On 10 May, the King Alfred meeting was special for two key reasons. Firstly there was to be a joint Exaltation, the only time this has been attempted in King Alfred Chapter, and secondly a number of eminent visiting companions stood in to assist in the ceremony, many at short notice.
The first task for the evening was for Z, E Comp Sandy Glen, to welcome E Comp Ray Beckingham, 2nd Provincial Grand Principal, on his official visit, escorted by E Comp Jeff Lester, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies.
The candidates for this special convocation were Mike Dew and his son Andrew Richards, both from Tivoli Lodge and proposed by Comp Danny Kennedy. They were conducted in the ceremony by Comp. Justin Pursey, and secondly by E Comp Malcolm Beard, the double Exaltation being specially arranged so that both candidates were involved in all parts.
In terms of the companions taking part in the ceremony, as he entered the Masonic Hall the past MEGS, E Comp John Bennett, was offered the opportunity to stand in as H and was delighted to assist. This was due to the current H standing in as Scribe E, who was unfortunately unavoidably absent.
Additionally, E Comp Tony Cooper, Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, assisted as DC whilst E Comp Ian White was in hospital, and E Comp Andy Clapp, Provincial Grand Charity Steward, assisted as ADC (whilst Malcolm Beard was acting sojourner). Comp Bill Stagg brightened up the ceremony with music whilst our usual guest organist was absent. At short notice Comp Danny Kennedy stood in as Scribe N.
All present agreed that this double exaltation was a special occasion for all, with credit to Sandy Glen for all the organisation.
Here we see Sandy Glen as Z, John Bennett as stand-in H, Jeremy Thomas as J, with our candidates Andrew Richards (l) and Mike Dew (r)
Jeff Lester, Ray Beckingham and Matt Jarvis, Provincial Principal Grand Sojourner are shown above added to the former five.
On a rather damp Friday evening, well it was wetter than we have ever had before at this venue, 53 Companions and ladies gathered at the Isle of Wedmore Golf Club for the Annual Dinner. E Comp Maldwyn Davies, as MEZ, organised the evening together with his wife Anne.
We were honoured to have three Grand Superintendents and their wives with us, namely ME Comp Barry Woodside and Peggy, ME Comp John Bennett and Jenny and ME Comp Denis Calderley and Muriel.
Once again the menu and food were excellent and everyone enjoyed a pleasant time chatting with old and new acquaintances. The loyal Toast was given by MEZ and afterwards gave a warm welcome to all present and wished them a safe journey home looking forward to next year’s Dinner.
On Sunday 12 May the officers met for a rehearsal for the Exaltation the following night, however despite the meticulous planning from Z Sandy Glen, on that evening he unfortunately found himself too ill to be able to attend the following night. After a phone call, the existing H, Simon Sparkes readily agreed to stand in as Z, and Arthur Rowe assumed the position of H for the meeting.
The main business of the evening was a special exaltation, that of Nathan Henderson, son of Colin Henderson who is the guest organist. Stuart Boyd stood in as Principal Sojourner.
Our exaltee is seen below with his father Colin, and the 3 Principals.
The ceremony also had excellent renditions of the Mystical Lecture from E. Comps Ian White, Arthur Rowe and Terry Clark, and also the Symbolical Lecture from E. Comp Malcolm Beard and Comps Colin Henderson, Doug Walmsley and Justin Pursey. An explanation of the signs was given by Comp Danny Kennedy.
We look forward to our next convocation on 10 June, a double exaltation.
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.
At the January 2019 convocation of Royal Cyrus Chapter James Adams was initiated into the Holy Royal Arch. This was a special occasion in more ways than one. The ceremony was led by James’ father Tim, 1st Principal of the Chapter, and part of the Mystical Lecture was presented by his grandfather, Companion Michael Adams. A further family connection was cemented by James wearing an apron originally owned by his grandfather.
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 Chapter was honoured to receive E. Comp Clive A.F. Lambert,the Deputy Grand Superintendent at its installation convocation on Wednesday 9th May 2019.
After the usual chapter business and a ballot for a rejoining member E. Comp David Brandhuber installed E Comp Chris Partridge into the chair of Z. Ex.Comp Chris then installed E Comp Brian Pollard as H and Ex.Comp Brian Installed Companion Ian Clift as J.
Later in the meeting Ex.Comp Clive kindly presented his Supreme Grand Lodge Certificate to Comp Graeme Clark.
Comp Clark having been newly invested as Steward made sharp exit from the meeting to man the bar and missed out on a photo opportunity with E Comp Clive. (Graeme is not known for being quick so he caught the CLO out but that said he isn’t known for being too fast either!)
A very convivial festive board followed that was enjoyed by all present.
The St. Keyna Chapter held their Installation meeting which was attended by the Past 3rd Provincial Grand Principal Excellent Companion David Parslow, he was accompanied by our very own Director of Ceremonies Excellent Companion Mark Saunders.
The atmosphere was convivial and the three Principals were installed into their respective chairs with great sincerity.
The supper was very well received and all had a very enjoyable evening. The Chapter looks forward to October when the 2019 team will exalt a new companion.
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.
The Chapter of Sincerity were honoured by the Presence of the MEGS, E. Comp Barry Woodside, at the January Convocation. This was Barry’s first visit since being installed as MEGS. He was accompanied by the PGDC E.Comp Chris Moore. The chapter were fortunate to have a candidate for Exaltation in the person of Companion Graeme Clark. Graeme is a subscribing member of the Emergency Services Lodge 9391 which also meets at Taunton.