From the Grand Secretary & Grand Scribe E
At the September Quarterly Communications, the Pro Grand Master’s address spoke of the importance of teamwork in governing and managing Freemasonry. UGLE has traditionally been a federal amalgamation of ‘city states’, each ruled by a Provincial or District Grand Master, whose patents were granted by the Most Worshipful Grand Master. It was not uncommon, in decades past, for those chosen few to be given their patent and told to ‘get on with it’, but with very little instruction or guidance as to what the ‘it’ either was or entailed.
We like to think that we are more enlightened now, and take some time and effort to explain what we think a Provincial or District Ruler might want to consider, and what the Rulers and Board/Committee of General Purposes think their priorities should be when taking up their important office.
It will not surprise you to learn that membership and communications are very high up on that list, and as UGLE evolves to meet the challenges of our very different world, so this old system must evolve to ensure consistency of message and image across our organisation as a whole.
We have also come to realise that the ‘Bright Ideas Club’ at the centre may not have all of the answers, and initiatives rolled out with little or no consultation with our membership or their leaders are unlikely to be successful in the longer term, if at all.
Lord Northampton, as Pro Grand Master, set up a system of Regional Communication Groups which divided the Provinces into nine geographical clusters, and which provided a means for Provincial Rulers in each group to meet regularly and exchange ideas on matters of import. Under Sir David Wootton, these assumed a greater sense of purpose, with the representation of each integrated into the Improvement Delivery Group, with its remit to deliver the 2020 strategy conceived five years ago. Now, under Geoffrey Dearing, they form the backbone of our ability to consult with the Provinces and to set the agenda and direction of the organisation with strong representation on both the Membership Working Party and the Communications Working Party of the Board.
Both groups have a wide remit to shape the direction the organisation will take, and their influence will be wide ranging. They are no paper tigers, and are considering questions which will affect each and every one of us as Freemasonry evolves into a more transparent, accountable and respected organisation within the public consciousness.
The representatives on these various committees can, of course, accomplish nothing without the hard work and dedication of the teams that support them – making it vital that those team members have the ability, enthusiasm and professional capabilities and knowledge to deliver what is needed. Professional expertise is by no means short in an organisation such as ours, and Provincial leaders are well used to tapping into the potential of their membership to fulfil important roles within the Province. What perhaps is changing is the willingness to recognise that many individuals are much busier in their family and work lives than perhaps their predecessors were. As such, those who are less senior within Freemasonry and less experienced are finding themselves working on major Provincial portfolios while balancing very busy lives.
We should not shy away from using the talent that we have within our ranks. Neither should we shy away from altering the way ‘things have always been done’ to allow those individuals to flourish and to serve. It is inconceivable that the Provincial Grand Masters and Grand Superintendents of the future will be able to dedicate the time and effort to Freemasonry that perhaps some of their predecessors have managed, without detriment to their family or personal connections. Their teams around them become of paramount importance if the organisation as a whole is to grow and develop. Similarly, if we want leaders who are truly exceptional and able to carry the organisation forward, we must be willing to accommodate the many other things that will call on their time – not least their greater involvement in the running of the ‘Centre’.
We will do our bit here at UGLE to listen to those ideas coming out of the Provinces, and to ensure that others can benefit from them; to ensure that ‘best practice’ is shared, such as the membership initiatives in Bristol and the communications strategies of Buckinghamshire and Cheshire.
We will also continue to listen to you, our members, paying heed to what you think is important, and what our priorities should be for the years ahead.
Dr David Staples
Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe E
‘If we want leaders who are truly exceptional and able to carry the organisation forward, we must be willing to accommodate the many other things that will call on their time’
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.
From the Grand Secretary
The Grand Secretary’s column is, of course, also the Chief Executive’s column and I would like to give you a feel for what we have been implementing over the past year, and our hopes for the future. As Chief Executive, one of the reasons I was hired was to oversee the modernisation of the organisation in terms of its administration. The Chief Executive and the 90 or so staff at 60 Great Queen Street are responsible for the 180,000 members in England and Wales and some 20,000 members in our Districts overseas, for the upkeep and commercial realisation of the headquarters – a Grade 2* art deco masterpiece – and for supporting the committees which give direction and strategy to the membership organisation.
Some of the most important changes will not be obvious to you but will help build an organisation capable of delivering the will of the Rulers and the Board and Committee of General Purposes in a manner which serves and supports you, the members. There have been changes in roles and staff as is inevitable with any change management process, but we are moving, at pace, towards becoming a more transparent headquarters whose purpose is understood and appreciated.
Investors in People has advised us on some of these changes as we transform the way we do things, and we have just learnt that we have been awarded Investors in People accreditation. We are at the tail end of a wholesale restructure to ensure that ‘delivering for our members’ is at the heart of everything we do. The Directory of Lodges and Chapters and Masonic Year Book are now living online documents, and you may now book in, and pay for Quarterly Communications and Supreme Grand Chapter online (saving 1,800 man hours for the Secretariat a year). We have also increased the commercial hire of our wonderful building by 30 per cent year on year, without affecting our masonic hires, thereby offsetting the costs we have to pass on to you. New video conferencing suites enable members up and down the country to participate in the decisions being made here in London and we are training more people than ever before – from Provincial Grand Masters to Media Ambassadors, Provincial Grand Secretaries to Almoners and Communications Officers.
From January we will have a Member Services Department incorporating Registration, the Chancellery, and a Department for the Districts to support the Provinces and Districts as well as delivering our renewed focus on attracting new members and engaging our current membership. A new communications structure will focus on getting the positive messages of Freemasonry known, and ensuring the Court of Public Opinion is firmly on our side. Imagine an organisation ‘normalised’ in the public consciousness. Where going to a lodge meeting was regarded in the same manner as going out for a meal, going to watch the rugby or going to the cinema.
Imagine an organisation where writing the same details on different forms every step of your masonic journey was a thing of the past; where clearance Certificates could be obtained at the click of a button; where you could update your personal details in a few seconds and where candidates received information on the ceremonies they had just been through the following morning. Imagine lodges being visible in the community – volunteering to help with what matters to them – and being regarded as an outward expression of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth; where lodge secretaries didn’t spend hours on installation returns, and where Grand Lodge certificates were dispatched with the merest twitch of Bro Secretary’s index finger. These are some of the things the Executive and staff, the various committees, working groups and volunteers are looking at realising over the coming 18 months as we seek to improve how we administer your organisation.
These changes are not, of course, about altering our character or our essence. They are not about changing our rituals or outlook, or imposing faddish political correctness or unnecessary change for change’s sake. The United Grand Lodge of England will always be here to act as a custodian of the values and traditions of Freemasonry that inspire men to lead better lives for the benefit of society. We are here to curate those areas that are precious to us while promoting a straightforward organisation that is supportive, self-confident, welcoming, member focused, friendly and fun, because that is an organisation so many people would want to join, and would never dream of leaving.
Dr David Staples
‘Imagine an organisation where going to a lodge meeting was regarded by the public in the same manner as going out for a meal, going to watch the rugby or going to the cinema’
Instrumental in shaping the way that Freemasonry is now run, Anthony Wilson embraced modernisation with a focus on teamwork
Anthony Wilson, a long-time Freemason, died on 14 May this year after a long battle with cancer fought with great dignity. Anthony was born in 1950, educated at Eton, and subsequently qualified as a chartered accountant. One of the first audits he conducted was for the Grand Lodge 250th Anniversary Fund. Some 20 years later he became a Trustee of the charity, which is now known as The Freemasons’ Fund for Surgical Research.
Initiated into Tuscan Lodge, No. 14, in March 1976, Anthony was appointed Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies in 1997 and served as President of the Committee of General Purposes from 2001 to 2004. He subsequently became President of the Board of General Purposes in March 2004.
Anthony was instrumental in reducing the Board to a more manageable size and making it more effective, efficient and fit for purpose. ‘My background is in chartered accountancy, and I’ve always been interested in business and how you can improve it,’ Anthony told Freemasonry Today 10 years after becoming Board President. ‘Working on the Board was a way of helping the running of Freemasonry that wasn’t purely ceremonial but rather administrative. It’s very much a collegiate affair – we’re a team and I’m very fortunate with the support and counsel I get.’
Promoted to Past Senior Grand Warden in April 2012, Anthony played a prominent role during the Tercentenary celebrations, including unveiling the memorial stones to Freemasons awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War, through to the Especial meeting of Grand Lodge at the Royal Albert Hall, where he was seated in the Royal Box with the Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent.
He retired as President of the Board of General Purposes at the end of 2017. Following his death, the United Grand Lodge of England sent condolences on behalf of all members of Grand Lodge to his widow, Vicky, and family.
Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes paid tribute to Anthony’s work: ‘I don’t often mention individuals in this context, but Anthony Wilson was a very special mason and a very special friend to so many of us. He carried out his duties in a very understated way, but he presided over the Board during a very busy period including, of course, the 300th celebrations.
‘He was an incredibly hard-working and efficient President who managed to carry out his role without falling out with anyone – quite a feat! And all this despite his illness, which was with him for far too many years. But he never, ever complained, and many would not have known how ill he was. He is sorely missed by all who knew him.’
Looking back on why he first became a Freemason, Anthony told Freemasonry Today: ‘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.’
RW Bro Anthony Wilson died peacefully on Monday 14 May, after a long battle with cancer fought with great dignity
He was President of the Board of General Purposes for 13 years, retiring from the role at the end of December 2017, and had been President of the Committee of General Purposes for three years before that.
Anthony was born in 1950, educated at Eton, and subsequently qualified as a chartered accountant. One of the first audits he conducted was for The Grand Lodge 250th Anniversary Fund, which sponsors research fellowships at the Royal College of Surgeons. Some 20 years later he became a Trustee of the charity, which is now known as The Freemasons' Fund for Surgical Research.
Initiated into Tuscan Lodge No. 14 in March 1976, Anthony was appointed Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies in 1997, and served as President of the Committee of General Purposes from 2001 to 2004.
He was appointed President of the Board of General Purposes in March 2004 and was instrumental in reducing the Board to a more manageable size and making it more effective, efficient and fit for purpose. He was promoted to Past Senior Grand Warden in April 2012.
He also played a prominent role in many events throughout our Tercentenary celebrations including the unveiling of the memorial stones to Freemasons awarded the Victoria Cross during World War I, through to the Especial meeting of Grand Lodge at the Royal Albert Hall where he was seated in the Royal Box with the Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent.
UGLE has sent condolences on behalf of all members of Grand Lodge to his widow Vicky and family.
Read Anthony Wilson’s interview in Freemasonry Today in 2014, where he revealed that modernising the business of Freemasonry was one of his proudest achievements.
Meeting of Supreme Grand Chapter
Thursday 26 April 2018
Report of the Committee of General Purposes
The minutes of the Regular Convocation of 8 November 2017 were confirmed.
Petitions for new chapters
The Committee has received the following petitions for new Chapters: For a new Chapter to be attached to Hervey and Kentish Companions Lodge, No. 1692, to be called Hervey Chapter, and to meet at the Shirley Woolmer Masonic Hall, Church Road, Sidcup (West Kent) and for a new Chapter to be attached to Semper Paratus Lodge, No. 3015, to be called Semper Paratus Chapter, and to meet at the Masonic Hall, New Road, Woodstock (Oxfordshire).
The petitions being regular, the Committee recommends that the prayers thereof be granted.
The Committee has received Memorials from the following Chapters, praying for Charters authorising the members to wear the Centenary Jewel: Unity Chapter, No. 132 (Hampshire and Isle of Wight) from 18 December 2018; Perpetual Friendship Chapter, No. 135 (Somerset) from 22 September 2018; Boscombe Chapter, No. 2158 (Hampshire and Isle of Wight) from 19 November 2018; Hatherton Chapter, No. 2474 (Staffordshire) from 2 October 2018; Chapter of Hope, No. 2679 (West Lancashire) from 28 September 2018; Whitson Chapter, No. 2943 (Bristol) from 23 November 2018; Wanstead Chapter, No. 3524 (London) from 9 September 2018 and Campbell Chapter, No. 3643 (Worcestershire) from 3 October 2018.
The Memorials being in form and the Chapters having proved uninterrupted existence of one hundred years, the Committee recommends that the prayers thereof be granted, with effect from the dates shown above.
The Committee has received Memorials from the following Chapters, praying for Charters authorising the members to wear the Bi-Centenary Bar on the ribbon of the Centenary Jewel: Chapter of Hope, No. 54 (East Lancashire) from 3 September 2015 (retrospective) and Mount Zion and Jerusalem Chapter, No. 185 (London) from 29 October 2018.
The Committee has received reports that the following Chapters have resolved to surrender their Charters: Fistral Chapter, No. 6258 in order to amalgamate with St Michael Chapter, No. 2747 (Cornwall) and Blaauwberg Chapter, No. 9337 in order to amalgamate with Wynberg Chapter, No. 2577 (South Africa, Western Division).
The Committee accordingly recommends that the Chapters be removed from the register in order to effect the amalgamations.
The Committee has received a Memorial from Dee Chapter, No. 1576 (Cheshire) to be detached from Dee Lodge, No. 1576 (Cheshire) and attached to St Anselm Lodge, No. 5166 (Cheshire) and be known as St Anselm Chapter, No. 5166.
The Lodges concerned being in agreement, the Committee recommends that the prayer of the Memorial be granted.
The Committee has received a Memorial from Cambridge Heath Chapter, No. 4506 seeking that the Chapter be permitted to be removed from the Metropolitan Area of London to the Province of Essex.
The Grand Superintendents concerned having accorded their assent, the Committee recommends that the prayer of the Memorial be granted.
The Committee has received reports on 17 Chapters: Excelsior Chapter, No. 1155 (London), Molesey Chapter, No. 2473 (Surrey), Harringay Chapter, No. 2763 (London), Hillingdon Chapter, No. 3174 (Middlesex), Benfleet Chapter, No. 3798 (Essex), Rhetoric Chapter, No. 4265 (London), Carshalton Chapter, No. 4429 (Surrey), Bristol Chapter, No. 4522 (London), Luxborough Chapter, No. 4700 (Essex), Dewi Sant Chapter, No. 4728 (London), Vicar’s Oak Chapter, No. 4822 (London), Newark Priory Chapter, No. 5396 (Surrey), Temple Porchway Chapter, No. 7209 (London), Chapter of Ideal Endeavour, No. 7379 (West Kent), Byron Chapter, No. 7426 (Middlesex), Marlborough Chapter, No. 8218 (Zimbabwe and Malawi) and Bedfordshire Meridian Chapter, No. 9643 (Bedfordshire).
Over recent years, the Chapters have found themselves no longer viable and have resolved to surrender their Charters.
The Committee has reluctantly recommended that the Chapters be erased from the register of Grand Chapter and the Charters cancelled.
Grand Chapter Register
The tables below show the number of Chapters on the Register and of Certificates issued during the past ten years.
The Committee presents the audited Accounts of the Supreme Grand Chapter for the year ending 31 December 2017.
The Committee recommends, in accordance with Regulation 98, that the fees for Registration, Replacement Certificates, Certificates for Serving Companions, and Dispensations for 2019 should be increased by approximately 2.6% to keep pace with the costs of providing the services concerned.
Charges for patents and charters
In accordance with Royal Arch Regulation 99, the Charges for Patents and Charters are reviewed annually and are based on the cost of producing the documents. The Committee has considered the matter and recommends that the charges (exclusive of VAT) for the year commencing 1 May 2018 be as follows:
Contributions to Grand Chapter
The Committee recommends, in accordance with Regulation 100, that the contributions (inclusive of VAT) payable annually to Grand Chapter in respect of each member of a Chapter in a Metropolitan Area or a Province for the year 2019 shall be £5.00.
The Committee believes that it will be able to recommend next year that contributions remain unchanged in 2020.
Meetings of Supreme Grand Chapter
Future Convocations will be held on 14 November 2018, 25 April 2019 and 13 November 2019.
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.
At the April meeting of the Essex First Principals Chapter No.3256, over 200 members and guests went on to see a demonstation of the 'Ceremony of the Veils' given by the Essex Provincial Stewards Chapter No 8665. The chapter was particularly honoured by the presence of many distinguished Royal Arch masons which included: ME Comp George Pipon Francis, 2nd Grand Principal, ME Comp David Kenneth Williamson, 3rd Grand Principal and our own ME Comp John Michael Webb, Grand Superintendant.
This Ceremony had been authorised by the Committee of General Purposes of Supreme Grand Chapter solely for demonstrations at a Provincial or District level held under the authority of the respective Grand Superintendent.
The basis of the current Royal Arch ceremonies worked in England was established and agreed by Supreme Grand Chapter in 1834. There is some evidence that before the 1834 changes the ceremony of Passing the Veils was practised as a preliminary to the Exaltation ceremony. This was particularly true in Lodges under the former Antients Grand Lodge which worked the Royal Arch within the Lodge, but there is little evidence of it being worked in Chapters under the original Excellent Grand and Royal Chapter.
Today in England the ceremony is solely authorised for use in Chapters in Bristol but it is still very much part of the Royal Arch system in Ireland, the United States of America and in Scotland - where it is known as the Excellent Master Degree. For those wishing to see the Bristol ceremony, the Province and its Chapters are always delighted to receive visitors.
This demonstration is not the ceremony as practised in Bristol, Ireland, Scotland or the USA but necessarily includes material which appears in the ceremonies worked in those countries. It has been compiled from manuscripts in the Library and Museum of Freemasonry and published sources such as Carlile and Claret.
Following the demonstation the 1st Principal, E. Comp Edward A Hilburn, PGStB, presented a cheque on behalf of the Chapter to E Comp Keith Huddlestone, PGStB, PAPrGP, the Essex Provincial Stewards Chapter 'Demonstation Team' represntative, who announced that the very generous donation of £500 would be going to the The Royal Arch Masons 2013 Bicentenary Appeal for 'The Royal College of Surgeons of England'.
Wednesday 9 November 2011
Report of the Committee of General Purposes
Minutes of the Regular Convocation of 28 April 2011 were confirmed
Committee of General Purposes
Meetings in 2012: The dates upon which the Committee of General Purposes will meet
in 2012 are 27 March, 25 September and 4 December.
Petitions for new Chapters
The Committee had received the following petitions for new Chapters:
For a new Chapter to be attached to Quantock Lodge, No. 4446, to be called Quantock Chapter, No. 4446, and to meet at the Masonic Hall, Watchet (Somerset) and for a new Chapter to be attached to Daylight Lodge of Hutton, No. 9806, to be called Daylight Chapter of Hutton, No. 9806, and to meet at the Masonic Hall, Hutton (Essex).
The petitions were granted.
Charter of Confirmation
The Committee had received a petition for a Charter of Confirmation, the original having been mislaid, from Winton Chapter, No. 3048 (London). The petition was granted.
The Committee had received applications from the following Chapters, seeking for Charters authorising the members to wear the Centenary Jewel: Burslem Chapter, No. 98 (Staffordshire) from 7 June 2012; Vesey Chapter, No. 794 (Warwickshire) 13 June 2012; Evening Star Chapter, No. 1719 (London) 30 April 2012; Exmoor Chapter, No. 2390 (Somerset) 13 June 2012; Italia Chapter, No. 2687 (London) 9 January 2012; Aldersbrook Chapter, No. 2841 (London) 9 July 2012 and Benoni Chapter, No. 3157 (South Africa, North) 9 November 2011.
The Committee recommendation that the Charters be granted was approved.
The Committee had received applications from the following Chapters for Charters authorising the members to wear the Bi-Centenary Bar on the ribbon of the Centenary Jewel:
School of Plato Chapter, No. 150 (Madras), from 10 December 2011 and Chapter of St John, No. 327 7 September 2008 (Cumberland and Westmorland) (retrospective).
The Committee recommendation that the Charters be granted was approved
The Committee had received reports on 15 Chapters: St John’s Chapter, No. 673 (West Lancashire), Chapter of Otago, No. 942 (South Island, New Zealand), Mayo Chapter, No. 1413 (Middlesex), Army and Navy Chapter, No. 2738 (London), Taplow Chapter, No. 3111 (Buckinghamshire), Billingsgate Chapter, No. 3443 (London), Sentinel Chapter, No. 4059 (Cheshire), Woodside Chapter, No. 4062 (Cheshire),
Littleton Park Chapter, No. 5305 (Middlesex), Merseyside Chapter, No. 5751 (Cheshire),
Pinner Hill Chapter, No. 6578 (Middlesex), Square Conduct Chapter, No. 6816 (London),
St Peter’s Chapter, No. 7334 (Warwickshire), Jubilee Chapter, No. 8803 (East Lancashire) and Fideles Amici Chapter, No. 8848 (London).
Over recent years, the Chapters had found themselves no longer viable and had surrendered their Charters. The Committee recommendation that the Chapters be erased from
the register of Grand Chapter and the Charters cancelled was approved.
Supreme Grand Chapter
Wednesday 10 November 2010
The Minutes of the Regular Convocation of 29 April 2010 were confirmed.
Meetings in 2011: The dates when the Committee of General Purposes will meet in 2011 are 22 March, 27 September and 6 December.
PETITIONS FOR NEW CHAPTERS
The Committee had received the following petitions for new chapters: For a new chapter to be attached to Royal Albert Edward Lodge, No. 906, to be called Calderley Chapter of Union, No. 906, Burnham-on- Sea (Somerset); and for a new chapter to be attached to St Anthony Lodge, No. 4684, to be called St Anthony Chapter, No. 4684, Montserrat (Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean). The petitions were granted.
CHARTERS OF CONFIRMATION
The Committee had received petitions for Charters of Confirmation from the following chapters, the original Charters having been stolen and destroyed by fire respectively: Stephens Chapter, No. 3089 (Buckinghamshire) and Elopura Chapter, No. 7545 (Eastern Archipelago). The petitions were granted.
Members of the following chapters have been authorised to wear the Centenary Jewel:
Venables Chapter, No. 611, Shropshire, from 8 July 2011; Goderich Chapter, No. 1211, Yorkshire, West Riding, 6 January 2011; Ferrum Chapter, No. 1848, Yorkshire, North and East Ridings, 22 February 2011; London Irish Rifles’ Chapter, No. 2312, London, 20 January 2011; Barry Chapter, No. 2357, South Wales, 23 May 2011; Kinta Chapter, No. 3212, Eastern Archipelago, 21 March 2011 and Corona Chapter, No. 7446, London, 20 May 2011.
The Committee had received a Memorial from Star of Hackney Chapter, No. 7272 (London) that it be detached from Star of Hackney Lodge and attached to Somersetshire Lodge, No. 2925 (London) and be known as Somersetshire Chapter, No. 2925. The Memorial was granted.
The Committee had received reports that the following chapters had resolved to surrender their Charters: Bold Chapter, No. 7583, in order to amalgamate with St Paul’s Chapter, No. 5459 (West Lancashire) and Pele Tower Chapter, No. 4435, in order to amalgamate with Perseverance Chapter, No. 1643 (Durham). A recommendation that the chapters be removed from the register in order to effect the respective amalgamations was approved.
The Committee had received reports on ten chapters: Creaton Chapter, No. 1791 (London), Cyclist Chapter, No. 2246 (Surrey), United Temperance Chapter, No. 3107 (Cheshire), West Lewisham Chapter, No. 4298 (West Kent), East Croydon Chapter, No. 4667 (Surrey), Trinity Chapter, No. 5179 (London), Walton Priory Chapter, No. 5992 (West Lancashire), Finchley and Hendon Chapter, No. 6089 (Middlesex), Fleur de Lys Chapter, No. 6479 (London) and Forest View Chapter, No. 6588 (Essex). These chapters had surrendered their Charters and a recommendation that they be erased from the register of Grand Chapter was approved.
ROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEONS
After Grand Chapter was closed there was a presentation by the Royal College of Surgeons of England on the work of its research fellows.
GRAND CHAPTER CONVOCATIONS
Future Convocations will be held on 28 April 2011, 9 November 2011 and 26 April 2012.