Mr Foxton-Ferguson’s Lecture – Christmas 1915

On Sunday, November 28th, we had a most interesting lantern lecture by Mr. Foxton-Ferguson upon the history of the Knights Hospitallers of St. John, from which Order has spring the St. John Ambulance Society, which is doing such invaluable work to-day.

Mr. Ferguson told us of how the Order was started during the Wars of the Crusades, when many of the monks nursing pilgrims in a hospital near Jerusalem, wished to help in the war against the Turks, and so an Order of soldier monks was founded, known as the Knights Hospitallers of St. John, which had for its badge a white Maltese Cross upon a black ground. We heard of how valiantly they fought against the Turks, till they were obliged to leave the Holy Land, and retreat first to Rhodes, and from there to Malta, where after the most desperate struggles they succeeded in repelling the Turks. Though owing to political reasons many of the Knights were obliged to leave Malta and return to their own countries, the Order never entirely died out, and is gaining fresh life during the present war.

While the Knights of St. John were struggling against the Turk in Eastern Europe, Priories of the Order of St. John were springing up in England. The chief of these was that of Clerkenwell, and to-day all the arrangements for the St. John Ambulance Society are made in the buildings erected upon the foundations of the old Clerkenwell Priory.

The slides illustrating the lecture were perfectly beautiful, and we were filled from beginning to end with the keenest interest.