On Thursday 28th February the Chapter was pleased to receive a demonstration of “The Royal Arch in Camera” by E Comps Ray Beckingham, 2nd Prov Grand Principal, Maldwyn Davies and Charlie Barker. The Janitor gave an alarm on the door and E comp Charlie was admitted, wrongly dressed and giving the wrong salutation, which soon went as E Comp Ray put him straight! The three then ran through the in Camera with explanations of various parts of the Royal Arch ritual and historical information of the Officers in a Chapter.
On Completion a round of applause was given with thanks from the MEZ Simon Cassling, who once again had traveled over from Brussels that day.
The rest of the agenda then continued with the announcement of the three Principals to be installed in May, E Comp Peter Light as Z, Ken Clarke as H, and Michael Day as J, also the Treasurer, Comp Brian Whiteside, was announced.
The Chapter was closed after the rising and all adjourned to the Festive Board for a most convivial dinner.
The December convocation was a busy evening for the Chapter. The M E Comp John Bennett was welcomed and during the evening presented the Grand Chapter Certificate to Comp Guy Annan.
The Somerset Sceptre was delivered by a deputation from the Parratt and Axe Chapter No 814, lead by E Comp Gerald Morgan, and duly received by E Comp Neil Trood as the Z of the Chapter.
The Companions of the Chapter then proceeded to participate in the Ceremony of the Description of the Banners to advance the masonic knowledge of many newer members.
A lively and seasonal festive board was enhanced by an excellent response to the visitors’ toast by E Comp David Wakely, from the visiting Chapter, who delivered ritual on the “12 days of turkey”.
Despite the distance and the January weather six Companions, led by E Comp Neil Trood made the trip to Midsomer Norton to deliver the Somerset Sceptre to Connaught Lodge No 3573.
During the evening a distinguished member of the host Chapter, E Comp Ron Babbage, was made an honorary member of the Chapter in recognition of his many years of service to Freemasonry and the Chapter. The visiting Scribe E, David Palmer was particularly keen to congratulate E Comp Ron – both being fellow Cornishmen.
Bro Guy Annan was exalted from The Lodge of St George to become a companion of the Chapter of St George at the October Convocation.
The ceremony was conducted By E Comp Neil Trood as the first Principal this being his first convocation following installation in May. Part of the Mystical Lecture being delivered by a distinguished guest – E Comp Barry Woodside.
Comp Guy is shown being congratulated after the ceremony.
A Holy Royal Arch Tracing Board was presented to the Taunton H R A Chapters at the February convocation of The Chapter of St George by the the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, E Comp John Bennett. The host
chapter was represented by E Comp David Bates, Z of 3158, The Chapter of Sincerity by E Comp Charlie Barker and Taunton Deane Chapter by E Comp Sid French.
The MEGS explained that a full explanation of the Tracing Board would be given in due course with Chapter members being invited to participate in the proceedings
Following a request, from Provincial Grand Chapter for a ‘photo album’ of Chapter members, duly submitted. It was decided in this Chapter to give a copy of this gallery to all Exaltees to speed the recognition of their new Companions. This was preceded by a request at a Chapter meeting, duly recorded in the minutes, to obtain the consent, or otherwise, of Companions for their photo to be used for this purpose.
Members of the Chapter of St George participated in a donation of £200 to the ‘Forget-me-not Cafe’ at Langport where their respected companion, the late Comp Bob Rich had obtained valuable assistance whilst suffering from dementia. Comps Steve Thraxton, Ron Blake, Paul Diment and E Comp Paul Buckler were aware of the excellent work the club does in providing assistance to both those with memory problems and their carers and wished to record their appreciation in memory of a late Brother.
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!’
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.