Diary for April 2019

A nice variety of Masonic meetings during the month, including some social events, over a good cross-section of Orders:

Rose Croix:

The month started with a pastoral visit to Verney Clayton Chapter No.261 at Accrington on Wednesday 3rd April. Sixteen visitors from no less than 6 Chapters came to witness the Perfection of E&P Bro Dave Mottershead, a most welcome addition to the Chapter’s strength following the change from Saturday afternoon to Wednesday evening meetings.

Aside from regular visits to the Chapters in my own ‘patch’, I am also privileged to visit Chapters in neighbouring Districts, usually for their Annual Meetings which take different forms from one District to another. This month saw the Annual Meeting of the East Cheshire District on Saturday 6th April, meeting under the warrant of Toft Chapter No.897 by dispensation at Middlewich – my first visit to that particular venue – when the members of the Chapter (all Past Sovereigns) gave an extended demonstration of the Perfection Ceremony, followed by an excellent lunch. Sadly, I was unable to attend the Annual Meeting of the District of Northumberland, due to domestic commitments.

My next visit was to Mark Wilkinson Chapter No.194 at Darwen on Saturday 13th April. Following a brief business meeting we retired to the festive board for an excellent buffet lunch and an address on the Easter message from the Reverend Geoff Tolley.

My third ‘local’ visit of the month was to Emmanuel Chapter No.447 at Bolton on Tuesday 16th April to witness the Enthronement of E&P Bro Jack Best as Most Wise Sovereign in an excellent ceremony by the Immediate Past Sovereign, Ill∴Bro John Green 30°.

Mark & Royal Ark Mariner:

The half-yearly meeting of the Thomas Sharples Barlow (‘Grand Officers’) Lodge of Mark Master Masons No.1383 was held on 1st April at Mill House Masonic Hall, Clayton-le-Moors, the ‘home’ Mark building of the WM, VWBro David Anderson, who entertained us with a talk on the history of Mark Masonry at Mill House.

My own Mark Lodge, Wycoller Lodge of Mark Master Masons No.1582 met at Colne on Wednesday 17th April, also a lecture on Mark Masonry.

The following day, Thursday 17th April, Susan and I made our way to Greenfield Railway Station which was the starting point for the second ‘Mark Brew’ walk in aid of the East Lancashire 2021 Festival for the Mark Benevolent Fund. The weather was fine for the 11 walkers (and one 4-legged friend) who set off along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, crossing Saddleworth Moor at Diggle to meet up at the Riverhead Brewery Tap in Marsden for lunch. All fed and watered, we were glad of the frequent Trans Pennine Express service from Marsden to return us to our cars at Greenfield. A super day out, thanks to Colin Bodimeade for organising the event which raised £200 for the festival (and thanks to John Barlow for the pictures).

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The Installation meeting of the East Lancashire Provincial Grand Officers Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No.990 took place at Manchester Hall on Monday 29th April and was followed the next day (by strange co-incidence, due to there being a 5th Monday and a 5th Tuesday in the month) by the half-yearly meeting of the East Lancashire Provincial Grand Officers Lodge of Mark Master Masons No.990 at Clayton-le-Moors – again, the ‘home’ Mark building of the WM,  WBro Graham Mangham.

And finally . . .

The weekend of 12th-14th April was somewhat unusual in affording me the opportunity to attend three quite different events in three different (but all Christian) Orders.

As detailed above, I visited Mark Wilkinson Chapter Rose Croix on Saturday 13th April. The previous evening, I had attended a meeting of Prince of Peace Knights Templar Preceptory No.97 at Preston for the Installation of Em. Kt. Stephen Bolton as Eminent Preceptor and Eminent Prior.

Red Cross Church 2019

Photo courtesy of Ian Screen. Extracted from the Division Facebook page.

Finally, on Sunday 14th April, Susan and I attended the Annual Family Church service for the Red Cross of Constantine, Division of North and East Lancashire at St. Saviour’s Church, Bamber Bridge.


Posted in Knights Templar, Mark, North East Lancashire, Northumberland, Red Cross of Constantine, Rose Croix, Royal Ark Mariner, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Diary for March 2019

Time sure does fly when you are enjoying yourself! The month of March hardly seemed to have started with a full but evenly spaced calendar of meetings and then it was over.

Starting as usual with the Rose Croix, on 5th April, Ill∴Bro. Jack Aston 32° and I travelled to York to attend the Installation of the new Inspector General for the District of Yorkshire North & East Ridings, V∴ Ill∴Bro. Stephen Robinson 33°.

Sadly, the Sovereign Grand Commander, Most Puissant Bro. Alan Englefield 33° was indisposed with a virus he’d picked up on a recent visit to our Districts in the Far East and the ceremony was conducted with great aplomb by the newly appointed Lieutenant Grand Commander, Very Puissant Bro. Guy Elgood 33°.

After the festive board we travelled swiftly back across the Pennines to Lancashire to be met at Accrington Railway Station by Jack’s wife Christine and hurried to Rawtenstall for the meeting of Canon Francis Paton-Williams Chapter. All in all a long day, coupled with the calorific intake of two Masonic meals, but worthwhile and we know very much appreciated by the members of Canon Francis Paton-Williams Chapter.

On 15th March, the half-yearly meeting of Donald Maitland Davies Chapter at Bridge Street, Manchester was unusual in that we had a Candidate for Perfection, the Reverend David Halford, Third Provincial Grand Principal. David was Perfected by a team led by the Most Wise Sovereign, Ill∴Bro. Alex McLaren 31° (who conducted the Second Point) which included no less than 4 ‘black hats’: ‘Yours Truly’ conferred the Intermediate Degrees, V∴ Ill∴Bro. Royce Batters 33° and V∴ Ill∴Bro. David Hawkins 33° conducted the First Point and V∴ Ill∴Bro. Ian Clark 33° conducted the Third Point. Certainly a day to remember for the Candidate!

On 16th March, Jack Aston and I were again on our travels, this time to Gateshead for the Annual Meeting of the District of Durham, which, like our own Annual Meetings took the form of a ‘live’ Perfection ceremony, with the Sovereigns from a number of Chapters in the District taking part.

My Rose Croix month ended on Wednesday 27th March with the Enthronement meeting of James D Murray Chapter at Padiham. A delightful evening of Rose Croix masonry, with a strong showing among the Chapter members, but sadly a lack of visitors to witness an excellent ceremony.

Other notable Masonic events during the month included:

  • 4th March:- Shuttleworth Council Allied Masonic Degrees and Gawthorpe Lodge  of Royal Arch Mariners meeting in tandem at Colne, having reverted to the 1st Monday in the month; and again using the newly furnished Lodge room in the basement of the building and dining in the committee room, an arrangement that has worked very well for us so far;
  • 7th March:- Enthronement meeting of County Palatine Conclave No.50 (Red Cross of Constantine) at Ashday Lea,  at which I was invested as Senior General (eeek!);
  • 12th March:- East Lancashire Mark spring trip to London for the Quarterly Communication of Grand Mark Lodge, dining at a new venue, Davy’s Crusting Pipe (strange name) in Covent Garden;
  • 13th March:- UGLE Quarterly Communication;
  • 19th March:- Installation meeting of Brierfield Lodge No7560, my Mother Lodge, at Padiham, details on the Lodge website;
  • 21st March:- Annual Meeting of the Provincial Grand Chapter of East Lancashire at King George’s Hall, Blackburn, and a promotion for ‘yours truly’ to Past Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah.

On the social front, Sue and I attended Pendle Lodge’s Ladies’ Evening at Turf Moor on Saturday 9th March, Soroptimist International of Preston’s 80th Charter Anniversary Dinner at Barton Grange Hotel on Sunday 17th March and our Third Annual Rose Croix District Lunch at Accrington Masonic Hall on Sunday 24th March.


Posted in Allied Masonic Degrees, Craft, Higher Degrees, Mark, North East Lancashire, Red Cross of Constantine, Rose Croix, Royal Arch, Royal Ark Mariner, Soroptimist International | Leave a comment

Diary for February 2019

Although by its very nature a short month, this February was a busy month for me, on both the Masonic and domestic fronts.

In the Rose Croix, I was able to attend 3 meetings:

The month started with a visit to Mark Wilkinson Chapter Rose Croix No. 194 at Darwen on Tuesday 5th February.

I had previously been ‘tipped off’ that I had been elected to Honorary Membership of the Chapter at the previous meeting in December, but a greater delight awaited, as after I had been politely offered and gracefully declined and returned the baton, the Most Wise Sovereign presented me with a Centenary Jewel, in recognition of my support for the Chapter obtaining its Centenary Warrant.

On Friday 15th February, I travelled down the M6 to Bryn for a meeting of Benedicta Chapter, my mother Rose Croix Chapter in South West Lancashire. On arrival, we found that both the MWS and the Immediate Past MWS were indisposed. I had already committed to deliver the Perfection in Perspective lecture on behalf of the local Inspector General who was absent on family business and so it was that our ever-willing DC took the Chair and conducted the Chapter business up to the Third Point, when I took over to complete the proceedings. The festive board was up to its usual excellent standards at Bryn, with each course taking its inspiration from one of the countries in the 6 nations rugby tournament. Scottish Cullen Skink soup, Irish Potato cakes with sausage, Welsh Lamb, English Cheeses, Creme Brulee and finally (we assumed) Italian coffee (although it might have been the Amaretto biscuits?). Fantastic fare, but hardly good for the waistline!

On Monday 18th February, I was on Masonic duty much closer to home, at a meeting of Colne St. Bartholomew Chapter, this time standing in for our Recorder who was on holiday in Sri Lanka and also delivering a short lecture.

Other notable Masonic events attended during the month were:

  • 6th February: Hargreaves Royal Ark Mariner Lodge at Padiham, celebrating the 70th anniversary of the elevation of WBro George Cattanach RAMGR. The event was attended by the Past Pro Grand Master, MWBro Ben Addy and a veritable cornucopia of senior Mark and RAM brethren from across the Province;
  • 13th February: Royal Order of Scotland Provincial Grand Lodge of the Counties Palatine of Lancaster and Chester at Westhoughton;
  • 16th February: The Annual Meeting of Royal and Select Masters Lancashire District Grand Council at Pemberton;
  • 19th February: Brierfield Lodge, my Craft Lodge at Padiham;
  • 20th February: Wycoller Mark Lodge, my Mark Lodge at Colne.

On the social front, Sue and I attended a wonderful Burns Supper at Westhoughton on Saturday 9th February and took a week’s holiday in Cyprus at the end of the month to recharge our batteries for what will be a very busy March and April for both of us.

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Diary for January 2019

The New Year got off to a good start across my whole range of Masonic interests and activities with visits to two Rose Croix Chapters in the North East Lancashire District:

On Tuesday 22nd January, I went to Bury Chapter No.435 where I had the pleasure of presenting a Supreme Council Certificate to the Chapter’s newest member, E&P Bro Dean Edwards. The meeting was especially notable as every single member of the Chapter was present.

The following week, on Wednesday 30th January, the Enthronement meeting of William Horrocks Chapter No.603 at Blackburn was also a delight, with a good attendance despite the appalling weather and some very fine ritual working.

A busy month in the Mark Degree: On 8th January, I chaired a meeting of the Prior’s Close Management Committee. On Friday 11th January, the half-yearly meeting of the East Lancashire Provincial Grand Stewards’ Lodge No.1272 was held at Audenshaw and on Friday 18th January, the half-yearly meeting of the White Stone Lodge No.1080 was held at Manchester Hall. Finally, a week later, Friday 25th January, I was back in Manchester Hall for the East Lancashire Grand Stewards’ Mess – without doubt one of the highlights of my Masonic year.

My Craft Lodge, Brierfield Lodge No.7560 met at Padiham Masonic Hall on Tuesday 15th January when I gave short talk on The History of Freemasonry’s Ceremonies which was well received.

In the Royal Arch, the Installation meeting of Cana Chapter No.116 was held at Colne on Thursday 24th January when all three Principals’ Chairs were occupied by our most senior active Past Zs, in anticipation of our 250th Anniversary celebrations in May.

In Knights Templar, still at Colne, on Thursday 31st January, we had a cracking ‘Night of Knights’ evening at Plains of Tabor Preceptory No.11; a short Preceptory meeting, a better standard of meal than usual and lots of visiting Royal Arch Masons, come to see what a jolly time we have in KT! Best part of £300 raised for the St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group from the charity raffle and ‘fines’ levied by the Sergeants at Arms. Pictures (courtesy of Bob Summers) can be found here.

On the social front, Calder Lodge organised a splendid Burns Supper on 19th January when the dining room at Padiham Masonic Hall was filled to capacity to witness WBro Bill Black start off the evening in traditional Scottish style with the Selkirk Grace and the address to the haggis. Pictures (courtesy of Bob Summers) can be found here.

Sue and I also joined Crow Wood Leisure and have been making regular use of the gym and swimming pool facilities. Good thing too, with my weight gain over the past year accompanying Sue to Soroptimist events the length and breadth of the country!

Posted in Knights Templar, Mark, News, North East Lancashire, Prior's Close, Rose Croix, Royal Arch, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Diary for December 2018

A short month due to the Christmas and New Year Festivities, but packed with Masonic activities!

I was also delighted to receive two letters during the month conferring honours – in the Royal Arch, promotion to Past Provincial Scribe Nehemiah and in Knights Templar, first appointment to Past Provincial Aide-de-Camp.

The first week of the month was perhaps the busiest of the whole Masonic year, due to a number of unexpected events and changes to normal dates.

On Monday 3rd December, Shuttleworth Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees and Gawthorpe Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners met by dispensation on the first Monday instead of the third Monday of the month for their Installation meetings, in the hope that reverting to the original meeting dates from our time at Burnley would encourage better attendance from both members and guests. So it proved with only one member absent and some special guests present for the Installation. The meeting arrangements in the new Lodge room in the basement of Colne Masonic Hall, newly decorated and fitted out with the furniture from the old Nelson Masonic Hall worked a treat, although the dining arrangements in the committee room on the ground floor will need some refinement. At least, for now, with a joining member in the RAM and a candidate in the Allied, we have some optimism for the future of both these excellent units.

On Tuesday 4th December, I was back at Colne for the Installation meeting of Queen’s Jubilee Lodge, as the Representative of the RW Provincial Grand Master. An excellent ceremony by the Installing Master and Officers and a brief but very enjoyable social board. In keeping with their established custom, Queen’s Jubilee Lodge hold their installation ‘Festival of St. John’ on the Friday following the Installation itself, meaning that the Representative has to commit to two nights out in one week – and two dinners!.

Newly Installed WM and Officers of Queen’s Jubilee Lodge with yours truly on the back row (photo courtesy of WBro Bob Summers).

On Wednesday 5th December, I was up and away early for the train journey to London to attend the Higher Degrees meeting at Duke Street, St. James’s, supporting one of our candidates from the North East Lancashire District who had been unable to attend the original date offered for his promotion to the 30th degree in September. See separate article here

A day off from Masonic duties on Thursday (missing my Red Cross of Constantine Conclave meeting in Preston), in the interests of marital harmony, before the final outing of the week to attend Queen’s Jubilee Lodge’s Festival of St. John at Colne on Friday evening.

On Sunday 9th December, Sue and I attended the East Lancashire Provincial Carol Service at St. Ann’s Church in Manchester, as always an excellent start to the Christmas festivities.

Monday 10th December was the start of what has undoubtedly become the favourite week of my Masonic year – the annual trip to London for:

  1. Monday – Mark Grand Stewards’ Lodge – unusually this year, as a consequence of the temporary closure of Mark Masons Hall due to a broken sewer in the main street, both the Lodge meeting and the festive board were held at the Royal Overseas League;
  2. Tuesday – Grand Assembly of Royal Ark Mariners at Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, preceded by a splendid lunch with John Smith and Gerry Young at Trattoria Verdi on Southampton Row and followed by dinner at the Connaught Rooms;
  3. Wednesday – Quarterly Communication of UGLE at Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, where the Grand Secretary delivered a fascinating presentation entitled ‘Risk Takers, Caretakers and Undertakers’. The full text can be found on the Freemasonry Today website here.

Sue and I then managed to squeeze in a few days together in Harrogate for a belated celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary, delayed from 2017 due to my hospitalisation last November.

Finally, one more Masonic event to end the month and the year; the December meeting of Brierfield Lodge which, in common with recent years we have shared with the Brethren of Marsden within Pennine Valley Lodge. They normally meet a week later, but due to the Christmas holidays have often had to change their meeting date. It thus suits both Lodges, especially with Brierfield Lodge’s numbers being so depleted in December due to work commitments of several members, to meet on the same night and hold one joint festive board. Nice article by Bob Summers can be found on the Brierfield Lodge Facebook page

Posted in Allied Masonic Degrees, Higher Degrees, Knights Templar, Mark, News, North East Lancashire, Rose Croix, Royal Arch, Royal Ark Mariner, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Higher Degrees ~ December 2018

North East Lancashire District Rose Croix

At the Higher Degrees Meeting on Wednesday 5th December 2018, Ill∴Bro. Anthony Kenny of William Horrocks Chapter No. 603 in Blackburn, received his long-awaited promotion to the 30°, having served 2 consecutive years as Sovereign of the Chapter.

Tony had originally been invited to attend the Higher Degrees Meeting in September, along with four other candidates from the North East Lancashire District, but was prevented from attending due to other longstanding commitments.

As usual, the ceremony at 10 Duke Street, St. James’s was followed by a drinks reception and an excellent festive board at the Royal Overseas League.

Higher Degrees_1

Inspector General for North East Lancashire, V∴Ill∴Bro David Biggs 33º congratulates Ill∴Bro Tony Kenny on attaining the 30º (picture courtesy of Ill∴Bro Bob Mayston)

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Diary for November 2018

My programme of pastoral visits to Rose Croix Chapters in the District of North East Lancashire continued ‘to plan’ into November:

  • Verney Clayton Chapter No.261 at Accrington on Wednesday 7th November, when Ill∴Bro Tom Young 30° was Enthroned as Most Wise Sovereign
  • St. Peter’s Chapter No.31 at Bolton on Tuesday 13th November, when E&P Bro Ron Gilbey was Perfected as a Prince Rose Croix
  • Rochdale St. Chad Chapter No.494 on Tuesday 20th November when E&P Bro Marc Goldsworthy was Enthroned as Most Wise Sovereign

To conclude my Rose Croix month, on Friday 30th November at the meeting of the East Lancashire Chapter No.440 at Manchester Hall I was Enthroned as Most Wise Sovereign, a real honour to be in the Chair of this prestigious Chapter of Past Sovereigns from North East Lancashire and South East Lancashire Districts.

Aside from my Rose Croix duties, I attended some very enjoyable meetings in a number of other Orders:

  • Craft: Whalley Arches Lodge on 12th November and the annual meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of East Lancashire at King George’s Hall, Blackburn on 15th November
  • Holy Royal Arch: Cana Chapter at Colne on 29th November
  • Mark: Thomas Sharples Barlow Lodge at Manchester Hall on 5th November
  • Knights Templar: Faith Preceptory at Pemberton on 3rd November
  • Royal and Select Masters: St. George’s Council at Chorley on 7th November

The social side of the month was particularly enjoyable, with the East Lancashire Allied Masonic Degrees Wardens’ Mess at Middleton on 2nd November, the Mark Fellowship Annual Cabaret evening at the Holiday Inn, Bolton on the 17th November and a trip to the midlands with Sue for the Annual Literary Dinner of Soroptimist International of Stourbridge and District at Hagley Golf and Country Club.

Posted in Allied Masonic Degrees, Knights Templar, Mark, News, North East Lancashire, Rose Croix, Soroptimist International, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Diary for October 2018

A very welcome start to the Masonic season ‘proper’ as Rose Croix Chapters in the North East Lancashire District began meeting after the summer recess.

On 2nd October, the (acting) Most Wise Sovereign and Officers of Canon Francis Paton-Williams Chapter No.781 at Rawtenstall conducted an excellent Enthronement ceremony for Sovereign-elect, Ill∴Bro Edwin Hardman 30°.

On 13th October, members and visitors at Bethel Chapter No.290, also at Rawtenstall, heard an updated version of the paper by V∴Ill∴Bro David Hawkins 33°, originally written for the joint centenary meeting of Lancashire Chapters held at Westhoughton in July.

I was unable to attend the Enthronement Meeting of Colne St. Bartholomew Chapter No.1073 on 15th October due to an unfortunate clash of dates with the Higher Degrees Meeting in London where two of the Chapter members and others from North East and South East Lancashire received promotions to the 31° and 30° (see separate report here).

On 20th October, Accrington Chapter held its Enthronement Meeting, at which E&P Bro Bob Jopson continued in office by proclamation as MWS for the ensuing year.

A busy month in other degrees too, with meetings in Whalley (Priory Mark Lodge), Colne (Shuttleworth Council Allied Masonic Degrees, Gawthorpe Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners and Wycoller Mark Lodge), Rochdale (East Lancashire Provincial Grand Officers Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No.990) and Manchester (ELPGO Mark Lodge No.990). Happily, my schedule also enabled me to attend a meeting of my Craft Lodge, Brierfield Lodge, at Padiham.

Outside the mainstream of my Masonic activity, there were also meetings of the Prior’s Close Management Committee and a social event for the committee members and their ladies (see separate report here).

Finally, Sue and I spent a very hectic and calorie-laden week at the end of the month in Liverpool for Sue’s final board meeting as the Federation President of Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland, followed by the Federation Conference in the Liverpool Arena and Convention Centre.

As usual, one of the ‘Soroptimisters’ kindly arranged a ‘boys day out’ which this year consisted of a trip to some of the waterfront museums, a pub lunch and then a guided ‘magical mystery’ bus tour of Beatles era locations, concluding at the Cavern Club. I also managed to sneak in a second trip to London for the meeting of the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees.



Posted in Allied Masonic Degrees, Higher Degrees, Mark, North East Lancashire, Rose Croix, Royal Ark Mariner, Soroptimist International, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Committee Lunch at Ego

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Originally posted on Prior's Close:
In the first of what we hope to make a regular – at least annual – social event, all six members of the Prior’s Close Management Committee and their ladies met up at Ego…

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Higher Degrees ~ October 2018

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Originally posted on North East Lancashire District Rose Croix:
Three Brethren from the North East Lancashire District travelled to London on Monday 15th October 2018 to receive promotions to the 31° Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander and 30° Grand Elected Knight…

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