26 APRIL 2006

An address by the ME Pro First Grand Principal the Most Hon the Marquess of Northampton, DL

I welcome you all here today for this special meeting and congratulate all those Companions I have invested with their new ranks. Whether you have been promoted or appointed this morning your new rank brings with it certain responsibilities. 

Chief among these is to promote the Order to Master Masons and encourage new Companions to understand and enjoy this new dimension to their Masonry. You can see from the paper of business that the number of Grand Chapter certificates issued last year has fallen by twelve and a half per cent in the past ten years.

Published in Speeches
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 16:18

Grand Master's address - April 2007


25 APRIL 2007

An address by the MW The Grand Master HRH The Duke of Kent, KG

I start by saying a very warm welcome to everyone attending our Grand Lodge meeting today and I congratulate all those whom I have had the pleasure of investing with Grand Rank or promoting to higher office. 

As Grand Officers, I would remind you that you have an important leadership role to play in the Craft. As well as continuing to set high standards for the Craft to follow, I hope you will also be active in promoting greater openness about our Freemasonry, which I consider essential.

Together with helping us to understand our own place in Freemasonry, this more open approach should also ensure we are better prepared to explain our Masonry to our family, friends and acquaintances.

There is no doubt in my mind Brethren, that with today’s rapidly changing society, Freemasonry is more relevant than at any other time.

Many of you will be aware that the four main Masonic charities, the Grand Charity, the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution and the Masonic Samaritan Fund will shortly all be under one roof here at Freemasons’ Hall.

This move will, I believe, bring enormous benefits. I have in mind, for example, increased liaison between the charities themselves and between them and the United Grand Lodge of England, as well as shared resources.

The Rulers’ Forum had its first meeting in December, and from all the comments I have had, it has got off to a good start. I will be happy if it achieves three things.

First, there are many excellent initiatives coming out of London and the Provinces which, because of geographical reasons and lack of communication, are only taken up by a few and not disseminated to a wider audience. The teddy bear children’s hospital scheme is an example of how slowly a good idea percolates through our organisation.

The Rulers’ Forum should act as a central exchange for new ideas.

Secondly, much effort is wasted duplicating things which could be used uniformly by us all. Many Provinces, for instance, have their own booklets for Initiates, Fellow Crafts and Master Masons.

Then there are booklets on the work of the Almoners, Charity Stewards and other Lodge Officers as well as on mentor schemes and our charities.

I believe a lot of effort and cost could be saved if we took the best points from all of them and created something uniform which we could all use.

One group in the Rulers’ Forum is doing just that for mentor schemes, and it will be interesting to see how that develops.

Thirdly, it must act as a forum for grass roots Masons to debate issues, which concern us all, with the Rulers and other senior members of the Craft, and act as a conduit for disseminating the results through their groups to the Lodges.

In the course of the memorable and most enjoyable meeting of the 150th anniversary of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons, where I was present as a guest of their Grand Master, my brother Prince Michael, I had the opportunity to see also many other long established, well-known and respected Orders of Masonry to which many Craft members belong. I believe this may be a good moment for me to say something about them.

The Preliminary Declaration of the Act of of the two Grand Lodges in December 1813, says that it was ‘declared and announced that pure Antient Masonry consists of three degrees and no more’, that is to say ‘Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft and the Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch’.

This has been the position for nearly 200 years and will remain unchanged.

However, since many members of the Craft are members of these Orders, I am pleased to acknowledge formally their existence and regularity, and in particular their sovereignty and independence.

The best known of these orders are:

Mark, Ancient and Accepted Rite, Knights Templar, Royal and Select Masters, Royal Ark Mariner, Red Cross of Constantine, Allied Masonic Degrees, Order of the Secret Monitor and Knight Templar Priests.

I also accept the valuable role they play in providing additional scope for Brethren to extend their Masonic research in interesting and enjoyable ways.

The Orders I have just mentioned are simply the best known and largest of those practised in London, the Provinces and Districts overseas. I am aware that there are in addition others that have a valid place in Freemasonry and with whom we enjoy a good relationship. What is important is that Brethren who join these other Orders still retain their membership of a Craft Lodge, and I am pleased that the Orders will be encouraging their members to do so.

In early March, Brethren, I was in Ghana to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that country’s independence. During my visit I also attended the 75th anniversary of the District Grand Lodge of Ghana. At the meeting, attended by nearly 500 Brethren, I appointed Brother His Majesty Osei Tutu, King of the Ashanti, to Past Senior Grand Deacon and I am pleased to have invested him here today.

Finally, Brethren, I know you would all want me to express our thanks to the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his team for the meticulous way in which they have run this meeting, as well as to the Grand Secretary and his staff for their careful and thorough organisation behind the scenes.

Published in Speeches
Wednesday, 14 March 2007 08:50

Pro Grand Master’s address - March 2007


14 MARCH 2007

An address by the MW The Pro Grand Master the Most Hon the Marquess of Northampton, DL

Today it has been my pleasure to invest Bro Nigel Brown as Grand Secretary. The new role of Grand Secretary means that he can concentrate on our Provinces and Districts and I look forward to visiting many of them with him in the forthcoming months.

Although the number of Grand Lodge Certificates issued in 2006 showed a drop of nearly ten per cent over the previous year, this is an exciting time for Freemasonry.

I believe we are at a turning point. This is a turning point for the better.

With this in mind we should all be renewing our efforts to find men of quality to join us. To do so we need to be able to openly voice the objectives and merits of our Freemasonry. And we need to do this from the very beginning. By beginning, I mean from the moment we first interview a potential candidate. I am looking at initiatives to help this process.

It has always seemed strange to me that – for example – we ask the candidate those three very important questions after the ceremony has begun. He is in a state of darkness – has little understanding of the criteria for membership, and even less chance of giving a reasoned answer.

So what we need to do is to give clear guidelines for these interviews. We must tell the candidate what he can expect from us – and what we will expect from him. I am on record as saying that in this age of openness we should be able to discuss the purpose of our rituals with a candidate before he decides whether to join.

To put it another way – no thinking man is going to join and then stay committed to an organisation that cannot talk about itself openly and with clarity. So we have to be clear in our own minds what the purpose of Freemasonry is and what our ritual means.

When we are clear – we need to become good at marketing ourselves. Then, in the interview we can explain our Freemasonry in a way that fits the 21st century and why it will be relevant to the candidate. That will allow us a better chance of competing for his leisure time, his finances and his intellectual stimulation.

I am sure, like me, many of you must feel frustrated when you open your newspapers and read how leaders in our society have been emphasising recently the importance of morality and tolerance. Yet as Freemasons we practise both those virtues and have been doing so for a very long time.

We do not shout about it from the rooftops, but quietly practise in our everyday lives those lessons we are taught in our Lodges. I spoke at Quarterly Communication in December 2005 about the need to explain ourselves through the virtues of tolerance and trust, but there are other ways in which Freemasonry helps us.

Anyone who has seen a timid brother climb through the offices and pass through the Chair of his Lodge with new-found confidence can see first-hand how Masonry instils leadership qualities in its candidates.

It also provides a welcome social outlet for the lonely and bereaved.

How many times have we heard a brother praising the support he received from his Lodge when he lost a loved one, discovered he had a life-threatening illness or just felt lonely and needed someone to talk to? These are some of the things we can explain to our candidates and the popular world to show the benefits we get from our Freemasonry.

Following my remarks at the last Quarterly Communication about the success of the Centre for Research into Freemasonry at the University of Sheffield, I learnt soon after that Professor Andrew Prescott would be leaving his post there.

I am pleased to say I have received a positive letter from the Vice Chancellor pledging the University’s strong commitment to the continuation and development of the Centre. He goes on to say that ‘they will shortly be advertising for a successor and will provide the necessary funding to ensure that this is a sufficiently long-term appointment to attract a strong field of candidates’.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Professor Prescott for all the efforts he has made to get Freemasonry recognised as a serious and worthwhile subject for academic research.

Since our last meeting the Grand Master has attended the 75th anniversary of our District of Ghana. Last weekend I visited the Grand Lodge of Spain to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the re-establishment of regular Freemasonry in that country.

In May I shall be going to Edinburgh to represent the United Grand Lodge of England alongside the Grand Masters of Ireland and Scotland at the International Conference on the History of Freemasonry, which is being hosted by the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

It will be a remarkable gathering of academic lecturers drawn from all over the world and details can be found on their website, which will be published in MQ for anyone who is interested, at

Brethren, on another subject, you should know that at the Annual Investiture the Grand Master is minded to make a positive statement about our relationship with the other long-established and well-known Orders of Masonry to which many Craft members belong. I believe this will be most welcome.

Published in Speeches
Wednesday, 13 December 2006 08:53

Pro Grand Master’s address - December 2006


13 DECEMBER 2006

An address by the MW The Pro Grand Master the Most Hon the Marquess of Northampton, DL

Brethren, we held the first meeting of the Rulers’ Forum here yesterday with representatives of the ten groups and have got off to a good start. We discussed a variety of topics which are relevant to the future of English Freemasonry.

The minutes of the meeting will be widely circulated and I hope that any Brother who has any good ideas for the well-being of the Craft will pass them to the Forum through his local group.

The Centre for Research into Freemasonry at the Sheffield University continues to make good progress. Many of you will have seen reports of the events in the spring, accompanying the opening of the Centre’s new premises, named after the pioneering Masonic scholar, Professor Douglas Knoop, a Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076.

The University of Sheffield’s teaching affairs committees have now approved an MA programme in the history of Freemasonry and Fraternalism, the first such degree in the world, which will be launched during 2007-8.

Finally, on behalf of my fellow Rulers, I would like to take this opportunity of wishing you and your families a very happy and peaceful Festive Season and a prosperous New Year.

Published in Speeches



An address by the ME Pro First Grand Principal the Most Hon the Marquess of Northampton, DL

we have had a busy morning so I will keep my remarks short. I am sure you enjoyed the talk given by E Comp the Rev Elkan Levy and it will have given you much to think about. No-one can be in any doubt that recruitment and retention are the keys to the future prosperity of the Holy Royal Arch. 

I have decided therefore to set up a working party under the chairmanship of the 2nd Grand Principal to look at this matter in some depth and report back to me by the end of April.

Published in Speeches
Wednesday, 13 September 2006 09:59

Pro Grand Master’s address - September 2006



An address by the MW The Pro Grand Master the Most Hon the Marquess of Northampton, DL

Brethren, a very warm welcome to you all and I hope that you have had a good summer break. As we begin a new Masonic season it is an opportunity to think about our priorities.

A lot of effort has gone into attracting quality young men to join the Craft and one initiative which I commend to you is the Universities Scheme, led by a group of Masons under the Assistant Grand Master.

The scheme aims to introduce Freemasonry to undergraduates and anyone else connected to their universities. The Assistant Grand Master has visited lodges in eight of our Provinces already and has appointed a co-ordinator from his central group for each of them.

I hope this scheme will introduce thinking young men into Freemasonry, many of whom might otherwise not have discovered it until much later in life, or possibly not at all. It may also provide an opportunity for members to introduce their sons and nephews to the Craft.

I hope also that the initiatives taken by the Universities Scheme will encourage other Lodges to take pro-active steps to recruit all young men of good standing regardless of their educational background. The recent agreement by Grand Lodge to reduce the fees by half for under-25s, coupled with the proposal by the Grand Charity today to do likewise for its contributions, should act also as an encouragement.

I am grateful to all those who are helping the Assistant Grand Master with this exciting venture and I am sure those Lodges that are participating will find it a rewarding challenge.

As I have said on a previous occasion the annual intake of initiates is not our main problem as long as we continue to introduce only good men into the Craft. Our biggest concern should be the large number of drop-outs who lose interest within a relatively short period of being raised. Retention is therefore the key to our future success.

There are two aspects to Freemasonry. The first is the inner work that is done in the Lodge room in harmony with the other members. For this we must concentrate our efforts on the individual Mason and encourage him to develop those qualities which will transform him into a better person and thereby reflect well on the ethos of Freemasonry.

The outer work is done by practising in his everyday life those qualities he has been taught in his Lodge. Here we must also include his wife or partner and family as much as possible and make them feel a part of the organisation he has joined.

In this way membership of Freemasonry will become accepted as being relevant to the society in which we live by both his family and the popular world. These different aspects of Freemasonry have to be enjoyable albeit a certain amount of commitment and effort is required for both.

Brethren, I have recently convened a Strategic Working Party under the chairmanship of the Deputy Grand Master to consider the role and functions of a Grand Secretary.

They have recommended that the office should be split, with the Grand Secretary having responsibility for matters Masonic and a Chief Operating Officer, who need not be a Freemason or indeed male, having responsibility for the management of Freemasons’ Hall and its services.

The Strategic Working Party has also recommended that the Grand Secretary, while remaining fully responsible for our Districts and Lodges overseas, will have a reduced role in the conduct of our external relations. It is proposed that a new office of Grand Chancellor should be created to oversee our relationship with other Grand Lodges. It is not intended that he should be a paid employee, but he will have available to him a Secretariat and he will be a member of both the Grand Master’s Council and the Board.

It is worth mentioning that the concept is not new and that many Grand Lodges entrust their external relations to a Grand Chancellor. This will in effect mean that the Grand Secretary will be able to concentrate his energies on Masonic matters for the benefit of English Freemasonry in England and Wales and its Provinces and Districts.

These recommendations have the support of the Grand Master’s Council and the Board of General Purposes. Notice of appropriate amendments to the Book of Constitutions will be given in December for consideration by Grand Lodge next March.

We will shortly be starting the recruitment process for the positions of Grand Secretary and Chief Operating Officer.

Finally Brethren, for a little much needed light relief there is to be another Royal Masonic Variety Show in the presence of the Grand Master on Remembrance Sunday, 12th November at the Prince Edward Theatre in Old Compton Street, starting at 7.30pm. Details can be found on the website address

The site also gives details of the show’s producers and directors who have all been involved over many years in the production of the annual Royal Variety Show. I hope as many of you as possible will attend the event to support the Grand Master and by doing so raise funds for charity. One half of the profits will go to the RMBI and the remainder to other non-Masonic charities.

Published in Speeches
Wednesday, 14 June 2006 10:13

Pro Grand Master’s address - June 2006


14 JUNE 2006

An address by the MW The Pro Grand Master the Most Hon the Marquess of Northampton, DL

I have received many favourable comments following the MW Grand Master’s remarks at the April Investiture meeting on the question of charity, and how important it is to make our charity multi-faceted by giving practical help as well as financial aid.

We have many small Masonic charities which do just that and next week the Grand Master is coming to my home in Northamptonshire for an event which is being run by the Masonic Trout and Salmon Fishing Club of which I am a Patron. This charity, whose motto is ‘Smiling in the face of adversity’, organises a day’s fishing with professional casters for handicapped and disadvantaged children at venues all over the country.

It is important that we build on the foundations we laid with our Freemasonry in the Community week by arranging events which benefit our local communities. There is no better way of ensuring the public and potential candidates have a good impression of what Freemasonry is all about than by seeing us helping those less fortunate than ourselves.

Since our last Quarterly Communication in March I have made two trips overseas. On 1 May I attended the annual meeting of the Grand Lodge of New York following which they installed their new Grand Master. They kindly honoured me with their Distinguished Achievement Award [see page 30].

On the last weekend of May I flew to Bermuda to inaugurate the new District Grand Lodge of Bermuda and install RW Bro Robert Rego as the first District Grand Master.

It was a most enjoyable occasion with many Scottish and Irish brethren attending the ceremony and supporting our brethren.

Tomorrow I fly to Dublin for the annual Tripartite meeting between the three Home Grand Lodges.

Bro George Francis, Senior Grand Warden, visited our District Grand Lodge and District Grand Chapter of Cyprus for their annual communication and convocation on 27 May. He attended also the Grand Lodge of Ireland for their annual meeting on 1 June.

Brethren, we are coming to the end of another Masonic season which is a good time to reflect on what has been achieved during the past 12 months and make plans for next year.

I wish you and your families a happy and peaceful time over the summer and look forward to seeing you all again in September.

Published in Speeches


27 APRIL 2006

An address by the ME Pro First Grand Principal the Most Hon the Marquess of Northampton, DL

I welcome you all here this morning for what is surely the highlight of the year for Royal Arch Masons and I congratulate all those I have invested with their new ranks. Those of you who have just been invested for the first time will realise that the honour of being appointed a Grand Officer brings with it certain responsibilities. 

The most important of these is to promote the Order to potential candidates. The Craft initiated 8,862 men last year and all of them will soon be eligible to join the Royal Arch. The number of Grand Lodge certificates issued since the millennium has fallen on average by less than 1% per year. Unfortunately, the figures for the Royal Arch are not so good.

Published in Speeches
Wednesday, 26 April 2006 10:11

Grand Master’s address - April 2006


26 APRIL 2006

An address by the MW The Grand Master HRH The Duke of Kent, KG

I welcome you all to this Annual Investiture today and I offer my congratulations to all those brethren I have had the pleasure of investing with Grand Rank or promoting to higher office. Your appointment today is not however simply the recognition of the service you have given Freemasonry in the past but, just as importantly, an earnest of the work we expect you to undertake for the future.

The Craft has embraced the policy of openness with increasing optimism and the benefits are becoming ever more visible. 

Nowhere has that openness been more apparent than in our charitable activities. 

The amount of money raised and the donations made to both Masonic and non-Masonic charities has been remarkable, and has contributed significantly to the raising of our profile and our increasing acceptance in the wider community. 

Nevertheless, charity is not just about raising money and making donations to good causes, valuable though these are. It has a broader and deeper purpose. Apart from giving alms and providing help by liberality to those in need or distress, charity is also defined as love of one’s fellow man, as kindness, and as leniency in judging others. 

Some of our more thoughtful members have commented recently that our charitable activities are in danger of becoming onedimensional, whereas real charity, as I have just defined it, is multi-faceted. Many of our brethren and their Lodges already give much of their time to practical charitable work, which is entirely laudable, and must continue. 

But, as Masons we should all try to involve ourselves to a greater extent in activities which bring joy and happiness into the lives of disadvantaged people, and not just assume that a cash donation discharges our obligations. 

Helping those in need or distress therefore has practical as well as financial connotations, but of course taking Masonry into the community through charitable activities means providing tangible assistance to those in need, and that requires time, a commodity that is precious to us all. By the use of time freely given we can show real liberality of spirit to those who need our help. 

We should also spend more time in our assemblies considering the excellences of charity and the lessons it has to teach us as Freemasons, remembering that no less an authority than St. Paul placed charity in front of both faith and hope as the greatest of qualities. 

We are also conscious that Freemasonry rests on the basic tenets of friendship, charity and integrity, which we know as Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. 

Friendship is the cement which binds us together, integrity is a characteristic which should be inherent in all Freemasons, but charity in all its aspects is the practical application of Freemasonry to the rest of the world. Through our charitable work and our openness about it the world may know the happy and beneficial effects of Freemasonry. 

Brethren, in speaking at some length today about charity I want to stress that we must not fall into the trap of becoming dominated by financial charity, nor even its extension into the aspects of doing good by some practical means, if that leads us to forget that Freemasonry is a system of belief and principle that offers us a framework for the better regulation of our lives. 

Charity is one of the foundations upon which Freemasonry rests, but we must ensure that the other basic tenets are not forgotten or overlooked, and we must look to what observance of all those principles is going to achieve for us. That is the way that we will receive benefit ourselves for what we do for others. 

Brethren, I should like to express my thanks to the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his Deputies for the efficient manner in which they have conducted our proceedings today. And also to thank the Grand Secretary’s staff, who work so hard behind the scenes to maintain this magnificent building and to ensure that we all enjoy our Freemasonry.

Published in Speeches
Wednesday, 08 March 2006 09:22

Pro Grand Master’s address - March 2006


8 MARCH 2006

An address by the MW The Pro Grand Master the Most Hon the Marquess of Northampton, DL

I would like to say something about the proposal to create The Rulers’ Forum and why I believe such a body will have an important role to play in the future. When the old Board of General Purposes was transformed into the new much smaller one, it was thought advisable to create a General Council, under the chairmanship of the President of the Board, to retain that wealth of knowledge and experience which the former members had acquired over many years of service.

It did not succeed for a variety of reasons and is now a standing committee which has not met for some years. The Associated Masonic Provinces is a much older body, and although it has performed some useful functions for the Craft and has come up with many innovative ideas, it has struggled to be heard. 

The Rulers’ Forum would, in effect, unite both the General Council and the Associated Masonic Provinces under the chairmanship of the Grand Master. Although it will have no powers, as such, it cannot fail to have considerable influence, comprising, as it will, the High Rulers, the President and Deputy President of the Board and the President of the Committee. 

Of the remaining members, two-thirds will be elected to represent the Provinces and London, while one-third will be appointed by the Grand Master. Its role will be to debate some of the issues facing us at this time, and to encourage brethren with good ideas to air them in a spirit of fraternal co-operation. I am excited by the creation of such a representative body and hope its members will be enthusiastic and forward thinking with the best interests of the Craft at heart. 

In fact, brethren, visiting Lodges in London, our Provinces and Districts over the past year I have begun to sense a new optimism among our members and this is reinforced by the figures [see p20]. 

We are continuing to lose members overall and Lodges will go on closing when their numbers make them untenable, but the number of Grand Lodge certificates we issue each year appears to be holding up. If we average out the drop in the number of initiates since the millennium, it is less than 1% a year. This surely means our efforts must be concentrated on retaining them, and to do that we must educate them into the meaning and relevance of Masonry in the 21st century. 

Brethren, as you will have read in the report of our last meeting, the Prestonian Lecture is entitled The Victoria Cross – Freemasons’ Band of Brothers and will be given by W Bro G S Angell. I would like also to commend to you the exhibition currently on view in the Library and Museum to mark the 150th anniversary of the institution of the Victoria Cross in 1856. The criterion for the reward is simple – conspicuous valour in the presence of the enemy – but its winners have been drawn from all sections of the armed forces, including some civilians under military command, and from all walks of life. 

This exhibition is a tribute to those holders of the Victoria Cross who were also Freemasons and includes some of their stories. They amount to over 10% of all the awards ever won, which is a remarkable figure and one of which we can feel justifiably proud. 

Pro Grand Master’s tribute to The Hon. Edward Latham Baillieu, Past Deputy Grand Master:

Brethren, many of you will be aware of the loss that has been suffered by the Craft by the death on 10 February of RW Bro. the Honourable Edward Latham Baillieu, Past Deputy Grand Master. I believe that a memorial service will be held in due course, but in the meantime I should like to say a few words in Grand Lodge now, so that those of us who knew him can be reminded of what sort of man – and Mason – he was, and those who did not may have some idea of what they have missed. 

Bro. Baillieu, known to all his friends as ‘Ted’, was born in 1919 and was educated at Winchester and Oxford University, where his career was interrupted by the Second World War. He served in the Royal Horse Artillery and was invalided out after being wounded. In 1946 he was initiated into Empire Lodge No. 2108 in London and two years later was exalted into Empire Chapter. 

Meanwhile, he was making his career in the City as a stockbroker. In 1962 he was appointed a Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies and served in that capacity for three years under the late Brother Frank Douglas, whom he succeeded as Grand Director of Ceremonies in 1968. When he relinquished that office in 1976 he became Assistant Grand Master in succession to the present Lord Cornwallis, in this again following in Frank Douglas’s footsteps (though this time at one remove). When Lord Cornwallis became Pro Grand Master in 1982, Ted succeeded him as Deputy Grand Master (and Second Grand Principal), finally retiring in 1989. 

Ted was a larger than life character with an imposing presence, forthright in expressing his opinions, but commanding great affection among many of those who worked with or for him. He was a most impressive Grand Director of Ceremonies, but was nonetheless modest enough to claim in later years that Bro. Alan Ferris, who succeeded him, was the true professional in that office. 

As a Ruler of the Craft he had no need to grow into his office, for he already brought with him all the necessary characteristics. After his retirement he only rarely attended Masonic functions in London – the last one of any magnitude being the 275th anniversary of Grand Lodge at Earls Court in 1992. Increasing infirmity in his later years meant that we saw less and less of him. 

He nonetheless retained a keen interest in the affairs of the Craft, which is left the poorer by his passing.

Published in Speeches
Page 15 of 18

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