At the recent Provincial Chapter meeting the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, E Comp Barry Woodside, gave a very generous gift to the Provincial Grand Master, Comp David Medlock, towards the 2020 Festival. Following this action the Provincial Charity Steward, W Bro David Maddern, sent a letter expressing the gratitude of the Provincial Grand Lodge. To read the letter follow this link.
Well done to all who have contributed to this donation and those Chapters mentioned in the letter.
This year the dinner was changed to a Sunday Lunch and moved to the Batch House, Lympsham. It also moved the date to avoid the Half Term rush home from holidays. This change proved most satisfactory as it made getting to the venue much easier, though some only made it just in time for the luncheon.
After the superb food MEGS, E Comp Barry Woodside, proposed the Loyal Toast and followed by welcoming all the new Officers Installed at last month’s Annual Convocation, as well as the Officers that were reappointed. He also thanked E Comp David Parslow and his wife for their hard work in organising the event.
Thursday 16th May 2019 saw cars wending their way from all directions through winding country lanes to get to the Webbington Country Club and Spa, Loxton, where Somerset Royal Arch Annual Convocation was being held.
Arriving just after noon I found a variety of other early arrivals gathering in the reception area and on the decking outside. Bar snacks were ordered, to help the beers and spirits down, so that they would be able to get through the afternoon’s meeting ready for the evening meal. Fish finger sandwiches accompanied by chips seemed to be this year’s favourite.
Meanwhile, in the main hall, a temple had been laid out with furniture transported in from Bridgwater, by E Comp John Griffin’s team, where a variety of rehearsals were being made and the Provincial Scribe E and Registrar booked in those who were to receive first appointments and promotions and checked their papers for the meeting. Those who were to be active officers were instructed to don their regalia and report to the photographer on the end patio to have their mug shots taken and recorded.
Eventually, just after 3.00pm, the processions of Grand Officers and other Dignitaries were formed up and taken into their appropriate seats. Procession 3 was a very short one with a very important visitor, the ME
Comp Gareth Jones Third Grand Principal. Later in the meeting M E Comp Barry Woodside, Somerset’s Grand Superintendent, observed that as M E Comp Gareth had been unable to attend his Investiture the previous year it was a great pleasure to see him at this convocation.
The meeting proceeded smoothly as such gatherings do. M E Comp Barry Woodside gave a quite long and very personal welcome to all the Dignitaries in attendance. The main business of the afternoon being the appointment of the new team and other appointments and promotions was carried out very smoothly much to the pleasure, I’m sure, of the Provincial DC, who I know had been extremely concerned that all should run without problems. The only minor hiccup was late on when the Provincial Scribe E lost his place with the list and re-announced a name that had gone through two previously. None of us are perfect!
Under AOB the MEGS commanded his DC to bring the Somerset PGM, W Bro David Medlock, forward. He then presented him with a large cheque from the Royal Arch to add to the Province’s 2020 Appeal. He also intimated that he hoped to give an even greater sum in the final year. The Chapter’s final business was then completed and the Provincial Chapter closed in due form.
At this point I had to make a rapid departure with my son-in-law as we had to get back to Sidmouth for a regular meeting of Perseverance Chapter. Traffic delays getting onto the motorway and then tractors from Taunton Racecourse through Corfe and up onto the Blackdowns delayed us somewhat but we arrived just in time for the main business of the evening. I’m therefore unable to report on proceedings during the evening meal at Loxton but am assured by an authoritative source that it all went very well. I close with two pictures provided by Bro William Allen of the Third Grand Principal with the MEGS.
Arthur W Rowe PAGDC
Postscript: Thanks to Arthur for his report above and here are some more bits and bobs from the day:
At 0900 the Provincial Team, assembled for the rehearsal under the guidance of E Comp Chris Moore, PrGDC, which was brought forward so that the Provincial Executive could have a meeting with the Third Grand Principal, ME Comp Gareth Jones OBE at 1100 in the Library.This meeting went well and involved looking at Somerset’s plans for the future and ways to recruit more Masons into the HRA, which is the natural next step for all Masons to complete their Third Degree.
After a brief respite the Team had a further rehearsal with 3rd Grand Principal M E Companion Gareth Jones OBE and his acting DC, E Comp Mark Hall.
At 1530 the Chapter was opened by MEGS, E Comp Barry K Woodside, then the Third Grand Principal, ME Comp Gareth Jones, was welcomed, accompanied by Grand Superintendents of other Provinces.
The Chapter was then presented with the Somerset Sceptre by MEZ of the Tyntesfield Chapter, E Comp Dale Sherman, which was to be passed on to the Parrett and Axe Chapter later in the ceremony to start another circuit of the Province.
The roll call of the Chapters of the Province was called with the usual responses of the Chapter’s members, followed by a report of the Grand Officers in attendance. The Minutes of the last Annual Convocation were confirmed and the adoption of the Accounts were also passed.
Grand Scribe Ezra then gave his report, click here to view it, after which the Treasurer , E comp Terry Hayes, was re-elected with the Account Examiner.
MEGS then re-appointed E Comp Clive Lambert as Deputy GS, E Comp Ray Beckingham as 2nd Pr G Principal, then he appointed, obligated and invested E Comp David Dixon as 3rd Pr G Principal. E Comp Barry then appointed and invested his Provincial Team and then those receiving honours for the first time and those being promoted.
MEGS rose to address the Companions, click here to view. He then presented the Somerset Sceptre to E Comp Steve Ablon MEZ of Parrett and Axe Chapter for onward delivery to Royal Cyrus Chapter on 26th June.
The Provincial Convocation was closed in peace and harmony followed by the first two verses of the National Anthem. The Companions then took a break before being seated at 1745 ready for the festive board.
At the Festive Board toasts were given to the Queen and Royal Arch and also the First Grand Principal followed by the ME 3rd Grand Principal proposed the toast to Barry, MEGS, who responded to it and presented ME Comp Gareth Jones with a bag of goodies including a bottle of Somerset Cider Brandy.
The companions having wined and dined made there way home, both near and far and no doubt talking about the wonderful Convocation.
Tyntesfield Chapter were honoured by the visit of Somerset Provincial Team in May to make it a very special evening for the latest Somerset Companion Bro Tom Francis of Wraxall Lodge.
Before the Provincial Team made their entrance, a deputation from Royal Cumberland Chapter No 41 presented the Travelling Sceptre in a very competent manner, which will be passed on the following week to the MEGS at the Provincial AGM.
*stock photo for illustration purposes only*
There followed a report on the door and E Comp Tony Cooper Pr Dep GDC advised that E Comp Barry K Woodside, MEGS, accompanied by his Team, demanded admission. The Provincial Team was processed into the Chapter and MEGS was warmly welcomed by E Comp Dale Sherman, MEZ, who proffered his Sceptre which was retained and the MEGS took the chair, the Provincial team then took the places of the Chapter Officers.
Main item of the evening was to Exalt Bro Tom Francis. With MEGS calmly steering his Team through the ceremony, ably assisted by E Comp Ray Beckingham, 2nd Pr Principal, as H and E Comp Neil Hurcum, 3rd Pr Principal, as J. E Comp Clive Lambert, Dep GS, read the Prayers, Readings and narrated what the Janitor was explaining outside the door to Bro Tom, which added more meaning to the 60 or more Companions within the Chapter. E Comp Darrell Hinder, Pr Prin G Soj, was ably assisted by Pr Asst G Sojs E Comp John Pinder and Stand-in E Comp Geoff Lester guiding Comp Tom around the chapter and through his ceremony of being exalted.
E Comp Neil Hurcum, 3rd Pr Principal, gave an explanation of the signs, whilst the Mystical Lecture was given by E Comp Ray Conneely, Pr Dep G DC, E Comp Chris Moore, Pr G DC, and E Comp Andy Gray, Pr Archivist. On completion of the Exaltation MEGS presented Comp Tom with a set of cuff links only given to Companions Exalted by the Provincial Team, these are similar to the Provincial crest but with the Grand Superintendent’s crest in the centre. The constant smile of Comp Tom was commented upon and he was led to a seat in the Chapter.
The MEGS then returned the Sceptre to MEZ and the Chapter Officers were reinstated. MEZ, E Comp Dale Sherman, thanked MEGS and the Team for a wonderful ceremony.
E Comp Neil Hurcum, 3rd Pr G Prin, was then called upon to present Grand Chapter Certificates to Comps Colin Fraser and Jon Trott.
The Provincial team then took their leave from the Chapter whilst other Chapter matters were considered.
An excellent and merry festive board was then enjoyed by the Companions.
The Provincial Team left Tyntesfield Chapter in good heart and in a healthy position with two more candidates proposed and to be exalted in December 2019 and February 2020.
* a huge thanks to E Comp Ian Disdel for help with the words and who is who *
Now for my bit from the heart, I have said before I am the Calderley Liaison Officer for our Chapter as well as the ADC, my good friend and mentor who I look up to, E Comp Ian Disdel, emailed me a couple of days before asking if I could stand in as DC, YIKES I had never done that before and only doing the job as ADC once I felt a bit out of my depth, as always if asked I will do anything to help and to the best of my ability, thus I agreed to take on the DC role for one night only, my good friend E Comp Richard Reeves who is our DC was called away on other Provincial Masonic Business so was unable to take post on this convocation.
Blimey no pressure on me then, I had to fill Richard’s big boots and the Provincial Team were coming too, Ian reassured me all would be OK with a bit of polishing off at rehearsal, he would be there to make sure I was pointed in the right direction. Ian is a good mentor to have as an ex DC who was quite simply marvellous at the job as is Richard, we had the rehearsal the night before and all went well, I went home literally in a dream all night of what lay ahead, even waking up saying in my confident manor, TO ORDER COMPANIONS not to order Brethren as I kept having to remind myself, you may laugh but I wanted to do a good job not only for myself but also my chapter and our team, especially in front of the Provincial Team.
I must say the meeting was first class, my heart beating like a marching band of the Kings Men going into battle, all of our team did a brilliant job and pulled our part of the ceremony off first class.
What can I say about the Provincial Team, sheer poetry in motion that was a pleasure, nay honour, to watch, like watching a well oiled machine. Comp Tom’s face was a picture to behold at that certain part of the ceremony when he could see clearly what was happening, it made it all come flooding back to when I was raised and looked on in amazement in a state of pride and confusion, but all has become clear since.
The festive board for me was really Jolly as DC (for one night only) I got to sit on the top table, WOW what an experience that was, I watched as these E Comps had a jolly time and I had learnt so much already, Ian helped me to call for the fire and indeed several other parts of what happens at the festive board too, I even got to do The Janitors Toast, a job I know well as I was the Tyler for my craft lodge for 4 years. All in all a truly amazing evening that I loved being part of so much even though my heart rate was through the roof.
I truly can’t urge all MM and above enough to join a Royal Arch Chapter, the ceremonies are something to behold, the camaraderie and friendliness of the order is second to none, so why not complete your Masonic Circle instead of having a piece missing, I promise you will thank me if you do.
Lastly before I finish this, I must send a massive thank you to Comp Ken Hill from our Royal Arch Chapter Tyntesfield 4494, he kindly donated us a cheque for £50 this will go such a long way, when I say us I mean my branch that I am The Chairman of The Somerset Branch of The Masonic Fishing Charity, the charity is totally funded and run by freemasonry although it is an outside charity, we at the Somerset Branch that I head up need all the help we can get to help OUR kids or adults here in Somerset who have special needs, take a look at the website for YOU may be able to help more than you think. www.mtsfc.org
The Provincial Team joined together to perform an Exaltation for the Chapter of Brotherly Love in Yeovil. Unusually the Team were in the Chapter for the opening as 329 have a unique way of opening their convocation. E Comp Derek Marpole opened the Chapter and then greeted MEGS, E Comp Barry Woodside, proffered him the Sceptre which was returned for a short while. The other agenda items were covered and a ballot was taken for Bro Daniel Burnell, a member of the Lodge of Science No 437, as a candidate for Exaltation.
The ballot proved clear, thank goodness and the Provincial DC, E Comp Chris Moore, then presented MEGS to MEZ who then took the Sceptre. His next duty was to call for PrDC to present to him E Comps Norman and Ken Crang. The shocked Companions were then presented with the MEGS Award for their exemplary commitment to not only 329 but also the Province of Somerset, giving a brief history of their life in HRA.
E Comp Clive Lambert then took over Z’s office, E Comp Ray Beckingham as H and E Comp Neil Hurcum as J. The other Provincial Officers took their respective seats and E Comp Clive announced the next item on the Agenda to Exalt Bro David Burnell.
The Prov Prin Soj, E Comp Darryl Hinder, then retired to entrust Daniel and returned having done so. E Comp Andy Clapp, acting Prov Janitor, then announced to E Comp Tony Guthrie, Prov Scribe N, that Bro David was prepared and E Comp Alan Perks, Prov 2nd Ass Soj, brought David in. The Ceremony then proceeded with Prov 2nd Principal leading the first part. After the candidate took his Obligation he retired and was reintroduced with E Comp Darryl taking the lead. On the next entry E Comp Doug Stembridge, 1st Ass Soj, took over from Darryl.
E Comp Neil Hurcum gave the Signs followed by the Mystical Lecture which was presented by E Comps Roger Reina, Tony Cooper and Adrian Halliwell.
Comp Daniel was then presented with the MEGS’s special Cuff Links which he gives only to those Companions who are Exalted by the Provincial Team. On the completion of which the Officers of 329 were returned to their rightful places with thanks given by MEZ to the Provincial Team on an excellent Ceremony and MEGS to allow the Team to undertake the Ceremony.
On the 2nd and 3rd Rising MEGS asked that as many members of 329 to attend the Annul Convocation to support their members be appointed/promoted to Provincial Rank. The Provincial Team assembled under the direction of PrDC and retired from the Chapter.
The Chapter was then closed in peace and harmony and all proceeded downstairs for the Festive Board.
The Calderley Chapter was attended by E Comp Barry Woodside, MEGS, who was attended by E Comps Tony Cooper, PrDGDC, and E Comp Alan McMurray, PrGStwd, acting as Standard Bearer. E Comp Barry was welcomed by MEZ, E Comp Richard Ellis, who presented him with the Sceptre which was returned with thanks. The Minutes of the last convocation having been circulated were approved and there were no matters arising.
A ballot was taken for Joining Members, E Comps Neil Hurcum,3rd Prov G Principal and Roger Reina, Prov G Registrar. The Ballot proved clear and they were welcomed into the Chapter.
The main event was announced and E Comp Richard Ellis Inducted his successor E Comp Keith Fisher, who then did likewise for E Comp Ray Beckingham as H, who then Inducted E Comp Matt Westley as J. E Comp Keith then Appointed and Invested His Officers for the coming year.
Next item on the Agenda was to proffer the Sceptre again to E Comp Barry Woodside who this time retained it and took the chair. Their several discussions in this period, a few are listed herein:
MEGS was disappointed that there were not more CLOs attending as only 9 CLOs were present which somewhat defeated the object of CLO’s duties to attend as Honorary Members.
Solomon was discussed and it was suggested that if the Chapters in the Province didn’t have a ceremony they may wish to give a presentation form Solomon’s website. Either contact E Comp Ray Beckingham or E Comp Maldwyn Davies. If there are good speakers in the Chapter’s they could do it. E Comp Neil Hurcum suggested that it would be nice if a couple of CLOs could give a nugget each from Solomon
Conversion from the Craft to HRA is not good as the rate is about 27% and HRA reps in the craft lodges are to be asked to encourage Brethren to complete the masonic journey by joining the Royal Arch.
E Comp Martin Slocombe gave a brief resume on the Grand Officers’ Mess which has fallen by the wayside. He stated that he had undertaken a questionnaire in the northern part of the Province and had received favourable comments for it to be resurrected under the new name of Somerset Grand Officers’ Forum. This would be open to all Craft and Chapter Grand Officers.
E Comp Barry then thanked all those who contributed to the lively debate and returned the Sceptre to E Comp Keith to conduct AOB, when the MEGS rose to give a Notice of Motion that at the next meeting he would be proposing Comp. David Medlock, the Provincial Grand Master Designate, as an Honorary member of the Chapter. This was followed by E Comp John Bennett who rose to give a Notice of Motion to propose E Comp David Dixon, 3rd Provincial Grand Principal Designate as a member of the Chapter.
The Chapter was closed and the companions proceeded down stairs to enjoy the Festive Board.
The Provincial Team were out in force for the Exaltation meeting at the Vale of Jehoshaphat Chapter at Burnham-on-sea on Friday 22nd February. Despite a two vehicle fire on the M5 which caused several of the team being late for rehearsal, the Chapter was opened in due form by E Comp Ted Toon, MEZ, assisted by E Comps Graham Puddy, H, and Peter Greenway, J, before E Comp Chris Moore, PrGDC, requested admission. He announced that E Comp Barry K Woodside, MEGS, accompanied by his Team demanded admission. The Team processed in and MEZ proffered the Sceptre to E Comp Barry which was gratefully taken on this occasion.
The Provincial Officers then replaced the Chapter Officers ready for the next item on the Agenda – to Exalt Bro Paul Vinecombe. With MEGS directing the Team, E Comp Ray Beckingham, Pr 2nd Principal as H and E Comp Neil Hurcum as J. E Comp Clive Lambert read the Prayers, Readings and narrated what the Janitor was explaining outside the door to Bro Paul, with the Prov Sojourners, undertaking their several parts, together with E Comp David Parslow standing in as Scribe N.
The Mystical Lecture was given by E Comp Ray Conneely, PrDGDC, E comp Chris Moore, PrGDC, and E Comp Adrian Halliwell, PrLiaison Officer. On completion of the Exaltation MEGS presented Comp Paul with a set of cuff links, similar to the Provincial crest but with the Grand Superintendents crest in the centre. MEGS is continuing that of his predecessor E Comp John Bennett.
The MEGS then returned the Sceptre to MEZ and the Chapter Officers were reinstated. MEZ, E Comp Ted Toon, thanked MEGS and the Team for a wonderful evening and thought that it was an excellent Exaltation which demonstrated how the work can be split between the Principals and The Sojourners, which The Chapter were considering for adoption.
The Provincial Team processed out after the Second Rising for the Festive Board, which ended quite late.
The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent E Comp Barry Woodside has much pleasure in announcing that at the Provincial Convocation on 16th May he will install E Comp David Dixon of Royal Cumberland Chapter No.41 as Provincial 3rd Grand Principal.
E Comp David was Exalted into Royal Cumberland in April 2007 passing through all the offices becoming MEZ in November 2014. He was made 1st Assistant Provincial Grand Sojourner in May 2015. He became a joining member of Somerset 1st Principals in June that year.
We wish David all the best for the forthcoming year.
When you have spent many months organising a weekend in North Devon the last thing you want is a forecast of snow but this was the news that David Parslow, the Provincial Events Organiser, woke to on Thursday 31st January 2019 and the forecasters were right as on Friday morning the West Country received a fairly substantial coating of snow. Before long many telephone calls were being made, however the Durrant House Hotel confirmed that there was no snow in Bideford. Many people decided to leave a little later although by mid-morning the M5, A361 and the A39 were all passable with ease although a few people, those who lived in the more remote areas of Somerset, were stuck at home and would have to leave travelling until Saturday as they would have to be dug out from their homes and drives.
By 6pm on Friday most of those attending had checked in and the bars were beginning to fill. A ‘help yourself’ Buffet Supper was served at 7pm and, as usual, proved to be a wonderful selection of food. Following this the Ballroom was cleared and ‘Johnny’ the resident DJ took over and a very enjoyable evening was had by all.
Saturday is always a free day and although it was cold, it was a bright day and it is always surprising where people manage to travel on that day. However by late afternoon all were back at the hotel and getting ready for the main event on Saturday evening.
The evening commenced with the usual reception in the Sir Richard Bar and, due to the fact that the Grand Superintendent was on holiday, the event was hosted by the Deputy Grand Superintendent, Clive Lambert. This event really sets the scene for the evening and enables all Companions and their wives or partners to enjoy renewing friendships. Following this all Companions made their way to the Venetian Dining Room, where the Gala Dinner was to be held. The 2nd and 3rd Provincial Principals and their Ladies were welcomed into the Venetian Room by all those present and they were followed by the Deputy Grand Superintendent, E Companion Clive Lambert and Penny and after Grace, delivered by the 3rd Provincial Grand Principal the guest enjoyed a superb Dinner. After the Loyal Toast, the Toast to the Ladies was proposed by E Comp Alan Holton, the Past Deputy Grand Superintendent, whose humour and sincerity was much appreciated by all present.
A very touching reply to the Toast was given by Penny Fahe during which she thanked, on behalf of all the Ladies, the Province for organising a wonderful weekend. The formal part of the evening ended with the Deputy Grand Superintendent reading an Email from the Grand Superintendent wishing all those attending a very pleasant evening. The Deputy Grand Superintendent also thanked E Comp Graham Glazier and the Province of Dorset for their continued support. Dinner was followed by dancing with music again provided by ‘Freeway’.
Sunday morning was bright and dry and after breakfast all guest prepared to leave North Devon, many already looking forward to next year. 2020 will mark the 25th Anniversary of the first Provincial Grand Chapter Weekend held at the Rainbow Hotel Torquay in 1995.
If you are one of those Companions that have attended every Provincial Weekend since 1995 and intend to be at Bideford in 2020, E Comp David Parslow would like to hear from you, please contact him you might be in for a surprise.
If you wish to help us celebrate the 25th Anniversary please book in early.
With thanks for the Report by E Comp John Bennett, PGS