Martyrs Memorial RBP No 84 Oxford
The Oxford Martyrs Memorial Royal Black Preceptory No. 84 has its origins in the General Gordon Preceptory R.B.P.74 encamped in Farnham, Surrey, England. In 1974 several members of the Farnham Preceptory decided to form the Martyrs Memorial R.B.P. 84 in Oxford.
The Warrant, dated 14th November 1974, was granted and the preceptory was opened in the following month on 7th December. The Preceptory takes its name from the Martyrs Memorial in the centre of Oxford dedicated to the memory of the Protestant Martyrs , Archbishop Cranmer and Bishops Ridley and Latimer who were burned at the stake for their stand against the unscriptural teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
The preceptory is one of six preceptories that form the South of England District and our members are drawn from lodges in Oxford, Bedford, Luton, Bristol and Banbury. The other preceptories in the District are encamped at London, Portsmouth, Plymouth/Bristol, Rayleigh (Essex) and Gillingham (Kent). In 2010 the Oxford preceptory helped to re-launch the Knights of Torbay RBP 370, which meets in Plymouth and Bristol, and which went dormant about 12 years ago. 2010 also saw the formation of a new preceptory in Kent, the Archbishop Thomas Cranmer Memorial RBP 174, and as Archbishop Cranmer was martyred in Oxford we presented the new preceptory with a Bible in recognition of our kinship. The future of Oxford RBP 84 is secure and is attracting not only new members but also young and enthusiastic members who take a great interest and pride in the Royal Black Institution.
Brief History of the Oxford Martyrs
The Martyrs were burned in 1555 and 1556 during the reign of Queen Mary, the Roman Catholic sister of Queen Elizabeth I. King Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey had severed England from the influence of the Pope of Rome and made England a free country, as Luther did in Germany. Indeed, the Martyrs, especially Cranmer were much influenced by Luther's example.
Thomas Cranmer and his friends were burned to death in Broad Street, Oxford. On the road outside Balliol College there is a cobbled cross which is the exact spot where Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was martyred for his faith and his allegiance to the English Crown.
Opposite this cross, on the wall of the College is a beautifully carved plaque on which is written; Near the Cross in the middle of Broad Street HUGH LATIMER - one time Bishop of Worcester NICHOLAS RIDLEY - Bishop of London THOMAS CRANMER - Archbishop of Canterbury were burned for their faith in 1555 and 1556.
Cranmer supported the writing of the English Bible. He wrote the Church of England Book of Common Prayer which is well known for the Service of Holy Communion, Baptism, Marriage and Burial Services, contained therein.
With Thanks to Sir Knight Ian Mackey Registrar R.B.P, 84