July 28, 1742 - April 1, 1818
English Masonic author, known for his Illustrations of Masonry, which was first published in 1772, and ran through several editions. Born in Edinburgh, he became Deputy Grand Secretary of the Ancient Grand Lodge of England, and compiled an appendix to the Constitutions, which was issued in 1776.
In 1777 the Lodge of Antiquity, under Preston's guidance, had a serious dispute with the "Moderns," which resulted in his suspension from the Order. It was soon rescinded, but other troubles followed, and the Lodge of Antiquity formed itself into a rival grand lodge, under the title of "Grand Lodge of England, South of the River Trent." For this, Preston was again expelled by the "Moderns." He was reinstated again in 1789.
He left a sum of £300 as an endowment for the annual delivery of a lecture which has become known as the "Prestonian Lecture." Appointments were made irregularly, and after 1862, seemed to have ceased. They were revived on a new basis in 1925, the value of the endowment having increased. WW II caused their abandonment, but in 1947 they were again revived. Preston is buried in St. Paul's Cathedral.
Initiated : 1763, Lodge No. 111 "Ancients"|
Caledonian Lodge No. 325 (now No. 134), meeting at the Great Eastern Hotel, London
Worshipful Master : June 1774
Lodge of Antiquity
Deputy Grand Secretary
Ancient Grand Lodge of England
Albert G. Mackey, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry..