In the Holy Land, a small group of Hospitaller fratres who held specific offices within the convent constituted the inner circle of the Master's councilors. Some of the offices they held existed from the origin of the Hospital, others were created or suppressed as time passed, according to contingencies and the evolution of the Order.
The Statutes of 1204-1206 mention five of the offices whose holders, in the course of the century, would be referred to as Conventual Bailiffs: the Commander, the Marshal, the Hospitaller, the Draper and the Treasurer. During the 14th century, each Conventual Bailiwick was assigned to the head of one of the Langues that made up the Order so that, after the last change in 1462, there were eight dignitaries: the Grand Commander (Langue of Provence), the Marshal (Langue of Auvergne), the Hospitaller (Langue of France), the Admiral (Langue of Italy), the Drapier or Grand Conservator (Langue of Aragon), the Turcopolier (Langue of England), the Grand Bailiff (Langue of Germany) and the Chancellor (Langue of Castile and Portugal). Their task was to preside over the Assembly of Knights of their respective Langues and ensure the smooth running of their respective Auberge, as well as to participate in the Sacred Council that governed the Order. After the loss of Malta and the dissolution of the Langues, the Council continued to meet between 1803 and 1831 by convening the Lieutenants of the Conventual Bailiffs, only to be reformed during the 19th century.
Sources and essential bibliography:
Chirografi Magistrali dal 1° Gennaro 1825 a tutto il 1° Decembre 1834, in ASMOM, Chirografi 1825-1834, cc. 58r/v
A. Blondy, L’Ordre de Malte au XVIIIe siècle. Des dernières splendeurs à la ruine , Paris, Bouchene 2002, p. 16
P. Bonneaud, sub voce Bailli Conventuel, in Prier et combattre. Dictionnaire européen des ordres militaires au Moyen Âge, Paris, Fayard 2009, p. 137
J. Burgtorf, The central convent of Hospitallers and Templars. History, organization, and personnel (1099/1120-1310), Leiden-Boston, Brill 2008, pp. 110, 120-121, 144, 146
E. Buttigieg, Nobility, Faith and Masculinity. The Hospitaller Knights of Malta, c. 1580-c. 1700, London, Continuum 2011, p. 58
A. Demurger, Les Hospitaliers. De Jérusalem à Rhodes. 1050-1317, Paris, Tallandier 2013, p. 228
H. Nicholson, The Knights Hospitaller, London, The Boydell Press 2001, pp. 73-75