Wednesday, 08 September 2004 10:49

Pro Grand Master’s address - September 2004



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

I welcome you all to Grand Lodge this morning for the start of another Masonic season, which promises, once again, to be a busy one. 

The final version of the proposed changes to the Royal Arch rituals were circulated to all relevant parties at the beginning of July, and apart from a few minor amendments that may become necessary, they will be included in the paper of business for Grand Chapter in November.

Published in Speeches
Wednesday, 09 June 2004 10:52

Pro Grand Master’s address - June 2004


9 JUNE 2004

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

Brethren, because we do not normally have very much business at the June Quarterly Communication, I thought you might be interested to know something about the overseas visits that the Rulers have made to our Districts during this past year.

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29 APRIL 2004

An address by the ME The First Grand Principal The Duke of Kent, KG

I am very pleased indeed to see so many of you present in Grand Chapter today and I bid you all a warm welcome. 

I congratulate all the Companions I have had the pleasure of investing today and thank them for their past efforts. I would remind them that their new ranks bring new responsibilities and an opportunity to put even more into Royal Arch Masonry.

Published in Speeches
Wednesday, 28 April 2004 10:54

Pro Grand Master’s address - April 2004


28 APRIL 2004

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

Brethren, it is good to see so many of you here today for this annual investiture, which must surely qualify as the happiest Masonic event of the year and I bid you a warm welcome. On behalf of the Grand Master, I congratulate all those whom I have invested with their new ranks. These have been given in part for what you have already done for the Craft, but more importantly in the hope that you will continue, with your new status, to do your utmost for the good of Freemasonry for many years to come.

Published in Speeches
Wednesday, 10 March 2004 00:00

Grand Master's address - March 2004

10 March 2004


I am delighted to see so many of you here this morning for this Quarterly Communication and I bid you all a very warm welcome. I thank you all for the honour you have done me by re-electing me as your Grand Master and I look forward to another busy and challenging year at the head of English Freemasonry.

I should like to start by expressing my thanks and that of the Craft to two distinguished Brethren who have just retired from high office.

RW Bro Iain Ross Bryce has been a Grand Officer for 21 years, which includes 8 years as Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Yorkshire, North and East Ridings and 12 years as Deputy Grand Master. In addition to the extensive duties attached to the offices he has held, Bro Bryce has spent a considerable amount of his time working with and co-ordinating the Masonic charities. His chairmanship of the Committee which decided the future of the Foundation for the Aged and the Sick in 1988, and of the Sick fund in 1989 which later developed into the New Masonic Samaritan Fund, was followed by his work on creating the Charity Festival matrix in 1992. More recently he chaired the Committee looking at the allocation of Grand and Provincial Ranks. He intends to remain active, you will be pleased to know, in Masonry and is currently the founding Master of Bridlington Bay Lodge, No 9778, which was consecrated in November 2003. Bro Bryce will continue in office as Second Grand Principal in the Royal Arch so his experience and advice will not be lost to us.

RW Bro Earl Cadogan has been a Grand Officer since 1969 when he served as Senior Grand Warden. His 34 years as a Grand Officer include 11 years as President of the Masonic Foundation for the Aged and the Sick, 6 years as President of the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys and 4 years as President of the Board of General Purposes. Bro Lord Cadogan first joined the Board as an appointed member as long ago as 1983. He served on the Finance Committee from then until he became its Chairman in 1991, and relinquished this office only when he became President in 1999, having also acted as Vice-President of the Board in 1991 and 1992.

The Craft owes both these Brethren an immense debt of gratitude for their hard work, which they have undertaken over so many years, and their dedication to Freemasonry. We thank them for everything they have done for us and wish them many more happy and rewarding years in Freemasonry.

Brethren, you will know that I normally attend the Craft Annual Investiture and take the opportunity of addressing Grand Lodge. This year however I shall attend the Annual Investiture of the Royal Arch on 29th April and it is my intention to address Supreme Grand Chapter. I want to take this opportunity, therefore, of dealing with some important issues which affect the Craft in particular.

It was a great pleasure for me to be able to take part in the splendid ceremonies at the Royal Albert Hall last October, setting up both the Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London. It was a magnificent occasion and reflects great credit not only on the staff of London Management who worked long hours over many months in preparation for the event, but also the volunteers of the London Grand Rank Association. We also owe a debt of gratitude to those in the Grand Secretary’s office without whose dedication and support no great occasion of Grand Lodge would be possible, and in particular to the Assistant Grand Secretary for his work on the complex changes to the Book of Constitutions. Praise is also due also to Bro John Wright who acted as overall Project Manager, and his team of Stewards under the leadership of Bro Andrew Wigram, and of course to the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his Deputies, who conducted the ceremonial activities of the day so smoothly.

It will take time for the new structure to bed down because this is the biggest change in Freemasonry for almost 200 years, but there are already welcome signs that a new spirit of co-operation and companionship is beginning to transform the newest Masonic venture into something of which we will be very proud.

The Strategic Working Party, set up by the Pro Grand Master to review the Royal Arch, has worked hard on the proposed revisions, and Grand Lodge has already taken an historic step by adding a paragraph to the “1813 Declaration.” This allows us to recognise, formally, that the Royal Arch is a separate Order of Masonry and will strengthen the status of Supreme Grand Chapter without affecting the relationship of the Royal Arch to the Craft. I know that some of you have expressed concern that this change may tend to weaken those historic ties, but I want very strongly to endorse the phrase used by the Pro Grand Master in his speech last September, when he emphasised that the Royal Arch is to remain “indissolubly linked to the Craft”. There is no compromise here, Brethren: that bond is to remain as strong and as close as ever, and the Royal Arch should be regarded by all as the important final step in pure Antient Freemasonry. I shall have more to say about the future of the Royal Arch at the Annual Investiture of Supreme Grand Chapter, but in the meantime I wish to thank all the members of the Strategic Working Party for their hard work.

Support of our Masonic charities has always been one of the Keystones of Freemasonry. It is very important, I believe, that in addition to the great Masonic causes we also reach out to the public and ensure that our charitable giving also extends as well to non-Masonic causes, which indeed is a necessary part of our duty to society. It is vital, nevertheless, that our Masonic Charities have the funds they need to fulfil their primary purpose of looking after our beneficiaries, and that is why I welcome today’s initiative to increase the contribution which we all pay to the Grand Charity.

I have been reflecting on the changes in Masonry since you honoured me 36 years ago by electing me as your Grand Master. Membership during this period has declined, it is true, from its post-war boom back to the levels seen in the interwar years. At the same time the almost obsessive secrecy of the thirty years from the 1950s onwards has been followed by a policy of increasing openness which has encouraged us to be more outward looking.

The consequence of this has been a greater desire to defend ourselves against unwarranted external attack and a willingness to correct malicious falsehoods about the Craft spread by those who do not wish to hear the truth.

The Craft has shown in recent years that it is prepared to adapt itself to the changing circumstances of modern life to a greater degree than ever before in its history. Only thus, as the Royal Arch ritual tells us, can it ‘survive the wreck of mighty empires and resist the destroying hand of time’, and I welcome the flexibility which enables us to react so positively at a time of unparalleled changes in society at large. 

Before closing, I would like as usual, to express our thanks once again to all those who make our meetings run so smoothly, the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his team who have conducted today’s proceedings with their customary calm competence, and the Grand Secretary and his staff who ensure that our organisation is administered and serviced so efficiently. Finally Brethren I would like to thank all of you who have attended in such large numbers today.

Published in Speeches
Wednesday, 10 December 2003 10:07

Deputy Grand Master’s address - December 2003


10 DECEMBER 2003

An address by the RW The Deputy Grand Master, lain Ross Bryce, TD, DL

I have to inform you that RW Bro Lord Cadogan will retire as President of the Board of General Purposes on 9 March next year. He will be succeeded by VW Bro Anthony Wilson, who is at present an ex officio member of the Board as President of the Committee of General Purposes of Supreme Grand Chapter.

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12 NOVEMBER 2003

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

most of you will be aware that a Strategic Working Party (SWP) which I formed in 2002 has been considering whether the traditional Ceremony of Exaltation and other aspects of the way in which the Royal Arch functions are still appropriate, after some 175 years.

Published in Speeches
Wednesday, 10 September 2003 11:09

Pro Grand Master’s address - September 2003



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

You will all recall the unfortunate occasion last November when the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, was reported as having suggested that he had doubts about the compatibility of Freemasonry and Christianity.
Published in Speeches
Wednesday, 11 June 2003 01:00

Pro Grand Master's address - June 2003

11 June 2003


At this time last year we were preparing for our Freemasonry in the Community week. This involved opening the doors of our meeting places to the general public and taking the opportunity of explaining what we do. Although it is too soon to repeat the exercise again this year, nevertheless I hope that Brethren will continue to hold open days as they undoubtedly have a positive effect and add greatly to our public relations.

There is some confusion among Brethren that this alternative tie [indicated the Craft tie] can only be worn in Grand Lodge and not on other occasions. This is not the case; the tie can be worn by any member of a Lodge under the United Grand Lodge of England on any Masonic or non-Masonic occasion.

I am told that the tickets for the Constitution by the Grand Master of the new Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London on October 1st in the Royal Albert Hall are going very well, and a good number of Brethren and Lodges are becoming founder members. This will be a truly historic occasion, and if you wish to be present I recommend you apply for tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Finally, Brethren, I wish you all a very happy summer break with your families and I look forward to seeing you again in September at the start of another busy Masonic year.

Published in Speeches

Annual Investiture 
1 May 2003 
An address by the ME Pro First Grand Principal 

Companions, I am sure you will all want to join me in congratulating those I have invested this morning on behalf of the ME The First Grand Principal. It goes without saying that your new ranks are in recognition of the efforts you have made for the Royal Arch. They are also given in the expectation that you will actively promote the Order among Master Masons and encourage them to join.

Companions, I know that the ME The First Grand Principal will be pleased, as I am, that Grand Chapter has endorsed the decision to permit him to form a Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London. In doing so they have followed the lead given by the Craft and have ensured that harmony continues in pure Antient Masonry. I appreciate that some Companions may have reservations about this new venture, but I hope they will now put those feelings to one side and unite with the rest of us to ensure its future success. I am not alone in thinking that the Royal Arch in London has been overshadowed by the Craft, to which is has played second fiddle for far too long. I am confident that the formation of a Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London will allow its members to flourish as never before.

A year ago I mentioned the then newly reconvened Strategic Working Party and its deliberations. This is proving a much more complex task than I originally envisaged but the main Committee has made some progress and will very shortly be making recommendations to the Committee of General Purposes for their consideration. As part of our deliberations I set up a sub-committee to look at the rituals, their content, including the historical inaccuracies, and the way they are delivered. Here I regret to say we have made little progress largely because other important matters have taken precedence. However, I am confident we will be able to discuss some of the proposed changes at the regular convocation of Grand Chapter in November.

Yesterday in Grand Lodge the Grand Master encouraged us to make contact with Brethren who had resigned from their Lodges due to direct or indirect pressures, and who may now be in a position to rejoin their old Lodge or join another one. Companions, this also applies to the Royal Arch and I would urge you to do likewise in your Chapters. Discrimination against our members still exists in some quarters even though the situation appears to have improved following our efforts to be more open about ourselves and our willingness to confront our detractors. In fact, I sense a new air of optimism as I travel around our Constitution, with the Craft in general being slimmer and fitter than it was fifteen years ago.

This annual Royal Arch Investiture meeting has to be one of the happiest Masonic events of the year. Not only are we guaranteed to have smiles on the faces of at least half those present, but the rest of us can take genuine pleasure in the happiness of those being invested. The Royal Arch may be smaller in numbers than the Craft but it makes up for it with that special and more intimate pleasure we get from our Chapter meetings.

Today’s ceremony has run very smoothly thanks to the quiet efficiency of the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his team of Deputies. This is the last time we shall see E Comp Peter Lowndes in action as Grand Director of Ceremonies and I would like to take this opportunity of thanking him for all he has done for both the Craft and the Royal Arch over the past eight years. He will be particularly remembered for the many seminars he has held for Lodge and Chapter DCs, for his efforts in ensuring our high standards of ritual remain the envy of other Grand Lodges around the World and, above all, for his humour in Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter which ensures that those present are in a good mood when the Presiding Officer enters. I would also like to thank the Grand Scribe Ezra and his staff for their considerable efforts in organizing this investiture and the lunch which follows. Two investitures on consecutive days are quite a handful for those of us taking part let alone for those who have to organize them and they do a fine job!

Finally Companions I thank all of you for attending today and making this investiture such a happy meeting. I recently named a racehorse I have bred ‘Greet you well’ which seems an appropriate way of finishing my remarks, but I do not recommend a bet!

Published in Speeches
Page 17 of 18

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