Provincial Grand Lodge of Somerset

Provincial Grand Chapter of Somerset

Barry Davies – Head of Communications
Andy Wade –
Head of IT
Richard Dredge –
Head of Social Media
David Parslow –
Head of IT & Social Media for Royal Arch


Dear Brethren / Companion

One of Freemasonry’s core values is that of being non – political. This policy is absolutely clear at UGLE, Supreme Grand Chapter of England, and at Provincial level, HOWEVER, you as an individual share that responsibility.

When using Social Media it is essential to keep your political beliefs separate from your Masonic presence. We strongly advise you to take all steps necessary to ensure that you do not post your political beliefs on Masonic, shared or personal accounts.

Please bear in mind that this includes any of your original posts, plus likes and forwards. Please also be aware of liking or forwarding posts linked to group, pages, or organizations, as a post you ‘like’ may be linked to a group, page or organization with conflicting beliefs.

Such actions can bring Freemasonry into disrepute and threaten to undermine Freemasonry as a non-political Fraternity where men meet regardless of their religion, ethnicity or political beliefs.

If you have photographs of you wearing Masonic regalia, share Masonic content on your Social Media, or your profile and timeline content shows that you are a member of Freemasonry, it is easy for someone to confuse your personal beliefs with that of Freemasonry itself. Indeed this has already happened within the Craft.

Separate Social Media accounts for non-Masonic activities are easy to set up and we encourage you to do this in order to prevent any unfortunate conflicts of interest.

Sincerely & fraternally

Barry, Andy, Rich and David

3rd Grand Principal attends Inkerman Banner Dedication/Installation

The Chapter was opened in due form half an hour earlier than originally advertised but no was caught out, as everyone, well nearly everyone arrived very early. The numbers were 55 a very good turn out for a Chapter.

The Chapter was Honoured with the presence of  ME Third Grand Principal Most Excellent Comp Gareth Jones, OBE, as guest of honour and of course our very own, Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, in and over the Province of Somerset, E Comp Barry K Woodside, accompanied by the full works in the names of, Deputy Grand Superintendent, E Comp Clive A F Lambert, PGSwdB, The Second Provincial Grand Principal, E Comp Raymond F Beckingham, PAGSoj and Third Provincial Grand Principal, E Comp David J Dixon, together with the Provincial Team. Everything had been worked through with  E Comp Chris Moore, PrGDC, and E Comp Jim Mitchell, Grand Standard Bearer. MEGS entered the Chapter with his escort was greeted by the acting  ME, E Comp Harry Blinston who proffered the Sceptre and the MEGS at first returned it to Harry, who had a look of horror on his face! then MEGS realised that he was taking the chair and took it back.  The relief on Harry’s face was obvious, I suspect that Barry was having a bit of fun with Harry. The Second and Third Provincial Grand Principals occupied the chairs of H and J. The PrGDC then replaced the Chapter ScN, Soj’s and Jan with the PrScN, PrSoj’s and the acting PrJan (me).

E Comp Jim Mitchell, GDC (acting) with E Comp Chris Moore, PrGDC

There was a report on the the door that the Grand Standard Bearer requested admission, he was admitted and reported that The Third Grand Principal was outside the door and demanded admission. He was admitted, accompanied by Grand Officers, paid due homage to the alter, was greeted by the MEGS and proffered the Sceptre which he returned to MEGS with dignity and took his seat. The G Supt gave and explanation as to the purpose of tonight’s Banner dedication, being Inkerman Chapter’s 150th year celebration, then called upon their Acting Z who gave a short but detail explanation of Inkerman Chapter’s history and the  purpose of the meeting.

The Banner Deputation: L to R: Comp Lieutenant Col Ralph Howard, E Comps Julian Brown, J, Roger Brigland, H, and Harry Blinston

The PrGDC  formed the deputation of the three Chapter Principals and Comp Lieutenant Col Ralph Howard to conduct the Banner into the chapter which was done with the Companions in good voice. Acting Z then presented the Banner to MEGS it was collected by the PrGStdb, uncovered. MEGS conducted the ceremony of Dedicating the  the new Banner with companions again in good voice as it was paraded around the Chapter, assisted by the guest organist.  PrG J gave the Dedication prayer. MEGS then presented the banner to E Comp H Blinston. The ceremony was completed with an excellent and very interesting Oration by E Comp D Dixon 3rd PrG Principal where he expanded on the history of the Chapter and how it got its name from a battle in the Crimean War. The PrG J gave the  Patriarchal Benediction followed by a hymn. The Chapter Principals and Officers resumed their positions.

Then the rest of the Chapter business was conducted which was to Induct E Comp Syd Brailey as Z, as he was the oldest member of the Chapter (91) to celebrate the Chapter’s 150th year he was honoured with being the Chapter’s 1st Principal for the year, he assured all present that he did not attended the Chapter’s Consecration.

The Chapter was then closed in due form with the Third Grand Principal being escorted by the Provincial Grand Principals, the Chapter Principals and Grand Officers. It was a very good dedication ceremony which went smoothly and was enjoyed by all present. It was followed by a very good festive board which was conducted in good humour and harmony, finishing just after 2200hrs.

E Comp Barry Jones PrGStwd,
CLO Wrington Vale Chapter 1199.

More photographs will be added shortly

Calderley at Wedmore for September Meeting

Calderley returned to Wedmore for its Annual Visit and was reasonably well attended, however, there was a substitute in the ranks, namely E Comp Richard Ellis standing in for Ray Beckingham as H. MEZ E Comp Keith Fisher welcomed all and in particular E Comp Barry Woodside, MEGS, who was not offered the Sceptre, that comes later.

Those officers not present at the Installation were duly Invested, but because of the resignation of E Comp Alan Holton, for personal reasons, five Officers were shuffled around to form the team.

Following the Notice of Motion at the last meeting Comp David Medlock, PGM, and E Comp David Dixon, 3rd PrGPrincipal, were elected as Honorary  and Joining Members respectively.

The Three Principals for next year were declared: E Comp Ray Beckingham, MEZ; E Comp Matt Westley, H; and  E Comp Chris Summers as J. E Comp Chris Moore was also declared as Treasurer.

Scribe E and AssScribe E, E Comps Julian May and John Bennett

The Sceptre was then taken by MEGS who started by complimenting Scribe E and AssScribe E, E Comps Julian May and John Bennett, for their work in producing the Chapter’s Members Handbook. He then got on to the main discussion topic for the evening which was closer cooperation between the Craft and HRA.

E Comp Neil Hurcum, extreme right giving his talk

He introduced E Comp Neil Hurcum who would be undertaking this role.
Neil explained his role which was to: coordinate the HRA Reps, give them guidance, help and support; Fraternal visits by Supreme Grand Chapter Officers and members of the Executive.  Neil is acting with E Comp Martin Slocombe, AssPGM, to visit about 21 Lodges each year and have return visits approximately every 3 to 4 years. It was suggested that on the Second Rising the HRA Rep could give a Nugget from Solomon referencing the HRA, which is after all the completion of the Third Degree. The HRA Reps will be contacted to give details of the Chapter members in their Lodge.
Neil stated that the four “Es” are required:
Engage – with the Non Companions
Enthuse – that HRA is the completion of the Third Degree
Encourage – brethren to join
Enjoy – the HRA is a really happy and spectacular group
The HRA Toolkit will be ready soon with a revised letter to Master Masons when they receive their Grand Lodge Certificate. A letter to any MM that is not in HRA. A trifold leaflet which will be a useful tool to give out.

A note to all to try and bring brethren into the HRA as at present there are 65% who are not members, so that joining the HRA should not be the exception but the norm!

Remember the new Exaltee who on being restored to light just said “WOW”.

E Comps John Smith and Julian May receiving their Grand Superintendents Awards

MEGS thanked Neil and Martin for their delivery of the new initiate. He then called for E Comps John Smith and Julian May to be presented to him when he gave them the Grand Superintendent’s Award lapel pins, which replace the collarets that Grand Chapter had banned.

The next meeting of Calderley will be the Installation of E  Comp Ray Beckingham in March and will be at the Clevedon Masonic Hall.

On the Forth Rising E Comp John Bennett gave Notice of Motion that he will propose that two Past PGMs, E Comps Stanley Hopkins and David Jenkins be made Honorary Members.

The meeting then closed and companions headed downstairs to the Festive Board, where a superb meal was had.

Top Table with from L to R: E Comps Barry Woodside, MEGS, Richard Ellis, Acting H, Keith Fisher, MEZ, Matt Westley, J, and Clive Hennessy, DC
Happy bunch of companions, from L to R: E Comps Neil Hurcum, Tony Cooper, John Hawkins (head down eating), Martin Slocombe, Comp Bill Wilson, E Comps Geof Lester and David Parslow

2020 Festival Donation from Provincial Grand Chapter

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.

Provincial Officers’ Luncheon 2019

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.

Somerset Royal Arch Annual Convocation 2019.

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.

The Devon contingent
E Comps Alan Perks and Andy Clapp PrGTreas
Barry catching up
More Somerset Companions enjoying the lunch break

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.

E Comp David Dixon as 3rd PrGPrin and harassed PrGScrE Tony Beaumont sorting out the collar jewels
E Comps Tel Hayes, PrGTreas, Neil Hurcum, Pr3rdPrins, and Clive Lambert, DepGS, thirsty work at rehearsals.
W Bro William Allen behind the lens

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.

ME Comp Gareth Jones, 3rdGPrins, E Comps: Ray Beckingham, 2nd PrGPrins, Barry Woodside, MEGS, David Dixon 3rdPrGPrins and Clive Lambert, DepGS

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!

PGM David Medlock and Barry Woodside, MEGS

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.

ME Comp Gareth Jones with Barry Woodside, MEGS

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.

ME Comp Gareth Jones with his goody bag from MEGS

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.

Adrian Halliwell
Provincial Liaison Officer


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

Comp Ken Hill Of Tyntesfield 4494 presenting me with a cheque

Provincial Team visit Brotherly Love

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.

E Comps Norman Crang, MEGS and Ken Crang

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.

The Provincial Rulers taking the high chairs; E Comps Ray Beckingham, Clive Lambert and Neil Hurcum

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.

E Comps Doug Stembridge, Pr 1st Ass Soj, Darryl Hinder, Pr Prin Soj, Daniel and Alan Perks

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.

E Comps Ray Beckingham, 2nd Pr Prin, Clive Lambert, DGS, Barry Woodside, MEGS, Comp Daniel Burnell and Neil Hurcum, 3rd Pr Prin

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.


Supreme Grand Chapter Appointments 2019

At the Annual Investiture of the Supreme Grand Chapter of England to be
held at Freemasons’ Hall on Thursday 25th April 2019 the following
Companions from Somerset are being honoured:-

First Appointment:

E Comp Clive Albert Francis LAMBERT PGSwdB
E Comp Roger REINA PGStdB
E Comp Andrew Stuart CLAPP PAGDC

We congratulate these three on their honours.

Also our MEGS Barry Keith WOODSIDE  will be appointed Junior Grand Deacon at the Grand Lodge at Freemasons’ Hall on Wednesday 24th April 2019. Congratulation Barry.