The genesis of King Alfred Chapter began in January 1988 when the Grand Superintendent, Ex Comp T A Hughes (pictured) requested that serious consideration be given to forming a second Chapter in Weston-super-Mare. There were a number of Royal Arch Companions attending Craft Lodges in WSM who were not members of Inkerman Chapter and who might have been interested in joining a new Chapter.
In January 1988 Ex Comp E.C.Bates circulated all the Lodges that met in WSM to gauge the response to a formation of a new Chapter.
On the 10th March 1988 E.C.Bates (Ted) had received sufficient encouragement to arrange a meeting.
On the 26th March 1988, with an appropriate agenda a meeting was held. One item of which was to decide on a sponsoring Lodge. St Kew Lodge sponsored Inkerman Chapter and it was decided to approach King Alfred Lodge, being the second oldest Lodge meeting in WSM. King Alfred Lodge, in a letter of the 1st April 1988, gave their unanimous support to sponsor King Alfred Chapter, as it was to become known, and to meet the cost of the Consecration Warrant. Also at that meeting Ex Comp Eric Cottam was appointed Chairman of the Steering Committee and Ex Comp T Bates as Steering Committee secretary.
It was also decided that the three principals should the Chapter be formed, be, Ex Comp W.F.Jackson as ‘Z’, Ex Comp K.T.Ball as ‘H’, Ex Comp E.Wilderspin as ‘J’ and D.M.Lambert as ‘N’. Each of the ‘Founder’ steering committee members gave £10 to fund the formation expenses. The dates of the Chapter convocations were to be: Consecration 11th March 1989, 2nd Monday in May and June and the 4th Monday in October, Installation date to be the 4th Monday in March. These dates were approved by the Masonic Hall company. It was also agreed that the ceremonies worked would be that presented in the ‘Complete Workings of the Royal Arch Degree’ without divergence, and as printed in the A. Lewis ritual 1941 edition, with the later revised workings.
At a meeting on the 28th June it was agreed that the Founders Fees be £50 inc. subscription, the member’s subscription to be £15. On the Prayer sent to Grand Chapter is was agreed that the names of the founders be: Ex Comp E Cottam, Ex Comp W.F. Jackson, Ex Comp K Ball, Ex Comp E Wilderspin, Ex Comp E Hazel, Ex Comp D Overy, Ex Comp T Bates, Comp D.M.Lambert and Ex Comp G Parrot.
16th November 1988 Supreme Grand Chapter acceded to the prayer for the formation of the proposed King Alfred Chapter, as was the design for the Chapter badge. The Chapter Badge was created by Ex Comp Ted Bates and Ex Comp Bill Jackson and comprises of the conventional RAC triangle with the image of King Alfred in the centre, the image of King Alfred is that used by King Alfred Lodge (the sponsors).
11th March 1989 at 2.30pm, Consecration day, a list shows that 23 Founder members, 11 Consecrating Officers and 48 visitors attended the Chapter. It is of interest that the Provincial Scribe E. points out in a letter dated 24th December 1988 that ‘only those Companions who sign the Petition (for the formation on the new Chapter) are founders of a Chapter, yet the Warrant of the Chapter lists: E.J.Cottam, E.C.Bates, W.F.Jackson, K.J.Ball, E.Wilderspin, E.V.Hazell, D.Overy, G.A.Parrot, D.M.Lambert and ‘Others’ which seems strange.
The Ritual and Procedures for the Consecration was under the guiding hand of Ex Comp. Idris Evans, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies. Prior to the formal opening the M.E. Grand Superintendent presented a suitably inscribed Bible on behalf of the Consecrating Officers. At 2.35pm the M.E. Grand Superintendent, Thomas Albert Hughes, accompanied by the rest of the Consecrating Officers entered the Temple. At the appropriate time the Chapter was opened as a Conclave of First Principals and Ex. Comp W.F.Jackson was installed as First Principal, the installation of the other Principals and Officers took place. Ex.Comp K.T. Ball, Haggai. Ex Comp. E.Wilderspin, Joshua. Ex.Comp E. Hazel as I.P.Z. The first Officers of the Chapter were:
Ex. Comp E.C.Bates Scribe E
Ex. Comp D.M.Lambert Scribe N
Comp F.L.Broderick Treasurer
Ex Comp E.J.Cottam D of C
Comp W.F.Jefford Principal SoJ
Comp T.F.Baker 1 st Assistant SoJ
Comp B. Ruse 2 nd Assistant SoJ
Ex Comp M.E.Skyrme Assist D of C
Comp I. R Cottrell Organist
Ex Comp K.E.Torrington Assist Scribe E
Comp I.S.White Janitor
The Chapter was closed in due form at 4.30pm, when the Companions adjourned to the dining room where they sat down to a meal comprising of:
Roast Lamb with seasonal vegetables
Fruit Salad and Ice Cream
On November 30th 1990 the Chapter learnt of the promotion of Ex Comp W.F.Jackson to Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah the first promotion in our newly formed Chapter. We sadly lost to the Grand Chapter above Ex Comp Ted Bates who did much if not all the work in promoting and starting King Alfred Chapter. It is also worth noting that Ex Comp Ted presented to the Chapter the three ‘Reading’ books used by the Principals during our ceremonies.
30th March 1995 an open meeting was called for by the MEZ elect, B.Ruse, of King Alfred Chapter members to review some conflicting ideas that were not in accordance with the ceremony of exaltations that was agreed at the formation of the Chapter. Also to make any adjustments to conform to the long standing commitment to follow ‘The Complete Workings (3rd edition 1992)’ as closely as possible. It was agreed that there were very few instances where the ritual instructions were impractible. Consequently, the Chapter is to be set out in accordance with the illustrations in the ritual book. The Celestial Bodies were missing from the Chapter layout. These were crafted by Comp Bill Lanfear an accomplished woodworker and as there is no reference in the ritual book of a Arch, all references are figurative, it was decided that the use of the Inkerman Arch be discontinued. At the festive board it was also decreed that the toast to the ‘GRAND ORIGINALS’ be taken with the left hand.
March 22nd 1999 The Chapter celebrated its 10th Anniversary, The Provincial Grand Superintendent D. Calderley was in attendance and Ex Comp A.W.Rowe was our M.E.Z. A fine meal was supplied.
12th May 1997 the Chapter had a fright, our Scribe E, Ex Comp W.F.Jackson turned up in the afternoon to check the Temple, only to find a postcard from the Electricity Board advising that our electricity would be cut off from 6.oopm until 9.00 pm. This would have been a disaster! Several phone calls persuaded the Electricity board to provide a standby generator and the disaster was avoided.
27th April 2000 Ex Comp W.F. Jackson becomes the first member of King Alfred Chapter to be promoted to Supreme Grand Chapter as Past Grand Standard Bearer.
During 2004 Ex Comp B Ruse was appointed to the rank of PGrStB in Supreme Grand Chapter.
On the 22nd October 2007 the Chapter agreed that a sum not exceeding £250 be given to Inkerman Chapter to match their sum to replace or refurbish the Principals robes (which were believed to be the Original Inkerman Robes and have been in service since 1869). A new set of Surplices was made by Mrs Ted Bates
On the 22nd March 2010 the Chapter celebrated its third Grand Chapter Collar to one of its members. Ex Comp A Rowe was promoted to P Asst DC.
And thus KING ALFRED CHAPTER continues into the future in good heart and with enthusiasm.
The History of KING ALFRED CHAPTER was written by Ex Companion D.M.Lambert with the assistance of Ex Comp W. Jackson, Ex Comp B. Ruse and Ex Comp A Rowe.