription in our supplication for the Priory. However we all- the other five Knts. of Justice are resolved to have the Priory or nothing. The S.c. boggle horridly at the idea of having a little fresh blood let into their said Council to alter the balance of it as they say - and small blame to them, for reasons which are sufficiently obvious to you I doubt not if they wish to preserve the present state of things. We have Errington, one of our new Knts. of Justice as Plenipo. in Rome at present negotiating matters.16

Watts was unaware when he wrote that Sir George Bowyer had already killed the project with a hostile report, which he submitted in early March.17 On 28 April 1874 the Lieutenant issued a decree ruling that the Priory would not be accepted, but, as had already occurred with the proposed German Priory, which will be described next, it was decided to set up an Association instead.

The Lieutenant authorized this in December 1875 and appointed as President the Irish peer, the convert 7th Earl of Granard, who held the office of Master of the Horse. When the Association was officially formed in May 1876, Watts refused to join it, as did others who had set their hearts on a full Grand Priory. The Association as first founded was something of a curiosity; no fewer than nine of its members were Knights of Justice (the dissident Watts not included), and there were only eight Knights of Devotion, of whom three were clerics of gentle birth. In its first decades, the knights of the British Association were a mixed bunch, including Irish, Maltese and outright foreigners. It was only after a couple of generations that it began to attract typically descendants of the English Recusant families, proud of their martyr blood.

In 1881 the Sovereign Order decorated the Prince of Wales with the Grand Cross, which was conferred on him by Lord Granard at Marlborough House.18 He did not hesitate to wear this emblem when he visited Malta as King Edward VII, and, despite his concurrent position as Grand Prior of the Venerable Order, he followed his great-uncle's obliging attitude to the Order of Malta, allowing its knights to wear the cross in his presence. George V, however, withdrew the permission and his successors have not restored it (see more on that below).

The foundation of the German Associations

The foundation of the two Associations of Rhineland-Westphalia and Silesia took place before that of the British, whose story has been told first so as not to interrupt the English narrative. A prelude to it was the restoration of the Protestant Johanniterorden, which may be briefly described. The Grand Bailiwick of Brandenburg was originally a north-eastern division of the Priory of Germany established in the fourteenth century, and at the Reformation, it did not suffer suppression but followed the religion of its princes, of whom the most important were the Electors of Brandenburg, later Kings of Prussia. The Grand Bailiwick retained most of the characteristics of the Order of St John, including its commanderies, but its knights did not take yaws or observe celibacy. In 1763, as we have seen, Frederick the Great of Prussia made a gesture of friendship by nominally restoring the Grand Bailiwick to unity with the Grand Magistry, and even required the commanders to resume the payment of responsions. This state of affairs was maintained until 1810, when, in the programme of harsh national retrenchment after the defeat by Napoleon, King Frederick William III ordered the confiscation of the commanderies. Two years later the Grand Bailiwick of Brandenburg was turned into the civil Order of St John. As traditionalist sentiment gained ground in Prussia, Frederick William IV was moved to restore the Grand Bailiwick in 1852; he appointed his brother Prince Charles its Herrenmeister and set up a governing council which consisted of the eight surviving members of the old Order. So scrupulous was Prince Charles in observing ancient forms that he notified the Lieutenant Colloredo of his appointment, in default of the Grand Prior of Germany to whom that courtesy was formerly due, and Colloredo replied welcoming the foundation as a bulwark against the baneful principles of the age. The Johanniterorden, as it is now known, thus enjoyed the uninterrupted support of the Hohenzollern dynasty from the Reformation until the fall of the German Empire, and even a personal continuity that links it with medieval times. From the 1850s it showed itself very active in charitable works, especially in the provision of military medical services.

In Catholic circles, the cause of the Order was taken up in the same years by Baron August von Haxthausen (1792-1866), who was already well known as a figure of the Catholic romantic revival.19 He traveled in the winter of 1857-58 to Italy and spoke to the young Gottlieb von Schroter on his return from his quixotic journey to the Holy Land. The support of the Prussian ambassador in Rome, who indicated that his King would personally welcome the reappearance of the Catholic Knights of Malta in his lands, encouraged the Lieutenancy to take up this new opportunity. Haxthausen was received into the Order, in which he soon became a Knight of Justice, and set himself the task of winning a following among the nobility of the Rhineland and Westphalia with a view to reviving the German Priory. His most active supporter was the blind Count Franz Egon von und zu Hoensbroech (1805-74), one of the finest representatives of German Catholicism in his time, whose wife dedicated herself to aiding her husband's efforts. In 1859 Haxthausen compiled for the Lieutenancy a report envisaging the foundation of a Priory with a capital of 50,000 thalers (USD 14,000), which would support two commanderies. With the recent memory of the Grand Priory of Germany as a guide, it was assumed that the Priory must be an endowed body enjoying public establishment in the Kingdom. The proposal was accepted by the Lieutenant Colloredo in a decree of 31 December 1859, supported by Gozze in a covering letter to the German knights. From the Order's side, a minimum of four Knights of Justice was demanded to initiate the foundation.

A meeting of noblemen was held at Munster in February 1860 to work towards these objectives, but even from the beginning a party, led by Count von Galen, was opposed to the very principle of the Priory. This school of thought - anticipating what has been a characteristic opinion among the German knights in recent years - saw little value in celibate Knights of Justice and aimed instead at a society of Knights of Devotion without vows. But for the moment the plan of a Priory prevailed and a Board of Patrons was set up to guarantee the 50,000 thalers required. The next step was to gain the approval of the Prussian Crown, and here the obstacles proved insuperable. As a leader of the active Catholic party, Haxthausen was viewed with suspicion, and accusations were made of Ultramontanism and Jesuitical influence. There was prejudice in the very Protestant Prussian government against a purely Catholic foundation and even, among ' burgerlich ' civil servants, against an exclusively nobiliary institute. The Rhenish-Westphalian knights do not seem to have gained the ear of the King for their petitions. Haxthausen was forced step by step to a plan that would have made the Priory Virtually a Prussian national order until Hoensbroech stepped in and denounced the proposed statutes as incompatible with the intention of refounding a branch of the Catholic Order of St John. In May 1864 Haxthausen had to write to the Lieutenancy saying that the German knights were unable to accept the government's terms.

Filippo Colloredo, therefore, sent from Rome Gottlieb von Schröter, whose plans for a foundation in Jerusalem had by now been repeatedly blocked. Schroter was given a year to rescue the project of a German Priory; otherwise, it would be abandoned. He took over from Haxthausen the leadership of the Rhenish-Westphalian body and tried to remodel it according to his own idealistic aims. He had in mind a group of Knights of Justice living in a community and with strict observance of vows, while the Knights of Devotion would be tertiaries, with the concept of "filial adoption" into the religious order of St John. The ideas as far as Knights of Justice were concerned went beyond those of the Lieutenancy, which saw them as turning the Order into a quasi-monastic rather than a distinctively military one; in fact, Colloredo and his Council had held back from sending Schröter to Germany earlier and when they did so in May 1864 they regarded his mission as a forlorn hope. Their reluctance was so entrenched that they even refused their blessing to the German knights' hospitaller activity in the Danish War (February to August 1864). Hoensbroech, for all his own high religious standards, was concerned to avoid a breach with the Lieutenancy.

The death of Colloredo occurred on 9 October 1864, and there was an interregnum of nearly five months before the international arrangements were completed to elect a new Lieutenant. Schröter left Germany in November, handing over the presidency of the Rhenish-Westphalian knights to Count Hoensbroech. The latter decided on a petition to Pope Pius IX, who was personally informed by Schröter of the impasse to which matters had come. The German knights sent to Rome Counts Schmising-Kerssenbrock and Schaesberg-Krickenbeck (if we can really believe that those were the two gentlemen's names) to speak with the Lieutenant and the Pope, but they had less than no success with the newly elected Alessandro Borgia. A communique even appeared in the Roman press stating that the delegation of Knights of Malta from Germany had nothing to do with the Grand Magistry. One may be surprised that Lucas Gozze, who had shown his flexibility over the aspirant Knights of St John in England, did not promote a more sympathetic policy, but he had had time in the past five years to become irritated by the "laughable misunderstandings Ii in the Prussian government which had blocked progress. Thrown over by the Lieutenancy, Schmising and Schaesberg had an audience with Pope Pius IX on 13 May 1865, at which Schröter was also present. They had the support of the Secretary of State, Cardinal Antonelli, who was Protector of the Order, and Pius IX agreed to refer the matter to a special congregation*. The outcome of its deliberations was that on 12 August 1867 the association of the Rhenish-Westphalian knights was granted a papal rule as a religious sodality. The terms of the rule made the body, in principle, an independent corporation, and it was left to create its own statutory relation with the Order of Malta. At a meeting in Germany on 25 September, the knights agreed on a constitution for the sodality and elected Count Hoensbroech President. *The interpretation adopted by German knights nowadays. that Pius IX took a personal interest in the matter and supported the ethos of a pious sodality over Ihal of a religious order. seems to go beyond the evidence: It is true. however. as we have seen. that the Pope proved himself unhelpful at this time over the vocation of professed Knights of Malta. 

Early in 1868 Hoensbroech sent two different knights to Rome to make arrangements with the Lieutenancy. After the deplorable bathos to which relations had sunk in the spring of 1865, this seemed a delicate mission, but the Germans had not reckoned with Alessandro Borgia's family traditions, in which deference to the Holy See was axiomatic. The bland old Lieutenant gave them a friendly reception, and the smoothing out of the constitutional questions proceeded with ease. The attempt to found a German Priory, as envisaged by Colloredo's decree of 1859, was recognized as a failure, and the Rhenish-Westphalian Association was authorized as a union of Knights of Devotion; it was simply asked to provide the names of the governing council with which the Lieutenancy would have to deal. The delegates went back to Germany and a first meeting of the fully regularised Association was held on 4 June 1868.

Schröter was now dead, but his legacy to the Rhenish-Westphalian Association was a high religious idealism which found expression in its articles of foundation:

The members bind themselves by special and solemn promises to a Catholic life in every sense, for their own persons, for their families and for those who directly depend on their authority, and will do everything possible to make their homes a mirror of simplicity and Christian living, renouncing all distinctions so as to make themselves known only by their virtues. They will strive in every way to conduct themselves not only as obedient and faithful subjects of the holy Church, but as loving sons of this beloved Mother, fulfilling her wishes punctually and without complaint, loving whatever their beloved Mother approves and wishes, and carefully avoiding whatever she disapproves. They will strive in every way to further the Church's spiritual and secular interests.

Since Our Lord puts Christian love before us as a beacon to our childhood, and since all other virtues must derive their life and their true worth from this same Christian love, the members of this pious association will open their hearts especially to that spring of Christian life, so as to make Him known to other souls through their example and through the life-giving word.

The Catholic lands of the Rhineland and Westphalia belonged to the western part of Germany, originally, for the most part, ecclesiastical territories, which had been attached to the Kingdom of Prussia in 1814; the eastern part of the Kingdom, geographically separate, included Silesia, which Frederick the Great had conquered from Austria in 1740. Silesia had continued to form part of the Grand Priory of Bohemia and had five commanderies belonging to it which were not suppressed till 1810. Even after that date, the nobility of the province kept up their association with Bohemia, and some of them were admitted into the Grand Priory as Knights of Devotion as late as the 1860s. In view of what the western knights were attempting at that time, there was talk of founding a Bailiwick in Silesia which would form part of the expected new Priory in the Kingdom of Prussia-". The Silesian knights were active, like those of Rhineland-Westphalia, in providing medical services during the Danish and Austrian Wars. As the plans for the German Priory faltered, sixteen Silesian Knights of Devotion founded an association of their own. They were headed by the Duke of Ratibor, who, unlike Haxthausen and his friends, enjoyed the confidence of King William I (later German Emperor), and he had no difficulty in obtaining approval for the group, under his own presidency, through a royal order granted on 2 February 1867. The Lieutenant Borgia recognized this entity in a decree of 3 May, stipulating only that it must call itself an Association and not an Order, and this document constitutes the first official acceptance by the Order of Malta of a National Association. Its membership was open to all Prussian subjects; six German knights who had previously attached themselves to the Rhenish-Westphalian Board now joined the Association, while twenty-four Knights of Devotion of the Bohemian Priory also changed their allegiance. In 1870 the Association had eighty-two Knights and twelve Dames of Devotion, and the possibility of Knights of Justice lapsed into oblivion.

In the first general Roll of the Order, printed in 1871, the Silesian Association is given precedence over that of Rhineland-Westphalia, whose origin, properly speaking, cannot be placed earlier than the grant of the papal rule in August 1867. Later, the Rhenish-Westphalian Association was treated as the senior, assuming as its founding date the year 1859, when Colloredo authorized the attempts to create a Priory. The convention is, at any rate, a recognition of the fact that the first steps were taken by the western Germans; but there is no occasion to quarrel over it since the two Associations have been fused into one since 1993.

The two Associations in Germany were subjected to a severe test during the Kulturkampf in the 1870s. The Rhenish-Westphalian Association, with eleven members in both Houses of the Reichstag, was especially active in resisting the attacks on the Catholic Church. Among the Silesians, the Duke of Ratibor, with his close ties to the monarchy, supported Bismarck's policy. This caused a rift in the Association, where the majority defended the Church's rights, and the zealous Count Franz von Ballestrem was soon to suffer imprisonment for his resistance. When a group of knights headed by Ratibor addressed a letter to the King proclaiming their support for the State, they were ousted in the next elections of the Association, and Count Friedrich von Praschma became the new President. The minority continued in a group of their own headed by the Duke of Ratibor, but it was not recognized in the rolls of the Order. The schism was not healed until 1891, when a compromise was reached making Ratibor honorary President of the reunited Association. Praschma retained the effective direction till his death in 1910, and he was succeeded by Franz von Ballestrern, who had since, in the more benign religious atmosphere that followed the ending of the Kulturkampf, served for eight years as a distinguished President of the German Reichstag.

The restoration in Italy and France

After being raised by Leo XIII to the long-eclipsed office of Grand Master, Giovanni Battista Ceschi a Santa Croce recovered the other privileges of the magistral dignity, including the rank of cardinal deacon and the style of Eminent Highness. In 1882 he was recognized as having precedence over the two Princes Assistant at the Sacred Throne, who until then had enjoyed the first position in the Roman nobility. Leo XIII, whose distinguished reign lasted until 1903, also transferred the ownership of the neglected villa on the Aventine from the Grand Priory of Rome to the Order itself, and the Grand Masters were able to refurbish it and use lit as a residence in early summer, escaping from their somewhat confined premises in the Via Condotti. They also gained the use of the beautiful prioral church for the ceremonies of the Order, which since 1876 had had no place of worship in Rome other than the chapel in the magistral palace. The status of the Order of Malta as a fellowship of the European nobility visibly strengthened at this time, and the use of the Order's uniform, which had almost disappeared in the third quarter of the century, enjoyed a revival, the present style of the uniform being adopted shortly after 1879. Relations with the Italian monarchy were strengthened when in 1891 the Grand Cross was conferred on the heir to the throne, Prince Vittorio Emanuele, later to be the King of Italy.

Steps were also taken to provide hospitaller services similar to what the knights had set up in Germany and Austria. In 1876 Prince Mario Chigi Albani della Rovere, the father of the future Grand Master, signed a convention with the Ministry of War for the creation of a field hospital for wartime service. In January 1877 the Italian Association of the Knights of Malta was founded with the specific purpose of organizing the Order's hospital services to the army. It was thus different from the National Associations which existed in Germany and England, and soon in other countries, whose function was to incorporate the membership of knights as such, whereas the Italian Knights of Malta were and remained incorporated in the country's three Grand Priories.

Elsewhere there was also a reunion of the Spanish Order, and establishment of the French Association. After it began to attract numerous applications it was officially recognized by the Grand Magistry in 1891.

Also in Spain, since 1872, the Order of Malta had more than doubled in size and had added four National Associations to the two German ones Grand Prior Alessandro Borgia had recognized.

Recent developments in reference to Germany and England

As indicated above, the restoration of the Protestant Grand Bailiwick of Brandenburg by the Crown of Prussia in 1852 was accompanied by an exchange of courtesies with the Grand Magistry of the Order of Malta in Rome, and relations between the two orders have always been friendly. The Johanniterorder, was an order of chivalry under the German Crown until 1918. Prince Oscar, a son of Kaiser Wilhelm II, took over as Herrenmeister from his elder brother in 1926 and led the Order with skill until his death in 1958, since when he has been succeeded in office by his son and his grandson, the present Prince Oscar of Prussia. In 1946 the Dutch and Swedish commanderies of the Johanniterorden separated from it and they became independent national orders, the Johanniter Orde in Nederland and the Johanniterorden i Sverige, under the authority of their respective Crowns. The Johanniterorden itself, despite the fall of the Empire, still enjoys the recognition of the German government.

The emergence in England of the Venerable Order of St John, did not take place under similar royal protection, but this was granted by Queen Victoria after half a century, and the Order is now a recognized part of the British system of honors. Thus the four bodies mentioned constitute the four official Protestant Orders of St John, and in 1961 they signed an alliance asserting their common aims and inspiration. At that stage, amity between the Alliance and the Sovereign Order of Malta might have seemed elusive, because of the suspicion that the latter showed towards the British order. As late as 1960 the Grand Magistry in Rome tried to prevent its Delegate for the Middle East from attending the opening of the Venerable Order's restored ophthalmic hospital in Jerusalem. Such attitudes were changed by the ecumenical spirit introduced in the Catholic Church by Pope John XXIII, and a reversal of policy took place very soon. In November 1963 an agreement of mutual recognition was signed between the Sovereign Order and the Venerable Order, and the Grand Chancellor, Prince Enzo di Napoli Rampolla, paid a visit to the Grand Prior, Henry Duke of Gloucester (an uncle of Queen Elizabeth), at St James's Palace 21, this amity did not lead to full relations with the British Crown, which continued its march away from the friendly attitude towards the Order of Malta that it had shown under Edward VII and briefly after the Second World War. Paradoxically, even though the Queen, as sovereign of Malta, was in diplomatic relations with the Order from 1966 onward, when ambassadors were exchanged with that country, the British government at home has always refused to recognize the Order as a sovereign body, so that the successive visits to the Queen paid by Grand Masters De Mojana and Bertie have had to be classified as private. On the other hand, full co-operation and friendship have long been the rule at the level of the five orders and their respective officers.

15 Nov. 2017: The following came as part of a discussion with a former student when he asked me about the Bobrinskoy Orthodox Order of Saint John (OOSJ) and the alleged "The Sovereign Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem Knights of Malta" thus opening up what for me is a new research topic. Self-styled Knights Of Today.

19 Nov. 2017: Where the previous part described the phenomenon of self-styled Knightly orders of St John or of Malta, most of these orders claim to be continuations of various alleged offshoots of what now appears to be a non-existing Russian Orthodox priory. Case Study: Malta and the Russian Usurpation.

27 Nov. 2017: In the following historical investigation it has become clear that the original SMOM Order indeed continued unabated and that the Order's continuing sovereign status was not forfeited through the loss of Malta. The appointment of a new Grand Master.

7 Dec. 2017:  Following an earlier remark about Festing at the end of the discussion here, there is in fact a historical precedent in the form of an even more severe dispute that more significantly gave rise to a vacancy in the Grand Mastership from 1951 to 1962 (which Roger Peyrefitte's famous novel wrongfully attributed to a grain deal). Vatican's opposition to the Order of Malta.


On the prehistory of the Venerable Order, the article by J. Riley-Smith, "The Order of St John in England, 1827-1858" in Malcolm Barber (ed.) The Military Orders (1994), pp. 121-38 is the first study by a professional historian of a subject whose complications and obscurities had hitherto prevented full understanding. Pierredon: Histoire Politique de l'Ordre de Malte, by Thierry and Geraud Michel de Pierredon (8 volumes, 1956-2008), The origins of the German Associations are described in Adam Wienand (ed.), Der Johanniterorden, Der Malteserorden (3rd edition). H. J. A. Sire The Knights of Malta 1996.


1. The statement in H. J. A. Sir, The Knights of Malta, p. 250, that the Council of the French Langues was under the presidency of Calonne d'Avesnes has shown itself to be incorrect.

2. Robert Bigsby, Memoir of the Illustrious and Sovereign Order of St John of Jerusalem (1869), p. 74: "A nephew of the Count [the context shows that he means the Commander] de Dienne has been described as a hot-headed, obstinate young man, spurning all 'legitimate authority,' and banded with a set of associates disposed, like himself, to create a schism in the Order, by getting up an opposition to the Roman supremacy."

3. Pierredon, Vol. 3, p. 40.

4. St John's Gate: Minute Book of the English Priory 1836 onward, minutes of the meeting of 12 October 1837 quoting the letter in question.

5. Sir Richard Broun, Synoptical Sketch of the Illustrious and Sovereign Order of Knights Hospital/ers cf St John of Jerusalem (1857), p. 22.

6. Bigsby, op. cit. (see Note 2 above), p. 72.

7. St John's Gate: the Minute Book (see Note 4 above) is the source for most of the narrative, the quotation being from Pearsall's letter of 1840.

8.  Archives of the Order of Malta in the Magistral Palace in Rome(OM): Liber Conciliorum Status, 15 and 20 February 1818.

9. The information on Laparelli's date of death, 22 March 1831, has been communicated to me by Signora Barbara Giappichelli Giannoni from the burial records of the church of San Andrea, Campaccio (now part of Cortona). The date 1815 that was formerly given seems to be a guess which received an unwarranted general currency.

10. Broun, op. cit. (see Note 5 above), p. 30.

11. St John's Gate, Minute Book (see Note 4 above).

12. This is set out in Bowyer's Ritual of Profession of the Knights ... of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, published in 1858, and Waterton's view was very similar.

13. Notes and Queries, July-Dec. 1863, p. 190. Watts and another writer contributed an informative correspondence to this journal in Jan.-June, pp. 201-4, 252-4, 270-3, 289-91 and 309-11, and July-Dec. pp. 190-1 and 212-14.

14. St John's Gate: copy of letter to Taaffe, 3 July 1836.

15. Mark Bence-Jones, The Catholic Families (1992), p. 222.

16. St John's Gate, miscellaneous letters: J. Watts to Edmund Waterton, 31 March 1873.

17. Records of the British Association, collection of correspondence 1854-98: extract of magistral decree of 28 April 1874 setting out the reasons for the rejection of the Priory.

18. Records of the British Association, collection of correspondence 1854-98: telegram of Granard to Ceschi, 27 June 1881, the day of the investiture.

19. The description of the foundation of the Rhenish-Westphalian Association is taken from the article by Maximilian Freiherr von Twickel, Werden und Wirken der Genossenschaft bis zum Ende des Kaiserreichs in Festschrift zur Hundertiahrfeier der Genossenschaft Rheinisch-Westfälischer Malteser-Devotionsritter, 1959.

20. On the Silesian Association, see Der Malteserorden in Deutschland, published by the German Association of the Order (2011), pp. 62-4: Der Verein der Schlesischen Malteser-Ritter.

21. Bulletin Official of the Order, January-February 1964, with a facsimile copy of the joint declaration.