Grand Priory of England and Wales Spring National Investiture

On the Friday and Saturday of the Easter Octave, the Commandery of Wales hosted in Cardiff the Spring National Investiture of the Grand Priory of England and Wales.  By kind permission of the Vicar, Canon Stewart Lisk, Area Dean of Cardiff and Canon of Llandaff Cathedral, the Vigil service was held at the Anglican Church of St Margaret of Antioch, Roath.  This beautiful church was built by the third Marquess of Bute on the site of a previous 12th century foundation.  Its many interesting architectural features include the Bute Mausoleum. 

The Chaplain-General, Canon Victor Bullock SChLJ, presided over the Vigil service assisted by Canon Andrew Stevens SChLJ who delivered the traditional Vigil meditation on the Beatitudes.  Following the blessing and dismissal, the members of the Order departed in silence leaving the Postulants in church to hear the Vigil Charge given the Secretary-General, HE the Chevalier Gareth Vaughan GCLJ, assisted by the Deputy Marshal.

A drinks reception and the Vigil dinner were held in the delightful setting of the Cardiff and County Club.

The following morning the Service of Investiture was celebrated at the Metropolitan Catholic Cathedral of St David, Cardiff.  We are very grateful to the Dean, the Very Revd Peter, Canon Collins, for allowing us to host the Investiture in the Cathedral.  At 1100 the members of the Order and the officers of the Grand Priory entered the great West door of the Cathedral in a colourful procession of banners, flags and the gonfalon from the Cornerstone rooms opposite the Cathedral.  The Newman Hall Schola, under the direction of Tomos Watkin, accompanied by Philip Aspden FRCO OMLJ on the organ, provided stunning music for the Investiture service.  His Grace, the Archbishop of Cardiff, the Most Revd George Stack, preached a most thought-provoking homily that many present agreed was most appropriate for an Investiture service.  The Grand Prior, the Marquis of Lothian, was the Investing Officer assisted by the Bailiff, HE the Chevalier Charles Holloway GCLJ.  It was a pleasure to witness eight new members of the Commandery being

admitted to the Order and clothed with the St Lazarus mantle, seven promotions in the Commandery and five of our loyal supporters receiving awards in the Companionate of Merit.  The investiture service concluded with a rousing singing of the Regina coeli and the National Anthem, after which we processed out of the West door and back to the Cornerstone accompanied by Philip Aspden playing a majestic rendition of the finale to Widor’s 6th Organ Symphony.

Chevalier David Knox KLJ is not only to be congratulated on his promotion to Knight of Grace of the Order, but also for the efficient manner in which he deputised as Marshal for Chevalier Peter Salt KCLJ, who sadly was not able to be with us for the Investiture weekend.

Pre-prandial drinks, accompanied by madrigals sung by the Newman Schola, were served in the Jane Hodge Room of the Cornerstone complex.

The luncheon guests were summoned into the dining hall of the Cornerstone by a specially written trumpet fanfare, entitled St Lazarus, played by the composer Edward John and his son Dylan.  The dining hall had been decorated with stunning flower arrangements by Mrs Diane Bartley assisted by Confrères Craig Williams CLJ, Haydn Rees CLJ, Neil Buffin CLJ and Jeffrey Morgan CLJ.  The heraldic banners were designed by the Commander, Chevalier Dr David Woolf KCLJ. 

The wonderfully jolly luncheon concluded with toasts proposed by the Grand Prior and the Bailiff.