HISTORY OF THE COMMANDERY

The Commandery of King Offa covers the East Midlands and is centred on the ancient cathedral town of Southwell. It is named after Offa, King of Mercia, who reigned from 757-796 AD and whose two most significant claims to fame were the introduction of the silver penny and the building of Offa’s Dyke (784-86).

The inaugural Investiture Service as the 12th Commandery in the Grand Bailiwick of England and Wales took place on 3rd August 2008 at the Church of Saint James the Great, Brinsley, in Nottinghamshire, followed by a banquet at Eastwood Hall. There were 19 founder members. In 2010, the Commandery moved its operational headquarters to Southwell, being more centrally-placed. Southwell Minster, where Annual Services are now held, stands at the heart of the town, and dates from the 10th Century. It became a cathedral on the formation of the Southwell diocese in 1884.

The Commandery’s banqueting venue, The Saracen’s Head Hotel, has seen many royal visitors through its doors, including King Charles I, who spent his last hours of freedom there during the Civil War, at which time it was called the King’s Arms. The town is easily accessible from the A46, A1 and M1 and by train from Newark or Nottingham.

The Commandery is proud to hold a number of highly successful events each year, including an Easter Charity Evening in Nottingham, the Portland Ball in Mansfield and a Carol Service at Newstead Abbey.  In addition, there are a number of smaller gatherings and a Summer Event which varies from year to year. The Commandery numbers around 30 members.

Outside the Great West Door of Southwell Minster, 2015

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