A cheque for £8,500 being the final contribution from the Famous Five, was presented by VW Bro Alan Wellan, PGSwdB, Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master, in front of a large Sunday Eucharist congregation at St Mary’s Collegiate Church, Warwick. The church and Warwickshire Freemasonry have many links, some of which are summarised below. Alan is a member of St Mary’s Parochial Church Council, and gave the congregation a five minute description of Freemasonry and the support given to non-Masonic charities. In total, as a result of the Famous Five initiative, over £32,500 has been given to St Mary’s since it was launched by the Provincial Grand Master in mid-2013.
St Mary’s was established as a collegiate church in 1123 by Richard Beauchamp. The Church and Warwickshire Province have been linked for almost 300 years, a Lodge having been formed at the Woolpack Hotel in April 1728, soon after the 1694 Great Fire of Warwick, with the Vicar of St Mary’s, the Rev W Greenwood, becoming the first Master. The restoration of church and town had caused many stone masons to move in to Warwick. We are delighted that the link is still strong and that we consider St Mary’s to be ‘our church’.
There are many tangible aspects of Freemasonry within the Church which are evident. The magnificent oak pulpit, donated to the church by the Freemasons in 1897, the timber having come from Stoneleigh Park, the seat of the then Provincial Grand Master, Lord Leigh. In recent times the stone carving of Madonna and Child was funded by Freemasons and was proudly mounted in 2015 towards the apex of the exterior of the East wall of the Beauchamp Chapel. The current donation may well assist with the restoration work necessary on the Church Tower, which will cost a large amount in both time and materials. Additional sums have been raised by Lodges and other Orders and contributed directly.