Provincial Grand Lodge of Somerset Provincial Grand Chapter of Somerset
Dear Brethren and Companions,
We are delighted to advise that we have recently met in order to rekindle our past and most cordial acquaintance and to demonstrate our commitment and total support of each other in all aspects that relate to the Craft and Pure Antient Masonry in the Province of Somerset.
Our aim is to continue to build upon the enormous achievements of our predecessors and to encourage and support greater interaction between the Craft and the Holy Royal Arch. The Royal Arch as you are all well aware completes the Craft degrees, and between us we aim to deliver that message throughout Somerset and beyond. Increased interest and membership in the Craft will be our key aims in achieving these objectives.
Finally, we would like take this opportunity to thank you all for your encouragement and good wishes and we very much look forward to your continued support and enthusiasm for both the Craft and the Royal Arch. We furthermore pledge our commitment to support you all by continuing to develop the interests of freemasonry in Somerset.
Yours sincerely and fraternally
David J Medlock Barry K Woodside
Provincial Grand Master Designate Grand Superintendent
Many Somerset Companions are very familiar with the working of Somersetshire Chapter No 2925 which meets at Mark Masons Hall and many have also enjoyed the hospitality extended to Somerset in November when the Provincial Team visits the Chapter. I have visited Somersetshire Chapter on many occasions and together with Companions from Somerset and London was instrumental in forming the strong bond that now exists between us. Due to pressure of being Grand Superintendent it has never been possible for me to visit the Chapter other than at the November Convocation however the year I was able to attend the Installation Convocation held on Tuesday 8th January 2019.
I was staying in London overnight as I had a meeting at Freemasons’ Hall the following day and after travelling to London and checking into my hotel it was a quick tube journey to St James and Mark Masons’ Hall. I was aware that there was a problem at Mark Masons’ Hall as a sewer in the road had collapsed and the authorities had restricted the use of the building which meant that all catering was suspended. The Chapter was faced with finding a suitable alternative. On arrival at Mark Masons’ Hall I was faced with traffic chaos and a noticed stating that there were ‘Deep Excavations’.
The Convocation was attended by 12 Companions, quite good for London, and I have already been asked to stand in as Haggai, which I was pleased to accept. I was also able to present the Address to the Principals on this occasion. Dinner had been booked at The Institute of Directors in Pall Mall. The Institute of Directors occupy the Grade I listed 116 Pall Mall in London, which is open to members and has rooms and function suites available for commercial hire. The building is owned by the Crown Estate, along with the large collection of artwork that decorates the rooms. Until 1978, the building was run by the United Services Club. The building was designed by John Nash, the 19th-century architect who also designed the Brighton Pavilion and Marble Arch, and constructed between 1826-28.
The Chapter dined in the magnificent Nash Dining Room and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all that attended. We all departed at 9pm as most had to travel long distances home., the Past 1st Principal to Northallerton in Yorkshire, the 1st Principal to Middle Rasen in Lincolnshire and the 3rd Principal to Crayford in Kent.
The Chapter owes a great dept to the Scribe Ezra, Gerry Chilcott for the vast amount of work that he does to ensure the Chapter works so well with the membership so wide spread and it was through his good offices that we dined in such wonderful surroundings.
The Chapter is looking forward to the visit from Somerset Provincial Grand Chapter in November next, but I urge any Companion that are in London on a day when Somersetshire hold a Convocation to make every effort to attend and support the Somerset Chapter in London.
On a chilly 9th January evening 6 Companions from Wrington Vale Chapter made their way to Taunton to deliver the Somerset Sceptre to the Chapter of Sincerity, namely E Comp I Angell(MEZ), E Comp R Beckingham Second Provincial Grand Principal, E Comp, P Henley, E Comp M Golding, Comp D Golding and of course myself. Also present was E Comp Barry K. Woodside, Most Excellent Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of Somerset. The MEGS was accompanied by a number of Active Provincial Officers including E Comp C Moore, The Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies. So really no place to hide. We all met up in the robing room casually chatting when MEZ asked the question who has the Sceptre I believe the reply was you do! to which he gave a negative reply, the last time he saw it was when it was presented to E Comp D Weatherill prior to Decembers installation. Scribe E could not be contacted, so advice was sought and we were told last time this happened a block of wood was used! Diligent search was made for said block of wood to no avail then a more frantic search for a suitable replacement was made the best we could come up with was a hammer, not really suitable as MEZ might take the easy way out and knock himself unconscious with it. So after MEGS and the Provincial team entered the Temple,we processed in and Ian did a very good job of “figuratively” presenting the Somerset Sceptre to The Chapter of Sincerity, which was received with smiles all round.
To the members of Wrington Vale I would recommend a visit to The Chapter of Sincerity as their ritual is very different to ours and interesting to witness, of course it was no help to Ian in preparing for February’s meeting. As to the location of miscreant Sceptre many helpful suggestions were banded around, the boot of Ian’s car or maybe Mrs Angell has found it thinking it was a present and is now proudly displaying it on a shelf at home and other such useful comments. However we strongly believe a very enthusiastic Companion when packing up after Decembers meeting has put it in the cupboard at Yatton(hopefully).
Wednesday 14th March 2018 was a very special day for Chapter of Sincerity No 261 – the celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Chapter’s foundation in 1818.
The Principals and Companions of the Chapter were honoured by Supreme Grand Chapter attending mob-handed, when The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, Excellent Companion D John Bennett, was accompanied by the entire Provincial Team. Our Dining Steward was very busy beforehand!
The Principals opened the Chapter with traditional 261 workings (as ever, an opening not seen by many visitors) and when Z, H and J proffered their Sceptres in deference, all were retained and MEGS with his team conducted the rest of the ceremony. Our first reading was from Excellent Companion Chris Partridge (J) who read the Minutes of the Chapter’s first Convocation (as Chapter No 497) held on 22nd December 1818.
At this first meeting, W Bro Aaron Smetham was Exalted, whilst Bros Henry Townsend and James Billet Passed the Chair in due form, after which they too were Exalted. For those who don’t know, at that time to be Exalted into a Chapter, a Brother must have been a Master in a Craft Lodge. If he had not been a Master, then he was conducted through a ceremony of “Passing the Chair” and could then be Exalted.
Further readings included the Minutes of the Centenary meeting in 1918 and the words of the Centenary Charter, including permission for the 25 subscribing Companions to wear a Centenary Jewel. We can account for three, leaving some 22 still to be found!
Following the readings, E Companions David Hartley & John Winston gave a brief history of the Chapter from 1818 to the present day, including background to the Chapter’s role in the creation of Provincial Grand Chapter of Somerset in 1880.
Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra then read the words upon our new and very decorative 200th Anniversary Charter, soon to be hung at Taunton Masonic Hall.
There then followed the rededication of the Chapter, with E Comp Charlie Barker (Z) declaring to MEGS that the Chapter of Sincerity No 261, having achieved 200 years of service in this Royal Arch Province of Somerset, desired on this special occasion to rededicate the Chapter to continued service.
E Companion David Parslow gave an entertaining Oration, pointing out much that had happened on 22nd December. DID YOU KNOW – the birthday of Maurice and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees in 1949!
After the ceremony, a wonderful Festive Board was held with 90 Diners, based loosely on a Masonic menu from 1918. (Though the 3/6d dining fee could not be repeated!). In researching the menu, the bar was noted as stocking a brand of Champagne still in production and after some sleuthing, 2 bottles were sourced and presented to E Comp D John Bennett, one to be passed on to E Comp Dennis Calderley, who sadly could not attend.
Finally, in commemoration, all those attending were presented with a specially-designed lapel pin, as well as cuff links, and E Comp Charlie presented the Chapter with a 200 year-old decanter and Port glasses to be used by the Principals at all future Festive Boards.
Well here I am back for my second attempt at writing our Chapter’s report, that’s me in the picture there in all my Royal Arch refinery. I have had a little trouble negotiating this website but we are getting there. I must send a huge thank you to E Companion David Parslow for all his help in getting me to this point, for if it were not for his help I would not be writing this now It was also great catching up with David at Tyntesfield Chapter 4494 meeting last week. Alas I am a rough ole country boy so tiz how I speak so bare with me as I often break into a broad West Country accent when I write or speak.
We had a wonderful meeting and as I was taking my new position as ADC, as well as my role as the Calderley Liaison Officer, it was a big nervous night for me too. The ceremony was first class and I slipped into my role quite well, I think, although I was guided by my good friend E Companion Richard Reeves who is our DC. Our three Principals did a brilliant job from open to close and guided us mere mortals most excellently (hope you like the pun) in the ceremony and at the festive board.
E. Companion Ray Beckingham, 2nd Provincial Grand Principal, gave us a presentation all about the history up to present day of Royal Arch Freemasonry. I must say I personally really enjoyed the presentation, as did all of our companions, I know I took away a better understanding of what it is we do at Royal Arch. I must send a massive thank you to E. Companion Ray Beckingham for this presentation from myself, our Principals and the rest of the Tyntesfield 4494 Companions. Please come back again soon and give us another presentation, I did not call it a lecture or anything else either (chuckle) as Ray told me all about Solomon and that we must now call it a Presentation not a lecture or anything else. I urge you all to check Solomon out, there is a great article all about it in Freemasonry Today Magazine, look inside the magazine that comes through your door or click on this link for the latest edition https://www.freemasonrytoday.com/magazine , or contact your Province for a direct link, etc.
The Festive Board, what can I say, it was such a jolly affair with Companions from all over coming to visit. I know we say it at every Lodge or Chapter in the visitors toast, but visiting other Chapters really is the life blood of Freemasonry. For me I learn so much see so many different ceremonies performed with little tweaks of their own with each Chapter and always learn something new that I did not know. I met up with so many old friends and made so many new ones. the festive board for me is such a huge delight and fills my heart with such joy.
One such visitor to our Royal Arch Chapter this time was E. Companion D. John Bennett, Past Grand Superintendent, a man I have truly learned to look up too, for he has inspired me to try harder and learn more about Freemasonry in general but to educate myself well in The Royal Arch. He is such an inspiration and a truly a great guy, I personally wish to thank him for all he has done for Royal Arch Masonry and thank him for inspiring me as well as many others to do better, I hope I can call on you and your experience in the future, as there are a thousand and one questions I still have.
Another visitor was my guest that I invited, E Companion Barry Jones and fellow Calderley Liaison officer for his Chapter, we had such a wonderful catch up with old friends on our table and new ones. I am not sure which table was the most jolly in our Chapter this evening, I am sure our’s was right up there when it came to the toasts/singing and Christmas Carols.
I would whole hardheartedly urge all Craft Master Masons out there to seriously consider Royal Arch Freemasonry (Chapter) before joining any other degrees, thus complete the proper journey fill the fourth part of your circle, you can thank me later and if you’re not sure how to join drop your Craft Lodges Royal Arch representative a line or your secretary will know who that is, or drop me a line and I will do my very best to point you in the right direction.
All that’s left to say is to lock up our secrets and wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.
From The Principals, Officers and Companions of the awesome Tyntesfield 4494 Royal Arch Chapter meeting in the Temple here in Somersetshire.
Complete the journey.
Master Masons contact me directly if you have trouble finding out how to join Royal Arch Freemasonry.
Companions last night we held the installation of E Comp Ian Angell as 1st Principal of the Chapter and we were honoured with the presence of E Comp Barry. K. Woodside, The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of Somerset, accompanied by E Comp Geof J Lester, Past Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, E Comp D Smith, Provincial Grand Standard Bearer and E Comp P.J. Harris Provincial Grand Steward. With a delegation from The Chapter of Perpetual Friendship no 135 to present the Somerset Sceptre, as it was MEGS first visit to our Chapter really not a meeting to be missed but we only managed 25 in the Temple.
Numbers aside E Comp David Weatherill the out going 1st Principal installed his successor with his well polished and near faultless ritual (I can say that as I was IPZ with the book). Ian took the centre chair and I suspect first night nerves got the better of him as he had a bit of a shaky start which was transmitted to H, E Comp John Vowels but all credit to them they pulled it together, J, E Comp Gary Sharp sat there oblivious (next time, he has the Historical lecture to do!). Once they got themselves under control they finished off the rest of the work very competently. Well done.
Companions once you take that middle chair the realisation dawns on you that everyone is looking at you and hanging on your next word. With MEGS looking at you along with the 2nd and 3rd Provincial Grand Principals there is a touch or two of pressure. Of which I can whole heartedly understand as the WM of Hallam Lodge of Mark Master Masons at my last ceremony of Advancement the Assistant Grand Master was with us on a private visit, along with The Provincial Grand Master for Somerset, The Deputy Provincial Grand Master for Somerset, PGM for Monmouthshire, PPGM for Monmouthshire, a number of Grand Officers and Active Provincial Grand Officers. I could feel Ian’s pain. As they say we got there in the end with excellent performances from the supporting Companions as well. The evening was topped off with an nontraditional Christmas dinner! Thanks to our very charming Treasurer and Catering Officer E Comp David Bussell, but it tasted good. My rather pleasant evening was rounded off with me winning the rather good quality bottle of Whiskey in the raffle. All in all we had a good night and to those absent Companions, we missed you.
Dates for your dairy: 9th January 2019 – we are taking The Somerset Sceptre to The Chapter of Sincerity 261 at Taunton so come on Companions support Ian on his first trip out as 1st Principal. Also the second Monday in February, which is our next meeting when our new team will be preforming an Exaltation, also don’t forget the Chapter weekend in Bideford (contact Scribe E). The next couple of years looks good for Wrington Vale we have three confirmed candidates and one doing the paperwork. I almost forgot during the risings The MEGS announced that I was receiving at the May Provincial meeting first appointment as Provincial Grand Steward which makes me feel very proud and humbled at the same time and I am looking forward to it, also it is another honour to Wrington Vale Chapter. Companions have a very Happy Christmas and hopefully a successful New Year, see you all soon.
This year is proving to be another successful year and an exciting period of change in The Royal Arch in Somerset. I would like to thank each and everyone of you for your hard work, commitment and support throughout. We have a wonderful family atmosphere within the Royal Arch and I know it’s something that we all treasure and will continue to nurture long into the future.
It is also that time of the year when we shall all be celebrating Christmas in various ways; Peggy and I would like to wish you all a very Happy & Peaceful Christmas and a Healthy and Wonderful New Year.
Yours sincerely and fraternally
Taunton Deane Chapter held the December Convocation on Tuesday 4th December. The Chapter was honoured by the presence of the Deputy Grand Superintendent E. Comp. Clive Lambert escorted by E. Comp. Chris Moore Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies. Also in attendance was E. Comp. D. John Bennett Past Grand Superintendent.
E. Comp. Roger Seaton welcomed E. Comp. Clive to the Chapter and proffered the sceptre.
The Deputy Grand Superintendent knowing that the Chapter worked Aldersgate ritual was quick to hand the sceptre back
The Companions of the Chapter elected the Past Grand Superintendent as an honorary member and E. Comp. D. John Bennett thanked the Chapter for the honour.
The Principals gave a demonstration of Exaltation during which E. Comp. Peter Ashby gave the Mystical Lecture in its entirety.
The Chapter was closed in due form and the Companions retired for supper of Pate followed by Roast Pork which was enjoyed by all.
Our Installation meeting on 20th November 2018 was a very enjoyable occasion and we were honoured by the presence of Deputy Grand Superintendent E Comp Clive Lambert together with Provincial Standard Bearer E Comp David Smith. The evening went extremely well and our new Principals are looking forward to a busy and productive year ahead.
It was once again a very well attended meeting with about 24 Active Provincial Officers from both Devon and Somerset. Heading these were E Comps Simon Rowe MEGS Devon, and Barry Woodside, MEGS Somerset. It was sad to hear that E Comp Nick Male, MEZ, had a bereavement in the family that morning and was, understandably, unable to attend. At such short notice E Comp Rob Hendy was approached and with less than three hours notice, including travel, agreed to step in to the role.
The meeting was opened and E Comp Simon Rowe, with just a few of his team and Grand Officers processed in. He was proffered the Sceptre and rapidly returned it stating that he would need a little more time to swat up Z’s part. The meeting continued with a eulogy for Comp J D Crossman, a founder member, given by E Comp Bill Carnell. There followed the adoption of the minutes of September’s meeting and the adoption of the Chapter Accounts with thanks to the retiring Treasurer.
Next item on the agenda was the Installation of the three Principals. E Comp Andrew Kerslake took Scribe N’s post and Comp Richard Hill was presented to E Comp J and took his Obligation as J, E Comp Bill Carnell then took J’s chair and E Comp Chris Grubb was Obligated as H. Then E Comp Stanley Hopkins took H’s chair and E Comp Martyn Yates was Obligated as Z. The Chapter was then opened in the three Conclaves and the the three new Principals then Installed their team for the year.
The Chapter was closed and companions adjourned to the Festive Board which was a bit cosy with so many companions dining. There followed good food and company and a superb raffle and the meeting ended after 10:30pm.