Cumberland Robes

The photo shows Excellent Companions from Left to Right: Richard Cooper (Haggai), Barry Woodside (2nd Provincial Grand Principal), R Granville Mason (Zerubbabel), D John Bennett (Grand Superintendent), Roger Karn (Joshua), Chris Moore (3rd Provincial Grand Principal)

Tuesday 19th April at the Masonic Hall, Bath the Royal Cumberland Chapter No. 41 were presented with new replacement Principals robes by D John Bennett MEGS. The evening was enhanced with members of the Provincial Team and a dedication ceremony was performed with ritual and dignity, fitting of a grand occasion.

The previous robes were in excess of 60 years old, records show them in use around 1935 pre war years and they had become deteriorated and shabby with use over that period. Repairs had taken place on at least two occasions, in 1955 at a cost of £3.19s.6d (just under £4.00) and again in 1964 costing £1.1s.0d (just over £1.00). Yes times and values have changed!

The Chapter decided last September to fund new robes and an appeal to members received some donations, other finance came from the Chapter funds and raffles at meetings to raise the £615.00 required. Warminster Regalia were commissioned to manufacture in November last year and the superb result was witnessed on the 19th.

The style of robe will never be repeated by the makers and will remain unique to Royal Cumberland Chapter as the oldest in the Province of Somerset.

During the ceremony E Comp Chris Moore, 3rd Provincial Grand Principal gave a wonderful thoughtful and historical oration on Robes and Robe wearing detailing not only in Masonic circles but as an official vestment worn on ceremonial occasions by peers, judges, mayors, academics and clergy and of course by Monarchs throughout the ages. The Robe worn by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 at her coronation for example took 8 months of research, design and workmanship with intricate embroidery to emphasise its regal elegance. 6 Maids of Honour carried its 6 yard train behind the Queen.

No such grandeur for the Royal Cumberland robes but nevertheless equal in importance for the long
established history of the Chapter and the anticipated long life ahead.

The jollity and enjoyment of the occasion spilled over into the festive board which was reflected on the faces of those present, one can only guess at the comment made to amuse the 1st and 2nd Principals of the Chapter.