The United Grand Lodge of England celebrated its epic Tercentenary celebration at the Royal Albert Hall in 2017 – and a DVD to mark the occasion is now available from Freemasons' Hall

Over 4,000 Freemasons from Provinces and Districts were joined by representatives from over 130 sovereign Grand Lodges from around the world to mark 300 years since the founding of the world’s first Grand Lodge for Freemasons.

The audience witnessed a theatrical extravaganza which embraced the rich history and heritage of Freemasonry and featured a cast of renowned actors including Sir Derek Jacobi, Samantha Bond and Sanjeev Bhaskar.

The DVD is free and available to anyone who visits Freemasons’ Hall – please ask for a copy at the front desk of the building. The DVDs were also distributed to Provincial Offices for all UGLE members.

Published in UGLE

Annual Investiture of Supreme Grand Chapter

25 April 2019 
An address by the ME First Grand Principal HRH The Duke of Kent

Companions. It is an enormous pleasure to be with you today. May I first offer my congratulations to all of those whom I have invested today. Grand Rank in the Holy Royal Arch is an achievement to be proud of, and serves not only to recognise your contributions to our order, but also as an inducement to your future efforts in explaining and representing the Royal Arch to our brethren in the Craft and beyond. It is not only a senior position within the order, but also a public position and one which should only be held by those Companions who publicly exemplify our principles, enjoy their Freemasonry, and go out of their way to welcome and support others in their masonic journeys.

This year I have invested new Companions into one of the most senior roles within our order – President of the Committee of General Purposes, and also one of our most visible roles – that of the Grand Director of Ceremonies. It is only right and proper that I pause to again pay tribute to those companions who have held these offices before them, in both cases for more than a decade.

So, to companions Malcolm Aish and Oliver Lodge, on behalf of all the Companions here present, I thank you for your leadership, patience, wise counsel, stewardship and good humour. You will be missed and we wish your successors good fortune for the future. They both have quite a task ahead of them, defining the Royal Arch for a younger generation of Masons, ensuring that it is both relevant and enjoyable, but I have no doubt that they will find no shortage of volunteers to help them in that task from amongst those other Companions that I have invested today.

One aspect that I am sure they will want to emphasise is that no Mason should be joining other orders without first completing their journey in Pure Antient Masonry by becoming a member of the Holy Royal Arch.

Companions, events like this do not just happen and I would like, on your behalf, to congratulate the new Grand Director of Ceremonies and his team for once again arranging such an impressive ceremony and the Grand Scribe Ezra and his team for ensuring all the other arrangements have gone so smoothly.   

Companions, I congratulate you all on your preferment and wish you peace, happiness and good will in the next stage of your masonic journeys.

Published in Speeches
Wednesday, 24 April 2019 00:00

Pro Grand Master's address - April 2019

Craft Annual Investiture

24 April 2019
An address by the MW The Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes

Brethren, I am sure you will agree that the Grand Temple is a magnificent sight at all times, but most particularly when it is full to bursting as it is today.

The first thing I must do today is congratulate all those brethren who have been reappointed, appointed to or promoted in Grand Rank. It is, I am sure, a well deserved honour, but, as always, let me stress this does not mean that you should sit back and rest on your laurels. Much more work is expected from you, brethren.

Looking back over the years it doesn’t seem to me that we ever thanked the outgoing officers. Many of the Acting Grand Officers of the year have been reappointed today and this would not have happened if they did not perform their duties in exemplary style and, mostly, retaining a sense of humour in the process.

For those who had term of office of one or more years, thank you for what you have done. Some will have been more involved than others, but you have all been part of the Grand Lodge spectacle.

I often mention retaining a sense of humour and as I have said in the past, this does not mean turning our ceremonies into pantomime events, but it does mean keeping everything in proportion. A mistake in the ritual or the ceremonial is not a matter of life and death and often has a humorous side to it, particularly when discussed later. Who here hasn’t made mistakes – I know I have frequently. However, I am sure we would all agree that a masonic ceremony performed well is a memorable occasion and let us all strive to perform to the best of our ability.

Brethren, today is a big occasion in all respects and it takes a huge amount of work behind the scenes by all those working in the secretariat and beyond, I think you will agree that they have done a splendid job.

That brings me to the actual ceremony. I have already made mention of the retiring Grand Director of Ceremonies and it is he who put the bricks in place for today and he and his team have conducted everything impeccably. I am sure we would all also like to offer the new Grand Director of Ceremonies the very best of luck for his time in office.

Thank you brethren for all those who have been involved in the organisation and thank all of you for being here.

Published in Speeches

Over 700 Freemasons packed the magnificent Grand Temple at Freemasons’ Hall to witness a world first creation of a new lodge for young Freemasons – Essex Cornerstone Lodge No. 9968

A number of years ago, the Essex Cornerstone Club committee started to think about the formation of a new lodge, specifically for young Freemasons. They had a dream of what its purpose would be and what it might achieve. There followed a long period of planning and preparation and as time went by and progress was made, the realisation dawned that the lodge really would become a reality.

From then on, the excitement and anticipation built and reached their peak on Saturday 2nd March 2019 – the day Essex Cornerstone Lodge was Consecrated. The Grand Temple was the stage for this special occasion with over 700 Freemasons from across the English Constitution travelling to witness the ceremony.

The sponsoring lodge, Essex Provincial Grand Stewards' Lodge No. 8665, started the proceedings by opening the meeting. UGLE’s Assistant Grand Master, Sir David Wootton, and the Provincial Grand Master of Essex, Rodney Bass OBE, were then welcomed into the Grand Temple to rapturous applause.

The main event, the Consecration ceremony, was beautifully and memorably delivered by Rodney Bass, who commented: ‘This new lodge will encourage and support young Freemasons in their journey, providing a gathering place for young masons to increase their masonic knowledge and experience, and enabling Cornerstone Club Members to maintain strong relationships.’

The Founders of the lodge were presented to the Provincial Grand Master and reminded of their obligation to support and nurture their new lodge and uphold the values of Freemasonry for future generations.

Following this, those below the rank of Installed Master retired from the Temple which amounted to over 300 members. That included many from over 15 new and young masons’ clubs across England, who came to show their support and demonstrate the very essence of new and young Freemasons.

The Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Essex, Paul Reeves, then installed the Primus Master, Elliott Chevin, who went on to invest his officers. The Address to members was delivered by Sir David Wootton.

The Essex Cornerstone Lodge then presented a cheque for £2,022 to the Essex Festival 2022, making them Vice Patrons of the Festival.

The Provincial Grand Master then presented the lodge with a set of gavels, commissioned from an acacia tree from his own grounds. Following the meeting, a spectacular Festive Board was held for nearly 600 Freemasons where they experienced a musical treat including trumpeters, a string quartet playing modern music, and a unique performance of the Masters’ Song performed by a female singer acapella.

The members were also able to interact with a live photo mosaic display by uploading photos from the day and evening. The photos came alive culminating in a large mosaic of the Cornerstone Lodge crest, which provided a magnificent background to the banquet capturing memories of the historic event.   

Perhaps the most unexpected part of the evening was when the waiters pouring coffee began to bang on the tables, then their coffee pots and they miraculously turned into a most impressive drumming act. Not only that, all 600 diners were given their own drum kit and in unison, joined together and delighted in a memorable and incredibly fun act.

If you wish to find out more about the Essex Cornerstone Lodge or to arrange a visit, please contact the Secretary, Dr Jack Gilliland, on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Over 720 Leicestershire & Rutland Freemasons and guests attended their eagerly awaited Sportsman’s Dinner on 21st March 2019, with former England cricketer Phil Tufnell the guest speaker, and helped to raise over £70,000 to support the Leicestershire & Rutland 2022 Festival and the Masonic Charitable Foundation

The event was held at the Leicester Tigers rugby ground on Welford Road and hosted by Roger Dakin, former England Hockey goalkeeper, with attendees enjoying an evening of fun and entertainment in support of the 2022 Festival.

The evening began with convivial drinks served in the Legends VIP and Final Whistle bars before being seated ready for the entertainment to begin. Roger Dakin delighted the audience with his famed jokes and stories throughout the night.

Aside from an entertaining evening, the more serious side was to raise money for worthy causes, which began with silent auctions for many items of signed sporting memorabilia and relaxing events for family and friends.

A live auction was held, with lots including a holiday to Antigua, tickets to the Monaco Grand Prix and a painting by artist Ben Mosley, with former England Test Cricketer Ed Giddins stepping into the hot seat as the auctioneer.

England and Middlesex left-arm spin bowler Phil Tufnell then took to the stage to recount some of his more famed sporting events throughout the course of his career as a sportsman, and then subsequently his foray into television on shows such as Question of Sport, Strictly Come Dancing and his reign as King of the Jungle on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

The evening was a huge success, with over £70,000 being raised, which included the proceeds of the live and silent auctions. 

David Hagger, Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire & Rutland, said: ‘I would like to praise and thank the organisers of this event, to raise over £70,000 in support of such worthy causes is a testimony to the generosity of all who attended.’

UGLE’s Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, was at the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford to open the Stokes Centre for Urology on 5 March 2019

This new NHS centre of excellence was jointly funded by The Prostate Project and Royal Surrey County Hospital following 10 years of fundraising.  

Colin Stokes launched the Prostate Project in 1998 to raise £250,000 for a scanner, but went on to raise over £8 million. In recognition of the charity’s vital role, the centre has been named after its founder.

While the building has patient access at its core, The Duke of Kent also saw how it is the culmination of the most significant investments in urological services in the UK for over a decade. It is the largest centre for brachytherapy in Europe and third in the world.

The Prostate Project raised £2.85 million of the £5.9 million needed to build the new centre. In the foyer of the centre there is a plaque listing the Prostate Project’s Hall of Fame, recognising all donors who have contributed £3,000 or more and buy-a-brick donors are recognised in reception.

The Hall of Fame is testimony to the efforts of:

  • The Provincial Grand Lodge and Chapter of Surrey who achieved a Platinum Award;
  • Astolat Lodge No. 5848, who meet in Guildford, Surrey, qualified for a Silver Award; 
  • Castle Keep Lodge No. 6446, who meet in Godalming, Surrey, qualified for a Bronze Award; and
  • Surrey Provincial Lodge of Mark Master Masons, who qualified for a Bronze Award.

During the visit, The Duke of Kent met several Surrey Freemasons who supported the Prostate Project by contributing over £70,000.  

Those present included Surrey’s Deputy Provincial Grand Master Richard Wileman, who was supported by Surrey Freemason Vic Simmons, who is also an Ambassador and Trustee of The Prostate Project, and Peter Wood, the Master and Charity Steward of Astolat Lodge.

UGLE's Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, attended a luncheon at the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lincolnshire and presided over a £100,000 donation to the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF)

The event took place in Spalding, where the Duke had a variety of other engagements during the day. It was hosted by Lincolnshire’s Provincial Grand Master David Wheeler and had been arranged at the Masonic Hall at the request of the Lord Lieutenant of the county.

Also in attendance was the President of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, Richard Hone, who was pleased to accept the donation of £100,000 for the MCF, which marked the start of Lincolnshire’s 2025 Festival.

The Province of North Wales is delighted to support Audio Descriptive Commentary (ADC) for blind and partially sighted supporters at Wrexham Football Club with a £1,200 donation

Working in conjunction with ADC provider Alan March Sports,  the donation has funded the specialised training of local volunteers who are now able to provide this vital service.

Inspired by a presentation at the Centre of Access to Football in Europe (CAFÉ) in Paris, Steve Gilbert, a committee member of Wrexham Disabled Supporters Association (DSA), first proposed the concept to Wrexham FC.

Level Playing Field, a charity that campaigns for good access for all fans, said Wrexham was helping many ‘blind and partially sighted fans enjoy the beautiful game’.

Mike Hughes has been a Wrexham football fan for more than 40 years and a season ticket holder for the last five. He has two genetic eye conditions which means he sees in ‘washed-out colour’ and not in focus.

Mike said: ‘My match day experience isn’t the same as everybody else’s. I can see the ball travelling, but I don't really have any idea of who does what, player's numbers or player's names.’

Newly trained ADC Commentator Alex Carter said: ‘It is completely different to average football commentary; you have to make sure from minute one to minute 90 you're telling that viewer where the ball is, who is doing what and what happened, which can be quite frantic.’

Alan Fox, a Wrexham fan for over 50 years, is another one of the volunteers. He said the hardest part has been turning from supporter to commentator: ‘You have to remind yourself that at the other end of the receiver there's a blind fan who needs to know what's going on.;

North Wales’ Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Thomas said: ‘It has been a pleasure working with all parties involved to deliver this service for blind and partially sighted fans of all ages within our local community.’

The Province of Monmouthshire has strengthened its relationship with the National Grand Lodge of Romania, by exalting their Grand Master and Grand Secretary at the Homfray Chapter No. 1562 meeting on 14th March 2019
 
Held at the recently refurbished Risca Masonic Hall, the Grand Master of the National Grand Lodge of Romania, Radu Balanesc, and the Grand Secretary, Catalin Tohaneanu, were exalted into Homfray Chapter by Third Grand Principal Gareth Jones OBE, who was ably assisted by Derek Thomas, Second Provincial Grand Principal, and Neil Mounter, Third Provincial Grand Principal.

The officers of the Chapter were exemplary in the ceremony – building on an already strong relationship – with the Province of Monmouthshire playing a key role in the introduction of the Mark degree and the Royal Arch into Romania.

Richard Davies, Grand Superintendent for Monmouthshire, remarked in his response: ‘This is a historical moment for Royal Arch masonry in Monmouthshire and Romania.' 

There are 14,500 members in Romania and many are keen to expand their knowledge and enjoy being part of other degrees. Monmouthshire Companions are more than pleased to assist and appreciate the consideration of their Romanian friends for allowing them to be part of the establishment of the Royal Arch in their country.

The Striguil Chapter No. 2186 at Chepstow will be exalting 10 Romanian members at their next meeting, which will then bring the number of Romanian companions in Monmouthshire to 38.

Freemasonry provided its own version of the Six Nations when two Provincial rugby teams locked horns for the first time in Wigan, as they competed for the Freemasons Rugby Challenge Cup on 9th February 2019

Leicestershire & Rutland Light Blues RFC accepted an invitation to participate in the inaugural match of the Province of West Lancashire’s new masonic rugby team, with the cup donated by both clubs to encourage the development of provincial masonic rugby teams and a healthy rivalry.

Wigan, a town more familiar with Rugby League, was the battleground and despite stormy conditions throughout the night, the sun was shining in front of a 200-strong crowd and the pitch in excellent condition. 

Both sides began the match with enthusiasm and, with ‘brotherly love’ being temporarily put to one side, a true rugby spirit. Despite it being their first match – and for some of their players, the first ever game – West Lancashire were competitive with resilient defence and probing attacks, but the first half finished with Leicestershire & Rutland holding a narrow 13-10 lead.

While West Lancashire Freemasons Rugby Football Club (WLFRFC) fielded an all-masonic team, part of the ethos of Leicestershire Light Blues RFC, who have been established for a number of years, is to work as a recruiting platform and a conduit into Freemasonry. The fresh, and somewhat younger, legs of the Leicestershire & Rutland team proved decisive and, after a hard-fought second half, they were victorious with a 30-10 victory.

The Freemasons Rugby Challenge Cup was presented to the Light Blues RFC Captain Andrew 'Jock' Keenan by the WLFRFC Honorary Patron, Provincial Grand Master of West Lancashire, Tony Harrison for a well-deserved victory. 

WLFRFC Honorary President, linesman and Deputy Grand Superintendent from Royal Arch Province of West Lancashire Dr Paul Renton presented man-of-the-match awards to West Lancs’ Hooker Mark Brant and to Leicestershire & Rutland’s Fly Half Ollie Stanley.

Fundraising on the day raised £960 which included a generous donation of £103 by Leicestershire and Rutland members.

WLFRFC Chairman & Founder Garry Hacking praised the generosity and support of all who attended the match from both Provinces and thanked Daniel Quelch and Andrew Keenan for their guidance, advice and help in setting up the West Lancashire team.

Published in Initiatives & Clubs
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