In 2016 the three chapters meeting at Taunton Masonic hall came to the conclusion that the banners that were in use by all three chapters were beginning to show their age and should be replaced. The chapters agreed that the cost would be shared and the new banners were purchased.
January 11th 2017 saw the MEGS Ex. Companion John Bennett together with the Provincial Team visiting the Chapter of Sincerity No 261, meeting at Taunton. The MEGS and Team were visiting the Chapter primarily to dedicate the new chapter banners that were a joint purchase between the Taunton Chapters: Sincerity, No 261; St. George, No 3158 and Taunton Deane, No 5221.
The Three Principals, or their representative, from each chapter were present at the meeting together with a goodly number of Companions (86 in total).
After taking the chair the MEGS explained that the Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra had stood down and that it was his pleasure to announce that Ex. Companion Tony Beaumont was to be appointed and invested as the new Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra.
After the investiture the MEGS moved the business onto the Dedication of the new Chapter Banners.
The Standard Bearers were: Companion Town (261); Companion Prior-Sankey (5221) and Companions Green & Clarke (3158).
During the Dedication Ceremony the Oration was given by the Provincial Second Grand Principal Ex. Companion Maldwyn Davies during which he explained that:-
‘The reason for the acquisition of the new Banners is that the original Banners have, with age and usage, become almost illegible. The banners which have been replaced once before but have been in use for many years and it is almost certain that they were originally obtained by the Chapter of Sincerity as they obviously pre-date the formation of the Chapter of St George in 1954 and the formation of the Taunton Deane Chapter in 1986.
There is no record in the Archives of the Chapter of Sincerity to indicate when or even if they were purchased. There is a note in the minutes of the Chapter of Sincerity that on 9th November 1983 the then M.E.Z. E. Companion David Hartley “drew the attention of the Companions to the Chapter Banners and Ensigns which had been renovated during the summer recess by Companion. Malcolm Plastowe and Mrs. G. Fish, wife of Ex. Companion. F. A. Fish, H of the Chapter. The M.E.Z. requested that the Scribe E, E. Companion Sidney Honniball thank those involved for undertaking this task.
The Accounts of the Chapter for that year shows an expenditure of £23.00 for repairs to Banners. As a point of interest the Chapter Subscription at that time was £7.00 P.A. and cost of Dining was £2.75!’
A copy of the full oration can be found here.
The Dedication Ceremony completed the MEGs continued by explaining that during a recent meeting in London he had been speaking with Ex. Companion David Hughes a Grand Inspector in the Metropolitan Grand Chapter. Ex. Companion David is the son of the late Ex. Companion Thomas Albert Hughes, Past Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of Somerset. Ex. Companion David had explained that he had his father’s original Patent and kindly offered to return it to the Province. As Taunton had been the Masonic home of Ex. Companion Tom it had been decided that the patent would be presented to the Taunton Masonic hall for display there.
The MEGS then called upon Ex. Companion Ray Baines Chairman elect of the Taunton Masonic hall Company and presented him with the patent for display at Taunton.
The chapter being closed 74 companions enjoyed a splendid festive board.