Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge
10 June 2015
Report of the Board of General Purposes
The minutes of the meetings of the Quarterly Communication of 11 March 2015 and of the Annual Investiture of 29 April 2015 were confirmed.
Annual Dues 2016
A resolution was approved that a Board recommendation that the annual dues (including VAT) payable to Grand Lodge in respect of each member of every Lodge for the year 2016 shall be:
A resolution was approved that the Board recommendation that the fees (exclusive of VAT) payable for registration, certificates and dispensations should be increased in line with inflation to:
Contribution to Grand Charity
A resolution was approved that the Council of the Grand Charity’s request that for 2016 the annual contribution remain at £17 in respect of each member of a Lodge in a Metropolitan Area or a Province, or in England and Wales that is unattached, was approved.
2014: 1814: Consolidation and Change
The Lecturer, Dr M.A. Kearsley, had informed the Board that in addition to the three official deliveries to The London Grand Rank Association; Egerton Worsley Lodge No. 1213, Eccles (West Lancashire); and Temple of Athene Lodge No. 9541, Harrow (Middlesex), the Lecture was also delivered on 46 other occasions throughout the Constitution. The Board expressed its thanks to Bro Kearsley for the considerable time and effort he has spent in this connection.
2015: Wherever dispersed – the Travelling Mason
The Prestonian Lecturer for 2015 is Prof R. Burt. Five official Prestonian Lectures for 2015 have been or will be given under the auspices of: Royal Standard Lodge No. 398 (Montreal and Halifax); Shepherd's Bush Lodge No. 1828 (London); Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge No. 4538; (Warwickshire) Torbay Masters Lodge No. 8227 (Devonshire) and Worthing Lodge of Installed Masters No. 9860 (Sussex).
2016: The Board has submitted a nomination to the Trustees of the Prestonian Fund and they have appointed Dr R.A. Berman as Prestonian Lecturer for 2016. Dr Berman states that the title of his Lecture will be: Foundations: new light on the formation and early years of the Grand Lodge of England.
Arrangements for the delivery of the Lectures to selected Lodges will be considered by the Board in November and applications are now invited from lodges. Applications should be made to the Grand Secretary, through Metropolitan, Provincial or District Grand Secretaries.
The Board desires to emphasise the importance of these, the only Lectures held under the authority of the Grand Lodge. It is, therefore, hoped that applications for the privilege of having one of these official Lectures will be made only by lodges which are prepared to afford facilities for all Freemasons in their area, as well as their own members, to participate and thus ensure an attendance worthy of the occasion.
The Board had received a report that King Oswald Lodge No. 3306 had resolved to surrender its Warrant in order to amalgamate with Bank Terrace Lodge No. 462 (East Lancashire). A resolution that the Board recommendation that the Lodge be removed from the register in order to effect the amalgamation was approved.
Erasure of lodges
The Board had received a report that thirty-five Lodges have closed and have surrendered their Warrants. The Lodges are: Lodge of Sincerity No. 292 (West Lancashire); Architect Lodge No. 1375 (West Lancashire); Marlborough Lodge No. 1620 (West Lancashire); Beckenham Lodge No. 2047 (London); Mitcham Lodge No. 2384 (Surrey); Randle Holme Lodge No. 3261 (Cheshire); Murdoch Lodge No. 3480 (Warwickshire); Lodge of Amity No. 3845 (Warwickshire); Milton Lodge No. 3849 (Yorkshire, West Riding); Gordovic Lodge No. 4061 (Cheshire); Garrick Lodge No. 4246 (Cheshire); Hanwell Lodge No. 4676 (London); Tadorne Lodge No. 4735 (Surrey); Linacre Lodge No. 4823 (West Lancashire); Lombardian Lodge No. 4887 (West Lancashire); Caxton Lodge No. 5093 (Warwickshire); Wansbeck Lodge No. 5171 (Northumberland); St Cuthbert Lodge No. 5294 (Cumberland and Westmorland); West Twyford Coronation Lodge No. 5674 (London); Grey Friars Lodge No. 6080 (Warwickshire); Optima Lodge No. 6101 (West Lancashire); Abbey Lodge No. 6425 (Cumberland and Westmorland); Chedelintone Lodge No. 6508 (Oxfordshire); Maghull Lodge No. 7190 (West Lancashire); Bromley Lodge of Good Fellowship No. 7242 (West Kent); The Forester Lodge No. 7503 (Worcestershire); Cherrywood Lodge No. 7530 (Surrey); Lodge of Orleans No. 7955 (Middlesex); Arthur Hollins Lodge No. 8785 (Middlesex); Ernehale Lodge No. 8806 (Nottinghamshire); Tenwarden Lodge No. 8858 (East Kent); Sure and Steadfast Lodge No. 9326 (West Lancashire); Chypping Walden Lodge No. 9617 (Essex); St George and St Andrew Lodge No. 9677 (Cumberland and Westmorland) and Lodge of Renaissance No. 9724 (Warwickshire)
A resolution that the Board recommendation that they be erased was approved.
Grand Lodge Accounts for 2014
The Audited Accounts of Grand Lodge for the year ended 31 December 2014 were approved.
Election of Grand Lodge Auditors
The re-election of Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP, as Auditors of Grand Lodge was approved.
The Freemasonsʼ Fund for Surgical Research
A talk was given by J.A.H. West, Chairman of the Trustees of the Fund.
Expulsions from the Craft
Fifteen brethren were expelled from the Craft.
List of new lodges for which Warrants have been granted
11 March 2015
9906 Musket Pike and Drum Lodge, Staffordshire
9907 Universities Lodge of Staffordshire, Staffordshire
9908 Albert Edward Court Lodge of Research, South Wales
9909 Newent Daffodil Lodge, Gloucestershire
9910 Spirit of Rugby Lodge, Durham
30 April 2015
9911 Lodge of Uniformed Services, Cumberland and Westmorland
9912 Bundle of Sticks Lodge , Sussex
9913 Nigeria Centenary Lodge, Nigeria
A Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge is held on the second Wednesday in March, June, September and December. The next will be at noon on Wednesday, 9 September 2015. Subsequent Communications will be held on 9 December 2015, 9 March 2016, 8 June 2016 and 14 September 2016.
The Annual Investiture of Grand Officers takes place on the last Wednesday in April (the next is on 27 April 2016), and admission is by ticket only. A few tickets are allocated by ballot after provision has been made for those automatically entitled to attend. Full details will be given in the Paper of Business for December Grand Lodge.
Supreme Grand Chapter
Convocations of Supreme Grand Chapter are held on the second Wednesday in November and the day following the Annual Investiture of Grand Lodge. Future Convocations will be held on 11 November 2015, 28 April 2016 and 9 November 2016.
Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge
11 March 2015
Report of the Board of General Purposes
Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of 10 December 2014 were confirmed.
Election of Grand Master
HRH The Duke of Kent was re-elected Grand Master.
Report of the Board of General Purposes
GRAND LODGE REGISTER 2005–2014
Tables showing the number of lodges on the Register and of Certificates issued during the past ten years.
Charges for Warrants
For the year commencing 1 April 2015 the charges (exclusive of VAT) shall be:
The Board had received a report that New Southgate Lodge, No. 5187 had resolved to surrender its Warrant in order to amalgamate with New Cross Lodge, No. 1559 (London). The Board recommendation that the lodge be removed from the register in order to effect the amalgamation was approved.
Masonic standards and values
The Board stated the rules governing masonic standards and values. They said that Freemasonry is above all a moral organisation, founded on the principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth – or, as it could more familiarly be put in the language of today, kindness; charity and generosity; and integrity and honesty. Those principles – if they are to mean anything – clearly require the maintenance of the highest standards of behaviour by Freemasons in both public and private life.
Electronic communication of formal documents
The Board last made recommendations to the Grand Lodge on this subject in June 2009. Since then, as reported in June of last year, the Board has set up a Committee to consider how electronic systems and methods can be used to streamline systems and produce economies. The first result has been the electronic distribution of the Paper of Business and the printed Proceedings of the Grand Lodge, which is already showing a considerable saving in costs. The Board now recommends the introduction of a new Rule into the Book of Constitutions which will specify certain documents as being of such importance that they must be transmitted only in physical form and bear original signatures. It is not intended that the new Rule should supersede the existing guidance, which will, for the time being, remain in force, but it is intended thereby to establish clearly the irreducible minimum beyond which electronic communication will not be permitted whatever relaxation may in future be permitted from the guidance given in 2009. Notice of Motion to amend the Book of Constitutions accordingly appeared on the Paper of Business.
Erasure of Lodges
The Board has received a report that twenty-eight Lodges have closed and surrendered their Warrants. They are: Prince Edward of Saxe Weimar Lodge No. 1903 (Hampshire & Isle of Wight), Sanctuary Lodge No. 3051 (London), St Aidan Lodge No. 3460 (Northumberland) Leoride Lodge No. 3585 (Surrey), Whiston Lodge No. 3614 (Cheshire) Hendon Aero Lodge No. 3895 (London), Sanderstead Lodge No. 4133 (Surrey), Abbeygate Lodge No. 4219 (Essex), Cambridge Heath Lodge No. 4506 (London), Winlaton Lodge No. 4546 (Durham), Priory Lodge No. 4671 (Yorkshire West Riding), London Nottinghamshire Lodge No. 5133 (London), Beaux Arts Lodge No. 5707 (Surrey), Windmill Hill Lodge No. 5843 (Middlesex), Edgbaston Lodge No. 5980 (Warwickshire), Observer Lodge No. 6015 (South Wales), Heworth Lodge No. 6331 (Durham), Burstow Link Lodge No. 6601 (Surrey), Lodge of Good Endeavour No. 6628 (Cheshire), Lodge of Fidelity No. 7237 (Durham), Blackpool Lodge of Loyalty No. 7332 (West Lancashire), London River Lodge No. 7595 (Surrey), Withy Lodge No. 7733 (West Lancashire), Lodge of Solidarity No. 8018 (London), Walcountian Lodge No. 8417 (Surrey) Lodge of Perception No. 8492 (Warwickshire) and Cudlow Lodge No. 8738 (Sussex).
A recommendation that they be erased was approved.
Masonic Housing Association
There was a presentation by M.C. Clarke, Chairman of the Masonic Housing Association.
List of new lodges for which Warrants have been granted by the Grand Master showing the dates from which their Warrants became effective:
12 November 2014
No. 9903 Lodge of Brevity (Eastleigh, Hampshire and Isle of Wight)
6 January 2015
No. 9904 Sir Louis Mbanefo Lodge (Onitsha, Nigeria)
No. 9905 Glaslyn Lodge of Installed Masters (Porthmadog, North Wales)
Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge
A Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge will be held on 29 April 2015 (Annual Investiture), 10 June 2015, 9 September 2015, 9 December 2015, 9 March 2016 and 8 June 2016.
Convocation of Supreme Grand Chapter
Convocations of Supreme Grand Chapter will be held on 30 April 2015, 11 November 2015, 28 April 2016 and 9 November 2016.
10 December 2014
A speech by WV Bro Graham Redman, Deputy Grand Secretary, and VW Bro John Hamill, Assistant Grand Chancellor
GFR: MW Pro Grand Master and Brethren, a year ago we left the United Grand Lodge of England duly constituted on 27 December 1813 with elaborate ceremonial, and the Brethren recruiting themselves at the Crown and Anchor tavern where a grand banquet was provided.
As might be expected, 1814 was a year of consolidation in which many of the details of the Union fell to be worked through. At the Quarterly Communication of 2 March the Board of General Purposes in its report set out the “Duty of the Board”:
1st To propose for the sanction and adoption of the Grand Lodge such Laws and regulations as may appear necessary or expedient for the Government of the Craft and to draw up and arrange the same….
2dly To propose for the consideration and adoption of the other Masonic Boards such measures as appear to this Board to require their consideration.
3dly To hear and determine all subjects of Masonic Complaint or irregularity respecting Lodges or Individual Masons, To proceed to admonition or suspension if judged necessary, and where the case shall appear of so flagrant a nature as to require the Erasure of a Lodge or expulsion of a Member from the Fraternity to make a special report to the Grand Lodge with their Opinion thereon.
That all the other powers and duties heretofore exercised and belonging to the former Stewards Lodge or Committee of Charity now belong to this Board, except only such powers and duties as are specially vested in or properly belong to the several other Boards now constituted
The Board then promulgated the Rules and Regulations proposed for its Government
JMH: MW Pro Grand Master and brethren, the Duke of Sussex was keen that there should be no slacking once the festivities were over and the Union achieved. He had round him a close circle of advisers to push forward his aims. The new Boards were immediately set to their tasks. The Board of General Purposes was a combination of the former Committee of Charity of the premier Grand Lodge and the Stewards Lodge of the Antients. Both had originally been set up to manage the central charitable affairs of their respective Grand Lodges but had gradually accrued both policy making and disciplinary powers and were more like general committees. In the twenty years after the Union the Board of General Purposes slowly absorbed the other Boards set up in 1814, except for the Board of Benevolence which continued until 1980 when its duties were taken over by the Grand Charity.
GFR: The Board went on to represent
that various irregularities having been communicated to this Board in the practice of initiating of Members as well as in that of granting Certificates and other Matters, It is recommended that in the Conferences which are to take place between this Grand Lodge and the Grand Lodges of Scotland and Ireland a general understanding be established on every point of communion between them that perfect unity may be established.......
JMH: Because the Union had, in the end, been so hastily arranged neither the Grand Lodge of Ireland nor that for Scotland had been able to send delegates to the great meeting on 27th December 1813. The Grand Master, however, was keen to have their support and to try and achieve unanimity of purpose between the three Grand Lodges. Although not referred to in the Grand Lodge Minutes the Grand Masters of Ireland and Scotland and other of their senior brethren met with the Duke of Sussex in the early summer of 1814 and agreed and signed what became known as the International Compact which has governed relations between the three Home Grand Lodges ever since and brought into being what is now an annual tripartite meeting where the three get together to discuss common problems.
GFR: The Board also reported on Charges preferred before them by the Officers of the Lodge of Antiquity, No. 2 against Brother Charles Bonner … for having printed part of the Proceedings of the Lodge of Antiquity, and its Permanent Committee, without the consent of the Grand Master or his Deputy. Grand Lodge Resolved unanimously that the report be confirmed and the paper printed by Brother Bonner be referred to the consideration of the Board of General Purposes and that in the meantime Bro Bonner be suspended from all Masonic Rights and Privileges.
Reports were also delivered by the Board of Works (which had been considering jewels and aprons), the Board of Finance and the Board of Schools.
JMH: Brother Bonner we will return to a little later. The Board of Works had been given the remit of looking after the real property, furniture and regalia of Grand Lodge. They immediately set to designing standard regalia and it is to them that we owe the design of the aprons, collars and jewels we still wear today. The only differences since 1814 are the addition of emblems for new officers as they have been introduced at Lodge, Metropolitan, Provincial, District and Grand Lodge levels and the wearing of chains by active Grand Officers. Until 1836 active Grand Officers wore their jewels pendent to embroidered collars, as Past Grand Officers do today. Amazingly the Minutes of the Board of Works still survive. Infuriatingly, whilst they list the designs chosen they give no indication as to why they were chosen – which has left the field wide open to Masonic symbologists to give more and more abstruse meaning to the various symbols used! Having presented their ideas to the Grand Lodge in March, they were formally approved at the Installation of the Grand Master on 2nd May.
GFR: At the Quarterly Communication held on 1 June, the Board of General Purposes reported that Bro Bonner had been summoned to answer
“for having printed and circulated amongst some Members of the Craft a certain paper purporting to be the Copy of an address proposed in the Lodge of Antiquity to be presented to His Royal Highness The Grand Master together with remarks and observations thereon, in which said printed Paper the conduct of the M.W. Grand Master and others was spoken of and animadverted on and that in a way highly improper unmasonic and unjust and to bring with him to the Board such witnesses and evidence as he might think necessary in his behalf”
JMH: Charles Bonner was the Acting Master of the Lodge of Antiquity, of which the Grand Master was the permanent Master. Claiming to act with the agreement of the Past Masters and other members of the Lodge, Bonner had issued a printed letter in which, like his mentor in ritual matters William Preston almost forty years earlier, he claimed that the immemorial rights of the Lodge of Antiquity were being set aside by the Act of Union. In particular he referred to the Lodge having lost its No. 1 status on the Register, lost its right to carry the Book of Constitutions on a cushion immediately in front of the Grand Master in all Masonic processions and the right of its Master or Acting Master to sit at the right hand of the Deputy Grand Master at feasts after Grand Lodge meetings. His case might have been listened to had he simply made these claims, but he was guilty of two major errors. First, admittedly in the most carefully polite language, he chided His Royal Highness the Grand Master as Master of the Lodge of Antiquity for not having done more to safeguard the rights of the Lodge and, secondly, despite claiming to speak on their behalf had not gained the agreement of the Lodge to his complaint before having it printed and circulated. At its meeting the Lodge formally rejected the letter and informed both the Grand Master and the Grand Secretary that it did not represent the views of the Lodge.
GFR: The Quarterly Communication of 7 September saw the reappearance of a character we have previously met in these historical presentations. The Board of General Purposes reported
that Brother Francis C. Daniel a Member of the Lodge of Felicity No. 75 late No. 54 having attended on the 22d Decr last at one of the Meetings of the Lodge of Reconciliation previous to the day of Union….. it was stated by some of the Brethren present that he had been expelled from that part of the Fraternity of which His Grace the Duke of Athol was formerly Grand Master and as the Rules Orders Regulations and Acts of the two Grand Lodges previous to the Union ought to be maintained subject to the reconsideration of the United Grand Lodge Brother Daniel must be taken and considered to stand expelled the United Fraternity.
JMH: Those who have been attending this Quarterly Communication for the last few years will remember that Francis Columbine Daniel was the Brother who, joining a queue at a garden party at Buckingham Palace was surprised when asked to kneel and had a sword tapped on his shoulder, thus gaining a knighthood by default! He had indeed been expelled by the former Antients Grand Lodge and, as a tit for tat, had engineered the expulsion of Thomas Harper from the premier Grand Lodge, which actions delayed any discussion of the Union for nearly seven years.
GFR: There were a few fireworks at the December Communication. After the Grand Lodge had been opened in ample Form and the Laws relating to the Behaviour of Masons in Grand Lodge had been read, the Minutes of the previous Communication were put for confirmation, whereupon:
Robert Leslie Junr Master of the Lodge No. 9, rose and addressing himself in the most disrespectful, disorderly and unmasonic manner to the Grand Master then presiding over the Grand Lodge which had been opened in ample form, demanded to know whether he had been regularly initiated and passed the several Degrees of Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft. This outrageous act of indecorum committed in the Grand Lodge towards the Fraternity at large in the person of the Grand Master by Bro. Leslie Junr excited a general indignation in the breast of all the Brethren present; who had most of them witnessed the joint and solemn Obligation taken by the two Grand Masters of the respective Fraternities on the day of Union.……
Eventually a motion was carried
“That the said Robert Leslie Junr should lay aside his Masonic Insignia and Quit the Grand Lodge”
which upon his refusal he was compelled to do.
JMH: Robert Leslie Jnr was the son of Robert Leslie who since 1790 had been Grand Secretary of the Antients Grand Lodge. Father Leslie had been wholly against any idea of a Union of the two Grand Lodges and did all he could to hinder matters. He continued to rail against the event and refused to hand over the books and papers of the Antients Grand Lodge until he was guaranteed a pension of £100 p.a., which had been his salary from the Antients Grand Lodge. It would appear that the son was even more abrasive than the father!
GFR: Later in the meeting a Letter addressed to the Most Worshipful Grand Master by Bro Charles Bonner was by His Royal Highness laid before the Grand Lodge and read …….. After which on a Motion duly made it was Resolved that Bror. Charles Bonner be restored to his functions as a Mason and a Member of the Grand Lodge.
JMH: Bonner’s letter was suitably abject and apologetic and he was enabled to return to the fold and continued his interest in ritual matters. He had been Secretary of the Lodge of Promulgation, which had paved the way towards the Union and gave much advice to the Lodge of Reconciliation in its attempts to bring about a standard form of ritual after the Union.
GFR: It was “Ordered that a Special Grand Lodge be holden on Wednesday the 1st of February next”… The purpose of the meeting was to consider the new Code of Laws and Regulations for the Government of the Grand Lodge, and of the Craft in general, which had been deliberated on by the Board of General Purposes.
The Board’s report had also dealt with the case of Bro Francis Columbine Daniel, and he
being in attendance two Stewards conducted him into the Grand Lodge without his Masonic Clothing when His Royal Highness the Most Worshipful Grand Master addressed him on the circumstance of his Restoration to his Masonic Privileges and on the conduct which it was the duty of every Mason to observe after which he was reinstated with his Apron and directed to take his Seat as a Member of the Grand Lodge.
JMH: Daniel, you may be pleased to hear, caused no further problems, was never referred to again in Grand Lodge and will not appear again in these talks, should we be asked to continue them! The new Code of Laws was issued as unbound sheets for anyone to make comment on their content. Comments there were aplenty and it was not until 1819 that the final text was agreed and published.
GFR: The Quarterly Communication of 4 March 1914 was held at Central Hall, Westminster, in order to accommodate the large numbers attending, and opened on an amicable note with a unanimous vote in favour of a contributory pension scheme for the clerks in the Grand Secretary’s office in receipt of salaries of under £400 per annum. Alas, controversy set in immediately afterwards with the Motions Pursuant to Notice. In December 1913 Grand Lodge had directed that a special report of the Board of General Purposes putting forward significant constitutional proposals for the reorganisation of the Grand Lodge and London be circulated to Lodges in order that all Brethren might vote on the proposals. This provoked a flurry of Motions for March 1914.
A preliminary skirmish was launched by W Bro Samuel Green, who objected to the order in which the various motions were set out in the paper of business. He quoted the then Rule 55:
“Notices of motion shall be set down for consideration in the order in which they were given, and.... shall stand on the paper of business in precedence of all subsequent notices.........”
He went on to submit that it was
a matter of extreme importance that the resolutions shall come on in the order in which the notices were given, because it may be a matter of considerable interest to the Brethren that certain resolutions should be dealt with before others. I have little doubt about that. Many Brethren sent in their resolutions earlier in order that they might be dealt with in accordance with the Book of Constitutions, and the point I make is, that if whoever is responsible for altering the Agenda Paper now does so on a future occasion it may create considerable difficulty. I submit that the Book of Constitutions binds, not merely the Initiate, not merely the Master Mason, but also the Board of General Purposes. Therefore, Most Worshipful Pro Grand Master, I ask your ruling as to whether the notices of motion shall be taken in the order in which they are on the Agenda Paper to-day, or whether they shall be taken in the order in which they were given, and comply with the Book of Constitutions?
The Pro Grand Master, Lord Ampthill, after consultation with the Grand Secretary replied:
Brethren, I hold myself most particularly bound by the Book of Constitutions, but this matter is capable of a very natural and simple explanation, which, I am sure, will give satisfaction to all and cause offence to nobody. …. It is this. The Grand Secretary showed the motions of which notice had been given to the President of the Board and asked him what would be the best order in which to take them? The President did not recollect for the moment that there was Rule 55 – any of us may forget the existence of a Rule – and, as it was put to him in that way, he naturally only regarded it from the point of view of the convenience of Grand Lodge and suggested a particular order. It was only after that had happened and the notice had been printed, that he was reminded of the Rule. That is the explanation, and I hope you regard it as a sufficient one….
Nevertheless, Bro Green’s resolution “That the original order of the motions, as they stood on the Agenda on the 18th February of this year, be adhered to” was put to the meeting and declared carried.
After passing an amendment to the Book of Constitutions to allow Honorary Members an unfettered right to attend the Lodges that had elected them to honorary membership, the first Motion relating to the reorganisation of Grand Lodge was called. Its proposer, VW Bro R.A. McCall, KC, PDepGReg, was detained in Court, so it was put back in the agenda and W Bro Norman Armitage rose to propose on behalf of W Bro Keogh Murphy (who was absent through illness)
That this Grand Lodge expresses its regret at the action of the Board of General Purposes in circulating two letters dated the 18th December, 1913, and the 24th January, 1914, respectively, inaccurately stating the effect of the Resolution passed in Grand Lodge on the 3rd December, 1913, which authorised the reception and circulation of the Report of the Board of General Purposes containing nineteen proposals.
JMH: The Board had a very paternalistic attitude towards the Grand Secretary’s Staff and the new pension scheme was a generous one, which, it was admitted in introducing it to Grand Lodge, would in the long run save Grand Lodge money, which the then existing ad hoc provisions would not!
The rest of the meeting was one of those rare occasions when the management of Grand Lodge was caught on the wrong foot! The rather acrimonious debate which followed, and went on for most of the evening, was on technicalities: who had said what and if they had been correctly reported in the official published records, whether or not the procedural rules for debate in Grand Lodge had been followed to the letter (they had not), complete with statements implying that the Pro Grand Master, President of the Board and Grand Secretary did not appear to be as well acquainted with the Book of Constitutions as persons of their eminence should be. The evening was taken up with motions, counter motions and amendments that make reading the Proceedings of the event something of a towel round the head task.
GFR: VW Bro McCall, now released from Court, spoke to his motion “That this Grand Lodge do now proceed to discuss and consider the Report of the Board of General Purposes relating to the Reconstruction of Grand Lodge.” The debate became heated and eventually boiled over when another PDepGReg, VW Bro. J.V. Vesey Fitzgerald, KC, weighed in with
except from Bro. McCall, I have never heard anyone suggest it is beyond the power of Grand Lodge to accept a scheme for devolving some of its powers… and Brethren, although Bro. McCall asserted that with great emphasis, he has given no reasons why we should accept his statement on that point as a sound one….. I do not know whether the members of Grand Lodge wish to be addressed as common jurymen or Judges. Brother McCall's speech struck me as very much like what we hear from him in the Law Courts when addressing a Common Jury. (Cries of “Withdraw.”) I am very sorry if my opinion is not that of others. I am quite sure that anyone who is used to the Courts as Bro. McCall is, will not take objection to what I say, If he does I am sorry. (Cries of “Withdraw.”) If Bro. McCall feels I have said anything to hurt him, and he objects, I will do so.
From the Pro Grand Master: Bro. Fitzgerald has said that if Bro. McCall feels hurt he apologises. Is not that sufficient?
From VW Bro Fitzgerald: If Grand Lodge feels aggrieved I apologise to Grand Lodge.
JMH: Tempers were evidently fraying and the tenor of the debate was certainly descending. To the possible relief of the Pro Grand Master, Lord Ampthill, Brother Samuel Green suggested the setting up of a Committee to go into all the matters, which was agreed to and the meeting closed. Lord Ampthill had obviously been affected by the ferocity of the debate and that some of the attacks had come from senior Grand Officers. When he addressed the assembly after he had invested the new Grand Officers in April 1914 he quoted the first paragraphs of the Address to the Brethren given at the installation of every Master of a Lodge, modifying it to refer to Grand Lodge and stated his hope that if in the future Grand Officers disapproved of the agenda or any other matter they would approach him or some other senior officer to discuss them rather than to launch them on Grand Lodge without notice. He reminded Grand Lodge that its meeting were not a Parliament or a political meeting but a meeting of Freemasons and that there should not be factions or an opposition party but that they should be able to have informed debate and respect each other’s views as Freemasons were taught to do.
GFR: In June, again at Central Hall, Westminster, Grand Lodge gave its unanimous approval to two resolutions: “That there be appointed by Grand Lodge a Special Committee of seven Members, to consider the question of making a further grant to the Royal National Life-Boat Institution, and report to Grand Lodge;” and “That the sum of three hundred guineas (£315) be granted to the fund now being raised in Newfoundland, and assisted by the District Grand Lodge, for the relief of the widows and orphans of the 250 sealers who recently lost their lives in the ice-fields.”
The Pro Grand Master, Lord Ampthill then spoke:
Brethren, I beg to move, “That the Board of General Purposes be requested to prepare a scheme for the fitting celebration in 1917 of the Bi-centenary of the foundation of Grand Lodge, with due regard to the fact that genuine Freemasons in every part of the world are looking forward to the occasion with deep interest and with the hope that it may be the means of strengthening the bonds of the fraternity and conforming the true principles of our Order.” It is high time that we should commence preparations for the celebration of our Bi-centenary, an occasion when English Freemasonry will be expected to prove its worth to all the world. .…. For some time past letters have reached me from different parts of the world asking me what the Grand Lodge of England is going to do, and whether other Grand Lodges will be invited to participate in the celebrations or allowed to co-operate by simultaneous celebrations in their own territories. I regret to say that I have not yet been made aware of any similar interest or intelligent anticipation of the event among Brethren in England…… You cannot do better than test the ability of the Board which you have just elected by calling upon them for proposals…. I daresay that a special Committee of a more representative character may be suggested, but it will be time enough to set up Special Committees when there is special work to be done. For the present, all that is necessary is to draw up a general scheme and to promulgate it for discussion in the Craft, so that there may be general approval of anything that is eventually decided I beg to move.
The Deputy Grand Master seconded the proposal, which was declared carried unanimously.
Grand Lodge then moved on to the business of debating at almost interminable length the composition and mode of selection of a special or representative Committee to consider the proposals for constitutional change.
JMH: Grand Lodge support for the Royal National Life-Boat Institution had begun in 1871 and it was a cause dear to many members of the Craft. Those who wish to know more can read about the long association between the Craft and the RNLI in the new issue of Freemasonry Today. Support for Newfoundland was because the majority of the Lodges there were under our Grand Lodge, there being no local Grand Lodge. Interminable the discussions on the proposed Committee certainly were and sight appears to have been lost of what the Committee’s purpose was to be. The proposal to start planning a major celebration to mark the bi-centenary of the formation of the premier Grand Lodge and the interest being shown in it by Grand Lodges overseas certainly resonates today when plans are being hatched to celebrate our tercentenary in 2017 and those same sister Grand Lodges are showing great interest in what might be being planned. Although it is ahead of the time we are talking about today, it should be noted that despite the War over 7,000 brethren, many of them in uniform, gathered in the Royal Albert Hall in June 1917 to celebrate our bi-centenary.
GFR: When Grand Lodge next met, on 2 September, the country was at war. MW Pro Grand Master, in your Presiding Officer’s Remarks this September you quoted the words used by the then Deputy Grand Master, Bro Halsey, and we do not propose to repeat them now. The Grand Secretary read a letter, expressing deep fraternal concern, from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, which described itself as our eldest child in the Western Hemisphere, and similar sentiments were echoed by a Past Grand Master of South Carolina and two Past Grand Masters of New Zealand who were present as Visitors at the Quarterly Communication.
JMH: Support from the Grand Lodges in Australia, Canada and the United States of America was to be a constant throughout the War, which in a very real sense brought those Grand Lodges closer to us, particularly when troops from those areas began to go through London, the Brethren amongst them taking an opportunity of visiting Lodges. The Board showed its paternalistic side once again by announcing that those of its Clerks who responded to the “call to the Colours” would continue to have their salaries paid throughout the hostilities and would be guaranteed to resume their labours at Grand Lodge once hostilities ceased. More than half of the clerks answered the call and happily only one of them did not return.
GFR: The following resolution marked an early casualty of the conflict:
That further proceedings in regard to the election of the Representative Committee on the question of the re-organization of Grand Lodge, under the resolution of Grand Lodge of June 3rd, be postponed.
JMH: Mercifully the war put an end to the endless argument over the re-organisation of the administration of the Craft. The intention had been a good one of bringing the Provinces more actively into the central administration of the Craft but the scheme that had been produced was an unwieldy one of multiple layers of Committees at both local and central levels, the division of London into ten Provinces and so much would have been devolved to committees before coming to a central Council and then the Board that it would have been almost impossible to get any policy or changes through in less than eighteen months! Some changes were made during the War, the most important of which was elected Provincial representation on the Board of General Purposes to give the Provinces a voice in central administration.
GFR: In December an amendment was made to the Book of Constitutions to prevent the automatic exclusion of Brethren from their Lodges if the arrears of subscription arose while they were serving their country.
JMH: The amendment was an example of Grand Lodge at its pragmatic best, almost making policy and change “on the hoof” amending a recommendation within Grand Lodge to bring into effect a rule change recognising the difficulties that members on active service would face during what was being slowly realised was not going to be a short war. The year, however, ended as it had begun with a very lengthy and somewhat nit picking debate on the actual wording of the proposition. There was also an attempt to persuade Grand Lodge to make a donation of 1,000 guineas towards the funding of a Masonic Nursing Home to care for members of the services injured on active service. There was a certain amount of support but two major figures questioned whether this was a good use of Grand Lodge’s limited finances as experience had shown that running a private hospital was an enormous economic undertaking. The proposition was negative but in 1917 the Freemasons’ War Hospital and Nursing Home was opened in London, eventually becoming the Royal Masonic Hospital. As time was to show the comments made in 1914 proved correct and the Hospital eventually had to go. But that, as they say, is a story for another day.
Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge
10 December 2014
Report of the Board of General Purposes
The Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge held on 10 September 2014 were confirmed.
Nomination of Grand Master
HRH The Duke of Kent was nominated as Grand Master for the ensuing year.
Annual Investiture of Grand Officers: 29 April 2015
So that sufficient accommodation can be reserved for those Brethren who are to be invested and their friends, admission to the Annual Investiture is by ticket only. Brethren to be invested for the first time may invite to be present with them three qualified Brethren, and those to be promoted two qualified Brethren.
Written application for these seats may be made to the Grand Secretary between 1 March and 31 March by Brethren qualified to attend the Grand Lodge: Past Grand Officers; Masters; Wardens (not Past Wardens); Past Masters qualified under Rule 9 of the Book of Constitutions.
Masonic Year Book
The next edition of the Masonic Year Book 2015–2016, will be available next summer. The charge will be £13 per copy, plus postage and packing where appropriate. It is proposed to produce a new edition of the Directory of Lodges and Chapters during 2015 at a charge of £13 per copy. Copies of the current edition are still available from Letchworth’s shop and may be ordered in the usual way.
Every Lodge will receive one copy of the Masonic Year Book and the Directory free of charge. The Board emphasises that these copies should be available to all the members of private lodges and not regarded as for the exclusive use of the secretary to whom, for administrative reasons, they are dispatched.
Metropolitan and Provincial Lodges
As in previous years copies will be dispatched direct to secretaries of lodges.
Sufficient copies will be dispatched to District Grand Secretaries for distribution to lodges in the Districts. Lodges abroad not in a District will receive their copies direct.
Prestonian Lectures 2015
The Board has considered applications for the delivery of the official Prestonian Lectures in 2015 and has decided that these should be given under the auspices of the following: Royal Standard Lodge, No. 398 (Montreal and Halifax); Shepherd’s Bush Lodge, No. 1828 (London); Warwickshire Installed Masters Lodge, No. 4538 (Warwickshire); Torbay Masters Lodge, No. 8227 (Devonshire) and Worthing Lodge of Installed Masters, No. 9860 (Sussex). The Lecturer, W Bro Professor R. Burt, states that the title of the Lecture will be: Wherever dispersed – the Travelling Mason.
Assistant Grand Chancellor
The Board considers that it would be beneficial to the administration of Grand Lodge’s external relations if the Grand Master had the power to appoint a second Assistant Grand Chancellor, thereby mirroring his power in respect of Assistant Grand Secretaries. Notice of motion to amend the Book of Constitutions appeared on the Paper of Business.
Resignations from Private Lodges under Rule 183
Rule 183 sets out a clear procedure to be followed if a Brother wishes to resign from a lodge (as opposed to resigning from the Craft). The first proviso to the Rule allows a Brother twenty-one days within which to withdraw his resignation if so desired by a majority of the members present when the resignation is communicated or notified to the lodge at a regular meeting. It has been represented to the Board that the period of twenty-one days may, under modern conditions, be unduly restrictive. London and many Provinces now operate a system of ‘exit interviews’ with the aim of ascertaining whether a resignation is owing to a general disillusionment with Freemasonry, or is related to the particular lodge of which he is a member. In the latter case it is often possible for the Metropolitan or Provincial authorities to find a more convenient or congenial lodge for the Brother to join so that his masonic career is not interrupted. The Board considers that a period of sixty days would be more helpful in the process of retaining a Brother in the Craft and a Notice of Motion that Rule 183 be amended accordingly was on the Paper of Business. The Board also gave guidance on the operation of the Rule and the measures that may be taken when a resignation is received.
Recognition of a Foreign Grand Lodge
On 24 December 1885 a group of lodges in the State of Vera Cruz in Mexico (which had been regularly consecrated by two Grand Lodges in Mexico which no longer exist) united to form the Grand Lodge of the State of Vera Cruz. This Grand Lodge already recognises the York Grand Lodge of Mexico, which recognises, and shares territorial jurisdiction within Mexico with the Grand Lodge of the State of Vera Cruz and which has stated that it would have no objection to our recognising the latter.
The Grand Lodge of the State of Vera Cruz having shown that it is regular in origin and that it conforms to the Basic Principles for Grand Lodge Recognition, the Board has no reason to believe that it will not continue to maintain a regular path and recommends that it be recognised. A resolution will be moved accordingly and appears at item 6 of the Paper of Business.
The Board had received reports that the following Lodges had resolved to surrender their Warrants: (a) Lodge of Hospitality, No. 1697, in order to amalgamate with Lodge of Tranquility, No. 274 (East Lancashire); and (b) Langtree Lodge, No. 6166 and Norley Lodge, No. 7319, in order to amalgamate with Lodge of Antiquity, No. 178 (West Lancashire).
The Board recommendation that the lodges be removed from the register in order to effect the amalgamation was approved.
Erasure of Lodges
The Board had received a report that nineteen lodges had closed and surrendered their Warrants. The Lodges are: Liverpool Dramatic Lodge, No. 1609 (West Lancashire); Semper Vigilans Lodge, No. 3040 (London); Aquarius Lodge, No. 3113 (London); Victory Lodge, No. 3986 (Northumberland); Sir Francis Drake Lodge, No. 4375 (London); Prometheus Lodge, No. 4977 (London); Lyonsdown Lodge, No. 5477 (Hertfordshire); Woxenden Lodge, No. 5672 (London); Lodge of St Christopher, No. 5999 (Warwickshire); Lodge of Four Virtues, No. 6275 (Hertfordshire); Montem Lodge, No. 6687 (Buckinghamshire); Alcedo Lodge, No. 7073 (London); Lodge of Aviation, No. 7210 (London); Birmingham Old Edwardian Lodge, No. 7115 (Warwickshire); Star of Hackney Lodge, No. 7272 (London); St. Barbara Lodge, No. 8724 (Middlesex); Albion Lodge, No. 8876 (KwaZulu-Natal); Northumberland Park Lodge, No. 8916 (Hertfordshire) and Steadfast Lodge, No. 9654 (London).
The Board recommendation that they be erased was approved.
Ten Brethren were expelled from the Craft.
A presentation was given on the Proceedings of Grand Lodge of two hundred and one hundred years ago by J.M. Hamill, Assistant Grand Chancellor and G.F. Redman, Deputy Grand Secretary.
List of new lodges for which Warrants have been granted by the Grand Master showing the dates from which their Warrants became effective:
25 September 2014
No. 9899 Motorcycling Lodge of West Kent (West Kent)
No. 9900 Combined Services Lodge (Berkshire)
No. 9901 Thornbury Lodge (Gloucestershire)
No. 9902 West Surrey Installed Masters Lodge (Surrey)
A Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge is held on the second Wednesday in March, June, September and December. The next will be on 11 March 2015. Subsequent Communications will be held on 10 June 2015, 9 September 2015, 9 December 2015 and 9 March 2016.
The Annual Investiture of Grand Officers takes place on the last Wednesday in April (the next is on 29 April 2015), and admission is by ticket only.
Convocations of Supreme Grand Chapter
Convocations of Supreme Grand Chapter are held on the second Wednesday in November and the day following the Annual Investiture of Grand Lodge. Future Convocations will be held on 30 April 2015, 11 November 23015 and 28 April 2016.
Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge
12 March 2014
Report of the Board of General Purposes
The Minutes of the Quarterly Communication of 12 December 2013 were confirmed.
HRH The Duke of Kent KG was unanimously re-elected Grand Master.
VW Bro Sir David Hugh Wootton, PGSwdB, was installed as Assistant Grand Master.
Grand Lodge Register 2004–2013
The tables below show the number of Lodges on the Register and of Certificates issued during the past ten years.
Charges for Warrants
In accordance with the, Book of Constitutions, the Board recommended that for the year commencing 1 April 2014 the charges (exclusive of VAT) shall be as follows:
Baltic Lodge, No. 3006 had resolved to surrender its Warrant in order to amalgamate with City of London Lodge, No. 901 (London). A Board recommendation that the Lodge be removed from the register in order to effect the amalgamation was approved.
Erasure of Lodges
The Board had received a report that 33 Lodges had closed and surrendered their Warrants. They are: Grosvenor Lodge, No. 938 (Warwickshire); Earl of Chester Lodge, No. 1565 (Cheshire) Cholmondeley Lodge, No. 1908 (Cheshire); Concordia Lodge, No. 2685 (South Africa, North); Coronation Lodge, No. 2922 (Yorkshire, West Riding); Perseverance Lodge, No. 3197 (Yorkshire, West Riding); Anglo-South American Lodge, No. 3623 (London); Litherland Lodge, No. 3676 (West Lancashire); Prince Edwin Lodge, No. 4519 (Durham); Kingston-upon-Thames Lodge, No. 4568 (Surrey); Old Worden Lodge, No. 5366 (West Lancashire); Newark Priory Lodge, No. 5396 (Surrey); Lodge of United Endeavour, No. 5497 (Cheshire); Radiant Star Lodge, No. 5776 (Surrey); Lodge of Vigilance, No. 5946 (Surrey); Natal Scriveners’ Lodge, No. 6120 (KwaZulu-Natal); Tudor Oak Lodge, No. 6263 (Surrey); Aston Manor Lodge, No. 6323 (Warwickshire); Old Caldeian and Greasby Lodge, No. 6661 (Cheshire); Canis Minor Lodge, No. 7113 (Cheshire); Alexandra Lodge, No. 7245 (West Lancashire); Mayflower Lodge, No. 7350 (Essex); Stone Lodge, No. 7490 (Middlesex); Channelsea Lodge, No. 7842 (Essex); Ponteland Lodge, No. 8026 (Northumberland); Moorside Lodge, No. 8732 (Cheshire); New Temple Lodge, No. 8898 (West Kent); Air Vectura Lodge, No. 8924 (Middlesex); Isando Lodge, No. 8955 (South Africa, North); Branxholm Lodge, No. 9069 (Cheshire); Transvaal Nomads Lodge, No. 9519 (South Africa, North); Stockport Lodge of Installed Masters, No. 9562 (Cheshire) and Per Diem Lodge, No. 9638 (Northumberland).
List of New Lodges for which Warrants have been Granted
9891 Trident Lodge (Pattaya, Eastern Archipelago)
9892 Lodge of Construction (Uffculme, Devonshire)
Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge
A Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge is held on the second Wednesday in March, June, September and December. The next will be at noon on Wednesday, 12 June 2014. Subsequent Communications will be held on 10 September 2014, 10 December 2014, 11 March 2015, 10 June 2015.
The Annual Investiture of Grand Officers takes place on the last Wednesday in April (the next is on 30 April 2014), and admission is by ticket only.
Convocations of Supreme Grand Chapter
Convocations of Supreme Grand Chapter are held on the second Wednesday in November and the day following the Annual Investiture of Grand Lodge. Future Convocations will be held on 1 May 2014, 12 November 2014, 30 April 2015 and 11 November 2015.
An accountant by profession, Anthony Wilson explains why he brought modern business practice to Freemasonry when he became President of the Board of General Purposes ten years ago
How did you come into Freemasonry?
I’d been married to my wife for about a year and was spending a weekend down at my father-in-law’s.
I noticed after lunch that he was walking around the garden with his brother. I knew he was a Freemason but I didn’t know that his brother was. They were deep in conversation and later he sidled up to me and asked if I’d ever thought of becoming a Freemason. I said I hadn’t, I knew about it but not in detail, so he told me what was necessary and proposed me for the Tuscan Lodge, No. 14. I was about twenty-six when I joined.
What drew you to the Craft?
Initially, what attracted me was the intrigue of finding out what Freemasonry was about, but once I’d been through the ceremonies my whole view of it changed. It was relaxed but there was also a formality – it wasn’t an easy ride. Don’t just expect to get things out of it; put things into it and you’ll get enjoyment. I realised that there was a lot of knowledge, that it was telling you a story linked to your values and that it gelled with what I stood for in life. The other aspect I was grateful for was that it brought me into contact with a large number of people I wouldn’t otherwise have met.
How did you become President of the Board of General Purposes?
One thing I’ve learned from Freemasonry is that although you don’t expect things to come along, somehow people notice you. I was asked to sit on a committee to look at the future of London, which brought me into contact with the Rulers and the Grand Secretary. From that I was asked to become a member of the old Board of General Purposes.
When the old Board was restructured I came off it but was subsequently asked if I would become President of the Committee of General Purposes, which is the equivalent to the Board of General Purposes for the Royal Arch. Having been President of that for about three years, I was asked if I would like to become President of the Board, which I had already rejoined on becoming President of the Committee. This is my tenth anniversary in the position.
What does the Board do?
We’re responsible for the governance of the Craft; the relationship between individual lodges and the Grand Lodge; the relations between Grand Lodge and the Provincial Grand Masters; the relations with recognised foreign Grand Lodges; the finances of the Craft and its assets – of which Freemasons’ Hall is one. We set the membership dues to run the services at the centre of the Craft and we manage the PR with the outside world. Very largely, we do everything apart from the ceremonial side. What I do as President would not be possible without the Deputy President, the Grand Treasurer, the Grand Secretary and the whole team at Freemasons’ Hall. It’s very much a collegiate affair – we’re a team and I’m very fortunate with the support and counsel I get.
What drew you to the business of Freemasonry?
My background is in chartered accountancy and I’ve always been interested in business and how you can improve it. Working on the Board was a way of helping the running of Freemasonry that wasn’t purely ceremonial but rather administrative. When I was in the profession, one of the first audits I did was for the Grand Lodge 250th Anniversary Fund, which is a charity that sponsors research fellowships with the Royal College of Surgeons. I didn’t think that some twenty years later I’d be approached to become a trustee for that – it’s funny the way the world moves.
How did the old Board function?
Pre-1999, the Board of General Purposes met eight times a year. It consisted of nearly fifty people and all its business was done through a number of committees in the morning which reported to the full Board in the afternoon – it wasn’t an environment in which discussion ever took place. It had the hangover from thirty to forty years ago when Freemasonry wasn’t so much run by the Rulers, who were more titular and ceremonial, but by the then Grand Secretary and the President of the Board. They would basically decide what they wanted and the Board was there to serve that way of doing business.
How is the Board different now?
It’s much more transparent. Gavin Purser spent a lot of time working on a new structure when he was President to create a Board of about twelve people who meet six times a year. It really is a better way of conducting business. We have proper discussions and I don’t think over my ten years that we’ve had to vote on anything because consensus has come from discussion. It’s a much better forum where each member is now an active contributor. We also sit in a boardroom where everyone can hear each other; the old boardroom had a wonderful dais at the top and the rest of the tables were set in a horseshoe shape, so if you were in the south of the room you couldn’t hear what someone was saying in the north – you could just about hear the podium. The Rulers have also become more involved, which is a great advancement, and I work with them closely.
How have things changed during your presidency?
Change is slow because you’ve got to take the members with you. One of the things I’m very proud of is advancing professionalism in the way in which the Craft is run. The organisation that supports the Grand Secretary has been streamlined; it’s more efficient than ten years ago because we’ve brought in standards you’d expect to find in business. There’s also much greater willingness to accept the culture of change in this building. The staff see the benefits and I would like to think the whole working environment has improved.
Is the Board structured differently?
We’ve increased our focus on the outside world. In the old days, dealing with the foreign Grand Lodges was handled by the Grand Secretary who also dealt with internal affairs and our members. Together with the Rulers, we saw the need for someone who would just focus on external relations and so created the role of Grand Chancellor.
Is managing Freemasons’ Hall a challenge?
By far the largest asset we have is Freemasons’ Hall and a lot has happened here over the past ten years – we had to strip out asbestos, which was a nightmare because it was everywhere. When the Hall was built, asbestos was what you used for safety and it took three or four years to strip it out while still allowing the building to be used for purpose. The new maintenance challenge is what’s called Regent Street Disease, which is named after buildings in that street that were built around a steel frame – a very popular method in the 1920s. Unfortunately, the steel and what surrounded it weren’t always fully airtight so the steel was capable of rusting. Freemasons’ Hall is one of the first all-steel-frame buildings so has the disease, but we’re tackling it – we’re very proud of this building.
What is modern Freemasonry?
When I took the role on, what worried me was Freemasonry no longer being relevant to the society we lived in. If you look over the years of our membership, numbers peak and trough. Membership has always been high when we filled a much-needed role in society but that changes because society changes. So that’s something we’re looking at more and more, to find that relevance. One of the things I feel very strongly about is that Freemasonry has to fit in with your family life – we’ve got to keep an eye on that, to make sure that members don’t focus too much on their Freemasonry to the detriment of their family.
What’s being planned for 2017?
The tercentenary will increasingly take up our focus and we have a working party looking at key elements. We believe very strongly that this will be a time for our members to celebrate – as the premier Grand Lodge of the world we will involve the foreign Grand Lodges, but we won’t lose sight of the fact that it’s a celebration by our members, of our members.
On 14 October 2011, the Grand Lodge of Albania was formed by the Grand Orient of Italy from three lodges meeting there. The United Grand Lodge of England no longer recognises the Grand Orient of Italy, but it has publicly stated that it accepts the Grand Orient’s regularity of origin and that its lodges are working routinely.
The Grand Lodge of Albania has shown that it is of regular descent and that it conforms to the Basic Principles for Grand Lodge Recognition. The Board of General Purposes therefore has no reason to believe that it will not maintain a regular path. At its December Quarterly Communication, Grand Lodge approved the recommendation from the Board that the Grand Lodge of Albania be recognised.
The Board of General Purposes has considered applications for the official delivery of the 2014 Prestonian Lecture and has decided that it should be given under the auspices of The London Grand Rank Association, Egerton Worsley Lodge, No. 1213, Eccles (West Lancashire) and Temple of Athene Lodge, No. 9541, Harrow (Middlesex). The lecturer, Dr Mike Kearsley, revealed the lecture title to be ‘1814 Consolidation and Change: the first year of the United Grand Lodge of England’.
Grand Lodge statement on masonic emblem
Complaints have been received about an advert offering for sale cufflinks and lapel pins in the form of a replica of the Hall Stone Jewel. Informal approaches had previously been made to the individual concerned, advising that the design was inappropriate and requesting that he ceased to market the items.
The Board of General Purposes concluded that the design in this context is altogether inappropriate. The device is inextricably associated with Freemasons’ Hall, which was built as a memorial to masons who gave their lives during World War I.
Except in the case of the small number of brethren still living who subscribed to the Masonic Million Memorial Fund and thereby qualified to wear an individual jewel, the privilege of wearing the Hall Stone Jewel is now restricted to the Masters of lodges whose donations to the Fund averaged 10 guineas per member, and the Provincial or District Grand Master of the Hall Stone Province (Buckinghamshire) and the Hall Stone District (Burma). The Board considered that turning such an iconic emblem into an item of personal adornment was in the worst possible taste and deeply disrespectful to the memory of the many fallen members of the Craft.
It also noted that a donation to ‘Masonic Charity’ is promised for every sale made, which it regards as an attempt to give respectability to an enterprise that appears to have been undertaken for personal gain. The Board recommends that brethren of this Constitution neither purchase nor wear such items.
The Board of General Purposes has considered applications for the delivery of the official Prestonian Lectures in 2013 and has decided that these should be given under the auspices of the following: Jubilee Masters Lodge, No. 2712 (London), Bowen Lodge, No. 2816 (Buckinghamshire), and Torbay Masters Lodge, No. 8227 (Devonshire). The lecturer, PR Calderwood, states that the title of the lecture will be: ‘As we were seen – the Press and Freemasonry.’