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William Preston was born in 1742 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He came south to london and worked for a printer. In 1763 he was initiated in an ancients lodge which a year later accepted a warrant from the moderns and was called Caledonian Lodge number 325. He was worshipful master of several lodges and was deputy secretary to the grand lodge of the moderns. In 1772 preston published his illustrations of masonry which was outstandingly popular and ran to 17 editions. Preston and several others got into trouble with grand loge for appearing in public wearing masonic regalia. Preston claimed his lodge predated the grand lodge thus making it of time immemorial constitution and was therefore not subject to the restrictions of the moderns. Thus in 1778 he was expelled. When he withdrew his claim he was reinstated. He died in 1818 and was buried in saint pauls cathedral.