Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire

2016

Annual visit to Scotland

On the 24th November 2016 W Bros Martin Parrack and Bill Gwillym of St Peter's Lodge No 7334 went for their annual trip to Scotland.

This was going to be an extra special visit as the plan included attending the Grand Lodge of Scotland annual Installation of the Grand Master Mason. This was held at Freemasons Hall in Edinburgh and following the Festival of St Andrew at the Corn Exchange.

W Bro William 'Bill' Gwillam, Grand Master Mason and W Bro Martin Parrack
W Bro William 'Bill' Gwillam, Grand Master Mason and W Bro Martin Parrack

The installation was attended from representatives from all over the world and it gave use an opportunity to meet old and new friends. It started with a coach collecting us from Uddingston with brethren of St Bryde 579 then a stop at Cambuslang to collect brethren from Cambuslang Royal Arch 114.

Installed Officers of St Bryde 579
Installed Officers of St Bryde 579

The journey gave Bill and myself a chance to catch up with our friends. The installation was just superb and I had forgotten so much from our previous visit in 2010.

At the festival of St Andrew we had an opportunity to meet the Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason - Brother Charles Iain R Wolrige Gordon of Esslemont and he admitted that he supported Aston Villa.

On the Saturday we meet up with the rest of the party from Birmingham and Gloucester. The main respresentation this year was from members of the 5 of 9 Club and accompanying them W Bro Nigel, Provincial Senior Grand Warden and Mike Lang, Provincial Assistant Director of Ceremonies and including the two brethren from Gloucestershire.

Scotland Visit 2016
Scotland Visit 2016

Article courtesy of W Bro Martin Parrack, Provincial Grand Steward

Recruiting for Alauna

Alauna LodgeAlauna (pronounced Ah-lawn-ah) Lodge No 6266 meets in the beautiful old, grade I listed, Alcester Town Hall under a 1618 hammer beam roof. There is free local parking and we enjoy live music. Our festive board is held at the iconic Arrow Mill Hotel where we give chef, Simon, free rein with delicious results!

Alauna Lodge, Alcester
Alauna Lodge, Alcester

We have enjoyed a steady stream of initiates but over the years there has been a loss of Past Masters. We now need several Past Masters to become joining members to guide and influence the newer brethren. We also need a Tyler and this could be a serving brother – ie being paid a nominal sum and a free meal.

We have seven meetings a year on the second Tuesday of the month. Potential initiates are never turned away and visitors are always welcome.

Phone 01789 763149 for more details.

W Bro Vernon Munton, Mentor.

 

Merry Christmas to W Bro Wilf Arnfield at 105 years young

Worshipful Brother Wilf Arnfield, an honorary member of Newdegate Lodge No 5102, is believed to be the oldest man in Nuneaton and Bedworth at the age of 105 years. To wish Wilf a very Merry Christmas members of Newdegate Lodge and Bedeword Royal Arch Chapter paid him a visit bearing gifts. Pictured below are Newdegate Lodge Almoner, W Bro Malcom Owen and the Lodge Treasurer, W Bro Christ Taylor with Wilf and Almoner of Bedeword Chapter, Jack Chetwynd as Wilf receives sherry, chocolates and £105 from the Warwickshire Masonic Benevolent Fund.

W Bro Wilf receiving Christmas Gifts

Wilf was featured in the Nuneaton News earlier this year, on the occassion of his 105th birthday, to view the article please visit the Nuneaton News website: read the full story here

The article details how he has spent a large part of his life caring for the community, clocking up 45 years with the St John's Ambulance, in fact he was made a commander, as well as being a stalwart Freemason.

In addition to his passion for the St John's Ambulance, he also worked as a safety officer at Newdigate Colliery, where once again he ensured the well-being of others.

Wilf, a spritely 105 year old counting his money

We wish Wilf a very Happy Christmas and all the very best for the New Year.

Warwickshire Installed Masters welcomes the DepGChancellor

W Bro Peter Jones with the Provincial Grand Master
W Bro Peter Jones with the Provincial Grand Master
With the Festive season fast approaching – perhaps it’s already with us since mince pies have been on sale for what seems like months! – it was good to see the lodge room at Kings Heath full once more. The members and guests present were in for a veritable feast with not just a 50 year certificate presentation but also a talk from an unassuming chap from London.

Having opened the lodge, the Worshipful Master soon asked the Provincial Grand Master to take charge to perform what must be one of his most pleasurably tasks – to present a 50 year certificate. The recipient was one W Bro Peter Jones PAGDC PProvSGW who had already told the Provincial Office that he didn’t want a fuss. The PGM couldn’t quite do that and a compromise was reached with a condensed presentation in which he outlined WBro Peter’s contribution to Freemasonry in general and to this Province in particular. Initiated into Caxton Lodge in November 1966, W Bro Peter became the youngest Master in the Province at his installation in 1978, a record which stood until it was beaten by his son! His proud boast is that he has not missed a lodge meeting in 40 years.

The Provincial Grand Master recounted the first time that he met WBro Peter. He was a very young Freemason and WBro Peter was the Provincial DC and a busy one at that having consecrated no less than 10 lodges during his tenure. He transformed the ProvGDC role and provided a model of how to behave. In coming up to speak with a young Bro Macey, he left an enduring impression and the now RWBro Macey wished to thank WBro Peter for all that he taught him. With obvious pleasure, the RW PGM then formally presented WBro Peter with his certificate and lapel badge. The current ProvGDC then delivered another one of his special, faultless proclamations after which all the brethren present saluted WBro Peter.

From one special moment to another. The ‘main course’ was a talk by Very Worshipful Bro John Hamill the Deputy Grand Chancellor who took us through 300 years of Grand Lodge. The Worshipful Master took considerable pleasure in introducing VW Bro John, most notably by telling those present that he had be born into a family with a long Masonic tradition before being initiated into a Tyneside lodge, Tyne Lodge, in 1970. He was well supported at that ceremony by no less than five uncles and three cousins and was a Master Mason within three months! Little did they know that nearly 50 years later, he would be the Deputy Grand Chancellor and the Director of Special Projects for the United Grand Lodge of England.

VW Bro John Hamill with the Worshipful Master and PGM
VW Bro John Hamill with the Worshipful Master and PGM
VW Bro John started by posing the question of what we would do if time travel were possible. He said that he would simply wish to bring some of the brethren from the very earliest days of Grand Lodge to the present day. Little is known about the start as people were not as good at writing things down as they became and we only know parts of the story. If he eventually gets to the Grand Lodge Above, VW Bro John has a long list of people to talk with.

It all started on 24th July 1717 with four lodges coming together to elect a Grand Master. Those 100 or so brethren would recognise some of our current practises but much would be very unfamiliar. Firstly they would be amazed with the number present at this meeting – they would meet in a small, private room and would sit around a table situated in the centre of the room. The table would be moved to one side and the Tyler would draw the lodge on the floor – this later became a floor cloth. The Master would figuratively sit in the east with both Wardens in the west and it was the wardens who preformed much of the ceremony as it was not until much later in the 18th century when the office of deacon was introduced. Once the ceremony had been concluded, the candidate would be provided with mop and pale to remove the drawings on the floor, the table moved back and catechical lectures complete the evening’s work. Masonic symbols would be removed from the table and supper would be served. It is thought that in these early days, the first and second degrees were two parts of the same ceremony as records simply state when a candidate was ‘made a mason’. This would happen at one meeting and the brother would still need to pass a ballot at the next meeting to become a member of the lodge.

1723 saw the first signs of administration with the appointment of a secretary (only becoming the Grand Secretary in 1736) and the publication of the first book of constitutions. There were around 200 lodges in 1730 and that decade saw the expansion of Freemasonry around the globe which spread as the British Empire grew. 1730 also saw the first exposé of Freemasonry by a chap called Pritchard. It went through 8 printings in six months and must have been an accurate representation of the ceremonies as some lodge records show its purchase, presumable as an aide-memoire for the brethren.

At some point, Grand Lodge decided to change the words of the first and second degrees around, and didn’t tell Ireland. Consequently, Irish masons would give the wrong word and would be discounted as not a genuine Freemason. They came together and was the basis of the formation of the Antients Grand Lodge. The two Grand Lodges were uneasy sparring partners but relations improved the further from London with some lodges even having warrants from both Grand Lodges!

Things got interesting in 1799 when the Unlawful Societies Act came into force banning any meeting in secret or which included the taking of oaths and was punishable with transportation. The two Grand Masters at the time met with the Prime Minister explaining the situation and that there were a number of Royal brethren who enjoyed patronising Freemasonry. The law was subsequently changed but each lodge was required to submit a list of members to the Clerk of the Peace every year.

The two Grand Lodges began to talk about coming together and in 1809 a group was formed to discuss and plan this. However, progress was very slow. The Moderns gave their representatives full authority to make decisions but those of the Antients had to report back to a Quarterly Communication for further instruction. November 1813 saw a rapid progress – the Prince of Wales, the Grand Master of the Moderns, became Prince Regent. He stood down and was replaced by his Deputy, the Duke of Sussex. The Grand Master of the Antients, the Duke of Athol, decided to stand down too and was replaced by the Duke of Kent. The two Grand Masters were Royal brothers and within six weeks, the articles of union were agreed!

A Board of Works was created to standardise the designs of regalia worn – they are still used today. However, the greatest regularisation was with the ritual. A Lodge of Reconciliation was established and produced a standard set of ritual which was demonstrated in 1816 at Grand Lodge bringing the existing ceremonies and catechical lectures of the early ritual together. We may often wonder why there are so many different workings – the library at Freemason’s Hall has over 50. Brethren were invited to travel to London to witness the new ritual being demonstrated. Nothing was written down but rather learned so as they travelled back to whence they came, they would have tried to remember just what they had seen and perhaps didn’t quite manage it!

Why has Freemasonry survived? 1717 was the start of a great age for societies and clubs, many which would have appeared similar to Freemasonry. Many became Friendly Societies before disappearing altogether with the establishment of the welfare state. There may be one great reason for its survival – Freemasonry has changed quite considerably over the years but its basic principles - those of brotherly love, relief and truth, and the prohibiting of talk of politics or religion – have not. It was established at a time of great turmoil with civil war and provided a means of bringing people together.

VW Bro John concluded by saying that we have not altered those basic principles and that he believes that, as long as we continue to maintain those principles, Freemasonry will go on and, in a hundred years, someone will talking about 400 years of Grand Lodge!

The Worshipful Master thanked VW Bro John for his presentation adding that he has given all present not just a daily advancement but a full month’s worth! The Provincial Grand Master added his personal thanks saying that it was a truly inspiring talk. All of which was received with acclaim by all the brethren who had been fortunate to witness a gem of a talk from a jewel in the crown from is Grand Lodge.

 

Orion Lodge hold their first Christmas Bash

So where were you on Thursday 1st December 2016 when Orion Lodge held its first ever December Regular Meeting? To mark the occasion the Worshipful Master W Bro Gary Macauley decided that our Festive Board would also be our first annual “Christmas Bash”.

Thirty three members, wives, partners and friends sat down to a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings including Christmas crackers, followed by mince pies with the coffee at our new home at the Yenton Assembley Rooms.

Entertainment was provided by the Emma Jonson band, a Boogie Woogie Trio with Emma herself on keyboard, Roy Adams on drums and Baz Newey on bass.

Emma Jonson band with the WM as temporary front man
Emma Jonson band with the WM as temporary front man
 

The trio soon had the room swinging and for a short time time became a quartet when the Worshipful Master himself decided to join the band and entertain us with his rendition of the Beatles Number “I saw her standing there” which he directed to Emma herself and her mum Jill Johnson, the wife of our Visiting Officer W Bro Richard Johnson himself no mean "Boys Brigade drummer".

Orion Lodge Burns Night

For whatever reason you were unable to be with us for this great night’s entertainment, do not despair, Orion will again be entertaining their wives, partners and friends when we hold our annual Burn’s Supper on Thursday 12th January 2017, so why not put the date in your brand new 2017 Diary and reserve places for you and your party by contacting Rod Burlton at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and make this your first (Unofficial) event of our Tercentenary year.

Contact Us

The Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire
Yenton Assembly Rooms
73, Gravelly Hill North, Erdington
Birmingham B23 6BJ

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WarwickshirePGL

For Masonic enquiries:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: 0121 454 4422

The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is the governing body for freemasons within England and Wales and districts overseas.