1st Principals opens the season

The opening meeting of the 2018 season was the held at Bridgwater by the Somerset 1st Principals Chapter on another warm evening. The Chapter was opened by the three Principals – Ray Beckingham, Z, Maldwyn Davies, H, and Andy Gray, J, and was immediately followed by the reception of MEGS D John Bennett, accompanied by E Comp Clive Lambert, 2nd Pr G Principal and visiting all the way from Worcestershire their DepGS E Comp John Phenix, E Comp Chris Moore, PrDC, and acting as Standard Bearer E Comp Sandy Glenn.

A most excellent eulogy for E Comp Walter Wood was given by E Comp Sid Brailey and companions stood to order. After the Minutes were approved the Principals welcomed the visiting members from other Provinces and 1st Principals from Somerset Chapters. There followed a ballot for two Joining Members, which proved clear, and for E Comp Ray Sheppard as the new Treasurer, which also was clear.

The main event of the evening was a talk given by E Comp Ray Beckingham entitled ‘Why Holy?, why Royal?, why Arch?’. This proved to be most enlightening and everyone must have gained their day’s advancement in masonic knowledge.

The next event was the Induction of the three Principals, E Comp Maldwyn as Z, E Comp Andy as H and E Comp Richard Ellis as J. The Principals then appointed and invested their Officers.

3 Principals, E Comps Andy Gray, H, Maldwyn Davies, Z, John Bennett, MEGS, and Richard Ellis, J.

Following the Notice of Motion from the last meeting E Comp Martin Slowcombe proposed that £500 be donated to the 2020 Festival. This was duly carried. The Chapter was closed with a hymn and the Companions retired to the Festive Board.

At the Festive Board at the Toast to MEGS he was presented with a fine bottle of gin by MEZ and Megs duly responded. The Visitors Toast was given by E Comp John Griffen and responded to by E Comp Mike Phenix.

E Comp Maldwyn proposing the Toast to MEGS
MEGS Responds with E Comp Chris Moore, PrDC, standing by
An enjoyable Festive Board

1st Principals 28th June at Yatton

On what must have been the hottest day of the year so far, we held our Summer meeting at Yatton, where MEZ Ray Beckingham’s Chapter (Wrington Vale) meets – a busy and eventful agenda had 17 items!

MEZ musing on how well the rearsal went

Visitors from the Provinces of Cornwall, Dorset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire and Hereford were warmly (haha) welcomed, as well as First Principals of Somerset Chapters.  Our own Grand Superintendent, Deputy and 2nd Provincial Principal were also present at this packed meeting.

Welcoming visitors

Members of Abbey Chapter delivered the Travelling Sceptre for safe keeping,

Abbey Chapter delivering the Travelling Sceptre

after which the Chapter elected E Comp Ron Babbage as an Honorary Member and E Comps Richard Reeve, Alan Dummett and John Hewett as Joining Members.

Welcoming Joining Members
H wondering if he’ll be elected as MEZ

The three Principals for 2018/2019 were then elected – Maldwyn Davies (Z), Andy Gray (H) and Richard Ellis (J).  All three thanked the Companions for so honouring them.  E Comp Bob Moore was re-elected as Treasurer, and he informs me that the cruise is booked!

Andy Gray smiling?

To round off the meeting, E Comp Ray Beckingham delivered a very interesting and educational “Commentary on the Royal Arch” urging Companions to use it as a springboard for their own researches.

The Festive Board was a jolly affair, with dress code relaxed to permit removal of jackets – thank goodness!

Welcoming E Comp Ray Bennett,Deputy Grand Superintendent of Glos & Hereford

First Principals Annual Dinner

On a beautiful evening at the picturesque Isle of Wedmore Golf Club 54 Companions, wives, partners and friends assembled for the Annual Dinner. It was great to be back at the Golf Club after a break to The Webbington.

E Comp Ray Beckingham as MEZ organised the event in his usual efficient way, explaining that only two weeks earlier there were only 10 people booked in. It was a very friendly evening, making new acquaintances, cementing old ones and generally having a superb evening.

E Comp Adrian Halliwell, DC, called those present for grace before settling down to a splendid meal, after which MEZ proposed the Loyal Toast then he gave a thanks to all concerned and wished everyone a safe drive home. No one rushed to leave and continued there chats and farewells before wending their ways home.

3746 1st Principals’ Summer Dinner

This popular annual event will be held on Saturday 2nd June 2018,and is open to all Members & Wives also 1st Principals of Somerset Chapters with Wives or Partners.
To be held at the picturesque Wedmore Golf Club 7pm for 7-30pm
Three Course Dinner (choice of menu) including Coffee & Mints £18.00. Contact E. Comp Ray Beckingham, no later than 25th May, if you would like to attend.

Somerset 1st Principals have another interesting evening, September 2017

The Chapter once again returned to its home at Bridgwater for the Installation Meeting on Wednesday 6th September, but with a difference! The Chapter was opened at 6:00pm and E Comp Chris Moore, PrGDC, was admitted. He informed the MEZ, E Comp John Rudge, that the MEGS E Comp D John Bennett was without accompanied by a numerous retinue and he demanded admission. MEZ welcomed MEGS and then announced the 2nd item on the Agenda which was to receive from comps of the Metropolitan Grand Chapter a presentation entitled “The Royal Arch in Camera – Your Chapter in Focus”.

The presentation was given by E Comps Simon Walsh, Ian Clark and, the late arrival, Robert Anderson. They proceeded to enthral all present with this very enlightening playlet, explaining the signs, officers of the chapters and historical facts. This presentation is a follow on to “Talking Heads” and can be given in Chapters throughout the Province ids by Ray Beckingham and hi wayfarers.

E Comp Simon Walsh – Narrator
E Comp Robert Anderson explaining the Scribe N’s (Andy Gray standing) role

On Completion of the presentation E Comp Ian Curran, the director of the presentation team took questions and MEGS thanked the team for travelling down to Somerset then presented each member with a bottle of Sheppy’s Apple Brandy.

The Metropolitan Team with MEGS E Comps Simon Walsh, Ian Clark, MEGS, Ian Curran and Robert Anderson

The usual items were dealt with and Representatives of 1st Principals Chapters from Devon, Cornwall, Wiltshire and Hereford and Worcestershire were welcomed followed by Principals of Somerset Chapters.

Next item a ballot for joining members which proved clear this was followed by the Induction of Principals: E Comp Andy Gray as J, E Comp Maldwyn Davies as H and E Comp ray Beckingham as Z. MEZ then invested his officers and the addresses to the Principals was given by MEGS, that to the Officers by E Comp Keith Fisher and that to the Companions in his indomitably flamboyant way by E Comp Matt Wesley.

E Comps Maldwyn Davies, H, Ray Beckingham, Z, and Andy Gray, J.

In the absence of the Almoner, E Comp Terry Wood, E Comp Mark Bajona gave the Almoner’s report and then followed the next item a Ballot to bestow Honorary Membership on E Comp Terry Wood, which proved clear.

The Chapter was then closed and the companions proceeded downstairs to the newly refurbished dining room, which was undertaken during the closed season.

Adrian Halliwell, standing in for the Chapter’s CLO E Comp Ben White, and apologies for the poor quality of the photos!

1st Principals Annual Dinner

14th July saw a gathering of members and their wives for the Chapter annual dinner.  This year, the Wedmore Golf Club not being available, MEZ John Rudge decided to try out The Webbington.  We were in the Garden Suite and could well have risked eating outside as it was such a lovely evening!

E Comp Steve Wilson andMrs Jenny du Kamp

E Comp John Rudge did well to make the event, having recently been in hospital. He presented his wife with a bouquet of flowers, thanking her for looking after him so well.

He also thanked members for attending what was a truly convivial evening. Good fellowship, good food and wine – what more could you ask for?

3746 1st Principals WOW factor!

In the words of E. Comp. Andy Gray (that well-known wit and philosopher) “You wait 40 years for a banner and then 13 come along all at once!”

Thursday 22nd June 2017 will go down as one of the most memorable meetings in the Chapter’s history.  On this auspicious date at Taunton Masonic Hall, the Chapter was joined by the Grand Superintendent and his Provincial Team in order to Dedicate the new Chapter Banner and 12 Tribal Ensigns.

MEZ John Rudge welcoming John Bennet, Grand Superintendent
MEZ John Rudge welcoming John Bennett, Grand Superintendent

Before that happened though, MEZ and their Excellencies welcomed visitors from the Provinces of Bristol, Gloucestershire & Hereford and Dorset, as well as visiting Principals of Somerset Chapters.

Comps. Charlie Barker (261), Brian Buckle (329) and Nigel Handbury (5221) were elected Joining Members and welcomed into the Chapter by the 3 Principals.

And now for the main event!  The Grand Superintendent took the Chair, together with the 2nd and 3rd Provincial Principals and the new Banner was paraded into the Chapter, carried by E. Comp. Neville Harrison, a PZ of the Chapter.

E Comp Neville Harrison presenting the new Banner
E Comp Neville Harrison presenting the new Banner
The Grand Superintendent addresses the Convocation
The Grand Superintendent addresses the Convocation

The 12 Ensigns were already in place and with much pomp and ceremony, these were dedicated by the MEGS and Principals.  The Chapter Banner and newly dedicated ensigns were then presented to the Chapter through MEZ E. Comp. John Rudge, who completed the ceremonial with an Oration on the origins and purpose of Banners.

Having worked so hard, the Provincial Team retired to the bar, the Chapter business was concluded and everyone else retired to the bar for a cooling thirst quencher before dining.

The dining room was buzzing with convivial chatter, and this memorable evening was brought to a close.

The Three Principals taking wine....
The Three Principals taking wine….



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