Prestonian Lectures from Quatuor Coronati
On 19 May 2023 the Board of General Purposes announced that the 2024 Prestonian Lecturer will be Dr Ric Berman. His lecture is titled ‘The Second Grand Lodge: The Grand Lodge of Ireland, the London Irish and Antients Freemasonry’. Lodges wishing to host next year’s Prestonian Lecture should apply to the Grand Secretary through Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand Secretaries.
The Prestonian Lecture is the only lecture given under the authority of the United Grand Lodge of England. William Preston (1742-1818), regarded as the foremost Masonic educator of his time, left a legacy to provide for an Annual Lectureship. The preamble to the list of Prestonian Lectures which appears in each United Grand Lodge of England Masonic Year Book is set out below:
‘During his lifetime William Preston developed an elaborate system of masonic instruction which was practised in association with the Lodge of Antiquity of which he was at one time Master. At his death in 1818, Preston bequeathed to Grand Lodge the sum of £300 for the perpetuation of his system of instruction… Lectures in accordance with this system were delivered from 1820 until 1862, when the Lectureship was permitted to lapse. In 1924 the Prestonian Lectureship was revived with a modification to the original Scheme, the lecturer now submitting a Masonic subject of his own selection, and with the exception of the war years, 1940-1946, regular appointments have been made annually since 1924 to the present day.’
The selection procedure for lecturers was altered in 2018 and the Provincial Grand Masters, Metropolitan Grand Master and the Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge now submit names of possible lecturers. Those put forward provide a synopsis of their proposed lecture by September, the synopses are reviewed in November, and the lecturer selected the following May, announced in June, and invested in December at that Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge. The lectureship lasts for one calendar year.
Members of Quatuor Coronati Lodge form the majority of Prestonian Lecturers. Their research receives recognition worldwide and several undertake international lecture tours.
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