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Wednesday 2nd October 2024

 

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 NEXT CHAPTER MEETING  

Wednesday 16th October 2024

 

 

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see the Blog Page for 26 April

 

 

 

 

 

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Saturday, 13th July 2024:

A Calm Sea and a Prosperous Voyage!

by Neil Armstrong

We've all experienced it - the moment when meticulously crafted plans take an unexpected detour. Despite our efforts, life throws curveballs, and even the most thought-out strategies can crumble.

Unexpected absences including that of the Worshipful Master threatened to de-mast Lord Bolton Lodge’s Initiation ceremony. ‘It’s going to be an interesting night,’ remarked W Bro John Stebbings as he greeted me and then swiftly excused himself to go and prepare to take the Chair in lieu of the Master.

Lord Bolton adjusted their sails and with their flexibility navigated these unexpected waters; Instead of frustration, the team embraced the challenge. The ability to adapt defined their journey; Adaptability being the key, it’s a sign of their Lodge resilience.

It was clear that efforts to engage younger members and adjust to changing demographics were at work, as Bro Jamie Bird (Junior Deacon) deftly guided the candidate Mr Owen Brookes around the Lodge-room. Supported by Bro Liam Gwatkin (Senior Deacon), and ritualist Bro Anas Challigui who delivered the Address in the North east Corner.

If you could travel back in time, I thought to myself; say 150 years or so ago; Lodge Bolton’s vivid ritual storytelling transported us to those pivotal moments of Initiation, that would have been readily recognisable to those past cohorts of Victorian Masons. It was a powerful reminder of the impact words and actions once committed to memory can have across generations.

W Bro Eddie Wildman volunteered to undertake the Explanation of the Working Tools in addition to the Lesser Lights, which he undertook in his usual impressive manner.

While Bro Brookes had retired from the Lodge-room, a report announced the arrival of the W Bro Gwatkin, who swiftly took his place as Master, apologising to the Brethren for his late attendance which was due to a family crisis.

W Bro Wildman presented United Grand Lodge Certificates to Brothers Jamie Bird, Liam Gwatkin and Anas Challigui, holding their attention as he elucidated on the various symbolism depicted on the certificate.

Bro Carl Procter gave greetings on behalf of Kingston Lodge. He remarked to me as we disrobed; that he had noticed various nuances in ritual which had enhanced his visit and had formulated questions to ask me later.

The Festive Board beckoned, having an Italiano flavour: mozzarella sticks, lasagne with chips and rounded off with a delicious panna cotta.

Bro Brookes gave an assured response to his toast of welcome. Albeit a little later on; much to the amusement of the Brethren and to the embarrassment of the newly made brother, he pulled his own raffle ticket out! – another curveball of the evening!

Lord Bolton’s Brethren had balanced tradition with relevance in today’s world and I congratulate them.

Life’s unpredictability ensures that the best-laid plans will veer off course, but it was the ability to adapt which defined tonight’s prosperous voyage.

Ben fatto Lord Bolton

Ciao, a presto!

[Photos by E Wildman. Top: Jamie Bird,Owen Brookes, Colin Bird. Lower: Jamie Bird, Liam Gwatkin and Anas Challigui.]

For Eddie's report on the night - see the  Humber 57 website Blog page.

Neil Armstrong - visitor

 

Saturday 6th July 2024:

Kingston BBQ

by Barbara Watkinson

Saturday morning and its pouring with rain – I am sure we all had our fingers crossed that it improves as this afternoon Kingston 1010 are hosting a BBQ at the Lodge on Beverley Road with all funds raised to go to the improvement of the Masonic Hall. Luckily, the weather had improved by the afternoon as we all gathered in the bar at the Lodge.

The members of Kingston 1010 well attended it – Gary Crossland, Marcus Whereat, Neil Armstrong, Eddie Wildman, Mike Price, Roger Watkinson, Simon Ramshaw, Malcolm Booth, and Carl Procter together with their respective guests. There was also support from the Hall’s Directors and members of other Lodges along with all their guests.

As the weather had been rather inclement, it was decided that everyone would be in the dining room, where six large tables had been set up, everyone seated in readiness to sample Chef Luke`s excellent BBQ. Again, Luke did us proud with burgers, sausages, lamb koftas, chicken kebabs with new potatoes and a choice of different salads.

Whilst eating Eddie was serenading us with tunes on the piano – along with a very talented young gent called Matij – it made me think I should have continued with piano lessons all those years ago!  Dessert was served – again a wonderful variety of black forest gateau, baked cheesecake, or panna cotta.

On each table was a quiz sheet which we all completed and the winning prize being a TLC teddy bear which Marcus was proudly holding for all to see. The answers were read out by Neil – I have to say that I will never forget that a collection of butterflies is a kaleidoscope! It came to a tie break and after a few questions the winning team – this being the Whereat/Watkinson table (we didn`t cheat – honest!) – the teddy returned home with Becky Whereat.

There was also a raffle which raised a handsome amount for the Lodge improvements, and it appeared that each table managed to win a raffle prize if not a couple. Just after 4pm people started to leave – this was perhaps due to England playing Switzerland at 5pm? But I am sure we all had a wonderful fun afternoon and thank you to 1010 for making this happen. Let’s hope there are a few more events in the future.

And on a last note – England did win and now go through to the next round – even if it was on penalties. So there was a rainbow after all that rain!

[See also the Daggards website for this date.]

 Barbara Watkinson.

 

 Wednesday 3rd July 2024:

For One Night Only

By Neil Armstrong

Tonight I was going to see a play performed in which everyone would have a part. An unknown being the lead actor with Kingston members in supporting roles. The play has remained largely unchanged for centuries, containing language and symbolism that seems unfamiliar today.

I'm of course referring to the First Degree or Ceremony of Initiation, that initial step taken by every man upon becoming a freemason.

As I donned my regalia, I thought there'd been a wardrobe malfunction on W Bro Widman's part as he was sporting a Fellowcraft apron instead of his usual Grand Officer one. 'Senectus insanabilis morbus est', I mused to myself! (Eddie will get his own back on me, I'm sure.)

While sat at my Secretarial desk, it was remarked that the new Lodge room lights seemed somewhat dim; Perhaps, I thought to myself, they were representing the darkness of ignorance, ready for our candidate to embark on his first steps as a Mason, leaving that darkness behind.

With our Tyler W Bro Morgan's knock, our candidate Mr Michael Mcleavy crossed the threshold into Open Lodge signifying his admission among Masons. He was carefully guided around the Lodge by the Junior Deacon W Bro Michael Price, unfurling the different acts of the play on the way. New beginnings, natural equality and mutual dependence were all revealed.

Kingston Brethren rose to the occasion, with some praiseworthy ritual that was delivered with warmth and thoughtfulness. W Bro Booth explained the secrets. Bro Wayne Walker Senior Warden invested Bro Mcleavy with his Apprentice apron with the unique Kingston wording; a result of a transcribe faux pas made in 1899.

The Address in the North East Corner was adeptly given by W Bro Marcus Whereat and Bro Carl Proctor admirably explained the Working Tools. Lecture Master W Bro Simon Ramshaw gave the Charge with his usual aplomb.

As the curtain fell on our play, we retired to the Festive Board, for the culinary treat that awaited us; a fan of melon with summer fruits, followed by a Ploughman's Platter and rounded off with Eton Mess. Thank you, Luke, you do us proud!

As the toasts progressed, W Bro Bill Hartley proposed his toast to our new Brother and in his response, Bro Michael poignantly explained that he would have been proposed by his friend the late W Bro Peter Adamson.

Firing took place; this is when we employ our special heavy glasses each one engraved with the Square and Compasses together with Kingston's name and number. These glasses are known as 'Firing glasses' symbolising unity, brotherhood, and are used as a traditional Kingston welcome to a new Brother.

The Entered Apprentice Song was 'sung' with much gusto and mirth, if lacking in a good deal of melodiousness; albeit accompanied by much boisterous approval from the brethren. That camaraderie continued as we formed the Masonic Chain, its meaning being explained by W Bro Price.

With the final clinking of glasses during the Parting Toast, we took our final curtain-call of the evening.

What a performance!

A most enjoyable evening. Welcome to Kingston Lodge Brother Michael!

[Photos by E Wildman: Kingston Brethren with Michael; WM and Michael.]

Neil Armstrong - Secretary

 

Tuesday 2nd July 2024:

 A Life on the Ocean Wave

 by Eddie Wildman

This month at Technical Chapter on Beverley Road I gave greetings from the Chapter of St Michael; the Chapter Organist, Comp Bill Turner-Bone has recently undergone surgery. He emailed me, telling me that the Hull Sea Cadets would be giving a presentation about their history prior to receiving a donation at the Festive Board. "You might have a few nautical tunes you could play," he suggested. Meanwhile the Scribe E, the indomitable Steve Berry PPDepGDC asked if I'd present a Chapter certificate to Comp Kieran R Newton. "I'd be happy to," I said, "in fact, I presented Kieran with his Grand Lodge certificate." 

There was little other business in the Chapter; E Comps Malcolm Brocklesby, Ian Parkinson and Rob Atkinson took the triumvirate Chairs, and after a succesful ballot for an new exaltee in October, the DC, E Comp Hiten Thaker PGADC escorted Kieran to the centre for his presentation. Several Companions have asked for a copy of my presentation of the Supreme Grand Chapter Certificate, but the official account is available online, and as it is not cast in stone, might be adapted for individual deliveries just as I have done.

The Charity Steward, E Comp Atkinson gave his report, speaking of initiatives for the festival but reminding the Companions that local charities were also in need of help. He himself has recently walked the length of Hadrian's Wall in a charitable enterprise. This 73 mile-long Roman-built border calls to mind the famous motto "I came, I saw, I concreted."

E Comp Parkinson (Haggai) gave a Craft report. Saturday's BBQ was mentioned in AOB and the Chapter was closed in due form.

The festive board (a splendid buffet by Luke) was preceded by a presentation by Comp Kieran who gave a brief history of the Hull Sea Cadets, after which two cadets, LC Lydia Moynihan and Cpl Jessica Case from TS Iron Duke (formerly TS Revenge) spoke persuasively about their involvement, developing skills, and confidence in involvement with different exercises and events. Kieran has kindly agreed to provide a short article which I shall append to this blog. 

There were two toasts only, under the directorship of E Comp Hiten Thaker. The raffle raised £125 which will be donated to the Hull and East Riding Breast Friends, the local breast cancer charity..

It was still light when we took our leave, having enjoyed a pleasant evening.

[Photos:Kieran & Eddie (snapshot by Malcolm Brocklesby); Jessica & Lydia at the Festive Board (photo by Eddie)]

Eddie Wildman, nautical organist.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday 25th June 2024:

 

Floreat nostra Fraterna: Hull Old Grammarians' 900th Meeting

 

On the hottest day of the year, and when England were playing Slovenia in the Euro 2024 Cup, the Lodge Room at Dagger Lane was satisfyingly full. Worshipful Master Duncan Scott Taylor opened the Lodge smartly, the dispensation allowing the change of date for the occasion of the Lodge's 900th meeting was read out; greetings were accorded to the UGLE Officers present, and the minutes of the 899th regular meeting approved and signed. The Hull Old Grammarians' Lodge is a daughter Lodge of Kingston 1010.

 

The WM then relinquished the gavel to Past Master John Plater, PPJGW: it had been decided that the senior roles on this occasion would be held by Past Masters. Thus the Principal Officers had all been pupils or staff at the Hull Grammar School.

 

There was a report, and two Lodge Members who had recently received honours at the York convocation were escorted in by the DC: W Bros Graeme Charles Reid, PPJGDC and Michael Anthony Harding, PPAsstGStdB in recognition of their achievement.

 

The main business of the evening was the initiation of Mr Luca Antonio Magnocavallo, who proved an excellent Candidate. The delivery of the Humber ritual by the Old Hands was impressive - no glancing at crib-sheets or books, it was measured and meaningful. I reflected that while as Masons we endeavour to learn ritual, and reinforce it with rehearsal and practice, there comes a point when the meaning behind the words (which is often profound) is absorbed - almost by osmosis. The ritual conveys a message beyond mere words, and an inner understanding of that message helps to impart it to others. Thus the Candidate is enabled to discern, we are authorized to communicate, we inform, we instruct and deliver"Allow me to call your attention to the Warrant of Constitution" is a polite request for understanding, rather than "This is our Warrant"; we explain, we recommend for contemplation. The Senior Brethren disseminated the "Humber Use" ritual (based on the writings of Bro Bartholomew Samuel Oates, who was initiated in 1856, and virtually unaltered except for the adjustments required by UGLE in 1987) in a manner which promoted understanding, not only by Brother Magnocavallo, but by all present. Bro Magnocavallo paid close attention.

 

Several people seized the opportunity for photographs when the meeting was over: W Bro Peter Stokes, who will be writing a blog for the Lodge of St Michael persuaded me to join those assembled on the dais: "You were a teacher at the Grammar School," he said, "join them for a picture."

 

"I'll stand next to W Bro Michael de Vere Roberts," I said. "He's an Old Hymerian, so I'll look good." (The friendly rivalry between the two Old Boys' Lodges in Hull still continues.)

 

 

The festive board (Steward Charles Cordeaux had organised a sumpteous meal with waitress service for the occasion) was convivial; I was pleased to have interesting conversations with the Brethren around me. The top table had the traditional red and black runner and the port flowed freely.

 

After the first five toasts I proposed a toast to the Founders of the Lodge, dilating on the resolution of W Bro Benno Pearlman, an Old Boy of the Grammar School who as Lord Mayor of Hull wished to promote bonds between the place of his early education and the principals of Freemasonry, thus bringing about the Hull Old Grammarians' Lodge in 1929. It was well received.

 

W Bro John Wilson proposed the toast to the Candidate, and the Entered Apprentice Song was sung with gusto. Bro Magnocavallo responded eloquently. The toast to the visitors was answered by W Bro Steven Stableford, a former member of L5129.

 

We took our leave of each other at 10:30 having enjoyed a tremendous evening. Congratulations to all at the Hull Old Grammarians' Lodge - and to Brother Luca Magnocavallo for becoming a member!

 

[Pictures: the HOG Lodge logo depicts a stylised Bishop Alcock, Old Boy, with his mitre and crozier, surrounded by Masonic symbols, below the School Badge, which includes the three crowns of Hull. W Bro John Plater is seen with Brother Magnocavallo, the Lodge banner in the background. The line up of Officers and visitors was captured by W Bro Stokes of the Lodge of St Michael 7833, and the other pictures show some of the visitors and the top table.]

 

Malcolm Forbes' report may be found on the Andrew Marvell website; Tom Cawkwell's adaptation of the same on the Minerva website, and Bro Stokes' observations on the St Michael website.

 

Eddie Wildman

 

Wednesday 19th June 2024:

A Masonic Gathering in an 18th-Century Tavern – Phoenix Lodge 9963

In the heart of bustling Kingston-Upon-Hull, amidst cobblestone streets and flickering lanterns, a surreptitous gathering took place. Shadowy figures from various Masonic Lodges were seen convening at the Sailmakers Arms in High Street. Men with white queue-wigs under tricorn hats and resplendently dressed in brocade frockcoats gathered somewhat curious glances from the early evening tavern drinkers.

After all, this was 2024!

Nevertheless, this establishment provided the warm ambience reminiscent of the meetings of the Old Phoenix Lodge 368 in the 18th century with workings and business conducted around a table.

Today, the new Phoenix Lodge 9963, which was consecrated in 2018 reconstructs those meetings in an upstairs room of the Sailmakers Arms, blending old Masonic traditions to cater for the work pressures of young modern working Masons.

The pub takes its name from the 19th century ships’ chandlers Rayment and Sharp, who originally had the premises. Being ship chandlers, they supplied equipment and sails for sailing vessels of the day.

It was a fitting backdrop for the costumed ‘Daggards’ trio (drama loving Freemasons from local Lodges) who transported the Brethren back to the year 1765. Picture the scene: a dimly lit room, candles casting flickering shadows, and Masons seated around a table. The Secretary (Eddie Wildman) was not looking forward to the arrival of the Worshipful Master (Tom Cawkwell) accompanied by the Senior Warden (Craig Maurier). The WM and SW were going to assist or rather interfere in writing up the minutes of the previous night’s Initiation ceremony. Poor Brother Secretary!

Neil Armstrong acting as techie ensured the performance was punctuated with pictures and videos of the Initiation ceremony. Tom Cawkwell gave a compelling first performance, as the audience laughed, became enthralled and watched spellbound as the story unfurled. One Brother had even travelled for three hours to be present. At the conclusion of the performance, the gallant trio were met with warm applause.

Phoenix’s Worshipful Master Peter Kenyon-Brodie thanked the Daggards for their informative and entertaining performance. Phoenix’s ritual is unique, with modern elements, yet the echoes of those surreptitious meetings linger—a testament to the bonds forged over centuries. So, we ended the evening raising our glasses to the Masons of yore, who met in candlelit taverns, their whispers echoing through time.

Was it really 2024!

Neil Armstrong  

Tuesday,18th June 2024:

A Memorable Evening: Humber Installed Masters Lodge 2494

Beverley Road Masonic Hall carpark was nearly full as I arrived. On entering the Hall, the air buzzed with anticipation as I reunited with old friends and new ones joined my circle. The aroma of freshly made coffee wafted into my nostrils, adding to the ambiance as I snaffled an extra Jaffa cake to have with my drink.

Our get-together wasn’t just about small talk; it was about friendship. Animated conversations flowed effortlessly, punctuated by bursts of laughter. This was the magic of conversation, which continued as we donned our regalia and chatted as we climbed the stairs up to the Lodge Room.

Having taken my seat, I was impressed to see the room quickly fill to capacity, but after all, this was going to be a unique meeting. W Bro Danny Betts opened the meeting in lieu of the Worshipful Master. With a resounding knock of his wand, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies W Bro Karl Ward initiated the procession of the Supreme Grand Chapter Principals, together with the active Provincial Grand Team of Officers into the Lodge accompanying the Provincial Grand Master. (PGM)

The PGM and his Wardens together with the Pursuivant took post. He explained that tonight would be matchless, as the Worshipful Master of this Lodge of Installed Masters was also the retiring Provincial Grand Secretary and the Deputy Grand Master Elect and now stood outside the Lodge. Accordingly, the PGM invested W Bro Antony Vincent Stevenson, (Hazelgrove Lodge 6542) as Provincial Grand Secretary so as to proceed with the ceremony.

Following the reading of the patent, W Bro William Glanville was obligated and invested in a solemn and sincere ceremony, concluding with him taking his place as Master of the Lodge from the PGM who quipped that his new Deputy would have to get straight to work!

With a successful ballot for five new members, together with a further seven proposed, the routine business concluded. We retired downstairs for the Festive board.

Food has a way of bringing people together. Our spread was a delightful miscellany of flavours: Pate and Chutney, Roast Pork Loin with crackling, Yorkshire Pudding, seasonal vegetables, and cauliflower cheese, while some diners opted for poached salmon. It was rounded off with coffee, cheese and biscuits. As we sampled each dish, I discovered my waistcoat straining, a compliment to Chef Luke’s legendary culinary skills. I shouldn't have had that Jaffa cake earlier!

As the clock ticked on, we raised our glasses. “Happy have we been!” we chorused.

Each person shared this final heartfelt toast — a wish for the future, a memory from the past, or simply gratitude for being part of this circle. I observed emotions mingled with laughter, and in that moment, I thought time stood still.

It was becoming late, so we said our farewells promising to meet again soon. Our get-together wasn’t just successful; it was soul-nourishing. We’d been part of a celebration of camaraderie, memories, and shared experiences. Our successful get-together was a testament to the power of friendship.

Congratulations to both our new Deputy Provincial Grand Master and Provincial Grand Secretary.

[Photos: The Provincial contingent and the Chain of Provincial Rulers: W Bros Chris Thomas, David Chambers, Bill Glanville, Martin Eggermont & Steve Cox.]

Neil Armstrong - HIM 2494

 

Friday 14th June 2024:

Second Degree Tracing Board at de la Pole 1605

The Worshipful Master of the de la Pole Lodge 1605, W Bro Peter Frank Clark, is a very softly-spoken gentleman and as I am becoming increasingly deaf, I decided to put in my hearing aids. I was now able to hear him clearly! Unfortunately, all the other sounds were magnified as well; the gavels sounded like pistol shots and the Brethren singing the opening ode sounded like a massed choir. Bro Ian Fuller, standing in as Inner Guard was like a Sergeant on parade. I persevered, now able to hear the Secretary telling us that the minutes had been distributed.

The main business of the evening was to hear a presentation of the 2° Tracing Board by W Bro Martin Clark (no relation to the WM) which had not been delivered in this Lodge for some years. Martin arrived in the nick of time (unlike the previous night - see the article below) and took his place on the dais. The Lodge was opened in the Second Degree, the Tracing Board unveiled, and we were treated to a superb performance. Bro Carl Proctor, Master Mason of Kingston Lodge 1010 was paying close attention as Martin enlarged upon the esoteric aspects figuratively limned and on display; he'd made a special effort to be there and it was his first solo visit. (He gave greetings like a veteran at the end.)

W Bro Martin Clark was applauded for his superb presentation. His performance was all the more impressive as on the previous evening, he'd delivered the 1° Tracing Board to Thesaurus Lodge 2891.

Greetings were given, and the Junior Deacon, Bro Mike Kelly announced he was creating a WhatsApp group for the de la Pole Lodge. This met with warm approval.

I took a photograph of the Clarks before going downstairs. Martin is the taller one.

The braised beef at the festive board was beautiful; I'd removed the hearing aids and was no longer swamped by noise; Bro Fuller sounded normal again! I struggled to hear the WM, however. Perhaps next time I'll just use one hearing aid.

Only two toasts were submitted, and the conversation round the table was vibrant. W Bro John Taylor, having reached the age of eighty-five, was treated to a rendition of "Happy Birthday" by the Brethren. Martin Clark won a bottle of wine in the raffle.

Bro Proctor offered me a lift home, for which I was very grateful. "I'll be able to write up the blog before bed now," I said. And here it is.

 Eddie Wildman, organist.

 

 

Wednesday, 12th June 2024:

The Provincial Day Out to London

As in previous years, the RW Provincial Grand Master has designated the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge held in June as our ‘Provincial Day Out’ in London.

So, early on Wednesday 12th June 2024 we boarded the train at Hull Paragon. After changing at Doncaster, W Bro Derek Brodrick joined us on the platform, and we continued on to London.

We arrived in plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely coffee before making our way to Grand Lodge. After signing in we took our seats for a prompt start at midday. The meeting was presided over by the Pro Grand Master Jonathan Spence. The meeting was also attended by dignitaries from overseas including Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Mexico, and Western Australia amongst others.

The Pro Grand Master welcomed all and mentioned two or three Provinces in particular which included Yorkshire North and East Riding of which 100 brethren were in attendance.

After the business of the day the Brethren retired to the Connaught Rooms for the festive board. The four of us had decided to make our own arrangements and visited the Masonic museum and shop prior to a very pleasant pub lunch.

With time to spare before our return train journey we wandered into Covent Garden where we happened on a street performer's show, an accomplished tightrope walker. He was just congratulating a young boy for helping him. A fiver was the boys prize, which was turned into £20 as the boy had been so good. We smiled as the boys hand was like lightning as he took the money and returned to the crowd. The tightrope walker’s finale was squeezing through a tennis racquet frame while balancing on the wire. Which was met with great applause.

On checking our watches, it was time to head back through the capital to King's Cross and home, after what had been a very interesting and enjoyable Provincial Day Out.

[Photo: L to R, Roger Watkinson, Marcus Whereat, Gary Crossland and Bill Hartley.]

Marcus Whereat - Director of Ceremonies.

 .

 

Saturday 8th June 2024:

The Joy of Togetherness – Lord Bolton’s Third Degree Ceremony

By Neil Armstrong

 

In the heart of this bustling city there lies an oasis of camaraderie where laughter flows as freely as the sparkling beverages, and conversations are as rich as the gourmet spread laid out for the Brethren. This is my tale of a social meeting that stands out as the epitome of enjoyment and connection. 

As Brethren trickled into Beverley Road Masonic Hall, the atmosphere was instantly warm and inviting. Lord Bolton’s members, with beaming smiles and open arms made each visitor feel not just welcomed but truly cherished.

It was clear from the onset that this was going to be a Third Degree Ceremony where every individual would matter, where every story would be heard, and where every sincerity would be shared.

Bro Anas Challigul was the Candidate and he was conducted round by Bro Liam Gwatkin. The Third Degree Ceremony, also known as the Ceremony of Raising, is one of most significant rites in Freemasonry. Bro Anas was prepared, tested, and then led through the ceremony, being instructed at different parts of the ritual by various Officers of the Lodge who displayed some impeccable feats of memory in their delivery.

At the conclusion of the meeting, we retired to the Festive Board, the tables being adorned with Chef Luke’s cornucopia of culinary delights, each dish more enticing than the last. From the zesty freshness of Melon and Parma ham to the comforting embrace of Salmon Wellington, although I’d opted for a meat option; my gigantic pork chop was not merely sustenance but a conversation starter!

Across the tables, Brethren were engaged in animated conversation with each participant bringing their unique perspective to the table. Laughter erupted frequently, punctuating the evening like a favourite melody.

As the night drew to a close, visitors would leave as Lodge friends, future meetups planned and promises to visit again made with sincerity.

What made this meeting so enjoyable was not just the good planning or the exquisite food. It was the sense of belonging, the feeling of being part of something larger than oneself, and the joy of human connection. In a world where digital interactions often replace face-to-face meetings, this gathering was a reminder of the irreplaceable value of coming together in a forum of camaraderie, sharing moments, and creating memories.

I for one am looking forward to returning – congratulations Lord Bolton Lodge, you did yourselves proud.

[Photo: Bro Anas Challigui.]

 Neil Armstrong - 'Pork Chop King'

 

Thursday, 6th June 2024:

Humber Chapter 57 - Royal Arch Exaltation Ceremony

by Neil Armstrong


With my trusty briefcase in my hand I jauntily walked down South Church Side towards Dagger Lane my thoughts filled with Humber Chapters Exaltation that I was looking forward to witnessing. This I believed would be their first in six years. I’ve always considered the Royal Arch Exaltation ceremony as one of the most colourful and emphatic ceremonies within Freemasonry. How much would the ritual vary from the ‘Kings
ton Way' I wondered.

As a visiting Companion I waited outside while the Chapter opened. My concentration wandered to thinking about Dagger Lane, a building which Masonically dates back to 1804 making it the oldest in this area. Its ground floor used to be a slaughterhouse! There would be no blood spilled tonight, however.

I flitted to thinking about the ceremony I was about to see, a historical journey looking back to a time after the destruction of Solomon's Temple.  I was stirred from my reverie by the Janitor’s knocks announcing my presence.

After taking my place within the Chapter, and it being the 6th June, the Companions stood in respectful silence to remember those who eighty years ago took part in the D-Day landings.

After that the ceremony began, it was divided into two parts: a dramatic presentation followed by three short explanatory lectures all under the huge semi-circular arch with the sky blue ceiling and the All Seeing Eye overseeing the proceedings. The presentation immersed the candidate Bro Matthew Barber in the principles of the Order, while subsequent lectures delved into the history and symbolism of the Royal Arch.

I noted that the Humber Chapter Companions have adopted subtle enhancements to the ceremony which assist its dramatic impact. These included the use of lighting cues. Albeit I did smile when the Lecture Master was asked for a prompt."I can’t see," he replied.

Team Humber delivered a profound and moving experience and one I’m sure will leave a lasting impression on their new Companion for years to come.

I gave greetings on behalf of Kingston Chapter and also responded to the Visitors toast. It’s always a pleasure to visit Humber 57, so well done chaps on a dignified and sincere ceremony.

It was dark when I returned to my car on South Church Side. Looking forward to my next visit to Dagger Lane, I reminded myself to turn the lights on.

(See the Humber MEZ's report for this event on the Humber Chapter Blog website for this date.)

[Photo: Comp. Matt Barber.]

Neil Armstrong, IPZ Kingston Chapter

 

 Wednesday, 5th June 2024:

A Sanctuary for the Future

by Neil Armstrong

 

Beneath the all-seeing eye of Providence, Kingston Lodge prepared to open its June meeting. Here, amidst the echoes of ancient rituals and the quiet murmur of Brethren gathering in the spirit of camaraderie I took my place at the Secretary’s desk, my sanctuary within the Lodge.

Worshipful Master Gary Crossland reminded Brethren that tomorrow would be the 80th anniversary of the D-Day Landings and he requested that we stood in respectful silence.

This was followed by another poignant moment, as I gave a eulogy for our recently departed W Brother Ollie Newton. I had visited him in Dove House Hospice, and he had asked me that when the time came, would I deliver his eulogy. I hope I maintained his honour and preserved the legacy he leaves behind as a much respected Mason.

We balloted for a new member, which proved successful, and look forward to arranging his Initiation in July.

Then, the gremlins decided to have a field-day, a HDMI lead failed at the crucial moment. Consequently W Bro Alan Shand, Treasurer of the Board of Directors for the Masonic Hall delivered his presentation on A Vision for the Future without accompanying slides.

He explained that Beverley Road Masonic Hall has stood since Victorian times and requires considerable upkeep. As we look to the future, it's time to envision how this iconic institution can continue to serve its members and the community.

The architecture and ambiance of the Masonic Hall, he explained, are treasures that tell the story of Freemasonry. Preserving these elements while modernising facilities will be key to maintaining the building's character and significance but will come at a price.

The Masonic hall of the future will have to open its doors wider to the community, hosting weddings, events, lectures, and office-let activities. As well as providing welcome income for future improvements, this engagement will foster connections with the broader public.

Environmental consciousness will also shape the hall's future, with initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint and promote sustainability. Solar panels, and energy-efficient lighting would assist in reducing energy costs.

Bro Shand concluded that the Masonic hall was poised to enter a new era, one that balances the rich heritage of Freemasonry with the demands, costs, and opportunities of the modern world. It would continue to be a place of fellowship, learning, and service, evolving to meet the needs of future generations of Freemasons.

With my head still buzzing with facts and figures, we moved onto the next agenda item and with his usual panache W Bro Eddie Wildman presented a Grand Lodge certificate to a captivated Bro Carl Proctor. Bro Eddie poetically explained the symbolism surrounding the document. He escorted Bro Carl up onto the dais and ensured the Worshipful Master attested the certificate's validity.

We retired to the Festive board, enjoyed a mountain of Beef Bourguignon, and indulged in much friendly banter.

After complimenting our Chef Luke on yet another superb meal; I stood and looked back at the Hall and reflected that this sanctuary transcends the mere stone and mortar of its construction. But it needs a helping hand for the future.

[Photos: W Bro Shand -  Bro Proctor with WM Crossland.]

Neil Armstrong - Secretary

 

 

Tuesday 4th June 2024:

Exaltation at Technical Royal Arch Chapter 5666

by Eddie Wildman

I attended the Technical Chapter meeting as a representative of Kingston Chapter 1010 and was delighted to see the Chapter Room well filled. Admittedly, some were visitors: the Humber Lodge was out in force with The C57 MEZ David Terry accompanied by four others. As soon as I went through the door I was approached by the Most Excellent Zerubbabel of the Technical Chapter, E Comp Malcolm Brocklesby. "Our organist is finding his back trouble very trying at the moment," he told me. "Would you mind playing this evening?" "As long as Companion Bill Turner-Bone has no objections," I said. "I'll go and have a word."

Bill was at the organ and readily relinquished his seat. The organ stool has no back, and sitting at it for any length of time quickly becomes uncomfortable (been there, done that, got the tee shirt) and as Bill's much taller than I am, it's more of a strain. "Please leave your music, though," I said (and enjoyed sightreading some of it during the ceremony.) There's not a lot of playing needed, but gentle music during the perambulations (e.g. the lighting of the candles at the opening, the signing of the minutes, etc.) helps to keep the reflective mood. I noticed as Bill sat down and rested his back on the upholstered furniture the slight frown he wore disappeared. Bill's not only the Chapter Organist but also the Almoner.

The three Principals entered, E Companions Malcolm Brocklesby, MEZ; Ian Parkinson, H; and Frank Lovely standing in for J. The joining of the triumvirate is an invocation; the Holy Royal Arch Chapter is a spiritual degree, and the Principals moved from west to east in the time-honoured manner begun at the consecration of C5666 in 1946. Having opened, the MEZ advised us all that the 6th June would be the eightieth anniversary of D Day: we stood in respectful silence for a moment.

The business of the evening was to exalt Bro Edward Thompson, a worthy member of the Technical Craft Lodge. He was conducted into the Lodge as a Master Mason and examined in the Q&As in which he'd been instructed when taking his 3°. He was word perfect in his answers, and was conducted out of the room for further preparation.

Scribe E, E Comp Steve Berry then set the scene for the Companions outlining the historical political situation leading to the return of the exiles to Jerusalem before Bro Thompson re-entered. Having confirmed his commitment to advancing his Masonic knowledge and to aid his fellow creatures, Bro Thompson was led round the Chapter and symbolically advanced to the discovery which characterises the Royal Arch degree, and took his obligation led by the MEZ, thereby becoming a Companion of the Order.

The next part of the ceremony was the backstory leading to the discovery, again introduced by E Comp Berry and enacted by the Sojourners. The Principal Sojourner Comp Mark Cusack was supported by Comps Danny Laughton and David Green, as they gave an account of their discovery, established their credentials with the presiding authority, and were subsequently rewarded, invested and acknowledges as recipients of the office once held by their ancesters, grand and royal Companions of the Order.

Other explanations followed: Comp Green explained the symbolism of the journey and the Working Tools; the five signs of the Order were demonstrated by E Comp Jonathan Sykes. Three of the more recent members gave the mystical lecture and the explanation of the esoteric features of this colourful and spiritual degree. The Janitor, E Comp Keith Challis delivered the Charge.

The exaltation of Companion Thompson being complete (the word means an elevation in rank or power) reports followed. AOB included a proposition for another Candidate - the Technical Chapter is flourishing. Greetings were given. "Eddie, you can give greetings from Supreme Grand Chapter," said E Comp Hitendra Thaker, PAGDC. "Why me and not you?" I asked. Hiten smiled. "Because I outrank you by nearly three minutes," he said.

As always it was a lovely meal. Diners at Beverley Road are privileged to eat so well, thanks to the skill and commitment of Luke Pyrah. "It's a while since we had meat pie here," remarked Mark Cusack at the end of the table, "but Luke does it better than anyone else."

As ADC that evening, Hiten laid down the law at the Festive Board. "Companions, let me explain the signs you are making, when honouring the toasts," he announced, deftly demonstrating the geometric outlines used in some Chapters. So I provided the music accompanying the honours, which slows the process but adds precision. "That's better," Hiten said approvingly. 

E Comp Ian Parkinson gave the toast to the Candidate with brevity and humour, and Comp Thompson gave a short, impromptu and sincere response.

E Comp David Terry, responding to the toast to the visitors, invited the Companions to the forthcoming Humber Chapter exaltation.  It had been a super evening, and I'd been happy to provide the music.

[Photo L to R: Ian Parkinson, H; Ed Thompson, Comp; Malcolm Brocklesby, MEZ; and Frank Lovely, stand-in J.]

Eddie Wildman, stand-in organist.

 

 

Thursday 23rd May 2024:

A Day at Buckingham Palace 

 and to Mark the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the RNLI

by Malcolm Watkinson

 

Some weeks earlier I received a letter inviting me to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace to receive a Long Service medal for my voluntary fundraising over the last 20 years. 

I arrived at the appointed time outside the gates of Buckingham Palace with the required invitation card and appropriate ID. After registering with the RNLI, I was informed that along with seventeen other members of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution we were chosen to “meet and greet" HRH the Duke of Kent in the Royal Tent and asked to report to his Equerry, that is to say the officer of the British royal household on personal attendance on a member of the royal family.

The military band opened proceedings with the National Anthem, afterwards the Yeoman of the Guard processed down the steps of the Palace and held ground for Anne, Princess Royal, her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, and other members of the royal family to meet the crowd, some 2500 attendees. The Duke of Kent arrived at the Royal Tent separately by “buggy".

Eighteen of us were instructed on the correct protocol when meeting His Royal Highness, Prince Edward The Duke of Kent. We were then split into three groups of six. Each group was separately taken into the Royal Tent and introduced to HRH and directed to our seats at his round table. To his immediate right was the Chief Executive of the RNLI. The Duke spoke to all of us individually and was clearly knowledgeable about the Lifeboat Stations and Branches we represented. After almost twenty minutes we were politely moved on for the next group to be seated.

The military band played on, and we enjoyed sandwiches, cakes & tea for the remaining part of the day. I reflected that this was an entirely different side of the Grand Master of the Craft. As President for over a quarter of the RNLI's existenve the Duke of Kent has visited stations around the UK and Ireland and has seen many changes from the opening of the first RNLI office in Poole in 1976. And yet, perhaps not so different, after all, I thought. Like the Craft, the RNLI is a huge charity, dedicated to assisting those in need and enjoying royal patronage.

It is only correct to pay tribute to my late wife and committee members who remained loyal and steadfast volunteering their time and effort in helping raise approximately four hundred and twenty thousand pounds over the last twelve years for both Humber and Withernsea Lifeboats. It has been my privilege to represent them as their Chairman, and this was very much in my mind when taking tea with the Duke.

Malcolm Watkinson, Lodge Treasurer

 

 

 Thursday 16th May 2024:

 Masonic Creatures

by Eddie Wildman

 

"Only twelve dining?" I said to Roy, the Cook, looking at the menu by the serving hatch at Dagger Lane (Garlic Chicken followed by Cheesecake.)

"It's not really worth my while," said Roy. "When I've been and bought the food, and spent the time preparing it, with such low numbers I hardly make any profit."

I sympathised. The tables, put together into a rectangle in the middle of the dining room at Dagger Lane, looked  folorn.

"It's happening almost everywhere," observed Steve, the Scribe E, when I joined him upstairs. "We rely on the Craft for Chapter members." He looked thoughtfully at the attendance register. "Mind you, there are some Candidates coming into the Lodge of St Michael number 7833."

"Any visitors?" I asked.

"I sent out nineteen invitations to sister Chapters and had no replies," said Steve. I nodded. The Kingston Chapter hashad similar problems.

I'd arrived early to check that the Chapter Room was set up as my talk that evening referred to certain features of the room and the placement of the Chapter artifacts within it. Two banners had been inadvertently transposed, and I adjusted them. Setting up the Chapter is not a small task, and I appreciated the time Peter W must have taken to get everything ready.

The Chapter of St Michael is a friendly convocation of gents, and the happy dozen of us (thirteen, actually, John W wasn't dining) were ready by six o' clock. Alex collected money for the meals while some of the other Companions ordered their drinks at the bar for afterwards. "That'll be eleven pounds," he said to me, "and would you like a lift home afterwards?"

"Yes please," I answered, paying up.

Upstairs the DC, E Comp Terry was chomping at the bit. "Upstanding, Companions," he ordered, "for the entry of the Most Excellent and his Co-Principals."

The triumvirate made a dignified procession (to the strains of Cwm Rhondda) and E Comps Chris, John and Peter opened the Chapter magnificently.

The minutes were signed.

My brief lecture on Masonic Creatures in Masonry followed, pointing out those references to animals in both Craft and Chapter, noting those on the walls, on the artifacts and the ceiling. It was nice to hear senior members remark that some of the information was new to them; it meant my preparation work had not been wasted.

Brief reports and a notice of motion were submitted, with a reminder regarding the change of venue for the Provincial Chapter Convocation, greetings were given from the H of Kingston Chapter 1010 of course, and on behalf of all the St Michael Chapter members by the Stand-in Principal Sojourner, E Comp John Burton. The Chapter was closed in due form and the valedictory address was given by E Comp John Broughton.

We were downstairs before 7:30 and so some toasts were submitted before the meal commenced: to the King, and to the Grand Originals (this latter given with the Companions seated, and with their left hands.)

I relished the Chicken and the Cheesecake. Lecturing makes me hungry.

As ever, the evening concluded with the singing of Auld Lang Syne, and I enjoyed the lift back with Alex, arriving home in time to write this blog before bed. Goodnight all!

[Photograph of Eddie W by E Comp John Burton, IPZ.]

 Eddie Wildman, Lecturer

 

 

Saturday11th May 2024:

The Night-Soil Men: Illuminating the Shadows of History

In the dimly lit streets of Victorian Hull, a group of men known as the night-soil men embarked on their nightly journey, a task essential yet shrouded in the cloak of night. These unsung heroes, tasked with the collection and disposal of a Town's waste, were pivotal to the sanitation and health of the Town. Their story, often overlooked, found a voice last night in the hands of the Kingston Daggards trio, bringing to light the tales of these nocturnal labourers. 

W Bro Chris Lefevre was standing-in for the Worshipful Master of Lord Bolton Lodge 3263 and he nor the Brethren knew what to expect when they requested this performance at their meeting, They say there is no better cure to lift the spirits than laughter. It’s like having an emotional colonic. Cleans out all of the stuff and purifies the soul.

And so it seemed, judging by the sniggering, and chuckling at the sight of Mr Obadiah Gibson (Eddie) shuffling along in his greatcoat, scarf, wig, and mop hat. Laughter soon mixed with flabbergasted gawps of shock as he began to tell his tale.

The performance was not just a retelling of historical events but an immersive experience that transported the Brethren back in time, to the flickering gaslit Town, each new PowerPoint slide adding depth to the storytelling; all under the skilful control of our techie Carl Proctor. 

Eddie Wildman and Neil Armstrong embodied their characters with such conviction that one could almost smell the musty air and feel the weight of the nightsoil buckets they carried

The narrative was a blend of personal stories and broader social commentary, highlighting the struggles and triumphs of the night-soil men. It shed light on the importance of their work, which tried to keep diseases like cholera at bay; together with the societal stigma and tragedy they faced despite their indispensable role.

As the curtain fell, it was clear that "The Night-Soil Men" was more than just a short playlet; it serves as a powerful reminder of the resilience and fortitude of the working class, whose stories are often left in the shadows. It is through such researched and artistic endeavours that we can shine a light on the forgotten chapters of our past and appreciate the foundations upon which our modern world is built. Something that Bro Senior Warden Bird remarked upon at the Festive Board, after we had enjoyed the superb three meat buffet prepared by Chef Luke Pyrah.

Carl gave his first ever response to the Visitor’s toast and was fortunate to win a bottle of Champagne at the raffle. An altogether enjoyable evening in the company of the Lord Bolton Brethren.

[Photo; L to R, Carl Proctor, Eddie Wildman and Neil Armstrong.]

Neil Armstrong

 

 

Wednesday 1st May 2024:

 Reflecting on Kingston’s Mayday Meeting

A.M.: There was a shared sense of accomplishment and anticipation as our regular volunteer team finished the setting up of the Lodge room and Festive board mid-morning. Gary, Roger, Marcus, and Barbara (Roger’s good lady.) and myself were now enjoying a well-earned brew!

These behind the scenes duties contribute to the success of a meeting as much as the execution of ritual or other agenda items, and our little band of Brothers would soon be returning for the Lodge meeting itself.

P.M.: As the gavel struck the sounding block, the Lodge room fell into a respectful silence. The Brethren, adorned in their aprons and regalia, turned their attention to the East. The Worshipful Master was ready to commence the evening’s proceedings.

The core of the meeting was a demonstration Initiation ceremony performed in the presence of W Bro Ian Syddall ProvGChStwd; (the Representative of the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master), accompanied by his DC W Bro Stephen Burns of Thesaurus Lodge 3891.

Every Officer contributed to the ceremony - a few simply by being there and supporting - and the excellent ritual of some senior members enriched the experience.

W Bro John Stebbings of Lord Bolton Lodge 3263 kindly acted as the candidate for the demonstration, being one of several substitutions due to Kingston members being ill or on holiday.

The meeting concluded with a Festive Board, where the bonds of friendship were strengthened over Luke Pyrah's excellent meal. W Bro Mike Price sang the Visitor’s song. It was a fitting end to the gathering.

Very P.M.: The camaraderie that had begun the day in the Lodge Room at Beverley Road was echoed as a handful of us tidied up afterwards. It wasn't a late finish.

[Photo L to R: W Bros Ian Syddall and Gary Crossland with the Kingston Lodge banner bearing the distinctive three crowns of the city of Kingston upon Hull. Eddie Wildman's report can be seen on this date on the Humber 57 blogpage.]

Neil Armstrong - Secretary

 

  

Friday 26th April 2024:

 WMC and Luke's Delicious Buffet

 

I was invited to attend the Installation meeting of the Wyke Millennium Chapter 9696 as a guest of the MEZ, E Comp Craig Maurier, and spent a delightful morning away from the chores of washing and ironing. A daytime Chapter, it was particularly well attended as the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent was accompanied by a team of Active Provincial Grand Officers, amongst whom the Banner Bearer, E Comp Malvin Sharpless was looking remarkably fit after his recent operation. I took a snapshot as he rehearsed carrying the flag for the Province.

At eleven o' clock, Craig opened the Chapter and the MEGS' DC, E Comp Jimmy Kerr reported that the leader of the Province was outside demanding admission. I played as the splendid procession assembled as an escort (my playing was improving now my injured thumb was healing) and Most Excellent Companion Doctor David Chambers entered, greeted everyone warmly and remarked how he and his Team were looking forward to the ceremony being followed by one of Luke Pyrah's famous buffet lunches.

The minutes were confirmed and signed, and the MEZ appointed E Comp Andrew Hoggard as Installing DC. The Zed Elect, E Comp Stephen Graham Ives relinquished the robes he was wearing (Haggai) to E Comp Tim Dillon and was obligated in the presence of all the Companions by MEZ Craig Maurier. All Offices were declared vacant, those below the rank of Installed Principals briefly retired while E Comp Iveson was again presented by the DC and smartly Installed by E Comp Maurier. He was presented with the robe and sceptre of Zerubbabel, after which he appointed E Comp Maurier as IPZ and then closed the conclave under the direction of the DC.

Others were admitted by degrees: E Comps Malcolm John Forbes and Alex Hoggard were inducted as Haggai and Joshua respectively.

The new MEZ appointed and invested his officers, and the IPZ presented him with the Charter, Book of Constitutions and the Bylaws.

E Comp Bazza Longstaff gave a sterling account of the Principles' Robes and Sceptres and their symbolism in his unmistakable Geordie accent.

Next there was a presentation of a Grand Chapter Certificate to Comp Robert Gwatkins, with a difference. Topped and tailed by the Grand Superintendent, an account was given by four Companions from the Provincial Team showing the development of the Chapter and its certificate from the intervention of Lawrence Dermott in 1751, Lord Blaney in 1766 and later notables, and the symbolism of the features appearing on the certificate.

The newly-appointed Mentor, E Comp Longstaff, then spoke learnedly about his specialist subject, tracing boards, telling the Chapter that he had commissioned a special design to be painted for the WMC. See his blog below.

A candidate was proposed; he will be balloted for at the next meeting.

E Comp Iveson closed the Chapter, and the MEGS and his team retired. "Thank you for a brilliant day," said the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent. All returned for a swift photograph.

 

I was pleased to be one of the three Kingston Chapter members there; Tony Burke and Mike Price and I stood for greetings. While part of the Provincial Team, E Comps David Terry and Malvin Sharpless could not give greetings on behalf of Humber Chapter 57, and as a member of C 9696 Malcolm Forbes couldn't either. I gave greetings from the Chapter of St Michael.

The Festive Board lived up to expectations. The beautiful dispay of delicious food was soon demolished, and Companions patted their tummies contentedly during the toasts. In response to the fourth toast, the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent spoke of Change in the world of Freemasonry, the vanishing barrier between the Craft and the Royal Arch, the convocation in May with a new inclusive format for families, and the Festival 2029. E Comp David Terry sang the Principals song following the toast to the Principals and Officers of the Wyke Millennium Chapter, and the MEZ responded suitably before submitting the Parting Toast.

A delightful day. Well done all!

 

 Eddie Wildman, Guest Organist.

 Bazza's Blog

 Wyke Millennium Chapter Tracing Board

Chapter 9696 is now the proud owner of a Tracing Board based on design dated c1810, which has disappeared from its originating home, Cyrus Chapter 21 in London. There was, alas, no trace of the original in the museum, but the Librarian, Martin Cherry kindly took me to view an apron believed to have belonged the Antients, which was very similar to the original tracing board.  

I was delighted when E Comp Ron Baker PPAGDC (Bucks) agreed to paint a Tracing Board for the Wyke Millennium Chapter 9696 incorporating some of the original unusual inclusions and details along with the five Platonic solids which feature in the C9696 layout. There will be a lecture on the new TB in due course.

Barry Andrew Longstaff PGStwd, Principal Sojourner.

 

 Saturday, 13th April 2024:

Lord Bolton Initiation

by Neil Armstrong

 Masonry, with its rich history and tradition of brotherhood, is a cornerstone of many communities. It’s a place where members come together to share knowledge, contribute, and support one another. Last night Lord Bolton Lodge held a ceremony that stands out for its impact and the indelible mark it leaves on a new Brother, becoming a cherished memory, I refer to of course to an initiation.

As I took my place in the Lodge room, I pondered how many initiation ceremonies have been conducted in this room adorned with its symbols and artifacts since its consecration in 1947. The atmosphere was charged with anticipation as the Brethren assembled, ready to welcome a new member into our ancient and honourable fraternity.

As the gavel struck, calling the meeting to order, and before the evening got off to those familiar customs; Senior Warden Colin Bird bade W Bro John Stebbings to take the Master’s Chair due to the WM W Bro Gwatkin being away on business.

W Bro Stebbings affably got the proceedings under way with Masonic good humour, an impromptu rendering of ‘Happy Birthday’ to Inner Guard Bro Liam Gwatkin and with the organ’s final notes diminishing, a knock on the door heralded the return to the evenings main focus.

The sense of continuity and respect for our traditions was palpable as the candidate for initiation eighteen year old Mr Luke Griffiths entered under the tongue of good report of his proposer Bro Jamie Bird, who as Brother Junior Deacon would be escorting him around the Lodge Room. Adding a layer of significance to the proceedings.

As the ritual began, the timeless words and symbolic actions unfolded, each step imbued with centuries of wisdom and tradition. The candidate was led through the various parts of the degree, each revealing deeper layers of meaning and commitment; from the initial perambulations signifying his non-member status, to him being obligated by Immediate Past Master (IPM) Martin Tompkins; the whole conferment of the 1st degree had been structured around symbols, and allegories related to Masonic history and philosophy.

All this while Bro Griffiths had been in the strong grip of Junior Deacon Bird, which was rather appropriate as the meaning of the surname Bird is derived from the Old English ‘bridde’, meaning “bird,” and was originally in England a nickname for someone who was thought to have bird-like qualities (in their gait or because of their singing voice). Hugo le Bird derived his grip as a falconer and was said to have arrived with William the Conqueror in 1066. And Griffiths is an anglicised version of the Welsh name ‘Gruffydd’. The elements griff, thought to mean “strong grip” and iudd meaning “chief” or “lord”

Brother Griffiths was instructed in the signs, grips, and words associated with the degree by W Bro Alan Shand.

Avian themes continued with the Deacons dove finial, with its olive branch in its beak casting a peaceful shadow over Senior Warden Colin Bird as he perched on the edge of his dais to invest Bro Griffiths with his Entered Apprentice Apron.

The highlight of the evening was the address in the Northeast Corner delivered superbly by Fellowcraft Freemason Anas Challigui. It was a poignant message, emphasizing the virtues of brotherly love, relief, and truth. The words resonated not just with Bro Griffiths but with every member present, reaffirming their own oaths.

The Charge was given by Lodge Chaplain W Bro Andrew Hoggard which outlined the moral and ethical expectations of a Mason.

The ceremony concluded with the formal welcoming of the new Brother into the fraternity by W Bro Lock; Each lodge often have their own variations or additional customs that enrich the ceremony; Lord Bolton is no exception and that as a visitor, made my connexion more enjoyable.

With the formal proceedings over, the Brethren gathered for the Festive board. It was a time for laughter, storytelling, and strengthening bonds. The harmony of the evening was a reminder of the unity that Masonry promotes. Lord Bolton had recently secured possession of the ‘Travelling Gavel,’ and it was proudly on display.

Bro Jamie Bird proposed his toast to his friend, Brother Luke Griffiths remarking how pleased he’d been in acting as principal escort during his ceremony. Brother Griffiths expressed his gratitude and shared his aspirations for his journey in Masonry.

It had been a joyous occasion, filled with camaraderie and reflection. In response to the visitors toast W Bro Alex McCallum recalled his own introduction into Freemasonry together with the importance of visiting, which provides further opportunities for fellowship and celebration.

Lady luck smiled on me as I won one of the raffle prizes, the proceeds raising £75 for the Lodge Welfare Fund. After which the WM presented Bro Griffiths with a hand-turned pen made from acacia wood, the connotation of which would be come apparent later in his Masonic journey.

The evening had left a lasting impression on all who attended. It was a reminder of the transformative power of Masonic initiation and the enduring relevance of our values. The new Brother’s Initiation became a cherished memory, a beacon for future Masons to follow.

[Photo credit W Bro Wildman: Photos; Bros Jamie Bird and Luke Griffiths; W Bro Stebbings, Bro Griffiths and Bro Bird. For his account of the evening, see this date on the Humber website blog page.]

Neil Armstrong - Secretary

 

Wednesday 10th April 2024:

 Good Companions

by Eddie Wildman

 

"Despite his youthful appearance and lively manner, Companion Driver is older than he looks," said Excellent Companion Chris Brown in the toast to the Candidate at the Festive Board. Indeed, one wouldn't have considered Companion Paul Frank Driver to be much above forty, and I was surprised to find him ten years in advance of that. It was a genuine pleasure to attend the Minerva Chapter meeting at Dagger Lane; I'd agreed to present a handful of Grand Chapter Certificates and other than that, simply to enjoy the ceremony.  E Comp Graham Miles was playing the organ. E Comp Richard Theaker acted as DC. The three Principals, E Comps Mark Hartley (MEZ), Ben Kelly (H) and Kevin Marshall (J) were in good form. (See the October report on the Minerva Chapter Installation Ceremony.)

For those unfamiliar with the Chapter set-up, it is different to the Craft  as it is based around a story of events following the destruction of King Solomon's Temple and the discoveries made by those returning from exile. The Candidate, once he has been obligated by the Most Excellent Zerubbabel (and E Comp Mark Hartley did this very well) enacts the part of one of the journeyman sojourners, while his team mates (E Comp Danny Betts, Comp Tom Cawkwell and Comp Antonio Ramirez) interact as supplicants, labourers and discoverers as the story unfolds, and are rewarded by the triumvirate leaders representing KIng Zerubbabel, the prophet Haggai and the High Priest Joshua. E Companion Miles explained what each section of the story entailed before its enactment; the signs and symbolism shared between Companions were eloquently given by E Comp Brown.

The word "Companion" (not "Brother" as in the Craft - the bond is closer in the Chapter) has its roots in the Latin com, meaning with, and panis, meaning bread, and describes someone with whom a meal is shared. The ceremony of the Royal Arch is about a shared experience and of greatness deriving from humble beginnings. In a more spiritual sense, for the tale has deeper levels of meaning, it is about truth in the light of eternity.

Companion Driver took his seat amongst Companions of the Order - there were two dozen there, including me as the only visitor.

I was privileged to be able to present Supreme Grand Chapter Certificates to Companions Simon Tomkins, Tom Cawkwell and Jeremy Stevens. Several of the E Comps and Comps present had never heard a presentation of this sort before. The Chapter Room at Dagger Lane is an ideal venue for the explanation of the Certificate, with its links to the Craft and displays symbols which feature in the Royal Arch. I extend grateful thanks to the Minerva Chapter 250 for the courtesy extended in allowing me to formally certificate the exaltees.

 

[Photo L to R: E Comps Ben Kelly, H; Mark Hartley, MEZ; Kevin Marshall, J and Comp Rich Driver by Comp James Ashby-Kelly.]

 

Eddie Wildman PAGDC

 

 

 

Thursday 4th April 2024:

 A Gathering of Brotherhood

In the hallowed chambers of Dagger Lane, where history and symbolism converge, I waited with my fellow visiting Companions, together with the Representative of the Grand Superintendent E Comp Hiten Thaker to be admitted into the Humber Royal Arch Chapter; an integral part of Freemasonry, the Order delves into the mysteries concealed within the ruins of King Solomon’s Temple. We entered, stepping beyond the veil entering a realm where legend and reality intertwine.

The Humber Chapter room, with its opulent architecture and rich symbolism, set the stage. The room, adorned with iconic symbolism, resonated with centuries of tradition. The flicker of candlelight danced across the faces of Companions, creating an atmosphere of reverence and anticipation

The room hushed, and with the officers in their positions the installation commenced; The Three Principals, representing Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, stood at the heart of the Arch. Their words echoing through the ages, connecting the present to the ancient past as they installed their successors.

Installing Director of Ceremonies Terry Fisher presented Joshua Elect, E Comp Stephen Hastings; Haggai Elect, E Comp Charles Alexander; and Zerubbabel Elect E Comp David Terry respectively.

The central moment of the installation ceremony unfolded like a sacred drama. The drama culminating in revelation - a glimpse of divine truth, as E Comp Malcolm Forbes placed his successor into the First Principals chair and was in turn bestowed as IPZ.

Each of the three Principals are distinguished by a coloured robe, which represents an allusion to their office. For Companions to decipher those cryptic messages, an explanation of each robe was given unlocking layers of meaning. E Comp Trevor Whitfield explained the Scarlet robe; E Comp Richard Smedley the Purple robe and E Comp Terry Fisher the Blue robe.

After the Officers of the year had been invested, E Comp Hastings gave the Address to the Companions with great aplomb.

Kingston Chapter was well represented by E Comp Eddie Wildman (Haggai), E Comp Mike Price (Joshua) and myself (Scribe Ezra). We had witnessed a sincere and heart-felt ceremony, the dignity of which had been slightly marred by random unnecessary audible comments. 

As the meeting drew to a close, Companions rose from their seats, the closing ritual, with its solemn words and symbolic actions, sealed the bonds forged during the gathering.

At the Festive board, we exchanged our aprons for laughter, conversations flowed freely, and the clinking of glasses echoed the spirit of unity. We were honoured to be served upon by the Hull Sea Cadets, who were a credit to their unit, impeccably turned out and like the crew of HMS Pinafore were ‘attentive to their duty.’ MEZ David Terry made a monetary presentation to them which was accompanied by the warm acclamation of the Companions. The various toasts and responses followed, and on behalf of the visitors I responded to their toast.

E Comp Richard Smedley sang the Principals song and was thanked by a clearly moved MEZ.

In the quiet moment as I walked past the shadows of Hull Minster to my car after this enjoyable convocation, I reflected that although the last table candle had been extinguished, Companions carried the light within them. They left the Chapter, not as individuals, but as part of an unbroken chain. And in that unity, they find strength, purpose, and the timeless legacy of Freemasonry. Royal Arch is a brotherhood within a brotherhood, a sanctuary for seekers.

Well done Humber Chapter, I look forward to the next time.

[Top Photo credit: E Comp E. Wildman; L to R; E Comp Richard East, Hiten Thaker, Charles Alexander, David Terry and Stephen Hastings]

[Lower Photo credit: E Comp Stephen Hastings]

Neil Armstrong Scribe E.

 

 Wednesday 3rd April 2024:

 Unearthing the Past: Founder’s Talk 2024

In the familiar surroundings of our Lodge room, history came alive. The air buzzed with anticipation as the projector flickered to life, casting images on the screen. The presenter, W Bro Neil Armstrong, our enthusiastic Lodge historian, stood at the podium, ready to take the Brethren on a captivating journey through time. Tonight was Kingston’s Founders meeting.

The room was filled with an audience eager to learn about the ancestries that anchor our existence. The topic? Kingston Lodge’s Second World War and Post-War history; the stories buried beneath cobblestone streets, etched into century-old buildings, and whispered by past recollections.

Neil has spent many years unearthing forgotten tales. His passion for local lore is contagious. As he adjusted his glasses, he began weaving a tapestry of yesteryears.

The first slide transported us back to the 1941 Blitz, a time when Hull was under constant enemy bombing. The old Masonic Hall in Osbourne Street, (now lost under the Primark clothes store), once hummed with activity. Neil recounted tales of an Initiation ceremony just finishing before an air-raid occurred and how one brother had managed to persuade the Tyler and his wife to go to the public air-raid shelter, rather than stay in their caretakers flat attached to the Hall. His action saved their lives; The Masonic Hall and flat were destroyed, Kingston Lodge was homeless! The audience leaned in spellbound. Minerva Lodge at Dagger Lane took us in for the remainder of the war.

Next, we explored the vacant Beverley Road Wesleyan Chapel. (Our current home). Its eaves and stone clad walls held secrets of Masonic connections in a story that transcended time. Neil’s vivid descriptions made the Chapel come alive, and we felt its very pulse.

 

Our City had suffered catastrophic war damage. Bro Secretary’s eyes sparkled as he narrated the search for a new Masonic home and a forgotten chance meeting between brothers in London. We traced the footsteps of men, imagining their hopes, and wondered how our peaceful streets had once echoed to the sounds and sights of war.

The pièce de resistance was the unearthing of details of the Beverley Road Consecration ceremony. Neil revealed its contents: yellowed programme, handwritten letters; a poignant snapshot of lives long gone. Pride welled up as we glimpsed into our predecessors’ hopes and dreams.

At the conclusion of the presentation Worshipful Master Gary Crossland remarked how much he had enjoyed the talk.

It had ignited flames of curiosity, several Brethren asked questions as we made our way to the Festive board, which buzzed with animated discussions while we indulged in another of Chef Luke’s gastronomic delights.

With an early finish, we left the Hall with a renewed sense of camaraderie, Kingston isn't just text recorded in the minutes; it is a living, breathing story. The presentation had reminded us that our history is not confined to those minute books; it is etched into our Masonic being. It's a treasure trove of wonder waiting to be explored.

[Photo L to R: W Bro Neil Armstrong and WM Gary Crossland]                                                                                       N A.

 

 Wednesday 20th March 2024: 

Kingston Royal Arch Chapter held its Installation Meeting to welcome a new team of officers. The newly installed three Principals collectively rule the Chapter for the ensuing year.

The ceremony is rich in symbolism and tradition. Installation occurs in the East, West, and North, representing Morning, Noon, and Night.

I placed my successor, E Comp Richard Bate into his Chair as First Principal. In addition to his wearing the distinct regalia of the Chapter including an apron with its red and blue surround, a red and blue sash, and the unique jewel worn by Chapter Masons in situ, and also in Lodges, symbolizing the unbroken chain connecting the Craft and Royal Arch, the MEZ also wears a red robe and a sceptre carrying a crown. Eddie Wildman was installed as H. Michael Price was installed as J.

Following the ceremony of Installation, we retired downstairs to the Festive board. Observing the port decanters standing on the tables, I recalled to myself that early 18th Century Masonic gatherings met in taverns and also dined together after their meetings. The bill for an Installation Night from those times makes our present-day installation banquets seem modest by comparison.

[Photo L to R: E Comps: Craig Maurier, DC to the Rep, Eddie Wildman, Richard Bate, Mike Price, Hitendra Thacker, Representative, Malcolm Watkinson, Chapter DC.]

Neil Armstrong

 

Wednesday 13th March 2024:

Installation Evening at the Lodge of St. Andrew


I accepted an invitation to attend the Installation meeting of Lodge of St. Andrew 4683 on Wednesday 13th March, where Bro Billaney would be Installed as their next Worshipful Master.
I was warmly welcomed on my arrival speaking with several people before it was time to make my way up to the large Lodge-room, where I made myself comfortable ready for the ceremony to begin. 

I was extremely impressed with the obvious  hard work put in by the Installing team, they hardly faulted, later the Assistant Provincial Grand Master W Bro Thomas PGStdB would congratulate the team on a most impressive Installation.

Down at the Festive Board it continued to be a delightful evening, the Chef (Luke) yet again excelled himself; Tomato soup followed by Hunters chicken and rounded off by Lemon cheesecake adorned with Chantilly cream.

Conversation at the table flowed covering many different subjects. I had a wonderful evening with the St. Andrew Brethren and will most definitely visit again.

Gary Crossland WM 

 

 

 

Thursday 7th March 2024:

Hull Old Grammarians' Chapter Installation

by Eddie Wildman

The Hull Old Grammarians' Chapter 5129 is a small but dedicated group; although comprising only eighteen Companions, fifteen were in attendance, two of the others were undergoing hospital treatment. There were nine visitors (including the Rep and his DC) notably four from the Chapter of St Michael 7833. I also went as the representative of the Kingston Chapter, which has strong links with C5129 and C57.

A six o' clock start at Dagger Lane isn't easy: parking in the Old Town is difficult, and the Chapter was a little late in opening; indeed the DC for the Representative, E Comp Martin Clark only just made it in time, and there were one or two Companions who arrived a little later, but the MEZ, E Comp Nigel Collier opened with his customary smiling efficiency, assisted by E Comps S J Pickard (H) and M K Luscombe (J). As the Kingston Installation is later in the month, I was paying particular attention, and was aware of the subtle difference that obtain between Chapters even as close by as Beverley Road.

A report from the Rep's DC, E Comp Martin Clark announced the Representative of the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, E Comp Howard Newton PAGSoj; an escort comprising Provincial Officers of YN&ER was formed and he entered to the accompaniment of E Comp Dave Nicoll on the organ. The minutes of the February meeting were confirmed and the ceremony of Installation began.

The Installing DC, E Comp Stephen P Jordan PPGSwdB presented Companion Duncan Taylor and E Comp Luscombe asked him the necessary questions after which he was obligated as Third Principal Elect. A similar process took place for the Second Principal Elect, E Comp Luscombe, and for the First Principal Elect, Steven Pickard. E Comp Nigel Collier was particularly impressive as he made no reference to book, tablet or mobile when delivering the ritual, as was Stephen Jordan.

All offices were declared vacant, and the incumbent J and H removed their robes. Those unqualified Companions retired appropriately and the Inner Working commenced. E Comp Steve Pickard was installed as Most Excellent Zerubabbel, E Comp Mark Luscomb as Haggai and Duncan Taylor as Joshua. The Conclave of Installed Principals was closed, the remaining Companions readmitted, and the triumvirate proclaimed.

E Comp Pickard appointed and invested his officers; it was good to see younger Companions taking Office.

The significance of the colour of the robes was explained after which one of the visiting Supreme Grand Chapter Officers, E Comp Mike Graham addressed the HOG Companions with great dignity, informing them that the ceremony marked an important part of the Chapter's history and the old standards were still maintained.

The ceremony of Installation concluded, the new MEZ thanked the Installing Team and E Comp Nigel Collier (now appointed Janitor) responded. Greetings were given and the Chapter was closed.

There was an alarming moment at the Festive Board when the keyboard suddenly packed up - Dave found the circuit breaker and fixed the problem - what had caused the overload I have no idea. The visitors assisted in taking away dishes (Roy's steak pie was delicious) and despite some Companions insisting on retaining the vegetables ("I might want some more") all was cleared and ready for the toasts. E Comp Howard Newton spoke of his previous visits as Representative, when the HOG senior officers were still juniors; and relished the changes in ritual - he too has an Installation coming up shortly. He encouraged the "youngsters" as the future of the Chapter, saying that with the commitment and the numbers joining and rejoining the prospect of amalgamation could be relegated to the back burner.

Strangely I found myself leading the Principals' Song - that was unexpected.

E Companion Malcolm Brocklesby of the Technical Chapter 5666 (see 5th March below) responded to the toast to the visitors, and the MEZ gave the parting toast at exactly half past ten.

[Photos: 1. Nigel Collier. 2. L to R: E Comps Howard Newton PAGSoj; Mark Luscombe H; Steve Pickard MEZ; Duncan Taylor J; Martin Clark, Rep's DC.]

Eddie Wildman J

 

 

Wednesday 6th March 2024:

Congratulations To Bro Carl Proctor on Becoming a Master Mason

Brother Carl’s infectious smile lingered although he looked somewhat bamboozled as he took his place at the Festive Board being held in his honour; having just undertaken his Third degree of Freemasonry and attaining the rank of Master Mason. No doubt he was trying to assimilate what he had just gone through in the Lodge room upstairs. I remember feeling just the same when I became a ‘light blue.’

Nevertheless, he should be proud of himself as he’d successfully passed through the symbolic stages of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and reached his Raising, one of the highlights  in Freemasonry, that of becoming a Master Mason.

The Third Degree is the final and most dramatic stage of initiation into our Masonic Order, and I wouldn’t wish to spoil it for others by going into too much detail. However, the ceremony symbolises the maturity, wisdom, and mastery of a Master Mason. It involves a series of tests, supplications, perambulations, and a solemn obligation. At its zenith it contains a surprising and awe-inspiring element that represents the ultimate trial of one's fortitude and fidelity.

Kingston’s Brethren drew together to evoke a memorable ceremony in front of visitors from Lord Bolton 3263 and Albert Victor 2328 Lodges. Bro Carl had been placed into the steadfast hands of W Bro Mike Price who ensured a safe passage throughout the whole ceremony; being under the guidance of the Director of Ceremonies W Bro Marcus Whereat.

W. Bros Malcolm Booth, Malcolm Watkinson and Bro Roger Watkinson also played their respective parts as the ceremony unfolded.

As the Raising drew to a close, the warmth of Brotherhood was felt by all as W Bro Eddie Wildman delivered his theatrical and inimitable account of the Traditional History and Explanation of the Third degree Tracing board.

This is not the end of Brother Carl’s journey, but rather the beginning. Freemasonry is a lifelong pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, and self-improvement. He told me that as a Master Mason, he is looking forward to continuing his education and practice of the Craft and sharing his insights and experiences with others.

As I gathered up my coat and case ready to leave, I thought to myself, that Carl is attached to a fraternity that spans the centuries; indeed he’d become part of that tradition tonight as Kingston’s newest Master Mason.

I congratulated him once again, encouraging him to continue enjoying his Masonic journey. With his ever genial beaming smile he thanked me as we waddled towards our respective vehicles ready to head off for home, our stomachs once again full of Chef Luke’s excellent fare; those last morsels of chocolate orange cake straining at my waistcoat!

Climbing into my car I waved farewell to Carl, thinking that he has every good reason to smile.

Congratulations Brother Carl!

[Photo L to R: Bro Carl Proctor and WM Gary Crossland]

Neil Armstrong

 Wednesday 6th March 2024:

Gwatkin Quartet

At the 3° meeting reported above, Eddie Wildman had the pleasure of conversing with visitor W Bro Rob Gwatkin, WM of the Lord Bolton Lodge 3263, who told him about a recent meeting where several Gwatkins convened. The patrynom has Welsh connections, originally "ap Gwatkyn" meaning "son (kin) of Walter and dates back to 1798. Eddie asked Rob if he'd write a short report so he could enter it on the Kingston Lodge website. Here is Rob's report, modestly written in the third person: 

On Tuesday 27th Feb, the Worshipful Master and Senior Deacon of Lord Bolton 3263 took a leisurely drive down the A15 and A1 the shortish 80 miles to Grantham to visit the William Peters Lodge 6761 in the Province of Lincolnshire. (The Revd Matthew William Peters RA (1742-1814) was an artist specialising in portraiture, but resigned from the Royal Academy to "relinquish his art as a profession and take up a clerical career." He became a Freemason in 1769 and was made the Grand Portrait Painter of the Freemasons. He was appointed the first Provincial Grand Master of Lincolnshire in 1792. He became an Anglican clergyman and Chaplain to George IV.)

The reason for the relatively distant visit being very much a familial one. The WM of Lord Bolton is W Bro Rob Gwatkin, his SD is his son Bro Liam Gwatkin, and the initiate that evening was the soon to be Bro Conor Gwatkin, a cousin once removed to the WM.

Joining them from even farther afield was Bro Neil Gwatkin of Lennox Lodge 123 of Richmond N Yorks (the oldest Lodge in the Province) who happens to be the initiate's father.

That's right, four Gwatkins in the building!

The Grantham Lodge hall plays host to four Craft Lodges as well as several Royal Arch and side orders, and like Beverley Road, boasts its own chef and bar. In a part an Edwardian and part modern building it is very well appointed throughout and even has a lift from the ground floor to the first where the Lodge room is located!

The ceremony itself was well attended with around 45 present of which several were Grand or Provincial Officers. The Worshipful Master, W Bro D Pell and his team comprising several stand-ins delivered a polished, yet very different from Hull, ritual, which was extremely interesting to Rob and Liam.

The festive board was a treat for the Hull visitors also, with songs following each and every toast, and a slightly off-kilter Entered Apprentice Song (we think the organist had maybe one too many glasses of sherry during the meal).

W Bro Gwatkin had the pleasure of delivering the Visitors' Response during the toast and commended the Lodge and its Officers for the very warm welcome and hospitality throughout.

Rob Gwatkin

 

Tuesday 5th March 2024:

Technical Royal Arch Chapter Installation

Unavoidable circumstances placed E Comp Malcolm Stuart Brocklesby in the MEZ's Chair at the start of the C5666 meeting and he performed the role brilliantly, opening the Chapter promptly at 5:30. A report saw E Comp Jimmy (2 kilts) Kerr announce that the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent demanded admission; the boss's entry was preceded by Supreme Grand Chapter Officers and an awesome team of Provincial Officers, with the Provincial Standard Bearer and Sword Bearer also in attendance. It was an auspicious beginning; the dignity of the occasion was maintained throughout the ceremony. As guest Organist for the evening, I was well impressed.

The minutes were passed and signed, and E Comp Brocklesby appointed his Installing Officers: E Comp Steve Berry as Chaplain, E Comp Keith Challis as Scribe Nehemiah, and E Comp Christopher Bodsworth as DC. The latter then presented the J Elect, Companion Rob Atkinson.

This worthy man and Mason promised to abide by the rules, regulations and established customs required for a Ruler in the Chapter and took an obligation to confirm this.

The Haggai Elect was next. Whilst robed as J on the dais nobody was aware that he was not wearing his Chapter Apron. When presented, there was a hiatus; Comp Steve Walker left the Chapter to find the necessary garments. Restored to his regalia, E Companion Ian Parkinson recited a similar obligation.

E Comp Brocklesby was proclaimed as Most Excellent Zerubabbel for the ensuing year without further ado. As he had held the office before it was unneccessary for the ritual to be repeated.

Companions below the rank of Installed Principal retired. A Board of Installed Principals was convened, and in the Inner Working E Comp Parkinson was promoted to the Office of Haggai or Second Principal, and Companion Atkinson to the Office of Joshua or Third Principal, invested with his robe, collar and jewel and proclaimed as the completion of the triumvirate. (The photograph, taken afterwards, shows E Comp Ian Parkinson as H; E Comp Dr David Chambers, MEGS; Comp Steve Walker with certificate (see later); E Comp Malolm Brocklesby as MEZ; and E Comp Rob Atkinson as J.)

The Companions were readmitted, and the Installing DC proclaimed all three (fanfare.) The MEZ appointed and invested his Officers.

The colours of the robes and significance of the sceptres were explained by various Brethren and E Comp Keith Challis addressed the Companions with his usual impeccable ritual. 

E Comp Brocklesby thanked E Comp Bodsworh and the Installing Team, and E Comp Bodsworth responded suitably.

 

A change to the expected closing occurred at this juncture: Companion Steve Walker was addressed, first by E Comp Kerr, who presented him with his Chapter Certificate and told him that as a great user of the Solomon programme, he could find a detailed explanation of the certificate's symbolic meanings therein. Next, the Most Excellant Grand Superintendent was pleased to present a different certificate to Comp Walker; from the University of Solomon programme itself, acknowledging his achievement of passing the online exam. E Comp Chambers commended Companion Walker not only on his industry and commitment in this regards, but on his enthusiasm and drive which had brought about the soon to be consecrated Cornerstone Lodge, generating admirable support from large numbers of younger Freemasons with like interests.

Reports followed and E Comp Berry dealt with the correspondence, apologies for absence and related matter with his usual efficiency. Greetings were given from Supreme Grand Chapter by E Comp Hiten Thaker, Provincial Grand Chapter by the MEGS, and the visiting Chapters, including Kingston 1010 and the Chapter of St Michael 7833. Photographs were taken before everyone went downstairs: those here by PHD and CW.)

The Festive Board was magnificent as ever (braised steak, wow!) and the toasts well managed. The response from E Comp Dr David Chambers developed his mantra of change, of involvement using skills regardless of age and rank, the Festival and the forthcoming convocations. E Comp Frank Lovely toasted the Three Principals and the Officers of C5666; E Comp Philip Daniels proposed the toast to the outgoing team after singing the Song to the Principals, and the MEZ responded to both toasts conjointly. E Comp Mike Graham responded to Comp Mark Cusak's toast to the visitors with warmth and eloquence. Two toasts remained: Absent Companions, submitted by the Scribe E, and the Parting Toast, given by the MEZ. 

It had been a lovely ceremony and meal, all conducted in a gentlemanly manner. The Technical Chapter moves from strength to strength.

Eddie Wildman, guest organist for the evening.

 

  

Thursday 22nd February 2024:

 Bah Humbug!

My visit to Lodge of St Michael 7833 started extremely well, as I drove straight into a parking place; no mean feat for that area, unlike Brother Neil who had circled Market Place like a vulture eyeing its prey.

On entering Dagger Lane Masonic Hall I made my way over to W Bro Eddie Wildman and W Bro Neil Armstrong who would be giving a presentation of a ‘Dickens' Christmas Carol with a Masonic Twist’ with me acting as ‘techie’ operating the slide changes.

I was shown around the building by Neil as this was my first visit to Dagger Lane, what a magnificent building. He mentioned that the building has been used as a Masonic Hall since 1804, but it dates back to the late 17th century when Dagger Lane was more commonly known as Daggard Lane.

As a visiting Master I was invited to sit on the dais. Worshipful Master Peter Stokes presided over a short, but very interesting meeting. I thought it was quite different from Kingston’s format, but that’s what makes visiting extremely enjoyable; you get to witness the many different nuances of Sister Lodges. At the raisings I gave greetings on behalf of Kingston 1010., and with the final notes of the closing ode still lingering in my ears, the meeting had drawn to a close. 

Afterwards, we all went straight downstairs into the dining room, where frock-coated Eddie and Neil gave their ‘Daggards’ performance to the assembled Brethren.

The Festive board consisted of two courses, which was most enjoyable, and the company was just as good too, I was asked to respond to the Junior Wardens toast, which I agreed to with pleasure.

I offered to give Eddie a lift home and as we walked back to the car, I thought to myself that it had been a most enjoyable evening one of many to come.

 

Gary Crossland WM

 

 

 

Saturday 17th February 2024:

 Technical Initiation

A splendid evening at Beverley Road Masonic Hall: the new team at Technical 5666 was a credit to Freemasonry in general and to Lodge 5666 in particular. There was not a book in sight at the opening, and the WM, W Bro Ian Parkinson opened the Lodge in due form, unfazed by W Bro Martin Eggermont in his UGLE regalia on his right or the Vice Chairman of the MCF W Bro David George Wood of the Old Guisborian Lodge 7793; these Brethren from the northern wilds of the Province. The minutes were signed and a knock at the door announced Mr Craig Neil Hillary as a Candidate seeking initiation.

Mr Hillary's trim upright figure and disciplined stance even when at ease marked him as a military man. Led round the Lodge by the Junior Deacon Bro Steve Walker to the organ quietly playing Dykes' Lux benigna he was presented to the Junior Warden Bro Adam Tunnicliffe and Senior Warden Nigel Goldthorpe before taking his obligation.

The ritual that followed was of a very high standard, the Lesser Lights clearly and comprehensibly explained by Bro Ken Wright, an Entered Apprentice; the handshake and word peculiar to the first degree in Freemasonry superbly demonstrated by W Bro Paul Hillary PPSGW who this evening was excused the Tyler's role as he had proposed his cousin as Candidate. Bro Craig Hillary proved his grasp of these essential elements by demonstrating them to the Wardens and Bro Nigel Goldthorpe invested him with the unadorned apron of an Entered Apprentice Freemason, accompanied by his infectious grin.

Bro Malcolm Ali Hussain-Gambles gave a faultless rendition of the address at the Northeast Corner of the Lodge matched by Bro Nanda Kumar's almost conversational presentation of the Warrant and Book of Constitutions. Nanda then took on the temporary role of the Inner Guard as Bro Edward Thompson described the Working Tools in a beautifully measured delivery. W Bro David Turner, his distinctive apron an indication of Provincial recognition despite him never having taken the Master's Chair, gave the Ancient Charge.

It was impressive that there were six Brethren in the Lodge who had yet to take their Third Degrees. Their dedication and obvious striving for excellence bodes well for the future of the Technical Lodge.

The Q&A session of the information for Masonic progression was passed between the principal officers, and Bro Hillary retired to restore himself to his suit and tie while the usual plethora of reports was communicated. On Bro Hillary's return, the stand-in Tyler W Bro Allan McKay in his capacity as Lodge Mentor entered the Lodge to present the Lodge's newest Candidate with the Province's newest literature for a newly-made Mason.

W Bro John Chapman was moved to congratulate the Master and the Lodge for the extraordinary level of competence displayed during the ceremony. "It was not only done from memory, but done with feeling," he said. A susseration of agreement round the Lodge was accompanied by the nodding of heads.

The WM closed the Lodge in due form.

The festive board was excellent; the Beverley Road Masonic Hall is blessed with a superb chef in the person of Luke Pyrah. The toasts were brief, with W Bro Paul Hillary introducing his cousin (now Brother) as a man who has retired after over two decades of dodging bombs and bullets. Brother Craig Hillary responded eloquently, saying that he was looking forward to friendship, loyalty and brotherhood, thanking Bro Walker for conducting him round the Lodge and the Brethren for their support.

The toast to the visitors was followed by the Visitors Song, led by W Bros Atkinson, Turner-Bone and Chapman, and W Bro David Wood replied, welcoming Bro Craig and speaking of the value of visiting.

The WM presented Bro Hillary with a songsheet signed by all the Brethren present before drawing the raffle which had raised £160, after which the last song of the evening, Happy to Meet Again was gloriously sung by W Bro John Chapman.

I have rarely witnessed such a high standard in a regular Lodge: well done Technical!

[Photograph of Bro Hillary and Worshipful Brother Parkinson by John Chapman.]

Eddie Wildman, organist.

 

  

 

Thursday 15th February 2024:

Chapter of St Michael 7833 Installation

There is a pleasing rhythm to the opening of the Royal Arch Chapter ceremony: on behalf of all present, the Principals of the Chapter state their intention to keep the peace and unity of the convocation, paying respects to the Most High in a threefold repetition formula while the Companions stand to order.

Excellent Companion John Irving Burton (members of the Chapter recognise each other as Companions, those who have taken Principals' Chairs are designated Excellent Companions) opened the Chapter of St Michael fluently and authoritatively; this was his last night in Office, and he took his place in the East with dignity. Scribe Nehemia, Comp Shaun Rennison, answered the knock at the door to admit E Comp Craig Maurier, Director of Ceremonies to the Representative of the Most Excellent the Grand Superintendent, E Comp Hitendra B Thaker PAGDC. An escort was formed for this worthy Grand Chapter Officer, who on entering and greeting the triumvirate, took his seat in the Chapter after which the opening was completed and the minutes of the last meeting confirmed.

It was a pleasure to welcome back E Comp Henderson as a joining member; Paul has had severe health issues for the past handful of years and the MEZ spoke for us all when he greeted him. One other item of business took place; a Notice of Motion from the Scribe E, E Comp Stephen Norman Longthorpe PPGReg proposing the reduction of numbers of Committee members.

Despite two of the Principals being recycled (Peter Stokes is the new boy on the block) it was quite a long ceremony, though there was no sense of wasted time. The Principals Elect were obligated respectively, those ineligible to see the Installations into the Chairs of Joshua, Haggai and Zerubbabel retiring at the appropriate junctures under the direction of the Installing DC, founder member Terence William Black PPGScN, and readmitted when the Chairs were occupied by the new Principals. (The Chapter was convened as a Conclave of Installed Principals, unsuprisingly, for the Inner Working.) The DC proclaimed the Installed Principals: Excellent Companions Stephen Christopher Prior as Most Excellent Zerubbabel, John Stanley Broughton as Haggai and Peter James Stokes as Joshua.

The robes were then explained (the colours have particular meanings, as do the emblems at the top of the staffs carried by the Principals) - the crimson robe of the MEZ by Comp David Whittall, the purple robe of H by E Comp Jackie Chapman, and the blue robe by E Comp David Broughton.

John Burton, (now Past Zed - a delightful term implying that the bearer has reached the end of the alphabet) presented the Warrant or Charter. Impressively, John had delivered all his ritual entirely from memory, and continued thusly.

The DC, E Comp Terry Black  presented the MEZ with the Book of Constitutions, the Provincial bylaws and the bylaws of the Chapter of St Michael. E Comp Prior then appointed and invested his Officers for the ensuing year,

"That concludes the ceremony of your installation," said Terry, smiling at the new First Principal. "You may now continue with the regular business of the Chapter."

The closing of the Chapter reiterated the threefold repetition, and E Comps Prior, Broughton and Stokes were splendid. The Companions retired, though getting them back for a photoshot was troublesome as some were already removing regalia and heading for the bar, but I managed eventually to take a snapshot. The focus isn't as sharp as I would have liked, but this is probably not a bad thing. 

The Festive Board was happy; a tasty chicken meal in convivial company. It was quite late, however when the coffee cups were filled, and the DC moved the toasts along with alacrity. Most toasts were brief, as were most responses. E Companion Hiten Thaker stood in response to Toast Five, and complimented the Chapter on the behaviour of the members both upstairs and down: "This is how gentlemen should meet." Sadly deploring the declension of Chapters throughout the country, he had positive words regarding the efforts of C7833 in overcoming these difficulties. He mentioned the Provincial initiatives in this area, recommending the Companions to the Archway Scheme and forwarning of the upcoming Festival 2029 Enterprise, saying there was a planned Indian Jamboree Night in the pipeline. He spoke of his own introduction to Chapter Freemasonry in Zambia, and the flight back in the dark; his wife and the other wives, realising that the landing strip was not illuminated, came out with lights so that the plane could touchdown safely. He concluded his speech by presenting E Comp Burton with his PZ jewel while the Companions applauded.

E Comp Terry Black gave a brief toast to Stephen Prior and his team, but for all its brevity, it was sincere. Stephen responded similarly.

The Chapter Preceptor, E Comp Chapman in his toast to John Burton and his officers, spoke of the year flying by, of John's immaculate ritual ("Tonight he was excellent," he said, unnecessarily) and his increasing skills in producing website reports, reflecting the forty visits he'd undertaken during the year. John responded suitably, for the most part reiterating the comments he'd put on this website on 14th February.

David Whittall toasted the visitors (six, from four Sister Chapters) in his usual amusing and welcoming manner, and E Comp Collier, MEZ of C5129 responded, with congratulations to the new team, and in particular to E Comp Stokes.

At some stage (perhaps before the ceremony began) the MEZ had lost one arm of his reading glasses but this didn't stop him drawing the raffle, wherein I continued my losing streak. The raffle raised a hundred pounds.

The Almoner's Toast in the Chapter of St Michael is uniquely honoured by the Craft points. An "Absent Brethren" hymn, especially composed for the Chapter by two Founder members (see the Music page) is followed in both Craft and Chapter by "Auld Lang Syne", the Brethren/Companions joining hands before taking their leave of each other.

Altogether a splendid evening.

 

Eddie Wildman, Organist

 

 

Saturday 10th February 2024:

 Visit to Lord Bolton Lodge 3263

On my arrival at Beverley Road, I was warmly greeted by Worshipful Master of the Lord Bolton Lodge 3263, Worshipful Brother Robert Gwatkin. 

The surname Gwatkin has its origins in Wales. It is a patronymic surname, In other words, Gwatkin originally meant ‘son of Watkin’ and tonight Brother Liam Gwatkin, the son of the WM would be raised to a Master Mason.

The Third Degree is the most dramatic and meaningful of the three through which a Mason progresses. It is a journey that transcends the mundane and touches the very essence of our existence. To those who have yet to take this ceremony, the Third Degree is not an end but a beginning. You become a Master Mason, armed with knowledge, and entrusted with timeless truths.

As I climbed the stairs up to the Lodge room, music began to reach my ears, like a gentle breeze, captivating yet unobtrusive.   Inside, sat Brother Liam, fresh, ready to grapple with the full weight of Masonic wisdom. The participating Brethren on the side benches, seasoned though they may be, looked concerned they might miss nuances due to familiarity or mental fatigue. The ceremony, the accoutrements, the Lodge’s movements, all would demand concentration. It’s not only the Candidate who feels anxious on the night! 

So, Organist W Bro Eddie Wildman interwove melodies tailored for the moment ensuring the music concluded harmoniously with the ritual’s movement and complimented the ceremony; the music washed over us, like a tide of calm. Musical impressions matter —to the Candidate, to the Brethren.  On this occasion several snippets of Beethoven had been incorporated.

Ludwig van Beethoven, the renowned composer, remains a fascinating figure; while there is no definite Masonic record confirming his membership, there are strong grounds to believe that he had connections to Freemasonry. Christian Neefe, one of Beethoven’s early teachers, was a member of the Bavarian Order of Illuminati. Although Beethoven’s name does not appear on surviving membership lists, it’s conceivable that Neefe shared ideas and values related to Freemasonry with his young protégé.

Deacons W Bro Gary Millet and Bro Ian Fuller escorted Bro Liam throughout the ceremony. W Bro Alan Shand rendered a sincere and heartfelt Retrospect and W Bro Eddie Wildman gave the Historical Oration and Tracing Board with his usual aplomb.

Bro Senior Warden Colin Bird invested Bro Gwatkin with his Master Mason’s apron which had been ceremonially processed down the room on a claret cushion by the DC W Bro Alex Hoggard. Bro Ian Fuller gave an impressive explanation of the Third Degree Working tools.

At the ceremony’s close, I recalled my own raising and the anticipation of the Grand Lodge certificate which now awaits Bro Liam; a testament to his journey; he is now part of that unbroken chain that spans the generations.

Retiring to the Festive board, the Brethren were treated to another of Chef Luke’s meals, a well filled steak pie with all the trimmings and lashings of gravy. Amid the buzz of good company and warm fellowship, I responded to the Visitors Toast albeit briefly as it was getting late in the evening. 

As I took my leave, congratulating Bro Liam on his special night; I smiled to myself thinking not only had the Welsh featured in the Lodge, but they’d also been out in force at the Hull City football match, Swansea (the Swans) had won 1- 0.

‘Like a swan: serene on top, paddling furiously underneath,’ yes, that summed up a most enjoyable night.

[Photograph of Gwatkin Senior and Junior by the author]   

Eddie Wildman's blog may be found on the Humber website                                                                                                                             

 Neil Armstrong

 

 

Thursday 8th February 2024:

50 years of Royal Arch Masonry -  David Harrison

Jeff Gillyon the Past Grand Superintendent presented a cerificate to Companion David Harrison to celebrate his fifty years in Royal Arch Masonry.

 

In addition to being a Royal Arch Mason in Kingston Chapter 1010 for more than fifty years, David has been a Craft Mason for more than fifty-six years, having been initiated in the Old
Hymerian Lodge in 1967.

 

Jeff was pleased to find David and his wife Anne in good spirits, and they sent their best wishes to all their friends at Beverley Road Masonic Hall.

 

 

Jeff Gillyon

 

 Thursday 8th February 2024:

Meanwhile in Dudley . . . 

W Bro Mike Price, WM of Halas Abbey Halas Lodge 5407, Halesowen, West Midlands, passed Brother Stuart Millward (initiated 9th November 2023). 

The officers for the ceremony were Masters or Past Masters of other Lodges which meet at the Halesowen Masonic Hall, Edwina 4237, Godson 2385, Halesowen. Harmonic, Lapal, Old Halesonian. Priory, Sebright Lodge of Old Wolverians, Shenstone, Wernleigh Abbey and Worcestershire Provincial Grand Stewards, demonstrating they have not forgotten their ritual from when in the lower offices.  Bro Millward is pictured next to Mike, together with the others who participated in the ceremony.  Twenty-six sat down to a convivial Festive Board, with eight Ladies having the same dinner in a separate room, all meeting in the bar after the meal.  

Michael Price PPSGD (Worcs.)

 

Wednesday 7th February 2024:

Celebrating 60 Years of Service: A Tribute to Masonic Dedication


Back in 1964, when Worshipful Master Gary Crossland was just a twinkle in his father’s eye, Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali) beat Sonny Liston at Miami Beach Florida, and was crowned the heavyweight champion of the world. Walt Disney's film ‘Mary Poppins’ had had its world premiere and became an overnight box-office hit.

This was six decades ago, the same time a certain young Chris Sharp began his Masonic journey (his father being a Mason, so Chris was known as a ‘Lewis’ – the son of a Mason) being initiated into Kingston Lodge 1010 on a cold 1st January 1964.

Sixty years later Brethren including many who have known Chris throughout the years were gathering at the same Beverley Road Hall to celebrate this milestone, acknowledging his remarkable transition from humble beginnings as an Entered Apprentice to the prodigious achievement of being appointed a Grand Officer of the United Grand Lodge of England.

W Bro Eddie Wildman played a fitting fanfare as the Brethren saluted W Bro Sharp PGStdB.

PDepProvGM Bill Fisher interviewed W Bro Sharp, whose zest for life reminded us all that age is but a number. He regaled the Brethren with his anecdotes of Schooldays, his time in College followed by National Service and his successful retail career. Chris is also a member of the Radio Society of Great Britain (a radio ham) and has Rotary and Round Table involvement.

There followed further quick witted tales of his Masonic calling, highlighted in his many fulfilling and varied years of service. Chris has served under eight Provincial Grand Masters whom he deftly named in order. His first PGM was the Marquess of Zetland  'a gentleman who was quite regal in his demeanour.’ He disclosed that when he was one of the DCs at the Annual Provincial meetings, you had to commit to memory all the names and ranks of those Grand Officers on the dais of whom there were many! The interview drew to a close and V W Bro Bill Fisher presented Chris with his illuminated scroll together with a lapel pin marking his sixty years of service.

We took our places at the festive board after photographs (It's the Masonic paperazzi," quipped Bill Fisher.) Traditional Yorkshire grub! Roast beef with huge Yorkshire puddings together with sticky toffee pudding to round off the feast, what more could one wish for?

As we raised our glasses enjoying the wine Chris had kindly provided, W Bro Mike Price, Kingston’s’ own bass baritone gave a warm and deep rendition of the ‘Visitors Song’ and ‘Happy to meet again’ drawing the evening to a close.

There had been so many laudatory remarks made, that I was reminded of when Mary Poppins was at a loss to say something else, she said ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’, which stands for 'things that are extraordinarily good or wonderful.' That, of course, was 1964.

That sums up the evening, one that was most enjoyable and memorable.


[Photograph: Neil Armstrong.]                                                                                                               Neil Armstrong

For Eddie Wildman's report see the Humber blog.

For Chris Prior's full report, see the Brethren page.

 

Monday 5th February 2024:

 

Humber Installed Masters 2494 Installation

 

Watching Installing WM Philip Daniels PPSGW preparing for the most significant ritual of his year in office from the Senior Warden's Chair, I reflected that  Masonic Installations are momentous occasions, especially so when in such a proudly historical Installed Masters Lodge.

W Bro Daniels would be handing over the reins to W Bro Bill Glanville ProvGSec in the presence of the Provincial Grand Master Dr David Chambers and his Team of officers, (affectionately known as his Provincial Army), the Deputy PGM, an Assistant PGM and the Past PGM. 

A heartfelt eulogy for the late W Bro John Bridger PGStdB, (a Past WM of the Installed Masters in 1984) was given by RW Bro Gillyon before the ceremony. 

The retiring Master conducted the ceremony with precision and dignity, with a seamless transition between him and his successor, leaving a lasting impression on all who were present. 

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Installing DC, W Bro Richard Smedley had been given just three days’ notice to prepare, although you wouldn’t have thought it, due to his authoritative yet kindly manner as he presented the Master Elect then guided the Brethren through the degrees to culminate in a Board of Installed Masters. As W Bro Glanville had been through a Master's Chair previously, an abridged yet impeccable ‘inner workings’ ritual took place. W Bro Bill Glanville was duly ensconced into the Chair amidst the colour and pageantry that epitomises Freemasonry at its finest.

V W Bro Jonathan Smith delivered the Working Tools of an Installed Master.  The new WM invested his officers. The RWPGM gave the Address to the Master; W Bro Lewis delivered the Address to the Wardens and W Bro Hayward addressed the Brethren. This was followed by W Bro Smedley who sang the traditional Masonic Anthem.

Visibly moved, the WM thanked the Installing team and everyone present who had made it such a memorable occasion.

The bonhomie continued at the Festive Board, a mix of old friends, new acquaintances. As the evening unfolded, conversations flowed with much friendly banter, interspaced with the Masonic toasts and songs, concluding with the parting toast. We raised our glasses fin the last chorus of "Happy meet again"; to friendship, to laughter, to shared stories, to this special evening.

We’ll meet again soon, for more congenial memories.

[Photo: Peter Stokes.]

For Eddie Wildman's report, see the Humber Lodge blog.

For Peter Stokes' report, see the Lodge of St Michael blog.

Neil Armstrong 



 

Saturday 3rd February 2024:

Beverlonian Lodge 9084 Initiates a new Brother

 

There were nine visitors from seven Sister Lodges, which swelled the numbers; for some reason the Beverlonian members were thin on the ground this evening due to family commitments or other issues. This meant, of course, that some Brethren had to double up on the work. The redoubtable W Bro Roger Lewis, for example, acted as Senior Deacon, but also communicated the Secrets and delivered the Ancient Charge, and Entered Apprentice Lewis McKinley, who has been a Freemason for less than half a year, explained the Lesser Lights and the Dangers, and later the Warrant.

The Worshipful Master, W Bro Thomas Nicholas Baxter opened the Lodge with calm efficiency after welcoming the visitors - and particularly W Bro Alan Woodeson, returned to the JW's Chair after an episode of tottering ill-health. Alan was on good form, regularly coughing politely as a reminder to the stand-in SW, Tony Dickens, who busy in his capacity as Orator and Mentor, occasionally forgot to gavel. However, Alan didn't stay to eat afterwards; the IPM, W Bro Mark Andrew Fox (who had stood in as Tyler) took Alan's place at the Festive Board.

Yet though small in number, the Lodge enjoyed a good ceremony: Samuel Paul Regan was well initiated. Bro David Wilson's caveat following the presentation of the apron was a masterpiece of oratory. I was privileged to give the address at the Northeast Corner, and Liam Robinson, who had conducted the Candidate round the Lodge in his capacity as Junior Deacon, handed his wand of office to the Director of Ceremonies, W Bro Rod Taylor, while he explained the Working Tools of an Entered Apprentice Freemason. The Secretary, W Bro Gary Shores was kept busy recording events; he had proposed Sam as a fit person to join the Lodge, and W Bro Fox had seconded him.

Bro Regan retired to restore himself to his smart suit. During his absence the Almoner, W Bro Peter Saxton give a report on the health of the Lodge and read selections from letters sent by some of the widows of past Brethren who were pleased to be remembered with Christmas vouchers. On his return, Bro Regan was given a brief explanation of the ceremony he had experienced by the Mentor, W Bro Tony Dickens.

I had the honour of presenting Bro Liam Robinson with his UGLE Certificate. Standing on the dais I was almost on eye level with him. Well done that man!

At the Festive Board (Chicken and chips - yummy!) Gary Shores gave the toast to Bro Sam. Gary had taught Sam when he was a schoolboy. Sam responded eloquently.

W Bro Fox proposed the toast to the Visitors, and W Bro John Wilson from Brough Lodge 5464 responded, speaking of the joy of visiting and the wide family that is Freemasonry. The Beverlonian Lodge was doing well, he said, with two Entered Apprentices and a joining member; the WM would have his work cut out for the rest of his year. It was a convivial evening, and I had the pleasure of travelling back with the W Bros Hoggard, of Lord Bolton Lodge 3263 (both of whom won raffle prizes while I continued my unbroken losing streak) so this report could be made on the same evening as the Lodge. A lovely way to end the week.

[Pics: EAs Sam Regan and Lewis McKinley; Bro Liam Robinson, W Bro Tom Baxter, WM and Bro Sam Regan.]

 

Eddie Wildman, Organist.

 

Thursday 1st February 2024:

Remembering


I attended the funeral of the late W Bro John Bridger together with several other members of Kingston Lodge and Chapter, also with Rulers from Province present and past accompanied by the Provincial Grand Secretary.


Humanist celebrant Rachel Mellors said that ‘When reflecting on the death of a man who has led a good life, it’s important to remember the positive impact he had on the world around him.’ John had been a devoted husband, successful father, and great-grandfather; being eloquently remembered by both his son-in-law and granddaughter in their touching eulogies.


The simple yet dignified service concluded, I looked at the square and compasses adorning John’s coffin with the assurance that we would remember the positive impact he had had on all of us. Happy memories of a good man and a proud Mason.

[Photograph - JRB Family]                                                                                                                                         Gary Crossland WM

 

Saturday 27th January 2024:

Burns Night Extravaganza

A Burns Supper is a celebration of the life and works of the Scottish poet Robert Burns. It is usually held on or around 25th January, Burns’ birthday.

A warm and festive atmosphere that honours the spirit of Scottish culture filled the air as Cameron the piper welcomed guests with traditional music on their arrival into the Lodge building. Being Burns Supper I had donned my Doublet and kilt; before you ask what was underneath, that’s between me and my kilt!

As I turned around, I was greeted by Eddie Wildman, looking resplendent in his Bonnie Prince Charlie kilt jacket, Stewart tartan and gleaming gillies shoes. ‘I’m getting my own back tonight’ he said with an impish grin.

Clan Kingston was out in force, represented by Mike Price, Marcus Whereat, Roger Watkinson and their respective lassies together with Louis Morgan, Eddie Wildman, and myself.

Technical Lodge’s WM Ian Parkinson was the Chieftain and our host for the evening, he warmly welcomed the eighty or so assembled guests.

The Selkirk Grace, a short but important prayer was sung to usher in the festivities. After the tasty Vegetable Broth, the piping in of the haggis took place. Jimmie2Kilts Kerr welcomed the Supper’s star attraction on its silver platter after its processional entry, giving a fluent and entertaining rendition of the address “To a Haggis.” Mark Cusack gave the response on behalf of the haggis.

I enthusiastically tucked into my haggis, neeps, and tatties, all washed down with a wee dram! As we paused awaiting the next course, we were entertained by the Chieftains musing on the great man, culminating in a toast ‘to the Lassies’. Vicki Barber responded and toasted the ‘Laddies.’

There followed an extravaganza by the Daggards full of song and good humour, a fair bit of it at my expense, well after all Eddie had promised earlier to get his own back!

As Phil (Mc)Daniels distributed the final whisky tasting of the evening, I reflected that it had been a thoroughly successful Burns Night Supper. The warm and festive atmosphere that honours the spirit of Robbie Burns and his Scottish culture being achieved by the bucketfull.

My congratulations to all the organisers and participants for a most memorable evening.

‘Slàinte mhath’ (pronounced slan-ge-var).

[Photograph by Louis Morgan.]                                                                                                             Neil Armstrong

 

Saturday 27th January 2024:

Burns Night

Technical Lodge 5666 is well-known for its Burns Nights over the past couple of decades,and this evening was another resounding success, with Whisky Master Philip Daniels (Known as Phil McDaniels during the evening) and other Daggard performers, on this occasion with Rob(Mc)Atkinson as the Master of Ceremonies, John (Mc)Chappers, Jimmy (Mc)Kerr and David (Mc)Turner as the three tenors, Richard (Mc)Smedders as the bass baritone, and Philip sang baritone while I accompanied and compered the show, singing in the occasional bass line in the choruses. The audience (some eighty-plus) enthusiastically joined in the choruses, skilfully shown on screen by Jimmy 2 Kilts, technology permitting.

Special mention should be made of Richard's exquisite rendering of Burns' My Love is Like a Red Red Rose, in which he presented said flower to his wife Isabel. There was not a dry eye in the house, at least among the ladies.

The WM, W Bro Ian Parkinson was the Chieftan, with the toast to the Immortal Memory, his good lady, Vikki Barber responding superbly with wit and panache. The piper, Cameron, was in excellent form and performed at the door of the reception hall, piping in the Chieftan, plus the arrival of the Haggis (Jimmy 2 KIlts gave the address - Mark (Mc)Cusack the response) carried by the Beverley Road Chef, Luke (Mc)Pyrah, and for Auld Lang Syne at the end.

I'll not detail all the songs and jokes, though Daggard Neil Armstrong, magnificently kilted, came in for some stick (such as when he met the godfather frae the Glasgow mafia who made him an offer he couldna understand.)

Doubtless he will get his revenge later.

It had been a wonderful evening. Let me thank the Daggards who made it special: it is a privilege to work with them.

[Photographs of Eddie in highland outfit by Louis Morgan.]

 Eddie Wildman

 

Saturday 27th January 2024:

 

Burns Night hosted by the Technical Lodge 5666

by Marcus Whereat

Tonight saw the annual Burn's celebration by the Technical Lodge, which was well attend by the Kingston Lodge. Neil Armstrong, Louis Morgan, Mike Price, Roger Watkinson, Eddie Wildman and myself were there along with friends and partners. 

We were welcomed into the building by the DC W Bro Rob Atkinson and a welcome dram or port served by W Bro Philip Daniels. Then away to Bonnie Scotland as the sound of the bagpipes played by Cameron whisked us away to lochs and heather, castles and history.

 

Over eighty folk took their places in the dining room and the chieftain W Bro Ian Parkinson welcomed us all. The pipes heralded the haggis presented by our chef Luke. The heartfelt address to the haggis was given by W Bro Jim Kerr, followed by the reply from the Haggis presented by W Bro Mark Cusack.

The sumptuous meal comprised Scotch broth, haggis neeps and tatties, roast beef, cranachan, cheese and biscuits and whisky truffles. There goes the diet in one sitting.

The toast to the Lassies, and subsequent toast to the Lads were given by the Chieftan and his Lady respectively.

Who could fail to take advantage of the chance to sample more whisky selected by W Bro Daniels?

We were then treated to music and merriment by the Daggards with poems and songs penned by the Bard. Jokes and tomfoolery made this a delightful evening.

Marcus Whereat

 

 

Wednesday 24th January 2024:

 

Chapter of St Andrew 4683 Celebrates its 75th Anniversary with an

 Historic Installation Convocation

by Neil Armstrong

Beverley Road Masonic Hall was buzzing with cordiality and anticipation as I arrived. 75 years is quite a milestone and reminiscent stories abounded. Smiles and laughter filled the room.

The Chapter had been formed in 1949 in post-war Hull, just one year after the Lodge of St Andrew had moved from Drypool Parish Hall to the Central Masonic Hall at Park Street. By 2001 they were on the move again to their present home at Beverley Road.

This evening the Provincial Grand Superintendent and his team of Officers were present to witness the installation of E Comp Michael Graham as MEZ, together with E Comp Jason Garland as H and E Comp Eddie Brook as J.

When the last of the Companions had arrived after negotiating the notorious city roadworks, I decided to make my way upstairs, an auditory treat greeted me: the haunting Adagio from J S Bach’s ‘Arioso’ Cantata BWM156 was being played by E Comp Eddie Wildman. The colour of the music complimented the colourful surrounds as the ceremony got under way.

MEZ Paul Bull and his co-principals managed the installation with notable aplomb assisted by E Comp Ian Sugarman who functioned as Installing DC as well as being Scribe E. together with a rendition of Yiddish. (Who said men can’t multitask?)

The newly Installed First Principal E Comp Michael Graham received on behalf of the Chapter a commemorative 75th certificate from the Grand Superintendent who remarked that the younger members will no doubt witness the Chapter’s 100th year in 2049.

Another highlight of the evening was the presentation of two Chapter certificates by the Grand Superintendent, who abandoned the somewhat staid traditional presentation in favour of a joint explanation by members of his team acting as historical Masonic characters. They outlined a potted history of the two premier lodges, their union into today’s Grand Lodge and the symbolism of the certificate.

We retired to the Festive board for a splendid repast coupled with amicable conversations and friendly banter. While I vied with the after dinner mints, pondering whether I should have a second one, the Grand Superintendent spoke of the significance of the Chapter, the enthusiasm of the Companions who all upheld the values and traditions of Royal Arch Masonry.

I left the Hall with a positive and optimistic feeling; while there are future challenges for Royal Arch, the Chapter of St Andrew delivered an outstanding job in organizing and conducting their Convocation. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, being proud to be associated with such a fine group of Masons.

[Photograph of the MEGS and the new Principals by Nick Mitchell, Jim Kerr and Dr David Chambers by ERW.]

Neil Armstrong MEZ

 

Wednesday 17th January 2024:

January Chapter Blues

by Eddie Wildman, J

The Kingston Chapter meeting was sparse and brief; it was a struggle to fill the offices on this bitterly cold evening. With the two visitors - John Burton, MEZ of the Chapter of St Michael 7833 and Malcolm Forbes, MEZ of the Humber Chapter 57, we just reached double figures.

Nonetheless the Kingston First Principal, Neil Armstrong and Companion Garry Crossland had set up the Chapter earlier in the day and E Comp Louis Morgan had set up the tables for the festive board. Luke the Chef had kindly agreed to accommodate us despite the reduced number. The meeting went ahead.

Scribe E Mike Price gave an interesting paper showing the inclusivity of Chapter Masonry into the Craft in the Eighteenth Century. The Treasurer. E Comp Tony Burke presented the accounts, and the team for next year was announced by the Z Elect, E Comp Richard Bate.

A notice of motion following from the discussions regarding the future of Chapter Freemasonry in Hull with regard to C10101 was proposed - watch this space.

The Festive Board was a cosy gathering and Luke's steak pie was very welcome. Conversation ranged widely, encompassing cricket matches, astronomy and the Northern Lights. John Burton - a regular supporter, remarked that it was amazing how much there was to talk about. Neil turned to me as we left the dining room - I thought for a moment he was going to offer to buy me a whisky, but no such luck. "Eddie," he said, "I must thank all the Companions using the website." "Good idea," I said. "See if you can find a picture to go with it." "I'll add it just after you've written up your article - you'll do that tonight, I'm sure." He gave me the cheeky smile which never fails to persuade me to do what he wants. "No pressure, then," I answered, reluctantly leaving the bar without a whisky in my hand.

Tony Burke observed on the way out that despite the parcity of members there was still a terrific atmosphere. He was right - the January blues were not so bad, we left with smiles on our faces. 

It was an early finish - around 8:30. John B kindly offered me a lift home, which I was glad to accept, and I wrote up these notes post haste, looking forward to an early night.

The next meeting will be Richard's installation as MEZ. How the year has flown!

Eddie Wildman J

Message to the Companions

by Neil Armstrong, MEZ

Last night saw my last full meeting as MEZ of Kingston Chapter, and although the temperature outside was bitterly cold, the Companions within radiated much warmth and support including our visitors.

I want to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for your hard work and dedication throughout the past year. It has been a challenging time for me and for all of us, but your unwavering commitment to our shared future has been truly inspiring. Your tireless efforts have not gone unnoticed, and I want to thank you for your contributions to our team’s success. Your hard work and perseverance have been instrumental in helping us navigate through these difficult times, and I am confident that we will emerge from this period stronger than ever.

As we look forward to a brighter future, I am excited to see what we can achieve together. There will be tough decisions and changes to be made. However I have no doubt that your continued hard work and dedication will help us reach new heights and accomplish great things for a secure future for Royal Arch Masonry in this City.

Once again, thank you for your hard work and commitment. I am proud to be a part of such an amazing team.

Neil Armstrong MEZ

 

 

Thursday 11th January 2024:

 Fifty years in Masonry presentation

by Mike Price

Halas Abbey Lodge no. 5407, meeting at the Newfields Masonic Suite, Halesowen in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley in the West Midlands held an unusual presentation of a fifty year certificate to W Bro Paul Masters. The Lodge was opened and closed for formal business which included a presentation of Grand Lodge Certificates to two of the Brethren by WM Mike Price.

The presentation to W Bro Paul was then held in the Lodge Room with ladies and gentlemen present, followed by a white table festive board attended by a total of around seventy ladies, gentlemen and Brethren. All three presentations were made by Very Worshipful Brother Keith Evans, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Worcestershire.

The first photograph shows W Bro Paul between me and the Deputy PGM in the Lodge Room. The second photograph is of Paul and his wife Ann about to cut the celebratory cake. On behalf of the Lodge Brethren, Bro Paul was also presented with a goblet, engraved with the Lodge crest, the three tracing boards and the dates of his initiation, passing and raising, plus a bottle of malt whisky to christen the goblet.

An excellent and memorable evening was had by all.

Mike Price, WM of L5407

 

Wednesday 10th January  2024:

 Chapter Discussion

Kingston Chapter’s Scribe E, Director of Ceremonies and myself (MEZ) were present last night at Beverley Road. We participated in an informal discussion with Companions of other interested Chapters regarding the options available to those who have concerns for the future in the light of the endemic decline in membership.

Various options were discussed amongst the representatives from a mixture of Chapters based both at Dagger Lane and Beverley Road. We identified the challenges faced and started to create a plan of action for the future. It was mooted by those present to seek advice from Province as to how to continue further discussion of the viability of preferred options.

Watch this space!

 Neil Armstrong MEZ

 

Thursday 4th January 2024:

Humber Chapter

report by Michael Price

This was an interesting meeting for the visiting Companions to Dagger Lane, which included E Comps Eddie Wildman and Malcolm Watkinson plus myself from Kingston Chapter. Other Chapters represented were that of St Michael 7833 and St Andrew 4683. (See John Burton's comments on the St Michael Chapter blog for this date. Similarly, the Humber Chapter blog is available on their website.)

Our entry to the Chapter Room was opposed by the Janitor, who demanded of us individually the password (if you’ve forgotten, look in Hosea Chapter 2). Having given these convincing proofs, we took our seats. The Three Principals, (pictured) were E Comps Richard Smedley, H, Malcolm Forbes, Z and Charles Alexander, J.

 

We heard that a number of Humber Chapter Companions were suffering illnesses precluding their attendance and there were several Acting Officers. Chapter business was carried out with good humour despite some occasional confusion of who was anticipated to say what when! A major item of business was to elect the Three Principals and other Officers for the coming year, characterised by the willingness of Companions to undertake offices to fill gaps.

This then progressed to a discussion on the future of the Chapter, with the MEZ E Comp Malcolm Forbes advising his Chapter of the development of discussions with other similarly placed Chapters, including Kingston. This discussion proceeded with due solemnity, sincerity and concern, with all Companions requested to forward their views, concerns and questions to Malcolm.

Humber Chapter members will be considering their position further in due course.

After the meeting we enjoyed a convivial Festive Board in good company, with opportunity for informal discussion of shared difficulties. An enjoyable evening despite our mutual concerns.

Michael Price, Scribe E

 

 

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