Back in early 2000 Dennis Fountain suggested to Roy Pike that they should set up a new preceptory, but the latter was not that keen as he thought it would not receive the support of the Provincial Prior or the Vice Chancellor. However, Roy Pike did not allow for the perseverance of Dennis who contacted them and managed to obtain their approval to investigate the matter further.
The Provincial Executive laid down some guidelines by which the new Preceptory would gain their support. These were:
- Dartford should be the meeting place
- A Malta degree should be included as one of the meetings
- Minimum number of Eminent Knights as founders
- The founders should be spread from as many different Preceptories as possible
- The founders who take office, should be in a rank higher than in their present preceptory
- The founders must give an undertaking to go through the chair of their mother preceptory even if they went through the new preceptory first
- If a founder went through the chair of their mother preceptory before the new preceptory, they should seriously consider not going through the new preceptory, so as to allow the quicker progress of others.
With this in mind the following list of founders was suggested:
||V E Kt A Semple
||Kt T Sharpe
||E Kt J McCully
||Kt A Wilson-Storey
||E Kt D Fountain
||Standard Bearer B
||Kt D Griffiths
||Kt E J Folkard
||Standard Bearer VB
||Kt D Hiscock
||E Kt L West
||E Kt J Sprackling
||E Kt R Pike
||Capt of Guard
||Kt T Tanner
||E Kt R Alderson
||E Kt K Murphy
||E Kt Birchell
||E Kt Tuthill
||Capt of Lines
||E Kt Brazier
Arch of Steel consisted of Kts Castleton, Davies, Draper, English, Firth, Hutchings, Keys, Page
The other founder member was E Kt Moore
These names were submitted and approved on 17 July 2001.
At various meetings the terms of the original letter from the Vice Chancellor were adopted, it was agreed that this would be a dining preceptory and that all founders would put in an initial £100 into a fund for purchasing the equipment, although this money was not used for this purpose as every member donated some part or other of the regalia or furniture at their own expense.
The name of St George was originally suggested but was turned down as this is the name of the Great Prior's Preceptory, but Dennis Fountain with his usual perseverance put forward the present name, which was then formally proposed by Kt T Sharpe and approved.
The next problem to be solved was the location of the Consecration ceremony. Several venues were investigated and ruled out, and until someone suggested as "we are called St George, why not the St George's Centre at Chatham"? The venue proved an excellent choice and the resulting Consecration on 8 December 2001 was a sight to see with 132 Brother Knights in attendance. To quote the Provincial Prelate, Rt Rev Gerrard Crane, "In years to come people will say, 'do you remember the Consecration of The Kent Preceptory of St George' and you will answer with pride, 'I was there'."
Since then the Preceptory has gone from strength to strength and in its first four years, has installed over 10 knights, four joining knights and has four waiting installation. The June Malta meeting has had no less than 42 knights in its four meetings to date.
Our Christmas meetings are also a great success, despite reservations from the Executive Office saying it was too close to Christmas.
In the four years (at time of writing) the preceptory has become the fifth largest in the Province and we have contributed £750 to the Eye Hospital in Jerusalem.
Grateful thanks to E Kt Roy Pike for supplying the background information