Royal Cyrus Installation

The Chapter was honoured by the attendance of Deputy Grand Superintendent E Comp Barry K Woodside, who was admitted in due ceremony with an escort of Provincial Officers.

MEZ, Doug Stembridge, proposed that Honorary Membership should be granted to E Comp Richard Evans. In particular he mentioned Richard’s long history and service to Masonry abroad, especially in the Far East. Comp. Tim Adams who had been introduced to Richard’s Lodge in Kuala Lumpur seconded the proposal, which was then carried unanimously by the members.

E Comp Grahame Baker, E Comp Graham Watts and E Comp Timothy Adams as Z, H and J respectively

There followed the ceremony of installation, during which E. Comp Grahame Baker, E. Comp Graham Watts and E. Comp Timothy Adams were installed as Z, H and J respectively.

The officers for the forthcoming year were then appointed by MEZ Grahame.

Provincial Officers and the three Principals. From L to R: E Comps Adrian Halliwell, PrDGDC, E Comp Graham Watts, H, E comp Barry Woodside, DepGS, E Comp Grahame Baker, MEZ, E Comp Timothy Adams, E Comp Brian Buckle, PrGStdB, E Comp Mike Rawlings, PrGStew

Deputy Grand Superintendent, E Comp Barry K Woodside, presented E Comp Martin Honor with the collaret of the Chapter’s Calderley Liaison Officer with an explanation of the duties of this new position.

The Three Principals

A team from Parrett and Axe Chapter, No 814, comprising Companions – G Morgan, D Wakley, S Albon and I Pamplin presented to MEZ Grahame the Somerset Travelling Sceptre with genuine words promoting visiting and friendship between Chapters in the Province, adding that it is to be transferred to Royal Cumberland Chapter, No 41, at the Masonic Hall in Bath on 15th November 2016.

Eldon Chapter 1755 – Convocation: Thursday, 3rd November, 2016.


Our next Convocation will be held on Thursday, 3rd November, 2016 when we will be honoured by a visit from the Most Excellent Grand Superintendant D. John Bennett.

At this Convocation we will be carrying out an Exaltation Ceremony and our three Principals would welcome visitors as it would leave a lasting impression on our candidate.


Holy Royal Arch Tracing Board

2016-06-split-tracing-board-2In an attempt to standardise the design of lodge tracing boards the Duke of Sussex, the first Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England and the Past Grand Master of the Moderns, commissioned the artist John Harris to harmonise the tracing boards by creating an official model for each degree including the Holy Royal Arch, a degree within the Moderns that had been controlled by the Craft up until 1817. John Harris, (1791-1873) came from an artistic family and was a painter of miniatures and an architectural draughtsman. He was initiated in 1818 and from the beginning was fascinated by the symbolic portrayals on tracing boards. He soon revolutionised the concept of the designs, which ultimately led to the standardisation of tracing boards throughout the constitution.

In 1823, somewhat business minded, Harris dedicated a set of his miniature tracing boards to the Duke of Sussex, the first Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England. This act naturally popularised his designs and his tracing boards soon became fashionable and in demand by the majority of lodges. A true breakthrough came when an invitation by the Emulation Lodge of Improvement was made for artists to submit designs for tracing boards. John Harris’ designs won hands down and he never looked back. He produced a series of designs for tracing boards including the Royal Arch, which are used in Masonic ritual to help explain the symbolism and moral system of freemasonry. Harris’s designs were widely adopted, and form the basis of many still in use today.

By 1856, Harris had become totally blind, and in 1860 Harris and his wife moved to the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution, where they stayed until his death in 1873.

As different Masonic jurisdictions established standardised written degree rituals the creation of new tracing board designs began to decrease and those mostly in use today are representations of the various designs produced by Bro John Harris between 1820 and 1850.

Ceremony of the Veils

The basis of the current Royal Arch ceremonies worked in England was established and agreed by Supreme Grand Chapter in 1834. There is some evidence that before those changes the ceremony of Passing the Veils was practised as a preliminary to the Exaltation ceremony. This was particularly true in Lodges under the former Antients Grand Lodge which worked the Royal Arch ceremony within the Craft Lodge, but there is little evidence of it being worked in Chapters under the original Excellent Grand and Royal Chapter.

Today in England the ceremony is solely authorised for use in Chapters in Bristol but it is still very much part of the Royal Arch system in Ireland, the United States of America and in Scotland – where it is known as the Excellent Master Degree. For those wishing to see the Bristol ceremony, the Province and its Chapters are always delighted to receive visitors.

dscf8965This demonstration script undertaken in Somerset is not the ceremony as practised in Bristol, Ireland, USA , or Scotland, but necessarily includes material which appears in the ceremonies worked in those countries. It has been devised from manuscripts in the Library and Museum of Freemasonry and published sources such as Carlile and Claret. As many of the sources are simple descriptions of the ceremony it has been necessary to guess the questions put to the candidate as he enters and approaches each Veil. Originally there appear to have been only three veils – Blue, Purple and Scarlet – but most of the surviving evidence calls for the addition of a fourth veil – White – hiding from the candidate’s sight the Principals, the pedestal and the other furniture of the Chapter. The early descriptions state that the ceremony took place in a room adjacent to the Chapter Room and on its completion the candidate would then be led to the Chapter Room to seek admission. As in many places only one room would be available, it would appear probable that the fourth veil was adopted to shield the candidate from the Chapter as before he entered that part of the room he would be hoodwinked as candidates are today.

The Chapter would have been set up as is normal in our chapters today except that the pedestal and all that surrounds it, including the banners, would have been close to the Principals to enable them to be hidden from the candidates sight by the white veil. The rest of the room would be divided into three by the Scarlet, Purple, and Blue Veils, leaving a space between the latter and the door to the Chapter Room. The Veils would be full height but ours are adapted to allow you to see what is happening.

At the time that the Veils ceremony was being worked in England (c. 1770 – 1834) the opening of the Chapter was restricted to Principals and Past Principals. They would enter the Chapter and open it in the same way as we do today. The remaining Companions would then enter the Chapter in two columns led by the Scribes Ezra and Nehemiah, and as many as possible would form into threes to prove themselves RA Masons.

There is evidence that in some Chapters once this was done the MEZ would then ask each of the Officers of the Chapter, in ascending order, for their stations and duties within the Chapter. The minutes of the last meeting would then be read and confirmed and, if necessary, a ballot would take place for the candidate(s) for exaltation at that meeting. Once the ballot had taken place the veils would be drawn across the room and the Janitor informed that all was ready.

At the time that the Passing the Veils ceremony was in use in England the qualification for admission to the Royal Arch was that of being an Installed Master in the Craft and the pass into the Chapter was the sign and salutation of a Master of Arts & Sciences and the word of an Installed Master.

In Somerset the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent is authorised by Supreme Grand Chapter to undertake the Ceremony of the Veils once a year. The demonstration ceremony is started by “Calling Off” the Chapter and the Provincial Team then take their posts. On completion the Team resume their seats and the Chapter is “Called On”.

For those who have not seen the Ceremony undertaken it is hoped that they will be able to see it undertaken in the not too distant future.

Provincial Team Visit to Vale of Jehoshaphat Chapter

The evening started early at 4:30 for the Provincial Team who were to perform the Ceremony of the Veils. This was the first Team Visit of the current Masonic Year and was a special evening for 291 Chapter, more later.

The Chapter was opened in due form by E Comp David Smith, MEZ, and the first item of the Agenda was the passing to the Grand Chapter above of E Comp Tom E Smith, PPGSoj (Surrey) on 26th July. The eulogy was given and Companions stood to order in respect of departed merit. Once the minutes of the previous meeting were confirmed there was an alarm and E Comp Chris Moore, PrGDC, was admitted. He announced that MEGS E Comp D John Bennett was without with the Provincial Team and he demanded admission. MEGS then entered and was welcomed by MEZ and proffered the sceptre, which on this occasion he accepted. He then explained what was going to happen and the Team took their respective places for the Veils cerenomy. The Chapter was then Called Off.

Supreme Grand Chapter had given permission for the Ceremony of the Veils to be undertaken once a year by MEGS. The ceremony is similar to the Passing of the Veils as undertaken by Bristol Chapters in their Exaltation ceremonies.

Comp Will Human before the White Veil accompanied by E Comp David Lyons, PrGScN
E Comp Barry Woodside Dep GS, acting as Narrator for the Veils Ceremony

Comp Will Human, the candidate for the evening, who had been held up in traffic on the M5, arriving just in time, was received and the ceremony continued. E Comp Barry Woodside, DepGSupt, acted as narrator which saw the candidate progress through the three coloured veils whence he was asked for the passwords and then he retired. This is where the Exaltation Ceremony as we know it would begin.

E Comps John Kidd and Tony Schofield with MEGS after receiving their Stewards lapel pins
E Comp Reg Ferm being presented with his 50 years Certificate by MEGS
Comps Andrew Cruickshank and Peter Rouse being presented with their Grand Chapter Certificates by E Comp Clive Lambert, Third Prov Grand Principal

MEGS then Called On the Chapter and presented Provincial Steward’s lapel badges to E Comps John Kidd and Tony Schofield. The next item on the Agenda was to present a 50 years certificate and lapel badge to E Comp Reg Ferm. MEGS gave a detailed history of Reg’s progress through the Royal Arch culminating in his appointment as PAGSoj. E Comp Reg thanked the MEGS for those kind words and the Chapter for the many years of their company. Two Grand Chapter Certificates were presented to Companions Andrew Cruickshank and Peter Rouse by E Comp Clive Lambert, Third Prov Grand Principal.

MEGS presenting E Comp David Smith, MEZ, with the Tracing Board

MEGS then asked MEZ be presented and was thanked for allowing the Team to undertake the ceremony and returned the Sceptre. He then presented the Chapter with a copy of the Holy Royal Arch Tracing Board, detailing the history and hoped that, should there be a ceremony without a candidate then a member of the Executive would be pleased to give a short lecture on the Board. MEZ thanked MEGS and the Team for a wonderful and informative evening. MEGS and the Provincial Team retired and the labours of the evening continued:
The three Principals for the following year were declared, E Comp Matt Jarvis as Z; E Comp,Chris Perry as H and Comp Jeff Body as J. Likewise E Comp Tony Schofield was declared at Treasurer.
Other elections were then taken and following the Risings the Chapter was closed and companions retired for the Festive Board which was enjoyed by all. The evening’s raffle proceeds were donated to the Burnham Rescue Boats.dining-comp

Special Presentation at 1966 Installation

Three Principals: E Comps Peter Chidzey, H, John Brown, Z, and Andrew Kerslake, J

On a rather dismal and wet September evening the Chapter gathered for its Installation where we were honoured by the presence of MEGS D John Bennett, accompanied by E Comps Chris Moore, PrDGC, Brian Buttle, PrGStdB, and John Trowbridge , PrGSteward. The Chapter was opened and MEGS was admitted and proffered the Sceptre, which he promptly returned. E Comp Keith Smith, Z and Almoner, read a Eulogy for E Comp Phil Coles who had passed to the Grand Chapter above recently.

There followed the usual Agenda Items and then the important Installation/Induction of the three Principals. E Comp Keith Smith Installed E Comp John Brown as Z, Inducted E Comp Peter Chidzey as H and also Inducted E comp Andrew Kerslake as J. E Comp John Brown then appointed his Officers with some nice comments to each. MEGS then explained that E Comp Adrian Halliwell though the Chapter’s Calderley Liaison Officer would not be presented with his collar jewel as he was Provincial Liaison Officer so passed it to E Comp Jim Nicol, Scribe E, for safe keeping to be presented at a future date to a new Liaison Officer. MEGS gave the Address to the Principals, E Comp Richard Gale to the Officers and E Comp Keith Kerslake to the Companions. E Comp Keith Smith was then presented with the IPZ’s Jewel and he thanked all those Officers and Companions who had assisted him during his year of office.

Presented with the Stewards Lapel Badge: E Comps Ron Troup, Richard Gale and John Bennett, MEGS

On the Second and Third Risings MEGS gave greetings from the Province and presented E Comps Ron Troup and Richard Gale with the new Prov Stewards lapel badge. Then to all those present’s surprise presented the Chapter with a Holy Royal Arch Tracing Board with an explanation of why he had had it produced and when it should be used, stating that if there was no Candidate then it may be considered to ask the visiting Provincial Ruler if he would be able to present the ritual for the Tracing Board. 1966 are the first Chapter to receive the Tracing Board and feel honoured.

Presentation of the Chapter Tracing Board: E Comps Peter Chidzey, John Bennett, John Brown and Andrew Kerslake

The Tracing Board should be placed picture side facing MEZ, probably against the pedestal, when the Chapter is opened and turned around on the closing. E Comp John Brown, MEZ thanked MEGS for this and awaited to see the ritual worked for it. E comp Adrian Halliwell then advised the Companions that the new Provincial Website was up and running and commended those with the ability to log in and have a look.

Following the fourth Rising the Chapter was closed and Companions were processed out to enjoy the delicious Festive Board and Fidelity and Sincerity’s hospitality.

Three wise men: E Comps Chris Moore, Chris Summers and John Bennett


E Comp Sydney French in full voice responding to the Visitors Toast
Comp Chris Waterhouse proposing the Visitors Toast with his usual Kiwi humour
E Comps John Rudge, Keith Smith, IPZ , and Comp John Moore
Laid Back: E Comps John Rudge, Keith Smith, IPZ , and Comp John Moore
E Comps Keith Colman and Sydney French sharing a joke

Somerset 1st Principals Installation, Sept 2016

Principals for 2016-7E Comps Ray Beckingham, H, John Rudge, Z, and Maldwyn Davies, J.
Principals for 2016-7: E Comps Ray Beckingham, H, John Rudge, Z, and Maldwyn Davies, J.

A rather warm evening in Bridgwater was the setting for the Installation Meeting with not quite the full-house that we usually have. The Chapter was opened and business dealt with quite speedily, visiting members of Dorset and Gloucester and Hereford 1st Principals were welcomed as well as Somerset Principals.

A ballot was taken for two Honorary Members, Bob Biggs and Joe Hawkins and for three Joining Members, all carried.

MEGS then proposed the adoption of the design for a Chapter Banner which again approved and will be Dedicated at the June Meeting in Taunton. E Comp Bob Moore (Z) then proposed the adoption of new By-laws which was passed and now passed on to Provincial and Supreme Grand Chapter.

E Comp Bob Moore then gave a talk entitled ‘The Symbolism of the Furnishings of a Royal Arch Chapter’. Once again in his eloquent and at times confrontational and thought provoking way Bob kept the companions enthralled and received a worthy applause.

Then followed the Induction of the three new Principals, E Comps John Rudge as Z, Ray Beckingham as H and Maldwyn Davies as J.

Three Principals with MEGS John Bennett
Three Principals with MEGS John Bennett

The Officers were then invested prior to which the outgoing Treasurer, E Comp Ray Sheppard and DC E Comp Ron Babbage were thanked for their long service in their posts, each received acclamation.

The Almoner, E Comp Terry Wood was unfortunately recovering from his three weeks in hospital but had passed his report to Scribe E. With nothing in AOB or the Risings the Chapter was closed and the majority retired to the Festive Board where an excellent meal and company were enjoyed.

Happy Companions
Really happy Companions
E Comps Tony Beaumont, Clive Lambert and MEGS John Bennett enjoying the evening
Taunton Brigade, E Comps Newton Scanlon, Rod Green and Neil Trood with, looking on happy-are-we-three, E Comps Tony Beaumont, Clive Lambert and MEGS John Bennett enjoying the evening
Waiting for the mains
Top table with Ron Babbage deep in thought

Connaught Chapter’s Annual Walk 2016

The day of Sunday July 3rd dawned bright and dry. Just the right conditions for the annual walk and lunch. At 11:30,the 18 brave souls set off at a gentle pace on the 3 mile walk starting from the Masonic Hall and arriving back at around 12:30 to meet up with the non-walkers.
The group of 23, members, wives, girlfriends and guests sat down to a fine two course lunch, cooked for us by our own E. Comp. Tony Cooper and his very talented wife, Diane.
This is the fourth year the walk has taken place, and looks to becoming an annual event, thanks to E.Comp.Mark Collins who is the brains and organiser.
Thank you, Mark, for the walk.
Thank you Tony and Diane for an excellent meal.

New Provincial Website for Somerset

Home PageE Comp Bob Moore has been working tirelessly for the past six months or so in setting up the new Provincial Website. The site has been designed by WebCreationUK, which is based in Trowbridge.  The designer is a chap called Darpan, who Bob believes is based in India, has been brilliant – always ready to make changes and to try out suggestions.  The result is a co-operative venture between him and Bob Moore, the now Provincial Webmaster, in terms of its design and function, but entirely Darpan’s in terms of expertise in construction.

There are drop down menus across the top of the page which will get you various information, Province has details of News, Team Visits and Members of the team.Diary

The Diary, which is up-to-date for the whole of this coming Masonic Year, will provide a rolling programme into the following year. When clicked on an event numerous pieces of information are shown, ie, time place, and location, which can be clicked on for further information, Provincial members attending, etc. This is also linked to the Chapter Page which will give additional items of the Chapter’s own Diary and News.
Chapter Page
One of the key element which is new in this site is the involvement of the Calderley Liaison Officers [CLO] in the design and functioning of their individual Chapter pages. The CLOs are appointed by their Chapter and input information on forthcoming meetings and events, news items and any useful information such as Contacts. They have all received training and we wish them good luck.


The Venues brings up all of the Masonic Lodges/Centres that hold Chapter meetings in Somerset plus some useful additional locations used by Somerset RA. These include directions to the place, disabled facilities, an interactive map linked to Google and at the bottom all Chapter meetings for the Masonic Year for that venue.

The site is optimised to work on any sized screen from a PC to a phone.
The information however is only as good as users choose to make it.  Anything which is seen to be inaccurate or suggestions for improvement should be brought to the attention of CLO, PLO and/or Webmaster.

Calderley Chapter of Union, September Convocation 2016

  • The chapter was held at its home of Burnham-on-sea on a pleasant evening though a bit warm, with a goodly number of Liaison Officers in attendance. The three Principals opened the Chapter and undertook the routine workings including: balloting for two Honorary and four Joining Members; proclaiming the Principals and Treasurer Elect, who all responded to this, though E Comp Keith Fisher raised a smile among those present, before handing over the sceptre to MEGS John Bennett who greeted four visitors from Hampshire and Isle of Wight and the CLOs.
    john and mike scraggs
    E Comp Mike Scaggs, H, listens to MEGS

    There followed some very interesting announcements starting with the establishing of a Chapter Banner for Calderley which would be dedicated at next September’s meeting. The design and colours using those on Provincial collars were agreed and the order will be placed immediately.


  • Next came the presentation of the Provincial Liaison Officer Collaret which has been commissioned with the three coloured ribbon to E Comp Adrian Halliwell, also CLO of Calderley Chapter. The new Calderley Liaison Officer Collaret with plain red ribbon will be presented to Chapter CLOs at their Installation meetings by the Representing Provincial Officer and is to be worn during the meetings and at the festive board of their own Chapters as well as at Calderley Chapter.
  • E Comp Bob Moore then officially announced the new Provincial Website is up and running, giving a general overview of its setting up, use by CLOs to update their own Chapter pages and other information. The new site address is The Calderley Liaison Officers will be responsible for their own Chapter’s page and have received a training session to make life easy for them. Companions are asked to have a look and if there are any comments please pass them on to: their own CLOs for their Chapter Pages; E Comp Adrian Halliwell, for other items: and Bob Moore if all else fails.
  • new bookletsMEGS then advised comps that a new Companions Guide has been produced as well as a booklet entitled “An Explanation for the Exaltee”, these will be issued to new Exaltees at that meeting by the Visiting Provincial Principal or otherwise by post.
  • The Provincial Stewards badge has been redesigned and now includes the word “Somerset” on it. All existing Provincial Stewards, past and present will be receiving these in due course.
  • “Talking Heads” was explained and was under the direction of E Comp Ray Beckingham. There are several teams of three who will be giving this playlet at a Craft meeting. One has already been carried out and Hendra Lodge in S Wales has asked the team to give this at their January meeting. There are already three “Talking Heads” being done at Fidelity and Sincerity, Wellington on 12th Sept, Elizabethan, Lodge Bath and Admiral Blake Lodge, Bridgwater.
  • When taking wine with Grand Officers at the festive board Craft Grand Lodge Officers should also stand.
  • In order to update the Provincial Database photographs of all companions are requested. This helps the visiting Provincial Principals to put a name to the face.
    MEGS returned the Sceptre to E Comp Bob Biggs who then closed the convocation after the Risings. Closing hymn was sung, if a bit raggedly [as no one had a song sheet], followed by the National Anthem before retiring to the dining room for an excellent meal.
Calderley top table
Top Table: E Comps Clive Lambert [3rd Prov Principal], Maldwyn Davies [2nd Prov Principal], John Bennett [MEGS], Mike Scaggs [H], Bob Biggs [Z], Richard Ellis [J] and Ray Beckingham [DC]
my table
Plates all stacked
Arthurs seat
Plenty of chatter
Rogues gallery
Tasty soup