In 1818, Brother Preston, the author of the Illustrations of Masonry, bequeathed £300 in Consols, the interest of which was to provide for the annual delivery of a lecture according to the system which he had elaborated.
The appointment of the Lecturer was left to the Grand Master for the time being. Stephen Jones, a Past Master of the Lodge of Antiquity, and an intimate friend of Preston, received the first appointment; and it was subsequently given to Brother Laurence Thompson, the only surviving pupil of Preston.
He held it until his death, after which no appointment of a Lecturer was made until 1857, when the Worshipful Master of the Royal Stork Lodge, was requested by Lord Zetland, Grand Master, to deliver the lecture, which he did in January, 1858; twice again in the same year the lecture was delivered, by the Worshipful Master of the Grand Stewards Lodge and by Brother Thiselton, Secretary of the Lodge of Antiquity, and again, by Brother Hewlett and then Brother Henry Warren in subsequent years until 1862, since which time the lecture seems to have been abandoned until 1924 when Captain C. W Firebrace, a Past Master of Preston’s old Lodge, the Lodge of Antiquity, was appointed the Prestonian Lecturer for the year, and was followed by Brother Lionel Vibert, in 1925, a Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge.
– Source: Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry