The Royal Arch Presentation Team: E Comps Andy Clapp, Ray Beckingham and Chris Fear

Royal Sussex Chapter No 53 holds its Convocation at Bath Masonic Hall and last year celebrated the 200th Anniversary of its consecrations. Life after such a momentous year will inevitably be a little flat but despite this the Chapter bravely organised a visit from the Royal Arch Presentation Team. This team is led by E Comp Ray Beckingham 2nd Provincial Grand Principal who acted as the narrator with E Comp Chris Fear performing the role of the Past Principal and E Comp Andy Clapp being the hapless newly Exalted Companion.

The Principals with E Comp Ray Beckingham and Acting DC E Comp Geoff Lester

After opening the Chapter E Comp Ray Beckingham 2nd Provincial Grand Principal accompanied by E Comp D John Bennett, Past Most Excellent Grand Superintendent with E comp Geoff Lester acting as Director of Ceremonies was welcomed into the Chapter by the Principals after which E Comp Ray Beckingham introduced the play-let, ‘The Royal Arch In Camera’. This proved to be an excellent presentation and was well received by the Companions present with the question and answer session afterwards proving to be a very instructive time for all present.

Despite issuing invitations to Companions from the two other Chapters meeting at Bath, Royal Cumberland and St Luke’s there were no visiting Companions from either Chapter. In fact there were only 12 Companions present in total and although small in number it was certainly a very enjoyable evening.

These presentations take a great deal of work to put together, not only for the team but also for the hosting Chapter. They should not be seen as simply filling convocation when the Chapter does not have a Candidate but as an instructive evening, something different and a very entertaining occasion.

Royal Sussex Chapter is one of the smallest Chapters within Somerset but it is one Chapter where you are guaranteed a warm welcome, so please if you have a free evening consider a visit to Royal Sussex. The best way to learn about anything is to involve yourself in it and by visiting Royal Sussex you will probably be invited to be part of the Chapter by being allocated one of the Offices for the evening.

The next Convocation is to be held on Monday 18th March 2019, so go on Email the Scribe Ezra, E Comp John Nicholson and book yourself in.

The Three Principals, E Comps Simon Lingard, H, Richard Ellis, MEZ, and Bernard Couzens, J.

200th Anniversary of Royal Sussex Chapter

On Saturday 20th January 2018 saw the Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Foundation of Royal Sussex Chapter No 53 in 1818. This special Convocation was attended by E Comp D John Bennett, MEGS, and the Provincial Team. There was also a goodly number of wives/partners supporting the companions from both Royal Sussex, Provincial team and visitors, about 80 in all.

The Chapter was opened at 3:00pm by Comps of Royal Sussex.The dispensation was read, minutes confirmed and other Chapter business completed. It was then called off. The ladies and visitors were then seated inside the magnificent chapter room at 3:45pm. The First Principal welcomed all the ladies and guests and outlined what was planned for the afternoon. MEGS was announced by E Comp Chris Moore, PrGDC, who was then paraded in with the Provincial Team before being proffered the Sceptre by E Comp Richard Ellis, MEZ, with suitable words of greeting, which on this occasion MEGS retained it and the Provincial Team then took their seats replacing the Royal Sussex Officers.

MEGS then gave an explanation of why this meeting could not be classed as a Bi-centenary celebration as there was not continual records of the Chapter retained by Supreme Grand Chapter, but it was considered that the Province of Somerset should mark this historic occasion. The opening hymn, ‘Oh Worship the King’, was then sung followed by Comp Michael Bowyer who read the Charter of Constitution, as re-issued in 1857, as the records from 1818 to 1857 were lost. Next E Comp Mervyn Small read the Minutes of the October meeting of 1857.

The next hymn sung, ‘Glorious things of Thee are spoken’ was sung, then Comp Bernard Couzens read the Centenary Charter. E Comp John Nicholson then read the Minutes of the Centenary Convocation followed by the 3rd Provincial Grand Principal giving a brief and at times humorous history of Royal Sussex. Next on the list was the reading of the 200th Anniversary Charter by E Comp Tony Beaumont, Provincial Scribe E. The third hymn, ‘Immortal invisible’, was sung.

The Principals and the members of Royal Sussex Chapter were assembled in the East and MEZ thanked the MEGS which was followed by a prayer, then observations by E Comp Alan Holton, DGS, and E Comp Clive Lambert, 2nd Provincial Grand Principal, and a further prayer by MEGS. The 200th Anniversary Charter was then presented to MEZ who suitably responded. The Patriarchal Benediction followed and the final hymn, ‘God of Abram Praise’, was sung.

The MEZ then received his Sceptre back from MEGS and resumed his chair. Officers of Royal Sussex were then returned to their respective seats and the National Anthem was sung. The Provincial Team then withdrew followed by the ladies and the Chapter was then closed.

A wine reception was then held and much discussion was had before moving upstairs for the Festive Board where, all were served a delicious three course meal followed by coffee. Unfortunately, Comp Jason Leake, Royal Sussex’s Principal Sojourner, was taken ill and an ambulance was called. As a consequence he was taken to RUH and has been diagnosed with having had a heart attack, stents have been fitted and we wish him a speedy recovery.

Having had a most informative and friendly evening Companions and ladies wended their way home commenting on what a wonderful time had been had by all.

E Comp Adrian Halliwell
Provincial Calderley Liaison Officer

Provincial Team Visit to Royal Sussex

The Provincial Team visited Royal Sussex Chapter in Bath on Monday 20th March to perform a Demonstration Exaltation Ceremony. There were 19 members of the Team plus a replacement Principal Sojourner, E Comp John Giblin, who stood in at the last moment.

backMEZ Richard Ellis opened the Chapter with nine members and one guest from Monmouthshire, the minutes of the previous meeting were confirmed and E Comp Chris Moore, PrGDC, requested admission. The Provincial Team then escorted E Comp D John Bennett, ME Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of Somerset, into the Chapter where he was greeted by MEZ and proffered the Sceptre, which on this occasion he accepted. The Provincial Team took up their respective offices and the ceremony was commenced. Comp Bernie Couzens acted as the Candidate and the ceremony progressed. As this was a demonstration the candidate was not hoodwinked and lights were left on.
The Provincial Grand Principles, J and H, took their respective parts and Deputy Grand Superintendent, E Comp Barry Woodside read the prayers and information given to the candidate when he was outside the door of the Chapter.

The Sojourners with the Candidate

The Symbolical and Mystical Lectures were given, the former in the Catechistical format and the later in three parts by E Comps Alan Holton, Chris Moore and Bob Moore.

John and Richard
MEGS returns Sceptre to MEZ Richard Ellis
Provincial Grand Principals and Principals of Royal Sussex: E Comps Barry Woodside, Maldwyn Davies, Alan Jones, Richard Ellis, John Bennett, Clive Lambert and Frank Silver
Provincial Grand Principals with Comp Bernie Couzens, volunteer Candidate

At the completion of demonstration MEGS thanked Comp Barrie for acting as the candidate and, as is customary by MEGS, presented Barrie with a lapel badge and cuff-links. MEGS then asked for the Officers of the Chapter to be returned to their respective chairs and thanked E Comp Richard Ellis for allowing the Team to conduct the ceremony.

The Provincial Team then retired from the Chapter leaving the members of Royal Sussex to complete the Risings and Closing the Chapter.

Everyone then retired upstairs for a very enjoyable Mini Fish and Chips Starter, followed by Chicken Curry and finishing off with a very tasty Cheese Board.

Dining Comp
Enjoying the Festive Board – Cheers

50 Year Certificate in Royal Sussex

Victor John Henry Oliver was Exalted into Royal Sussex Chapter on the 16th April 1962. He had been made 1st Principal of the Chapter in 1975. In 1978 he was appointed Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. From 1988 to 2004 he served as the Chapter’s Treasurer also from 1998 to 2008 he covered the post of Almoner. Province promoted him to Past Provincial Grand Registrar in 1990. In 2006 he had served another year as Treasurer. Mervyn Small and I visited him to present his 50 year certificate as is shown in this picture.