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Monday 20th May 2024:

Holderness Installation

Holderness Lodge 3563 was consecrated in Withernsea in 1912. A nearby site (now used for caravans) afforded the opportunity for the pre- WW1 Brethren from Hull to spend a long weekend by the sea; this, I am told by one of the Lodge's oldest members, was why Monday night was chosen for the meeting dates. I am also informed that while the last train to Hull in the early days was at eleven o' clock, it would not leave Withernsea station on Lodge nights until every last Freemason was aboard. Withernsea was the end of the line, and a turntable was used to point the engine the other way.

Times have changed, and financial issues stimulated the Lodge's move to Beverley Road in Hull in 2012, where it is now comfortably settled. However I still remember with affection travelling out to Queen Street in Withernsea in the 1980s and 90s,  and experiencing the low-ceilinged Lodge Room and battered harmonium. Some of the old faces that greeted me then are still with us, though somewhat older. But the Withernsea air is reputedly the healthiest in the country - as evidenced by the Installing DC, W Bro Rollo Smallwood, who at ninety-one conducted the ceremonial with the authority one would expect of a military veteran. Thus the continuity of the Lodge is secured; traditions, such as the deployment of the traditional terrestrial and celestial globes flanking the pedestal are still happily maintained.

Tonight's meeting was an Installation and well attended with eleven visitors from nine sister Lodges. Brother Danial Ward Marshall, well known as a member of the Minerva Lodge 250, was Master Elect. The Minerva Brethren were well represented - including W Bro Dean Marshall, Danial's father, who later responded on behalf of the visitors. W Bro Tom Cawkwell of L250 (and also WM of the Andrew Marvell Lodge 564, and extended greetings therefrom) was in the illustrious company of his father-in-law, W Bro Chris Brown. W Bro Alan Todd gave greetings as WM of Humber Lodge, and I was pleased to support him. 

Danny had a difficult act to follow: W Bro Darren Wiseman had enjoyed a splendid year in office and raised the already high standard of ritual in the Lodge; (this was remarked upon by the Representative at the Festive Board afterwards; noting that unlike some Lodges where ritual was read - and read badly - Darren had learnt the ceremony from start to finish and delivered it very well, setting a fine example for his Officers.)

At the start, the WM asked W Bros Ben Kelly, Malvin Sharpless and Peter Moore to retire, and on their re-entry be recognised as ProvGDepDC, ProvGTyler and PPGStdB with a salute from the Brethren (and a fanfare from the organ) following their promotions at York the previous Saturday. The newly appointed Assistant Provincial Grand Master, W Bro Steve Cox, was unable to be present, but he will doubtless be recognised on a future occasion. "The Lodge," said W Bro Wiseman, "is honoured." The DC for the Representative, W Bro George Dobson of the Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge 9611 then announced that the Representative of the RWPGM, W Bro David Burnett, was awaiting entry - an escort was formed for him, and he took his seat by the WM.

Lodge business continued with the signing of the minutes and reports from the Charity Steward, Almoner, Mentor and Royal Arch Representative. The Lodge was raised to the 2° and the nonaganarian Lodge DC presented the Master Elect, Danny Marshall. W Bro Wiseman explained the requirements expected of a WM to Bro Marshall and the Secretary read the necessary qualifications from the Book of Constitutions. Bro Marshall took his solemn obligation as Master Elect, and the Fellow Crafts retired. The Lodge was raised to the 3° and all offices declared vacant, Senior Brethren taking the Chairs of the Principal Officers.

There was a little confusion regarding retiring, but soon resolved; I will not expound on the events taking place in the Board of Installed Masters except to say that Danial Ward Marshall was well installed in the figurative Chair of King Solomon according to ancient custom. As Master he ordered the Lodge lowered through the degrees and the Master Masons and Fellow Crafts were admitted. The WM smoothly appointed and installed his team of Officers. I was allowed the privilege of giving the address to the WM from the West, W Bro Sharpless delivered the address to the Wardens from the North and W Bro Tyson addressed the assembled Brethren from the East. The anthem was sung by W Bro Peter Spencer - and received spontaneous applause.

Two propositions to increase L3563's membership were made, and after the risings, W Bro Marshall efficiently closed the Lodge.

Traditional Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding well satisfied the inner man, and W Bro Ben Kelly, the DC, led the toasts rapidly. The new WM was, I think, a little overawed by the occasion; his toast to the Most Wonderful Grand Master will doubtless be remembered for years to come. Peter Spencer sang the Masters Song following the toast to W Bro Marshall, the Brethren enthusiastically joining in the chorus.

W Bro Burnett extended greetings from the RWPGM, gave advice regarding the Holderness website and dilated on the importance of mentoring before concluding with encouragement for Festival 2029.

The regular toasts were submitted/proposed, and the meeting closed in friendship and harmony. It had been, I reflected, an enjoyable evening in good company - it is a delight to belong to a Lodge which is moving from strength to strength.

[Photographs: Engine on the turntable at Withernsea terminus; L to R: W Bro Ben Kelly, DC, W Bro George Dobson, Rep's DC, W Bro Dave Burnett, Rep, W Bro Danial Marshall, WM, W Bro Darren Wiseman, IPM, Bro Lee Atkinson, JW, W Bro Rollo Smallwood, ADC, Bro Jimmy Kitchen, SW, W Bro James Kelly, Tyler. In the next photograph W Bros Burnett, Marshall and Wiseman are smiling after the splendid ceremony. The centenary banner which hangs in the smaller Lodge Room in Beverley Road shows a figurative representation of the consecrating elements and the farming community in which the Lodge was originally established.]

Eddie Wildman, Organist

 

 

Saturday 18th May 2024:

Third Degree at Technical Lodge 5666

A curious concatanation of circumstances had reduced the list of officers attending Beverley Road for the ceremony of raising Bro Malcolm Hussain Gambles; the DC, for example, was in Cornwall watching his daughter being awarded for her rugby skills, others had long-standing engagements, but instead of the evening being substandard, it was a resounding success. There was no shortage of volunteers; W Bro Sykes was a great DC, W Bro Keith Challis made a fine Junior Warden, the Deacons were W Bros Mike Cheeseman and Allan McKay; W Bro Rob Gorman stood in as ADC and Bro Nanda Kumar was Assistant Secretary.

The WM, W Bro Ian Parkinson opened the Lodge, and a knock from the Tyler W Bro Paul Hillary warned that there was a visitor; Provincial Steward Marcus Whereat, resplendent in the distinctive red apron and collar of that office, entered to announce the arrival of W Bro Derek McKenzie, ProvGChStwd. An escort was formed and W Bro McKenzie came in - this was his first Representative Visit as an Active Officer of the Year. He took his place by the Master, Marcus dismissed the escort and organised the salutes.

All who took part in the ceremony were well rehearsed. The third degree in Freemasonry is a dramatic and moving experience. Bro Malcolm, word perfect in the Q&A session proving his familiarity with the previous degree was conducted round the Lodge by the stand-in Senior Deacon, W Bro Cheeseman. This unlikely pairing of the tallest member of the Lodge with one who is vertically challenged (but makes up for it in girth) in no way detracted from the dignity of the occasion. The EAs and FCs having retired, the Lodge was openend in the 3° and Bro Malcolm was raised in the traditional manner, with W Bro Hillary delivering the Retrospect, Bro Bill Turner-Bone the Historical Oration, the Secrets cheerfully disseminated by Bro Nigel Goldthorpe (debut performance), the Working tools explained by the Secretary, W Bro Mark Cusack, the only member of the Lodge who is almost eye-to-eye with Bro Malcolm. The Chaplain, Bro David Turner delivered the Ancient Charge with his customary fluency. I was well impressed (and so was our visiting Rep, who remarked on this at the Festive Board.)

The Lodge was lowered through the degrees and the junior members admitted, after which there were reports from the Charity Steward, Almoner, Chapter Representative, Mentor, Lodge Membership Officer and Lodge of Instruction. 

When I joined the Craft, the Secretary read out the minutes of the previous meeting at each gathering of the Lodge. This still happenes in some Lodges in Scotland. However, as this took up a considerable part of the meeting, it was decided that the minutes should be sent to all members beforehand so that they could be read at leisure. However, since then, a plethora of reports has been added to the Lodge Business, and while it is important for the Brethren to know what is going on, especially with regard to the health of the Brethren and their families, it seems to me that many of these reports could be included with the minutes and sent out electronically, especially on occasions when the meeting is anticipated to be a long one. But it begs the question - who reads the minutes? I confess sometimes simply to glancing through them without the care and attention they deserve.

The WM closed the Lodge in due form and the Brethren retired to the Dining Room below. Luke the Chef had prepared a superb meal as always. Speeches followed; the WM introducing the Representative very thoroughly (he never uses a word if a paragraph will do) and W Bro McKenzie responding to toast five with kind words, remarking on the "exquisite ritual" before enlarging on the subject of the Festival and the recommendation that while supporting it, the Brethren should pace themselves, adopting a flexible and adaptable approach.

W Bros Turner and Sykes sang the Parting Toast. Well done, everybody.

[Photo N to S: Bro Hussain Gambles and W Bro Mike Cheeseman.]

Eddie Wildman

 

Tuesday 14th May 2024:

Founders Night

The Lodge was well supported with visitors from south of the Humber; this being our Founders Night there was the expected contingent from Pelham Pillar 792, but also from Albion Lodge, number 9 in London. We don't often have visitors from Lodges with a lower number than ours. The WM, W Bro Alan Todd, welcomed the visitors and opened the Lodge at 6:30. I realised at the last minute that our Inner Guard had not yet arrived (his father had told me he was on his way) and slid from the organ stool to the door in time to act out the part of the Inner Guard until Matthew arrived a few minutes later.

There were other stand-ins; both Wardens (a bereavement prevented the SW from being there) and there was some shuffling round of Offices so L57 was a little light on numbers, but the Lodge was opened in due form, a portion of the Ancient Charges read by the Secretary, W Bro Stanley Smith, and the minutes of the last regular meeting confirmed and signed.

The business upstairs was to pass Bro Michael Andrew Barber to the degree of a Fellowcraft. Fortunately the IG, Bro Matthew Barber, the Candidate's son had by now arrived, and was able to whisper "Good luck, Dad," as Bro Michael, now entrusted with the necessary information to be admitted to a FC Lodge, retired to prepare himself for the ceremony, During this time the Lodge was opened in the 2° and  the Almoner W Bro David Terry gave his report.

Bro Matthew reported the readiness of Bro Michael, who having been expertly checked by the Acting Tyler, W Bro Ian Syddall and armed with the essential Password and grip superbly communicated by the Acting Senior Warden, W Bro Richard Smedley, was conducted round the Lodge by the Senior Deacon, Bro Craig Morrison with military precision. He was examined by the Wardens, then after an invocation to the Almighty, obligated by the WM.

W Bro Terrence Fisher communicated the Signs and Password, the Apron was invested by the SW, and the address at the South East Corner of the Lodge given by Bro Matthew Barber. The Lecture Master, W Bro Philip Watts explained the Working Tools and the stand-in Chaplain, W Bro David Terry delivered the Ancient Charge. The ritualists were on good form; Bro Barber may consider himself well passed!

The Q&As were exchanged between the WM and the Wardens and Bro Barber retired to change into his regular Masonic attire while the Lodge was lowered to the 1°. The Charity Steward, W Bro Malcolm Forbes, stood up loftily from his place as JD by the side of the SW and reported on the festival ties and gloves now available for sale, the upcoming Connaught Court Summer Fayre, and made a plea on behalf of the North Ferriby Riding for the Disabled Charity.

A report at the door announced the return of Bro Barber, who took his place in the Lodge as other reports were given. At this point, the Acting Tyler, W Bro Ian Syddal, Provincial Senior Grand Warden, was recognised for the honour awarded him on the previous Saturday: "The highest honour the Province can confer on its Brethren," as the RWPGM had remarked at the Provincial Convocation. W Bro Ian Syddall responded with commendable modesty.

Greetings were given, and as WM of the Phoenix Lodge 9963, W Bro Peter Kenyon-Brodie stood, supported by W Bros Smedley and myself, and the Humber Lodge was closed in due form.

Downstairs the IPM, W Bro Charles Alexander gave the toast to the Founders, speaking of the warrant dating from 1756 and the trials and tribulations of the Humber Lodge until the arrival of Bros Crow, Feetham and Eglin who reversed the downward trend and spearheaded the rapid building of a new Lodge building in Osborne Street. Charles quoted from the speech made by the DPGM in 1827 when laying the foundation stone. This building was destroyed by enemy action in 1941 but the Warrant was retrieved. 

The ceremony of the passing of the bag of money between the Masters of the Humber and Pelham Pillar Lodge  took place; on this occasion, W Bro Richard Turville, the WM of L792 took it back immediately. This related to an incident in the past when a sum collected for the formation of the Lincolnshire Lodge was thwarted by the theft of the funds collected by its sponsoring Lodge. The tale has been recited on many Founders Nights.

The toast to the visitors was proposed by the SW, who sang Brethren from the East and West accompanied by the other UGLE officer. W Bro George Langley of the Albion Lodge No 9 in London responded, saying he had never heard this before and was much moved. Like Humber Lodge, Albion is on the Atholl roll - one of the Antient Lodges.

Bro Matthew Barber made his debut as a singer in a lovely performance of Happy to Meet Again after which the WM submitted the parting toast. As ever, we left with the tune still in our heads. Well done, Matthew, Michael, and indeed everyone who took part in this happy Humber anniversary meeting.

[Photos: Matthew and Michael Barber : "You can have my Second degree pinnie now, Dad," and W Bro Ian Syddall, Provincial Senior Grand Warden with the SW's emblem of the level - a symbol of equality - featuring three times on the snapshot.]

 Eddie Wildman

Monday 13th May 2024:

 Wyke Millennium Lodge 9696

 Report by Malcolm Forbes

After several years absence I visited the Tickton Grange Hotel to attend the Installation meeting of the Lodge. The Rose Room provided the setting for the Lodge meeting and the Festive Board.

The configuration of the chairs for the meeting meant that initially I made the faux pas of sitting in a chair to be occupied by the Representative of the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, W Bro Paul Harper. I swiftly moved to sit alongside W Bro Gavin Collinson, the Secretary of Constitutional Lodge 294.

The Installation of W Bro Malcolm Grange PPGSuptWorks (pictured) was a proclamation ceremony for he was continuing in the Chair as Worshipful Master. Indeed this was to be a third year in the Chair, having previously been WM before his current two years in the Office.

The Lodge tyled at 6.15pm. After the Opening, W Bro Steve Burns, a member of Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge 9611 and Thesaurus Lodge 3891, was welcomed in as Provincial Director of Ceremonies to announce the attendance of W Bro Harper PJGD. A Provincial team of Officers escorted W Bro Harper into the Lodge room to sit alongside the WM and Grand Lodge Officers W Bro Eddie Wildman and W Bro Brian Baker. W Bro Chris Woodhead, a member of Ridings Tablers Lodge 9586, who will be attending the next Andrew Marvell Lodge 5642 meeting on 21st May as Provincial Director of Ceremonies to the representative of the PGM, was also in attendance.

The Installation ceremony was overseen immaculately by Director of Ceremonies and Lodge Secretary, W Bro Kevin Shilcock. WM Grange presided smoothly over the Installation of his Officers. The Lodge Officers pulled together to support him.

It was an emotional evening for WM Grange as he later admitted after the Master's Song was sung to him at the Festive Board by Junior Warden W Bro Roger Lewis.

Following the Installation and Lodge reports a Masonic nugget was delivered.

A proposition was put forward for a candidate for initiation at the next Lodge meeting.

At the risings I gave greetings on behalf of Andrew Marvell Lodge and Thesaurus Lodge. Also a member of Constitutional Lodge 294 and Humber Lodge 57, I rose as W Bro Collinson and W Bro Wildman gave greetings on behalf of their respective Lodges. All the visitors congratulated WM Grange.

After the Closing of the Lodge the Lodge's fixtures and fittings were put away before the Festive Board could begin.

As the bar did not accept cash, I rummaged around to find my debit card to pay for my drink.

I was honoured to sit on the top table alongside the Worshipful Master. Two other round tables were fully occupied by Lodge members and visitors.

As befitting the hotel the cuisine was of a high standard. A full toast list was submitted /proposed. The toasts incorporated the changes in Rulers made at the annual Convocation on 11th May so that W Bro Martin Eggermont and W Bro Steve Cox, the newly invested Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, were duly toasted.

In the response to his toast W Bro Harper emphasised the importance of the membership challenge, particularly in terms of retention and engagement, which all Lodges must meet. He expressed his enjoyment of the evening and his gratitude to the WM.

In his response to the toast to the Worshipful Master and his Officers, W Bro Baker in his discourse reflected on the close bond between Freemasons and how the Lodge and the WM were working to promote the fraternal relationship between members.

In his reply to W Bro Baker's response the WM recognised the importance of family and friends to the Lodge and encouraged Brethren to attend a White Table celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Consecration of the Lodge. The celebration will take place at the Tickton Grange Hotel on Saturday 23rd November.

I was surprised but pleased to give a response to the visitors toast, which was proposed by W Bro Lewis. There was much to be praised in the way the whole evening had been conducted. The elegant atmosphere of the Rose Room provided the finishing touch to a memorable evening.

In his parish notes the WM thanked everyone present for their support. As Lodge Charity Steward he was also pleased to announce that the raffle raised £100.
It had been a delightful night.

Malcolm Forbes

 

 

Saturday 11th May 2024 p.m.:

The Night-Soil Men: Illuminating the Shadows of History

by Neil Armstrong

In the dimly lit streets of Victorian Hull, a group of men known as the night-soil men embarked on their nightly journey, a task essential yet shrouded in the cloak of night.

These unsung heroes, tasked with the collection and disposal of a town's waste, were pivotal to the sanitation and health of the town. Their story, often overlooked,found a voice last night in the hands of the Kingston Daggards trio, bringing to light the tales of these nocturnal labourers.

W Bro Chris leFevre, standing is as Worshipful Master of the Lord Bolton Lodge 3263 didn’t know what to expect when the Lodge requested a performance at their meeting, They say there is no better cure to lift the spirits than laughter. It’s like having an emotional colonic. Cleans out all of the stuff and purifies the soul.

And so it seemed, judging by the sniggering, and chuckling at the sight of Mr Obadiah Gibson (Eddie) shuffling along in his greatcoat, scarf, wig, and mop hat. Laughter soon mixed with flabbergasted gawps of shock as he began to tell his tale.

The performance was not just a retelling of historical events but an immersive experience that transported the Brethren back in time, to the flickering gaslit Town of Hull, each new PowerPoint slide adding depth to the storytelling; all under the skilful control of our techie Carl Proctor. Eddie Wildman and Neil Armstrong embodied their characters with such conviction that one could almost smell the musty air and feel the weight of the nightsoil buckets they carried.

The narrative was a blend of personal stories and broader social commentary, highlighting the struggles and triumphs of the night-soil men. It shed light on the importance of their work, which tried to keep diseases like cholera at bay; together with the social stigma and tragedy they faced despite their indispensable role.

As the curtain fell, it was clear that The Night-Soil Men was more than just a short playlet; it serves as a powerful reminder of the resilience and fortitude of the working class, whose stories are often left in the shadows. It is through such researched and artistic endeavours that we can shine a light on the forgotten chapters of our past and appreciate the foundations upon which our modern world is built. Something that Bro Senior Warden Bird remarked upon at the Festive Board, after we had enjoyed the superb three meat buffet prepared by Chef Luke Pyrah.

Carl gave his first ever response to the Visitor’s toast and was fortunate to win a bottle of Champagne at the raffle. An altogether enjoyable evening in the company of the Lord Bolton Brethren.

Neil Armstrong

 

Saturday 11th May 2024 a.m.:

Convocation at the Race Course

One could not have hoped for a nicer day to travel to York; Alastair Kenyon-Brodie kindly chauffered his father and I to the Annual Meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Yorkshire North and East Ridings at the York Racecourse - luxury travel in his stunning Tesla car. While I saw many friends there as we hurried to put on our regalia, I wondered how many people were there from Humber Lodge. There was Peter Kenyon-Brodie and myself, of course; Peter said he'd caught a glimpse of W Bro David Terry, but  it was time to be seated, and we took one of the Voltigeur Suite lifts to the third floor, where we quickly claimed our places.

The convocation is a yearly gathering where those who have earned honours during the year are recognised. This year was also the launch of Festival 2029 for this Province, and as a new initiative (the RWPGM's matra invokes change) wives/partners joined us after the opening when the Lodge was called off.

I was delighted to be able to applaud W Bro Ian Syddall invested with the collar of the Senior Provincial Grand Warden - the highest honour, the PGM said - which can be awarded by the Province to its Brethren. Ian has worked tirelessly for years as Provincial Grand Charity Steward, but still in active rank he will no doubt continue to visit all over Yorkshire North and East Ridings.

After appointing his officers a presentation of was given by MCF representatives, Les Hutchinson and Howard Wilson, after which the RWPGM addressed the Brethren and Ladies. Two verses of the national anthem were sung before the non-Masonic visitors retired, Provincial Grand Lodge was called back on and closed, and the PGM and his distinguished guests processed out.

Eddie Wildman

 

 

Friday 10th May 2024:

Padre Noel Duckworth

I had the privilege of presenting a Grand Lodge Certificate to Bro Aaron Sutherland, which he received with great dignity and the approbation of the Brethren of the de la Pole Lodge 1605. The WM, W Bro Peter Clarke then introduced the speaker for the meeting, Bro Peter Nesbitt, who spoke eloquently on one of the unsung heroes of WW2, Padre Noel Duckworth (pictured Left.)

Small of stature, great of heart, he earned a place at Cambridge, studying theology, and became cox for one of the pre-war Cambridge crews and after ordination, in the British eight in the 1936 Olympics. He chose to become Chaplain to a Cambridgeshire Regiment, anticipating, like Churchill, that war was on the horizon, and was sent to Malaya in 1841. When it was time for evacuation, he elected to stay behind with the wounded, and suffered terribly under the Japanese. He strove to help other in the Japanese PoW Camps. After Singapore fell to the enemy he was moved to Changi Jail and in 1943 was sent into Thailand and Burma to work on the building of the Burma Railway where the prisoners suffered under appalling conditions and ill health, building up their morale.

There was much more. Peter's talk was sometimes harrowing, always fascinating, and often moving. He left immediately after his contribution; he was booked to fly to France the following morning, but his presentation was so powerful if was the subject of conversation as we left the Lodge room - Bro Fuller, who kindly drove me home reflected on man's inhumanity to man, and the amazing contribution of this charismatic figure. We also spoke about the excellence of Luke Pyrah's buffet, which was tremendous, though even then, the ample sufficiency of good food made me feel guilty as I remembered that Duckworth and the other prisoners were fed on fish heads, tails and entrails in dirty rice.

It had been a most interesting evening, and we were grateful for the early finish, as some of us would be travelling to York the next day for the Provincial Convocation.

Eddie Wildman

Thursday 9th May 2024:

Sometimes it's Now or Never

Report from the Thesaurus Mentor

 

Ninety years from the day the Yorkshire playwright Alan Bennett was born, Dagger Lane witnessed a performance worthy of the author of Talking Heads. After opening the Lodge at our regular hour of 6.30, Worshipful Master Matthew Hunt first presided over a salute to Grand Lodge Officer Eddie Wildman and then on the regular business of the night. Some fine examples of reports were given by W Bro Richard East - Almoner, myself - Mentor, W Bro Malcolm Forbes - Charity Steward and many others, which I took in from my position as Tyler. The Lodge presented itself in good order and the reports were well received.

The programme moved on to the main event of the evening, the passing of Brother Alan Jason Miller who was following not only his brother Pericles (now Junior Warden) but also his late father Jason Miller through the degrees. It was then that the performances really began to shine, from the Senior Deacon - Gary Horth’s constant assured role next to the Candidate, a solid obligation by the WM, all the way to the most welcomed appearance of an under-the-weather Adrian Hayward who came into the Lodge just to deliver a memorable charge. It was a great team effort after many hours of rehearsal with only the second meeting in the Chairs for Brother Pericles Miller and Neil Tomlin as JW and SW respectively who gave a solid account of themselves.

A nugget provided by Solomon was given by Bro Paul Bridgeman which gave food for thought and will be a regular feature going forwards.

Brother Carl Moore was presented with his Grand Lodge certificate by W Bro Wildman in a poetic style which held everyone’s attention, an excellent reward for one of our hardest working members.

Greetings were taken from the current WM of Beacon Lodge 4362 Trevor Collinson and two other members of the Pocklington Lodge who I am sure encouraged by our own Nigel Bell (also their current DC) had joined us for the evening and were great company at the festive board with W Bro Trevor responding for the visitors.

Congratulations were given by all to Brother Alan on his passing before we all enjoyed a Chinese themed festive board. A full toast list followed and completed what I felt was a “proper” Masonic evening accompanied by W Bro Wildman's musical contributions.

Confirming the Lodge's confidence in their choice, our WM confided in me that he hoped to perform all three degree rituals during his time in the Chair, or, in the words of the famous Yorkshire wordsmith:

“Sometimes there is no next time, no time-outs, no second chances. Sometimes it’s now or never.”

That is the spirit that being WM should inspire, and that spirit is here at Thesaurus.

[W Bro Malcolm Forbes' report may be found on this date on the Andrew Marvell blogpage.]

W Bro Rob McKenna
Mentor - Thesaurus 3891

 

 

Wednesday 8th May 2024:

Tribute to Excellence: Lodge of St Andrew 4683

As I sat by the organ in the Lodge Room at Beverley Road listening to the initiation ceremony, I was reminded of my own initiation thirty-nine years ago. Not because the Lodge of St Andrew was performing Humber ritual - at the time I had no idea that there was a particular ritual practised in East Yorkshire - but for the quality of delivery, the sincerity, the desire not only to say the words, but to make them meaningful. I remember wondering "how on earth can people perform like that?" and I have no doubt that the Candidate this evening, Mr James Walker, (later, of course, Brother James Walker) was thinking similar thoughts.

Times have changed since 1985 and I have seen hundreds of ceremonies through the years. While I acknowledge that the demands on men and women have altered over the decades and there appears to be less opportunity to study due to having a stressful job and family responsibilities, I still deplore the use of books to read ritual (often by people who have not even taken the trouble to read the text beforehand) and the often spurious excuses. So it did my heart good to witness a ceremony without recourse to ritual books, where the Brethren had made a real effort to commit the words to memory, and had rehearsed at Lodge of Instruction. I almost felt young again.

Perhaps there's a lesson here; the St Andrew LoI has frequent social functions - indeed, the Candidate this evening had visited the Brethren on several such social events and had been impressed enough to ask to join the Lodge. Nor were the ritualists retirees; two Entered Apprentices and a Fellow Craft delivered floor-work - superbly. The light blues considerably outnumbered the Provincial Officers.

But enough ranting! It was a splendid evening, and I felt privileged being asked to play at such an excellent ceremony. Congratulations to The Master, W Bro James Billaney and his team, and to Bro Walker for joining such a thriving Lodge. And next month there's yet another Candidate.

Malcolm Forbes was there representing the Andrew Marvell Lodge 5642 (he stood with me as a member of Humber - I stood with him as a member of Andrew Marvell) and he waxed lyrically at the festive board on behalf of the visitors. His report may be found on this date on the L 5642 website.)

Very well done, Lodge of St Andrew.

Eddie Wildman, guest organist

 

Thursday 2nd May 2024:

 Report on Constitutional Lodge 294

It was an early arrival at Constitutional Lodge for their Lodge meeting on 2nd May.

Lodge Almoner W Bro Chris Harland had asked Lodge Officers to attend at 6.0 pm so that group photographs could be taken in the Lodge room. The sale of the photographs to the Brethren will raise money for Festival 29.

The Lodge meeting tyled at 6.30 pm. The meeting was well attended with twenty-three Brethren present. Regular visitor W Bro John Bridges, a member of Wilberforce Lodge 2134, and W Bro Duncan Taylor, the Worshipful Master of Hull Old Grammarians 5129, were welcome attendees.

The meeting was duly opened by Worshipful Master W Bro Mike Noble. Following the reading of a by-law of the Lodge and a portion of the Antient Charges by Lodge Secretary W Bro Gavin Collinson, a successful ballot was held for a proposed candidate for initiation.

The Lodge reports were then presented. In my Charity Steward's report to supplement a previously distributed written report I proposed that the Lodge should make a donation to the Summer Fayre to be held on 8th June organised by the Friends of Connaught Court.

The proposition was duly seconded and subsequently approved. Furthermore, in response to a request for financial assistance from Keldmarsh Primary School, a proposition to donate a sum of money to the school was similarly seconded and approved.

WM Noble thanked W Bro Harland for his customary thorough Almoner's report.

Following the reports, W Bro Collinson delivered a presentation on the First Degree Tracing Board. The presentation was not only valuable to the Entered Apprentices present but also to the Brethren as a whole.

On finishing the presentation W Bro Collinson then gave a presentation on the historical significance of public houses as meeting places for Lodges. The evolution of Lodge meetings and their atmosphere was much influenced by their presence in public houses. Some Lodges even took their names from the public houses in which they met.

Both presentations were warmly received by the Brethren.

A Past Master's Jewel was then presented by WM Noble to W Bro Andrew Nicholson in recognition of all the work he has done for the Lodge.

At the risings, W Bro Martin Rowland gave Provincial greetings.

The meeting was duly closed.

The Festive Board was a joyous occasion. Two toasts were submitted. The raffle was well supported. Gratitude is expressed to W Bro Bridgers who provided one of the many prizes. The WM delivered the parting toast at 9.45 pm.

Everyone had enjoyed an informative and convivial evening. 

 W Bro Malcolm Forbes, Charity Steward

 

 Wednesday 1st May 2024:

Kingston Lodge 1010

W Bro Ian Syddall ProvGChStwd and a pillar of the Humber Lodge 57 has been a frequent Representative of the RWPGM at the Kingston Lodge 1010 (and indeed had presided at the Kingston Lodge Installation when the WM Gary Crosssland took the Chair.) It was a pleasure to see him again at the Kingston Mayday meeting along with his DC W Bro Stephen Burns of Thesaurus Lodge 3891. The ceremony had been a 1° enactment, with W Bro John Stebbings (Lord Bolton 3263) in the role of Candidate.

Ian thanked the Secretary, W Bro Neil Armstrong at the Festive Board for his useful comments upstairs, which covered much of what he had intended to say, congratulated the WM on his year so far, and reminded the Brethren about the convocation at the York Race Course on the 11th inst. "Over a hundred family members will be there," he told the Brethren, promoting the RWPGM's initiative, "and the 2029 Festival will be officially launched."

As always, Luke Pyrah's meal was excellent, and the Rep and DC needed little encouragement to indulge.

[Neil Armstrong's report may be found on this date on the Kingston Lodge blogpage.]

Eddie Wildman, Organist

 

 

Tuesday 30th April 2024:

Funerals are occasions where sadness and regret are combined with happy reflections and memories, and this bright Spring morning was particularly poignant. Along with other members of Humber Lodge, Humber KT and other Orders I attended the funeral of W Bro Angus Murdo Gillies, who died on March 26th after a long period of distressing ill health. We were devestated to learn that Angus's wife, Maureen, had passed away the day before the funeral. Their daughters, Camayo and Amanda spoke about Angus and gave a bible reading from the volume presented in youth; one can only admire their strength and determination to pay their respects in a way that would have merited their father's approval despite the double blow of losing both parents.

It was, paradoxically, a lovely service at St Helen's Church, Welton. The outline of Angus's life as a father, as a senior service man, as a Mason was illuminating: we were proud to have known him and glad to pay our last respects in this lovely setting.

Rest in peace.

Malcolm Forbe's report is on this date on the Celebrations and Regrets page.

Eddie Wildman

 

Friday 26th April 2024:

Ridings Tablers' Lodge Meeting

The Lodge was barely quorate; an unfortunate concatanation of circumstances resulted in nadiral attendance at Trinity Lane Beverley; I stood in as Junior Warden, an office I've not held for over thirty years. However, the WM W Bro Michael Coates welcomed the L9685 Brethren along with visitor W Bro Mike Bennett from Sykes Lodge 1040 in Driffield and opened the Lodge with substitute Wardens and Deacons. W Bro Martin Clark (IPM and DC) gave an explanation of the first degree tracing board; a nugget was submitted from the Solomon website regarding the preparation of the Candidate by the Entered Apprentice Paul Harding (also standing in as Senior Deacon). It was good to see Bro Leigh Harding back with us: he did a sterling job as Stand-in Junior Deacon. The Lodge Treasurer, W Bro Mark J Green (Stand-in SW) gave a succinct report on the Lodge finances for the year. The long-suffering Secretary was superb in the organisation of everybody both before and after the meeting; any difficulties during the meeting itself were tactfully eradicated under the skilful guidance of the DC, despite his quiet remark that he was still wearing his L plates. Bro Ian Brough performed his duties at the door of the Lodge with his usual winning smile. The odes and national anthem were sung a cappella.

We were too few to justify asking Tereza the chef to cook for us; instead we invited her to join us for fish and chips from a nearby chippie. It had been a convivial meeting, with everyone pulling together in true Masonic tradition. While the Brethren sallied to a nearby hostelry afterwards, I was tired (having been at a Chapter meeting earlier in the day) and was very grateful for the lifts both to the Lodge and back home again - thanks Bro Secretary! Thanks W Bro IPM!

 

 Eddie Wildman, Organist Junior Warden

  

Monday 22nd April 2024:

 

Andrew Marvell 5642 Lodge meeting

Report by Malcolm Forbes

 

I attended the regular Lodge meeting at Beverley Road Masonic Hall. I took a circuitous route due to the continued closure of Drypool Bridge in the company of Bro Chris Wright and Bro Ian Montgomery, a member of the Lodge of St Andrew 4683, to arrive at the Masonic Hall at 5.45 pm.

On arrival IPM W Bro Chris Lefevre was acting as dining steward to collect the money for the Festive Board as well as the money for the Lodge raffle to be held later in the evening. Altogether there were eighteen Brethren in attendance at the Lodge meeting with fifteen Brethren dining at the Festive Board.

Amongst the visitors was W Bro Dave Duffill, a member of De La Pole Lodge 1605. I was to take my seat in the Lodge room alongside W Bro Duffill.

The Lodge tyled at 6.30 pm. The Opening Hymn was sung with musical accompaniment provided by Grand Lodge Officer W Bro Eddie Wildman.

WM W Bro Tom Cawkwell duly opened the Lodge. W Bro Lefevre stood in as Chaplain, W Bro Colin Shields stood in as Inner Guard and Bro Ian Montgomery stood in as Tyler. I, along with Bro Wright, Lodge Mentor and Lodge Membership Officer W Bro Barry Longstaff and W Bro Andrew Peach, who was sat alongside W Bro Cawkwell, had watching briefs. Lodge Secretary W Bro John Towler acted as Lecture Master.

Following the raising of Junior Deacon Bro Nigel Henry at the previous Lodge meeting on 25th March, the main business of the meeting was to raise Bro Ian Walker to the sublime degree of a Master Mason.

Bro Walker was placed in the hands of Senior Deacon W Bro Chris Brown and Junior Deacon Bro Henry. Bro Walker confidently answered the questions put to him by WM Cawkwell in the second degree.

The raising ceremony was conducted to the highest standard. Credit is due to the Worshipful Master, Director of Ceremonies W Bro Richard Green and the ritualists for their delivery and performance. W Bro Cawkwell delivered the Obligation. The Communication of the Secrets was presented by W Bro Brown. The Retrospect was performed with due reverence and dignity by W Bro Barry Kensett. As Brethren gathered around, the Historical Oration was acted out dramatically by W Bro Wildman in his inimitable way, followed by an explanation of the 3° Tracing Board. The explanation of the Working Tools was delivered faultlessly by Senior Warden Bro Ian Fuller. W Bro Lefevre delivered the Charge. The questions to which Bro Walker should learn the answers if he wishes to progress into Chapter were answered by SW Bro Fuller and JW Bro Steve Walker.

At the conclusion of the ceremony Bro Walker left the Lodge room to be restored to his usual comforts.

A Masonic nugget was then read out by Bro Henry.

Lodge reports were then presented. Lodge Treasurer W Bro Shields proposed that monies from Lodge raffles should be allocated to Festival 29. This was accepted by the Brethren. Lodge Almoner W Bro Lefevre reported that W Bro Adrian Hayward had been unable to attend but that his health was improving. I, as Charity Steward, reported on the Connaught Court summer fayre on 8th June. The Lodge resolved to make a donation of £50 to this. I also reported briefly on Festival 29 and the Relief Chest scheme for making individual charitable donations. W Bro Longstaff presented a Lodge Mentor's and Lodge Membership Officer's report.

WM Cawkwell addressed Bro Walker on his return to the Lodge meeting on progression to Chapter Masonry.

In the risings W Bro Wildman gave congratulatory greetings on behalf of Grand Lodge. I rose as a member of Humber Lodge 57 as W Bro Wildman gave greetings on behalf of the premier Lodge in the Province. He and I also rose as members of De La Pole Lodge as W Bro Duffill gave greetings on behalf of L 1605.

The meeting was duly closed and the Closing Hymn sung before Bro Montgomery took some photographs with WM Cawkwell, Bro Ian Walker and the Wardens on the dais and Eddie borrowed W Bro Brown's phone for the photograph with this article. 

The Brethren met downstairs for the Festive Board at 9.00 pm. It was a merry Festive Board with the tables arranged to form a square. Two toasts were submitted. A bound ritual book produced by Bro Henry was presented to Bro Ian Walker. The raffle and the Lodge's Fifty Club draw were conducted by W Bro Shields.

In his parish notes, WM Cawkwell thanked everyone who had taken part in the ceremony. He also emphasised the importance of attending the Lodge's next LOI in May when there will be a rehearsal for an initiation ceremony which is due to take place at the next Lodge meeting later in May.

The parting toast was delivered by WM Cawkwell.

It had been a thoroughly enjoyable night with a high class ceremony at its core.

[Photo L to R: Bro Ian Fuller, SW; Bro Ian Walker, MM; W Bro Tom Cawkwell, WM; Bro Steve Walker, JW.]

Malcolm Forbes, Charity Steward

 

Saturday 20th April 2024:

PAUL

The summons for the Technical Lodge 5666 stated in the Lodge Business that the third item on the agenda was "To receive the Representative of the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master W Bro Ian Syddall Provincial Grand Charity Steward and his Director of Ceremonies W Bro Richard East Past Provincial Grand Pursuivant." I'll write on some other occasion about the difference between "Provincial" and "Past Provincial"; suffice it to say here that the Representative in this context is effectively the spokesman for the Provincial Boss (R W Bro David Chambers) and as such merits a red-apronned Director of Ceremonies to ensure that all is in order. He is usually expected to convey the greeting of the RWPGM with some well chosen words at the festive board.

This was not the case today: the Lodge meeting was brief, comprising a ballot for a rejoining member (welcome back, Dave!) and the inevitable reports. W Bro Syddall addressed the Brethren briefly before they retired downstairs, congratulating W Bros Jonathon Sykes and Mike Cheeseman on their forthcoming promotions in May and inviting the Brethren and their loved ones to attend the Annual Craft Convocation at York Race Course. W Bros Syddall and East have represented together on several occasions and their well-oiled procedure is paradigmatic.

Downstairs the Brethren joined their ladies and friends (including potential candidates) for a delicious white table meal, after which there were two presentations.

The first was given by the WM, W Bro Ian Parkinson about the Charity PAUL, which had come to the aid of a family member and does  tremendous work supporting those who have suffered brain injuries. The name is an acronym, he explained, for Positivity, Awareness, Understanding and Love, the guiding principles of the service.

The next was an erudite illustrated dissertation by Bro Dr Thekkootupisharam Nandakumar explaining the different types of brain injuries, after which the WM had organised fund-raising entertainment including a medically related "bus-stop", a raffle, and "spin-the-wheel". As the hour was advancing, and as several Brethren will never use a sentence when a paragraph will do, it was decided to postpone the quiz until another occasion; all had been well entertained, well educated and well fed and were content. £445 had been raised for PAUL.

The Technical Lodge is blessed with several Brethren who are connected with the medical and caring professions in different areas, and I am proud to belong to a Lodge which so actively demonstrates the Masonic principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.

 [Photos: W Bros Richard East and Ian Syddall; W Bro Ian Parkinson, WM.]

Eddie Wildman Guest Organist

 

 

Wednesday 17th April 2024:

Convivial Libation in the Old Town

Humber Lodge was well represented at the Sailmakers' Arms in Hull Old Town as the Worshipful Master, W Bro Alan Todd, visited to hear W Bro Richard Smedley give a delightful talk on "Recognising the Great Pooh-Bah" explaining the recognition of the Masonic uniform in Craft and Chapter from the Entered Apprentice to Grand Lodge rank. It was also an opportunity to congratulate W Bro John Broughton on his promotion to Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works in May (an office peculiar to Grand and Provincial rank, characterised by a semicircular protractor.) 

The pub takes its name from the 19th century ships’ chandlers, Rayment and Sharp, who originally had the premises. R&S were bonded store dealers and sail makers at the premises (the large area in the upper room where the Phoenix Lodge meetings are held was ideal for the making of the huge sails required for ships) and supplying other maritime equipment. Now it is a private function room.

The attendance, however was disappointing; there had been a plethora of last-minute apologies, including the WM, who had to attend a medical emergency for a family member. His son, however, was there with the Lodge Warrant (which must be present at every meeting) and I was pleased to formally present Junior Warden Alistair with his United Grand Lodge of England Certificate, including an explanation of the symbols thereon. Meanwhile, W Bro Ian Parkinson (currently WM of the Technical Lodge 5666 and a Past Master of the Phoenix Lodge 9963) took the Master's Chair with aplomb. He thanked everybody at the end of the meeting, expressing the mood of us all when he remarked how the interactive conversion, the questions, the exchange of ideas and the new information acquired by everyone was much appreciated.

We hied to the bar below for convivial libation afterwards where the Phoenix Secretary, W Bro Antonio Ramirez dilated on the virtues of the various beverages therein. Congratulations to all the Phoenix Brethren present and our visitor.

Eddie Wildman, Senior Warden

 

Saturday 13th April 2024:

Lord Bolton Initiation

The Senior Warden of the Lord Bolton Lodge 3263, Bro Colin Bird gavelled for attention as the Brethren were called to order and asked W Bro John Stebbings PPJGW if he would take the Chair of the WM as W Bro Robert Gwatkin was away on business. W Bro Stebbings (who has taken the Chair before in 1992 and again in 2021) graciously accepted the responsibility. "Before I open the Lodge," he began, "I would inform the Brethren that today it is Brother Liam Gwatkin's birthday." The organist struck up a chord, and the Brethren sang Happy Birthday to the surprised Inner Guard.

W Bro Stebbings opened the Lodge with the ease of long practise and welcomed the visitors. A brief but heartfelt eulogy was given for a departed Brother, W Bro Christopher John Rockett, a joining member of L 3263. The minutes of the last meeting were signed.

A knock at the door announced the beginning of the main item that evening: eighteen-year-old Mr Luke Griffiths was outside the door of the long humbly asking to become a member. He was admitted in due and ancient form, and his proposer, Bro Jamie Bird, Junior Deacon, conducted him round the Lodge Room thereafter.

Historically, the Candidate is led before the Brethren to show that he is a fit and proper person to be made a mason; visitors from the Old Hymerian Lodge 6885 (see 11th April below) may have observed the difference in the number of perambulations made. Having met with the approval of Junior Warden Keith McMaster and Senior Warden Colin Bird, the latter recommended Mr Griffiths to the WM. He was led by the proper steps to the pedestal, where he was obligated by the Immediate Past Master, W Bro Martin Tompkins, who also explained the three Great Lights in Freemasonry.

I had the privilege of pointing out the three Lesser Lights in their cardinal positions, after which W Bro Alan Shand communicated the secrets.

Brother Griffiths was a quick study and showed how readily he had observed the information divulged to him when conducted to the Wardens. The Senior Warden invested Bro Griffiths with the Entered Apprentice Apron, assisted by the Junior Deacon, his son: Brother Griffiths was thus between two Birds, a poignant symnbol of harmony and hope, incidentally echoed by the symbol surmounting Jamie's wand of office. Bro Colin Bird explained the meaning of the Masonic Apron in the unique ritual peculiar to the Lord Bolton Lodge.

Fellowcraft Freemason Anas Challigui gave the address at the Northeast Corner magnificently and sincerely. The Working Tools were explained by the Lodge Mentor, W Bro Gerald Lock PPGStdB. The careful observer may have noticed the textual differences in this ritual; in the Emulation version the twenty-four inch gauge is divided into three, whereas those Lodges practising Humber working divide it into four. W Bro Lock drew the Candidate's attention to the rough ashlar representing the beginning of a Mason's learning process.

The Ancient Charge was delivered by the Chaplain, W Bro Andrew Hoggard.

After the Questions and Answered leading to the next degree were exchanged between the Principal Officers, W Bro Lock welcomed Bro Griffiths and presented him with the introductory literature from the Province of Yorkshire North and East Ridings. Bro Griffiths retired to restore himself to his suit.

(Information Nugget: in 1817 the Province of Yorkshire was divided into two Provinces - that of Yorkshire West Riding and of Yorkshire North and East Ridings. The name "Riding" comes from the Old Norse Þriding or Þriðing, meaning a "thirding" and the term "Thriding" survived into the Middle Ages. The three ridings surround the city of York, their boundaries meeting at the city walls. York, therefore, is the only part of Yorkshire outside any of the ridings. Those Brethren in the Order of Athelstan may be interested to know that each riding subdivided into wapentakes.)

Reports were given and Bro Griffiths was readmitted and conducted to a seat in the Lodge; greetings were extended from Lodges including Humber 57, KIngston 1010, Old Hymerian 6885 and Phoenix 9963.

The Closing Ode was sung and the nineteen Brethren retired - fortunately the Guest Organist managed to catch John, Luke and Jamie for a photograph before the Lodge Banner was returned to its usual spot.

At the festive board, where the newly acquired Travelling Gavel was on display, Bro Jamie Bird proposed the toast to Bro Griffiths, saying how delighted he was to have actually conducted his friend round the Lodge. The Entered Apprentice Song was performed ("sung" is perhaps a misleading term in this context) with W Bro John Stebbings discovering new notes hitherto unachieved by the human voice. Brother Griffiths responded confidently and eloquently, thanking the Brethren and looking forward to beginning a new chapter in his life.

The toast to the Absent Brethren was submitted by Bro Keith McMaster and that to the visitors by Bro Colin Bird. W Bro Alex McCallum responded, reflecting on his own introduction into Freemasonry and remarking on the value of visiting.

The Master closed the proceeding after the raffle, which had raised £75 for the Lodge Welfare Fund, and presented Bro Griffiths with a hand-crafted pen made of reclaimed acacia wood. He explained that later in his Masonic career Bro Luke would learn of the significance of the acacia. He kindly presented me with a similar pen; I used it in scribbling down these few notes before transferring them to my laptop for publication. Thanks, Worshipful Master and Brethren all for a very satisfying evening!

[Photos: Bros Jamie Bird and Luke Griffiths; W Bro Stebbings, Bro Griffiths and Bro Bird. For Neil Armstrong's account of the event, see this date on the Kingston website blog page.]

Eddie Wildman, guest organist.

 

Friday 12th April 2024:

De la Pole Fellowcraft Extraordinaire

Worshipful Brother Peter Frank Clark opened the de la Pole Lodge 1605 at 7.00pm at the Masonic Hall, Beverley Road, Hull very efficiently and a knock at the door from the Tyler, W Bro Russ Garbutt led to the announcement from W Bro Whereat, the Rep's DC, that W Bro Ian Syddall, Provincial Grand Charity Steward, and Representative of the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master requested admission. A suitable escort was formed and W Bro Syddall entered with enormous dignity. The escort was dismissed and the evening continued with the signing of the minutes. (When a Representative visits officially, he will have already read the minutes of previous meetings, doing his homework to ensure that all is in order.)

Bro Paul Dickinson, escorted by the JD Bro Mike Kelly, was examined in the questions leading to the Second Degree in Freemasonry and answered fluently and confidently. The Stand-in Senior Warden, Brother Ian Fuller entrusted Bro Dickinson with the password and grip leading to the Fellowcraft degree; he retired to prepare himself and the WM raised the Lodge to the Second Stage.

The dramatic exchange between the Inner Guard and Tyler (W Bros Jimmy Kerr and Russ Garbutt) announced the return of Bro Dickinson, who was now escorted by SD Bro John Holmes through the perambulations.

W Bro Peter Spencer obligated Bro Dickinson admirably. The signs pertaining to the Second Degree were communicated by the JW, Bro Graham Paul Thornalley, and the Candidate was subsequently examined in the same by the Senior Warden. Bro Fuller invested the Candidate with the distinguishing badge of a Fellowcraft Freemason. W Bro Ray Platten delivered the address at the Southeast Corner and the Working Tools were explained conjointly and seamlessly between Bros Aaron Sutherland and John Holmes.

The Chaplain delivered the Ancient Charge with enviable skill - this ritual I find difficult, but W Bro Ben Kelly made it sound conversational and easy.

The Questions and Answers leading to the Third Degree were exchanged between the Principal Officers before Brother Dickinson retired as a Fellowcraft to restore himself to his usual smart attire.

The Lodge was lowered to the First Degree and I had the privilege of presenting Brother Steven Laird with his UGLE Certificate. This is a valuable document  and useful when visiting a strange Lodge where one is unknown to the Brethren.

Bro Dickinson was readmitted, reports were given, with W Bro Malcolm Forbes briefly dilating on the health of the Brethren in his capacity of Almoner. Greetings were extended, with W Bro Syddell inviting all other Provincial Officers to stand. The WM then closed the Lodge in due form, and photographs were taken - Bro Mike Kelly excelled himself.

The festive board was up to the usual high standard of Chef Luke Pyrah, and the usual toasts ensued. The Representative of the RWPGM thanked the de la Pole Brethren for the warm reception and the courtesy afforded him and his DC throughout the evening and congratulated those receiving honours in May, whilst modestly failing to mention his own impending promotion to Provincial Senior Grand Warden. W Bro Simon Ramshaw of the Kingston Lodge 1010 responded on behalf of the visitors, developing the theme of Friendship after W Bro Peter Spencer had sung the Visitors Song - the first time in this Lodge.

After the raffle, W Bro Spencer sang the Parting Toast and everyone joined in the "Happy Meet Again " choruses, leaving with a tune in their heads: Music, of course, is one the the Seven Liberal Arts, and, as William Congreve remarked, "Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast, to soften rocks and bend the knotted oak."

[Many thanks to Bro Mike Kelly for the photographs. Malcolm Forbes' report is on the Andrew Marvell blogpage for this date https://www.andrewmarvell5642.co.uk/?%26nbsp%3BBlog_Page.]

Eddie Wildman, guest Organist

 

 

 

Thursday 11th April 2024:

Not being required at the Thesaurus Lodge 3891 at Dagger Lane for the expected Certificate presentation, I took the opportunity to visit the Old Hymerian Lodge 6885 at Beverley Road to which I'd been previously invited and walked past gridlocked traffic to arrive at Beverley Road in good time.

The WM, W Bro David Waddington must have been delighted at the numbers attending; I counted thirty-three folk there, fourteen of whom were visitors, one of whom was from the Lodge of St Matthew 1447 in Barton, the others from local Lodges including Lord Bolton 3263, Technical 5666, Phoenix 9963 and the Cornerstone Lodge 10051. 

It was a splendid occasion. the WM opened the Lodge efficiently and explained that on this occasion the Old Hymerian Lodge was to initiate a third generation Brother; eighteen-year-old William Anthony Cadle, proposed by his father, W Bro Anthony Cadle and seconded by his grandfather, W Bro David Cadle. The Old Hymerian Lodge has had a recent influx of younger members (Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts not only increasing the number of white aprons present, but happily reducing the average age of the membership) and the trend continues.

W Bro Waddington gracefully relinquished the Chair for the first part of the ceremony so that W Bro Anthony Cadle could preside and obligate his son. This was done magnificently: I was particularly impressed as Mr Will Cadle, approaching the pedestal from the west, was matched step by step by his father from the east, so that they arrived at the square and compasses together. The obligation having taken, Brother Will was introduced to the Great and Lesser Lights of Freemasonry, and the Dangers and signs eloquently explained by the Senior Deacon, W Bro Richard Bate.

The Junior Deacon, Fellowcraft Freemason Bro Simon Copeman who conducted the Candidate through the ceremony then introduced Bro Cadle to the Junior Warden Bro Peter Presland and the Senior Warden Bro Malcolm Cuthbert who respectively enforced the learning experience with the traditional catechisms. Bro Cuthbert invested Bro Cadle with the apron and W Bro Percy Little delivered the address at the North East Corner in one of the most sincere and moving performances I have ever seen. Bro Will was then conducted to his grandfather, W Bro David Cadle, who explained the Working Tools of the degree as he had done for his son Anthony years before. After being shown the warrant and given the Book of Constitutions and the Bylaws, newly made Bro Cadle retired to restore himself to his suit and tie, and his father returned the Chair and gavel to W Bro Waddington, thanking him for his courtesy in allowing him the honour of overseeing the ceremony of his boy. He resumed the Office of DC, and W Bro Alex McCallum (who had discretely facilitated proceedings throughout) reverted to the Office of Assistant Director of Ceremonies.

A report from the Almoner was read and W Bro Bate gave a report inviting Chapter members to attend the Kingston Chapter 1010 in October.

Bro William Cadle was readmitted, now smartly clad in suit, tie, apron and white gloves. He stood as the Ancient Charge was well delivered by Bro Peter Presland before being conducted to a seat in the Lodge. There was a succesful ballot for a joining member, and the WM welcomed Bro Richard Davey into the Old Hymerian Lodge 6885.

Greetings were give, W Bro Gwatkin staking a claim for the Lord Bolton Lodge to take away the Travelling Gavel (click here for the link) and the Lodge was closed in due form, after which photographs were taken - W Bro Andrew Crozier slipping into professional mode with his sophisticated equipment while other Brethren plied their mobiles.

The festive board was of the high standard we always enjoy from Chef Luke Pyrah: fishcakes, pan fried chicken with tarragon sauce and jam sponge with custard for dessert. The toasts followed, with W Bro Graham Hunter at the keyboard, and the toast to the Candidate was given by his father, who spoke proudly of William's achievements as a performing arts technician. Bro Cadle responded appropriately and fluently. 

Bro Bird claimed the Travelling Gavel following his response to the toast to the visitors and the Parting Toast was given by the WM. It had been an excellent night.

[Photos: the Cadle Trio, W Bro Anthony, Bro William and W Bro David; W Bro Crozier; Bro Bird and the WM by Eddie]

Eddie Wildman, gate crasher.

 

Thursday 11th April 2024:

That which you seek is here

Report by Malcolm Forbes

I attended the regular Thesaurus Craft meeting at Dagger Lane Masonic Hall. Due to the temporary closure of Drypool Bridge traffic was heavy and parking difficult but I arrived in time. Before the meeting I was able to talk to Bro Gareth Millett, the son of W Bro Garry Millett, who after a break from Freemasonry when like his father he left Andrew Marvell Lodge, has returned by joining Thesaurus Lodge 3891. I was also able to converse with Lodge Chaplain W Bro Adrian Hayward, who is also the Chaplain of Andrew Marvell Lodge 5642. Despite his ongoing health issues W Bro Hayward was his cheerful self.

The Lodge embraces technology in collecting payments for the Festive Board. With card reader in hand Bro Neil Tomlin, the Senior Warden, was able to collect payments via debit card. Cash payment is still available.

The Lodge tyled at 6.30pm and was opened in due form by Worshipful Master W Bro Matthew Hunt. Stand-ins included W Bro Millett as IPM, W Bro Mark Rudston as Junior Warden and Bro Luke Byron as Inner Guard. W Bro Richard East acted as Director of Ceremonies and Almoner.

In his Almoner's report W Bro East identified both Assistant Provincial Grand Master W Bro Ian Johnson and W Bro Ben Foundling who were unable to attend due to ill-health.

In my Charity Steward's report I highlighted the annual summer fayre organised by the Friends of Connaught Court which will be held on 8th June. The Lodge Committee will determine an appropriate donation to be made by the Lodge. I conveyed the news that W Bro Tony Randle will be the Provincial Lodge Ambassador for Thesaurus Lodge for Festival 29. Lodge Secretary Bro Malcolm Dale will arrange a suitable date for W Bro Randle to attend the Lodge.

The main business of the meeting was to receive a presentation from W Bro Rob Mckenna entitled 'Solomon- Quenching Your Thirst'. W Bro Mckenna explained the scope and uses of the online learning tool and how all Freemasons can benefit from its encyclopedic coverage of topics related to Freemasonry. The presentation included a handout which incorporated QR codes to enable the Brethren to access the Solomon website. The presentation was most stimulating and informative.

Following the presentation WM Hunt asked me as Charity Steward to give a short presentation on Festival 29, which I duly did.
Following the risings, the Lodge meeting was duly closed.

At the Festive Board I sat opposite W Bro Nigel Bell, who had acted as Junior Deacon, and in the company of W Bro Steve Burns, W Bro David Harrison, W Bro Mike East and W Bro Rudston. Lively conversation ensued.

Two toasts were submitted. No visitors were present.
The raffle raised £100.

In his parish notes WM Hunt looked forward to the next Lodge meeting on 9th May when a second degree ceremony is due to take place.

The gridlock in the city centre had disappeared by the time I made my way back to my car for the journey home. The journey to the Lodge meeting had been most worthwhile.

W Bro Malcolm Forbes, Charity Steward

 

 

Wednesday 10th April 2024:

For Minerva 250's Chapter exaltation ceremony see the blog for this date on the Minerva website.

 

Tuesday 9th April 2024: 

The Way Ahead

Report by Malcolm Forbes

I attended the regular Lodge meeting at Dagger Lane. Fifteen Lodge members were in attendance. The attendance was depleted by the absence of W Bros Eddie Wildman, Ian Syddall and Peter Kenyon-Brodie who were attending the meeting of Wilberforce Lodge 2134 held at the Trinity Lane Masonic Hall  in Beverley on the same night.

The Lodge meeting was opened by Worshipful Master W Bro Alan Todd. Grand Lodge Officer W Bro Richard Smedley, who acted as Inner Guard, was welcomed by the Lodge Brethren under the instruction of Director of Ceremonies W Bro Terry Fisher.

The main business of the meeting was a discussion of the way forward for the Lodge. Lodge Almoner W Bro David Terry began the discussion by reading out a paper written by W Bro Wildman. The paper reviewed the diverse objectives which Lodge members may have for joining Freemasonry and the Lodge. It was clear that individual prospective and current members may have different motivations, which the Lodge should seek to exploit. Ideally time should be taken to get to know the Candidate, his family and personal circumstances before he is proposed in open Lodge.

Discussion took place on the value and present form of LOIs given the low attendance in their current form. Instruction on the meaning of ritual and increasing Masonic knowledge rather than the rehearsal of ritual at LOIs may encourage greater attendance.

Recruitment, engagement and retention of members were discussed. The identification of candidates, the interview process and the mentoring of existing members were areas which prompted analysis. Social events, LOIs and Festive Boards were seen as ways to break down any barriers between members and foster greater understanding of Freemasonry.

With forty members the Lodge is not in decline but it was emphasised that the Lodge should place an emphasis on quality rather than quantity when it comes to attracting new members.

The learning and delivery of ritual and whether some parts should be read to help ritualists was debated. At all times ritualists should be encouraged as its delivery can be daunting.

The start time for Lodge meetings was also considered in terms of whether it would make it potentially easier for some Lodge members to attend.

WM Todd concluded that the wide-ranging discussion had been most useful and points arising out of it may be put forward at future Lodge meetings for implementation.

In his Almoner's report W Bro Terry reported on the sad death of Lodge member W Bro Angus Gillies. The Brethren rose to pay due Masonic respect on the passing of W Bro Gillies to the Grand Lodge above.

Malcolm Forbes

 

Tuesday 9th April 2024:

Wilberforce Installation

The best looking waitresses the Wilberforce Lodge 2134 has seen for many years were in at Trinity Lane, Beverley before the Installation meeting began, taking money for the meals and serving tea, coffee, sausage rolls and buns. Julie Granville and Sam(antha) Smith, child brides of the Provincial Grand Secretary and Lodge Secretary respectively, greeted the Brethren with warming smiles - what better start to an installation could one wish for?

I was treated to a lift to the meeting by W Bro Andrew Hoggard, who as Provincial Grand Steward was part of the Provincial Team accompanying the Ruler, VW Bro Jonathan Mark Mitchell Smith (who stood in at short notice for W Bro Ian Johnson, who was unable to be there.) It was good to see W Bro Ian Syddall, Provincial Grand Charity Steward there in his Provincial Capacity, and W Bro Peter Kenyon-Brodie, WM of the Phoenix Lodge 9963 - both, like me, members of the Humber Lodge.

The meeting upstairs began under the direction of the DC, W Bro David Johnstone PPSGW as the WM and his escort of officers entered to the singing of the opening hymn. 

The WM, W Bro Michael Kennedy opened the Lodge in due form, and Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, W Bro Simon Simpson was admitted to announce that the Deputy Provincial Grand Master demanded admission. The ecort was, of course, magnificent, and the VWDPGM entered with appropriate ceremony, took the Chair, and introduced his team with his usual good humour before relinquishing the figurative Seat of King Solomon to the WM.

The minutes were confirmed, and a Solomon nugget on the meaning of the words "just, perfect and regular" was delivered by Bro Colin Connolly, the Chief Steward. A link to the Solomon website may be found on the summons, and is also on this website.

The next business was to install the Master Elect, so the Entered Apprentices retired and the Lodge was raised to the 2°. The Lodge DC, W Bro David Johnstone presented Bro Maurice Thorpe and W Bro Kennedy recited to him the necessary qualifications for Mastership, followed by the Secretary who read the UGLE requirements, to all of which Bro Thorpe agreed. The Constitutional requirements are announced as much for the information of the Brethre as to the Master Elect, but it is an essential part of the ceremony that these strictures are noted and subsequently acted upon. The Brethren stood as Brother Thorpe took his obligation regarding his duties in the Chair.

The Fellow Crafts were invited to retire, and the Lodge was raised to the 3°, and all offices were declared vacant, the collars of office returned to the WM, and the Master Masons retired.

The Lodge was raised to become a Board of Installed Masters, and the WM installed his successor with due ceremony, presenting him with the gavel as  symbol of authority.

Worshipful Brother Thorpe presided whilst VW Bro Smith presented W Bro Kennedy with a Past Master's jewel, referring to the 47th proposition of Euclid, which elucidates the familiar Pythagorean theorem that in right-angled triangles the square from the side subtending the right angle is equal to the sum of the squares containing the right angle. Fortunately he didn't expand on this as W Bro Ben Kelly's eyes were starting to glaze; the symbolism of the jewel is that as Past Master, the wearer now has the ability to create complex structures using this geometrical absolute.

The Lodge was lowered to the 3° and as the Master Masons perambulated round, W Bro Paul Ralph sang the first verse of the Masonic Anthem. Bro Peter Skinner presented the Working Tools of that degree. In the 2° the Fellowcrafts were admitted, and a similar process took place, Paul singing, and the Working Tools presented by Bro David Burrell. LIkewise in the 1°, now with the Entered Apprentices perambulating with the other members, Paul sang the last verse (all joining in the chorus) and Bro Oliver Hector, tallest member of the Lodge, presented the Working Tools of the first degree in Freemasonry. The Installing Director of Ceremonies presented the Warrant alongside the Book of Constitutions and the Bylays of the Lodge.

The addresses to the Master, the Wardens and the Brethren were given by W Bros Johnathan Smith, Eddie Wildman and David Johnstone respectively. Reports followed, greetings were given and the Lodge was closed. There were several photographs taken. My paltry efforts have blurred the faces of the Brethren, which in many cases is for the best.

The Festive Board was tasty; the evening continued. The VWDPGM  in response to the fifth toast reflected on why he enjoyed the Craft, and those people who had influenced his development, touching on us all being part of the history of the fraternity whilst expressing concern that membership and attendance often displayed a disappointing disparity of numbers. The toast to both the new and retired WM were given by W Bro Glanville. W Bro Paul Ralph sang the Master's Song.

It was good to see the ladies Julie, Samantha and Tereza the chef presented with flowers for their excellent work.

The raffle raised £175.00 and W Bro Glanville auctioned two bottles of quality Single Malt Whisky which raised another £93.00 for the Festival. The WM presented the DPGM with a £2000.00 cheque from the Lodge for the Festival fund.

A late evening - especially for those who had far to travel, and W Bro Simon Simpson, Provincial Grand Butcher, and the team of Provincial officers under his direction dutifully took their leave at 10:30 - but we had all had an enjoyable time. I returned with W Bro Peter Kenyon-Brodie - thanks, Peter for the lift home, and congratulations, Wilberforce Lodge!

Eddie Wildman, installation organist

 

 

Monday 8th April 2024:

 Preceptor's Festival L7833

 

The Lodge of St Michael, like many other local Lodges, has an annual Lodge of Instruction Open Night whereat the Officers for the next year perform their new roles in an enactment of a First Degree Ceremony. Unlike other local Lodges, however, the Lodge of St Michael calls this the Preceptor's Festival, the culmination of a year's instruction, encouragement, exhortation and bullying from the Lecture Master (known in L7833 as the Preceptor - from the Latin præceptor, a teacher or instructor.) To any visitor (on this occasion W Bro Bernard Frazer who gave greetings from Brough Lodge 5464) the ritual may have appeared somewhat different to the local practice, as the Lodge of St Michael practises Emulation ritual rather than Humber working, a decision taken by the Founders before the consecration in 1962.

It was an excellent ceremony, given the same level of seriousness that would be accorded to an actual Candidate, though regalia was not worn, and the VSL was not used. Some of the Brethren took the opportunity to flaunt their most flamboyant ties, and John Burton's rainbow coloured neckwear gave rise to some gentle teasing while David Whittall's strident lime green creation lit up the West side of the Lodge. David Broughton as Senior Warden wore a red tie with matching socks.

Despite this, John Broughton and Peter Wright, both long enough in the tooth to qualify as tutters found themselves redundant. The Brethren had learned their ritual well.

I shall not name everyone who took part in the ceremony, but from the new lads and the old established hands alike there was genuine commitment, and the Master Elect, Bro Les Thornett can look forward to loyal support and maximum effort from his team next year if tonight's performance was anything to go by, and the Preceptor, Jack Chapman, had a smile on his face.

The festive board - twenty places round a square of tables - was convivial despite a little geographical confusion as to where the Wardens were sitting, and the Candidate, W Bro Peter Stokes, responded to his toast with kind words. The Preceptor, having delivered a nugget upstairs, presented the Brethren with a boulder downstairs speculating on the origin of the "firing" after toasts.

Well done, Lodge of Saint Michael!

[Photo: Peter Stokes and Les Thornett by ERW.]

 Eddie Wildman, guest organist.

 

  

Friday 5th April 2024:

Brough Initiation

There were no traffic problems between Princes Avenue and College Street, Sutton-on-Hull, surprisingly and Alan drove us to the Brough Lodge of Freemasons 5464 without incident; we were early and went for a coffee in a nearby hostelry where Alan reminisced with a couple of locals about the old days when Hull Brewery beer was piped into copper vats.

We arrived at the Lodge in ample time. I pointed out that the building, originally a primitive Methodist Chapel built in 1855, had been designed by Joseph Wright, pupil of Cuthbert Brodrick, who was responsible for the Scarborough Grand Hotel (see 3rd April below) and was deregistered in 1933. It was used for various purposes until it became a Masonic Hall in 1964.  "That's the same Joseph Wright that built Joseph Wright Hall in Queen Street in Barton," I added. Alan didn't answer, but he was probably storing the information mentally. "Did you know he was buried in the corner of Spring Bank Cemetery, close to where I live? Dead centre of Hull?" I realised he was texting his wife and wasn't listening. I don't know why I bother.

The Lodge meeting was well attended; I counted forty-nine or fifty - some of them wouldn't keep still - and this wasn't a surprise. The Holderness Lodge 3563 holds W Bro Steve Cox, Provincial Senior Grand Warden in high regard: a member of that worthy Lodge he has risen through the ranks meteorically and is to promoted further in May; this was his last visit as a representative of the RWPGM. The new WM of Thesaurus Lodge 3891, W Bro Matthew Hunt (see 14th March below) had encouraged the Brethren to attend and they turned up in an impressive array. Humber Lodge was represented by the WM, W Bro Alan Todd, myself, and W Bro Malcolm Forbes (also representing both Thesaurus and the Andrew Marvell Lodge 5642.) I was proud to be the only UGLE officer there, and the Lodge DC, W Bro Andrew Chan directed those present to salute me as I sat at the organ.

Unfortunately one of the two candidates for initiation was seriously ill and unable to attend, but Mr Paul Young prepared himself for his first degree ceremony while the Lodge was opened. W Bro Ben Kelly, DC for the Rep, announced that the Provincial Senior Grand Warden was outside, an escort was formed to bring him in and the Brethren stood as W Bro Cox entered to appropriately majestic music (and a fanfare when he was saluted.) The minutes of the last regular meeting were approved and signed, and Tony Calvert gave the Almoner's report, reminding Brethren that there was the opportunity for PSA testing at the forthcoming Convocation in May as well as giving details on the health of the Brethren and spouses. He also mentioned that the Junior Warden, Bro Ashley Laverick was to become the proud father of a second child, which elicited applause from the Brethren. As their unexpected organist, I played suitable music during the alms collection, which I later learned had raised over fifty-five pounds.

The next business was to initiate Mr Young, who was obligated by the WM, W Bro Trevor Fletcher. The Lesser Lights were explained by Bro Mike Quiller, whose commitment is such that he delivered the ritual despite being burdened with an oxygen tank. The acting Tyler, W Bro Gary Chambers explained the Sign and Password, after which the JD, Bro Matthew Harvey expertly conducted Bro Young to the Wardens to prove his proficiency. The stand-in SW, W Bro Tony Christmas invested Bro Young with the distinguishing badge of the Entered Apprentice: the plain white leathern apron which is the basis for all Masonic regalia, whatever the rank.

The WM read the caveat about avoiding disharmony in the Lodge, and Bro Young was taken to the North East Corner, where Bro Ashley Laverick delivered the address. The Senior Deacon, Bro Chris Walklet explained the warrant and presented the Book of Constitutions, and the Working Tools of an Entered Apprentice Freemason were presented by the IPM, W Bro Tim Brown. The Charge was read by the Chaplain, Bro Brian Tiplady.

Brother Young retired and W Bro Steve Berry explained that instead of a raffle, a Brother could contribute by writing his name on one of the envelopes provided and including a suitable donation. There were several prizes.

Greetings were given, the Lodge was closed, and I managed to take a photograph before W Bro Cox went downstairs. The line-up comprises W Bro Ben Kelly, DC to the Representative, Bro Tony Christmas, Senior Warden, W Bro Brian Fletcher, WM, Bro Paul Young, Entered Apprentice, W Bro Steve Cox, Provincial Senior Grand Warden, Bro Ashley Laverick, Junior Warden, and W Bro Malvin Sharpless who absent-mindedly wandered into the picture.

W Bro Alan Hatfield (commended by the Representative for his sterling work setting up the Lodge Room and dining hall with assiduous devotion to duty) organised some of the younger chaps to bring the Casio WK-3200 keyboard downstairs so that it could be used at the Festive Board, and the Brethren availed themselves of refreshment at the bar before taking their places for dinner, a hearty meal. The usual toasts followed, W Bro Cox responding to toast five with good-humoured anectdotes, an exhortation to attend the May Convocation at York, and a recommendation to embrace Royal Arch Chapter Masonry, which is cleaving even more firmly to the Craft than hitherto.

The Entered Apprentice Song was delivered in various keys and speeds and an explanation of the Masonic Chain delivered before the last verse. Bro Young responded appropriately. The Senior Warden remarked on the positive vibes from the visitors and W Bro Matthew Hunt responded with well chosen words and fluency. The Junior Warden gave the toast to Absent, Sick & Seafaring Brethren, and the Worshipful Master submitted the Parting Toast.

Alan spoke of what a convivial meeting it had been on the way home. I thanked him for plying me with alcohol during the evening, and more especially for his company, and decided I'd leave writing this blog until the following day.

Congratulations to Bro Young and the Brough Lodge. A joyous occasion.

[Malcolm Forbe's report of the event is on the L 5642 website: https://www.andrewmarvell5642.co.uk/?%26nbsp%3BBlog_Page

Eddie Wildman, Surprise Organist

 

  

Thursday 4th April 2024:

For Neil Armstrong's report on the Chapter Installation see the Chapter blog for this date.

 

Wednesday 3rd April 2024:

Beside the Seaside . . .

    "Don't forget your hat," warned Alan.

    "Right." I stuffed a cap in my coat pocket. Last time I'd been on a trip with the Worshipful Master had been to York (see 19th February below) I'd forgotten my cap and had to buy one from a charity shop as snowflakes were settling on my head.

    "We're early, I know," Alan said, "but I don't know what the roads to Scarborough are like."

It was just as well we were early. We were over twenty minutes travelling less than a mile on the A1079 and eventually Alan (and several others) decided on a change of route. "I'm turning you off," he told the Satnav, who was becoming quite insistent about which way to go. We backtracked and took the A64. "It's the main artery road between Leeds and Scarborough," Alan explained, "Dual carriageway nearly all the way. A few miles more, but the weather's nice."

We bypassed Malton in pouring rain (Do you know Chris Rea's Road to Hell? - with the sound of rain on windscreen - it was like that) but as we continued a pale rainbow arched over Rillington. "We're half an hour away," said Alan.

Forty minutes later we were queueing again. "Rush hour," pronounced Alan dolefully. "I can't see anyone rushing," I said as a little girl passed us on a microscooter. "I've found a parking spot near to the Lodge," Alan continued. "It's only ten minute's walk away." I quailed. "There'll be parking just outside the Lodge," I said, "Why not go there first and have a look?" Alan affected not to hear.

Scarborough has two cliffs, North and South. The car park was at the top of South Cliff. The Masonic Lodge was on the top of North Cliff. The journey from one to the other might have been managed in ten minutes by an Olympic runner, but I looked over the ravine with horror. "It didn't look that far on the map," said Alan, "come on, we've plenty of time."

    "Just let me take a photograph," I said, as I tried to catch my breath. "It's only ten minutes if you're a mountain goat on steroids, If I collapse it will be your fault."

    "I don't know where the Lodge is exactly," admitted Alan.

    "Just look ahead," I said. "Can you see the Grand Hotel?"

    "That big building on the top of the hill over there?"

    "Yes. The Lodge is just opposite."

    "Oh."

It wasn't as bad as I thought. I'd forgotten about the Spa Bridge, built in 1827, it is seventy metres high and saved us having to trek into the valley and up again. Even so, it was a marathon walk for this old man and I didn't relish having to come back again. "Good job you brought your hat," said Alan, unsympathetically, "It's starting to rain. Again."

We left our cases at 14, St Nicholas Cliff and went for a cup of coffee at the Palm Court Hotel, just round the corner. "Plenty of parking places," I muttered to myself, but without malice. I'd enjoyed the walk really, with the sound of the seagulls and the sea. Refreshed, we returned to the Lodge.

There were lots of familiar faces. The WM, W Bro Roger Kaye greeted us warmly. We'd just had coffee, so didn't go to the bar where several Brethren were testing the beer beforehand, but climbed the stairs to the first floor (the old Reading Room) and looked out of the window to see the Grand Hotel. Designed by the Hull-born architect Cuthbert Brodrick it was completed in 1867 "the largest and handsomest hotel in Europe". It was built in the shape of a letter V in honour of Queen Victoria on a time motif: four towers for the seasons, twelve floors for the months of the year, fifty-two chimneys for the weeks of the year and 365 bedrooms for the days. It offered extra taps llowing customers to bathe in salt as well as fresh water. Over six million bricks were used in its construction, and it possessed one of the first hotel lifts in the north of the country, known as the Hydraulic ascending room. Alan was fascinated by this but I took him to see the Lodge Room before he started making notes. "You can look it up online afterwards," I told him, rather pleased to be able to convey a bit of local history to Alan - it's usually the other way round.

The Lodge room is lovely, I took a photograph from the SW's Chair through the Lewis structure, capturing the sky cupola and  the WM's Chair under the banner in the East. The seats are comfortable. I remember years ago performing with the Daggards in this room, there was hardly room to move, there were so many people in attendance. This evening, with over forty present, twenty-five of them visotors, the St Nicholas Lodge 2586 saw more Brethren together for the ceremony than they'd had in a single meeting in the last decade.

A procession was formed to escort the WM to the Chair, glittering with Provincial and Grand Officers, worthy of the Grand Hotel, I thought to myself. But there were also plenty of Brethren in light blue, Entered Apprentices and Fellow Craft Freemasons.

Indeed the entire ceremony was performed with great dignity and I was impressed that the Freemasons conducted themselves seriously; having learnt their ritual, they conducted it with gravitas, and none of the flippant side comments that sometimes spoil ceremonies I've watched in Hull. If something is to be done well, it should be taken seriously and acted in character throughout. Unscripted and inappropriate interjections detract from the impact of the ritual.

There was nothing untoward here, however. From start to finish it was an impressive display. The Worshipful Master opened the Lodge with unhurried efficiency, the minutes were approved and signed and  a joining member was welcomed. The Treasurer reported that the two Candidates had signed their declarations and paid the necessary fees. The Tyler knocked, and the Inner Guard, Bro Luddon, announced the Candidates were ready.

There's always something special about a first degree ceremony. This was a double first: two friends, one of them the son of a well-respected Past Master of the Lodge, had decided together that they wanted to join. Mr Alex Blackman and Mr Heath Samples were escorted into the Lodge by the Deacons, Bros Hayward and Chambers. The well coordinated movements throughout the ceremony were executed with military precision. The WM obligated them, and Bros Blackman and Samples had the signs and secrets explained to them by W Bro Blackman (yes, father to one and good friend of the other.) Conducted to the Wardens for further examination, Bros B & S were invested with the white aprons of the Entered Apprentice degree. and the the IPM, W Bro Tony Hewitt gave the address at the North East Corner of the Lodge. Brother Hayward presented the Working Tools and W Bro Kaye pointed out the Warrant and the Centenary Warrant (the St Nicholas Lodge was consecrated in 1895.)

The Candidates retired to restore themselves to evening dress and in their absence reports were given. On their return Bros Blackman and Samples listened attentively as the DC and Lodge Mentor, W Bro James Wallis gave a flawless rendition of the Ancient Charge.

The festive board was convivial. Alan was next to W Bro Tony Dyer, an ever-bubbling fount of knowledge, and he told Alan about the Lodge building, which Alan repeated to me on the journey back. The building, he said, started life as a Doctor's residence and surgery in 1845, with the servants living on the top floor. The surgery and waiting rooms were on the first floor (where the Lodge Room is) - a private surgery as the National Health Servive did not begin until a hundred years later.

Moving on twenty years, the building became a Private Gentlemen's Club in which a Billiard Room was created in what is now the Dining Hall on the ground floor. The first floor temple room had not yet been constructed, but there was a Reading Room (where we had left our coats and cases); by the fireplace, the servant call bell still exists.

In 1897 the building was purchased as a Masonic Hall for three Lodges, Old Globe 200, Dennison 1248 and Leopold 1760, during which period the first floor was extended and the Temple built. St Nicholas Lodge 2586 and Scarbrough Lodge 7147 (named after Lord Scarbrough who was Grand Master of English Freemasonry for UGLE's 250th anniversary - he established the trust fund donated to the research work of the Royal School of Surgeons) began to use the building at 14, St Nicholas Cliff from 1952.

St Nicholas (a Scarborough Cliff is named after the fourth century Turkish bishop) is the patron saint of sailors amongst other professions, including pawnbrokers, and the three golden balls (his emblem) was taken up by the profession. Scarborough had its own St Nicholas Hospital, built on the site now occupied by the Grand Hotel. The Lodge logo displays the holy man with a boat in the background.

Worshipful Brother C Blackman, PPJGW gave the toast to Bros Blackman and Samples at the Festive Board, and they responded briefly, appropriately and eloquently. The Junior Warden gave the toast to the visitors and the enthusiastic response was given by W Bro Micky Ward of the Leopold Lodge 1760.

It had been a splendid evening. Unfortunately there was the twenty minute trek back to the car park, a sure recipe for indigestion, but Alan ignored my grumbles and forged ahead. I had ample time to recover in the car on our return to Hull while Alan regaled me with the local history reported above. "Didn't you take a picture of me in the Lodge Room?" he said, suddenly.

    "Yes I did."

    "Well, I hope you're going to put it on the website."

    "Ecclesiastes," I said.

    "What do you mean?"

    "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity," I quoted. "I'll put your picture online for everyone to see. Pity there isn't a picture of the two of us together."

    "Why's that?"

    "Well standing next to you makes me look almost handsome."

Both Alan and I take this opportunity to thank the St Nicholos Lodge 2586 for looking after us so well.

Eddie Wildman, Visitor.

  

Thursday 28th March 2024:

 

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Famous Freemasons

 

I wasn't sure whether the later start time of 7:00 was a good idea, but it didn't delay the Lodge of St Michael meeting unduly, and the roads and parking were much easier for the Brethren. The WM, W Bro Peter Stokes opened the Lodge with facility, warmly welcoming the three visitors, one of whom was giving a presentation on "Famous Freemasons". As the dining room downstairs is ideal for a power point presentation, it was decided to defer this item on the agenda to a spot after the Lodge had closed and before the Festive Board began.

This turned out to be a good idea. The WM took reports from the Almoner and Charity Steward, and the Preceptor read out a snippet regarding the origins of Freemasonry, which are obscured in the mists of time. W Bro Stokes closed the Lodge and the eighteen Brethren retired,

It was good to be able to order a drink to nurse during the presentation. W Bro Priestley (now no longer in Masonic regalia) gave a persuasive account of famous names in the Craft including Edward VII, Houdini and John Entwistle, bass guitarist of The Who and others, often with amusing and pertinent background information. A quiz followed, and the Brethren of the Lodge of St Michael 7833 gave a good account of themselves, sometimes identifying the Freemasons in question after only one fact had been supplied.

The WM thanked W Bro Priestley for his excellent presentation and the Brethren applauded. A two-course meal followed, accompanied by convivial conversation, and the DC W Bro Paul Michael Henderson moved the toasts on apace. W Bro Alan Todd responded on behalf of the visitors. The raffle continued my unbroken losing streak, and the Tyler's toast was followed by the Brethren gathering round to sing Auld Lang Syne.

It had been a lovely evening.

 Eddie Wildman, Organist

Saturday 23rd March 2024:

Vivat Cornerstone

The Latin word "vivat" means "long live" - "vivat rex" = "Long live the king." But the expression is also one of hope and rejoicing; when used  with a toast, for example, both an acclamation and applause.

It's an ideal expression to use following the consecration of the Cornerstone Lodge 10051 which filled the Beverley Road Masonic Hall to capacity. While the consecration ceremony itself was timed to begin at 11:00 (and it was bang on time) Brethren were required to be in their seats for 10:45 (just about) and there had been rehearsals before that - indeed some of the folk there had been there at 08:00 not only to rehearse but to check out and finalise the setting up of the tables in the dining hall from the day before as well as the artifacts in the Lodge. (The corn, the wine, the oil, the salt . . .)

 

Day before? The planning had been going on for weeks, months and even a year before that. Seeing the texts and WhatsApp messages exchanged from the beginning, and the incremental growth of Bro Steve Walker's idea to promote the learning elements of the Craft amongst like-minded young Freemasons was an indication of the astonishing progress made in a remarkably short time. Conception to consecration - vivat vivat!

A provincial Masonic consecration ceremony of a Lodge is always carried out by the Provincial Grand Master with the assistance of the Active Team of Provincial Grand Lodge Officers. The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, W Bro Dr David Chambers was therefore in attendance with his Sword and Standard Bearers, and others including W Bro Ian Syddall as Provincial Grand Tyler. These officers all participated in the magnificent symbolic ceremonial. The V W Deputy Provincial Grand Master was there, plus Rulers from other Provinces.

A consecration is an act whereby something is seperated from secular or profane use and dedicated to the sacred, here in this time and place the Cornerstone Lodge was essentially built to the honour and glory of TGAOTU.

I shall not dilate on the dignity and symbolism of the ceremony, except to say that the first part, under the auspices of Provincial Grand Lodge, was essentially to build the new Lodge and install its WM, W Bro Barry Longstaff. The second part was for the Officers of the new Lodge to be appointed and installed. Both parts were executed with great solemnity, all present being aware not only of the rarity of the event, but of its accompanying message of inner worth and integrity. Powerful addresses were given to the Master, to the Wardens, W Bros Tom Cawkwell and Alex McCallum, and to the assembled Brethren.

It was impossible to manage a snapshot showing everybody on the dias - even just the consecrating team, members and honorary members struggled to be seen but there was a pause for photographs before the Brethren descended to the dining hall below (and to the bar.)

The festive board (a munificent spread, as we have come to expect from Luke Pyrah, the Chef) had been organised with equal expertise - places marked for those who had opted for cheese or sweet dessert, or with particular dietary requirements. Drinks had been ordered at the bar in advance and in were in place for the thirsty diners. The Installing Officers and distinguished Brethren were seated amongst the rest of us and the food was served by members of the Provincial Stewards Team (who had been on duty from before the beginning, directing drivers to places in the car park (which was very full.)) The Brethren were more relaxed, and the conversation flowed as freely as the wine, but there was still a great sense of the importance of the occasion, and when in his response to the toast to the Master W Bro Longstaff remarked he felt humbled by the occasion many heads nodded in agreement, including mine. It was an honour to be there.

I was delighted as a member of the Humber Lodge to recognise !an Syddall in the Active Team for YN&ER as well as IPZ Charles Alexander and W Bro Peter Kenyon-Brodie (who is also WM of Phoenix Lodge 9963 - other Phoenix Brethren were there, too.) Indeed there were visitors from all over the Province and beyond.

The toasting at the Cornerstone festive board is accompanied by "vivats", and reinforced with firing glasses. The procedure was demonstrated and led by the Lodge DC, W Bro James Ashby-Kelly, and the acclamation of one hundred-plus Brethren in the final toast was louder than a brass band fanfare. Vivat!

Eddie Wildman, Hon. member

 

Message from the Cornerstone Primus Master, W Bro Barry Longstaff:

 

The object of a Lodge meeting is of a two fold nature, namely that of moral instruction and social intercourse.

The Cornerstone Lodge not only seeks a return to the earlier practice of Masonic teaching but will incorporate more modern modes of instruction.

The importance of Masonic Education is best perhaps exemplified by Plato who wrote “The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.”

Our meeting in York on 25th May 2024 will deliver part one of the First Lecture from the Emulation Lodge of Improvement in its catechismal form, rarely presented in our Provincial area.

Bazza Longstaff

 

Thursday 21st March 2024:

Installation way up North

Report by Eddie Wildman

 

The Province of Yorkshire North & East Ridings covers a large area, with seven coastal Masonic Halls supporting twenty-six Lodges. The Masonic Hall on Marine Parade is not the northermost (Redcar tops it by a whisker) but it is a lovely building commanding an unbroken view of the North Sea. Erected in the 1890s as a girls' school it now houses a pub at one end. I am not sure the headmistress (her office is still intact on the upper floor) would have approved. The basement was used by the War Dept in WW2 and there are rumours of secret tunnels. Well appointed both within and without, it is the home to five Lodges, two Chapters, one Mark Lodge and a Knights Templar Preceptory, and in a comendable spirit of cooperation they all have coffee mornings to pay for the maintainance and upkeep of the building.

Its only downside from my point of view is that it is so far away. Happily, my good friend Peter Kenyon-Brodie, Worshipful Master of the Phoenix Lodge 9963 offered to take me when I was offered the honour of representing the RWPGM at an Installation meeting. I jumped at the chance. I enjoy travelling when other people are driving and Peter is a raconteur with a huge fund of stories.

We set off for the Hazelgrove Lodge 6542 in good time, pausing on the way for petrol and painkillers. The Installation meeting was due to start at 5:45, and we arrived almost an hour early, to find a number of Brethren had already started tucking into the magnificent display of cakes, pastries, snacks and sandwiches prepared by Eileen the Chef. We were warmly welcomed by W Bro Tony Stevenson, the Lodge Secretary, and data controller, W Bro Richard Murray, my DC, W Bro Charles Sanderson, the WM, and W Bro Kevin Stephenson, the WM Elect, along with many others. W Bro Murray introduced me to the younger members (of which there were plenty) and I shook hands with them all.

This is why I'd taken care to dose up on the Ibuprofin: I'd trapped my thumb in a car door on Tuesday evening and it was very painful, going through interesting shades of blue and tending towards black. The swelling was reducing a little (one of my friends in Kingston Chapter had offered to use demonstrate in-the-field trephination by melting a hole in the nail to remove the subungual hematoma. "I can do it with a bent paperclip heated with a lighter," he told me. "It relieves the pain instantly.") and I was hoping not to lose the nail. Actually shaking hands wasn't too bad, but one enthusiastic Brother clapped his other hand over mine, injured thumb and all and I nearly jumped out of my shoes!

The cup of tea and sandwiches were very welcome, and it was good to see old friends before W Bro Murray showed me where to change, the whereabouts of the Lodge Room, and checked I was all in order. As a Representative, it is very comforting to have an experienced DC; Richard's support was superb.

This is not the place to elaborate on the ceremony, except perhaps to note those differences which obtain in other areas. I liked the polished ashlars on the pedestals of the WM and his Wardens - the knocking of the gavels on these gave a different quality of sound to wood on wood.

Everything was well rehearsed. There's a great satisfaction (especially after witnessing ceremonies where the ritual is read, sometimes even read badly or where the action flags because the Brethren are unsure what to do next) when a ceremony moves with controlled dignity. As Representative I didn't see the opening (I come in following a report) but Peter told me afterwards it had been as first class as the rest of the work in the Lodge Room. W Bro Murray had organised an escort for me which turned with military precision as I passed, and I shook hands with the WM, W Bro Ted Sanderson, before sitting down.

Writing a report for the Province isn't exactly ticking boxes, of course, but if it were, I would have had to add extra boxes to tick. It was evident that these guys were freemasons because they believed in freemasonry and enjoyed it - therefore it was done to the best of everyone's ability - and that ability was remarkable. The presentations of the Working Tools in the Third, Second and First Degrees, all given by recent members, Bros Nixon, Gill and Stephen were flawless.

 

Freemasonry's distinguishing characteristic, we are taught, is Charity, and I was well impressed here. It was not necessary for me to talk about the Festival and the Provincial website - the Brethren were not only aware of these but were actively involved.

After photographs (I took some, Peter did the same, but John Rees was pointing his professional camera everywhere. Photographs of the event - and at the festive board can be seen on his facebook page: 

https://www.facebook.com/huntclifflodgesaltburn/.

The Installation Banquet was another tribute to Elaine's catering: Prawn Cocktail, Braised Beef and Yorkshire Pudding with seasonal vegetables and potatoes were followed by Eton Mess. Wine flowed. The DC, W Bro Paul Hume kept perfect order. A trio of senior Brethren from another Lodge manned the bar magnificently.

The toasts followed. My response to toast five was well received, after which the WM was toasted, W Bro Richard Murray proposing and W Bro Kevin Stephen responding after the Master's Song had been beautifully rendered a cappella by W Bro Frank Rose of the Roseberry Lodge of Installed Masters 8571. W Bro Stephen said how proud he was of the Brethren, in particular his son Dan, now in the Senior Warden's Chair.

Alas, time was against us, Peter and I regretfully had to leave before the end, we both had an early start the following morning. We talked about the meeting  and the people we'd met and agreed that the trip to the Hazelgrove Lodge was one of the best we'd had in years. This was Masonry at its best. "I'll write a formal letter of thanks, of course," I said. "Well be sure to include me as well," said Peter.

Here I can do it informally: Worshipful Master, Worshipful Brethren and Brethren of the Hazelgrove Lodge 6542, thank you for the splendid way you received us and for looking after us so well!

Eddie Wildman PGOrg, Representative of the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master

 

 

 

Wednesday 20th March 2024:

Humber Lodge's Eddie Wildman was installed as H in the Kingston Chapter 1010 this evening. See the report on the Kingston blog page.

 

Tuesday 19th March 2024:

Barton Passing

WM Alan Todd visited Sr Matthew Lodge 1447 in Barton upon Humber where a 2nd degree ceremony was conducted for a Brother of LEO (Lodge of Established Order 9822.)

The Lodge opened at 6:30pm with forty-four Brethren and visitors present. W Bro Bill Cox acted as SD and conducted the Candidate, Bro Callum Daniel Cherry around, the ceremony being under the authority by St Matthew’s WM, W Bro C B Allison. Members of LEO took part in the Communication, SE Corner, Working Tools, and an explanation of the Second Degree Tracing Board was made in lieu of the Charge.

The festive board was attended by forty-one Brethren and guests and as usual the WM dished out the cheeseboard, a tradition that still extends from rationing post War.

In all a thoroughly good night was had by all and Alan may become a PIG (Permanently Invited Guest.)

Alan Todd WM

 

Tuesday 19th March 2024:

Hull Old Grammarians' Initiation

report by Eddie Wildman

I visited the Hull Old Grammarians' Lodge 5129 as the Representative of the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, so this was an "official" visit, and a formal report to the Province would follow. There's quite a difference between writing a formal account and writing a blog, where that touch of officialdom is not required. There were traffic problems in Hull - I think there had been an accident close to Dagger Lane, and when I arrived (nice and early - I caught the bus) there was only one Old Grammarian there: Brother Charlie Cordeaux, who was multitasking as both the Steward collecting for the meal and later as Junior Deacon. He was a little concerned about the latter as his hip replacement needed some adjustment and he was experiencing some ambulatory difficulties. (The Junior Deacon's job is to lead the new Candidate round the Lodge - and this evening the Old Grammarians were initiating a Candidate.)

Next to arrive was my DC, W Bro Steve Burns. A Representative is accompanied by a DC who makes sure he is doing his job properly and looks smart. Steve is well experienced and commands an awesome authority so I didn't have to worry about anything. I took my gear upstairs (if representing the boss of the Province, Grand Lodge Officers should wear tailcoats) and checked everything was in place. Steve, I knew, would discreetly count Brethren and Visitors, noting start and finish times and suchlike. (What the Province does with these statistics I know not, but it is useful to check that things are in order, I suppose. Not long ago a Representative spoke for forty minutes, for example, which, while it was good material and well delivered, was rather over the top for an Installation ceremony, and a number of the Brethren left afterwards instead of waiting for the other speeches.

Other Old Grammarians began to arrive, most of them commenting on the traffic  issues, and the Senior Warden telephoned to say that the London train had been delayed and he was stuck in Doncaster; he'd get to the Lodge as soon as he could. (How about that for commitment? I was well impressed.)

The WM, W Bro Duncan Scott Taylor scurried upstairs to help set up the Lodge Room, the Candidate, Mr Steven Haigh arrived with his proposer, W Bro Branton. It was good to see familiar faces - W Bro Peter Stokes was one of the visitors; the Lodge of St Michael 7833 was well represented with three members of that Lodge.

As Representative, I didn't get to go into the Lodge at the beginning: the WM opened the Lodge after which Steve (dressed in the smart rich red regalia of a Provincial Grand Steward) announced me; an escort of Provincial officers was formed and I marched in feeling important, taking my seat next to the Worshipful Master. There was a succesful ballot for another Candidate - and then the initiation ceremony began. It was impressive, Bro Charlie succesfully manouvered Mr Haigh through the ceremony, the WM obligated him and the Brethren delivered the subsequent ritual commendably well. A last minute report of absence meant the Lodge was without someone to explain the Working Tools to Brother Haigh, as I knew the ritual I offered to fulfill this task.

The festive board was lovely, and I did my duty saying a few words in response to the fifth toast. Brother Haigh obviously enjoyed the food and made a brief but eloquent response to his toast - the Brethren singing the Entered Apprentice Song in an interesting variety of keys.

It had been a good evening; pat on the back, Hull Old Grammarians!

Photograph by Peter Stokes.

Eddie Wildman, Rep.

 

Monday 18th March 2024:

Holderness Lodge 3563

report by Alan Todd

Holderness Lodge, as its name implies, was situated on the Eastern side of the Province, but moved to Hull when meetings by the receding coast line became untenable. It was the closest Yorkshire Lodge to the Prime Meridian. It was consecrated in 1912. The banner design shows its affiliation with farming and good food. It is a thriving Lodge with plenty of younger members, but the dreaded lurgie has struck and numbers were somewhat diminished this evening.

Nonetheless it was well supported - it was good to see Eddie Wildman and Malcolm Forbes there as members of Humber Lodge. One visitor had travelled from Bedfordshire to see his friend initiated.

Mr Andrew Richardson, of course, was unaware that several Officers in the Lodge were substitutes; W Bro Malvin Sharpless stood in as Chaplain, W Bro Anthony Townhill stood in as Senior Deacon. The stand-in Junior Deacon, who conducted the Candidates round the Lodge was W Bro Steve Cox, a senior officer of such eminence that he gave Mr Richardson a lap of honour before presenting him to the Wardens.

The Worshipful Master, W Bro Darren Wiseman obligated the Candidate, and Brother Richardson paid great attention to the ensuing ritual - the Lesser Lights by Fellow Craft Bro Jamie Anderson, the signs by W Bro Paul Greenwood, the Warrant and Book of Consitutions by Bro Mark Huggins. W Bro Alan Coates gave the address at the Northeast Corner of the Lodge and W Bro Eddie Wildman explained the Working Tools. The Ancient Chaplain delivered the Charge. Reports followed. All the ritual was commendable, which I mentioned at the Festive Board.

W Bro Sharpless almost had a heart attack, but recovered when it was explained that the Treasurer had said the subs would be increased to £160, and not by £160,

Luke Pyrah's meat pie was exquisite and I while I had no doubt my wife would reprimand me me for having eaten too much I couldn't resist. (She did. But it was worth it. "I'm surprised the Humber Bridge didn't give way when you drove over it," she said.)

It had been a good evening - thank you, Holderness Lodge, and congratulations, Brother Richardson!

Alan Todd, WM

 

 

Saturday 16th March 2024:

Technical Passing

report by Eddie Wildman

A delightful evening at Beverley Road Masonic Hall: Technical Lodge is friendly and characterised, as visitor W Bro Malolm Forbes remarked in his observations afterwards, by the warmth of its welcome as well as the excellence of its ritual.

It was a Second Degree Ceremony (when a Candidate joins the Craft, he is Initiated (from the Latin "initium", a beginning; an entrance); but later he is passed to the next stage (from the Latin "passus", a step or pace) and later still, raised to the Third Degree (from Old Norse "reisa", to rise.)) On this occasion the Candidate was Bro Kenneth Wright, who was initiated a year ago. He and the Worshipful Master share the same barber.

The Lodge was opened by the WM W Bro Ian Parkinson in due form, and Bro Wright was examined in the questions leading to the 2° before retiring to change into the symbolic clothing of a candidate for passing. On his return he was obligated by the WM; the marks of distinction of a Fellow Craft (2°) Freemason communicated by Bro Nigel Goldthorpe; invested by the SW, Bro Ash Versali and addressed at the SE Corner by the Acting DC, W Bro Anthony James. I gave the explanation of the Working Tools - the Humber working shows a deeper significance to the emblems worn by the principal officers - and the Chaplain, Bro David Turner PPAGStB, delivered the Charge.

Questions passed between the Wardens highlighted the essential differences between the First and Second Degrees; as usual, the Candidate is expected to commit the answers to memory in order to progress to the next stage. Fellow Craft Freemason Bro Wright retired to restore himself to his usual comforts, after which he rejoined the Brethren in the Lodge Room.

Reports were given and propositions for donations to various worthy charitable causes. The Almoner, Bro Bill Turner-Bone was commended for the thoughtful and meaningful work he continues to do on behalf of the Lodge before the WM closed the Lodge in due form, and was persuaded to be photographed with Bro Wright for the website.

The Festive Board was excellent, the SW somehow consuming prodigious amounts without putting on an ounce of weight and W Bro Malcolm Forbes responded to the visitors toast with kind words. His report of the event may be found on the Andrew Marvell website Blogpage. The meeting closed in four-part harmony (W Bros Chapman, Daniels, Thaker and Wildman) with the embracive chorus "Happy to meet again."

Well done all!

Eddie Wildman, Organist.

 

Friday 15th March 2024:

Wardens Dinner

report by Eddie Wildman

I was privileged to play the piano at the Annual Provincial Grand Wardens Dinner at the Merchant Taylor's Hall in York, though very nervous about playing in such prestigious company and in such a well appointed venue. The RWPGM was there, and the PastProvGM (whom we picked up on the way - he's hobbling with a damaged foot after an accident) and lots of eminent Brethren including Past Provincial Grand Wardens. I was reassured by the presence of members of the Humber Lodge, however, including W Bro Ian Syddall, (PSGW elect) who gave an account of his life and Masonic career highlighting the charitable organisations with which he has dealt, which has enabled his success in the role of Provincial Grand Charity Steward for the last few years; and Grand Officer Richard Smedley. I'd travelled in illustrious company too, being picked up by W Bro Mike Graham, who already had W Bro Eric Dibnah in the car, and then VW Bro Jeffrey Gillyon (with crutches) - we enjoyed lively conversation.

The RWPGM Dr David Chambers spoke of his intentions that the Masonic Province, like ancient Gaul, would be divided into three parts with a reorganised administration system, and of the increasing embrace of change, his particular mantra. 

I managed to get by without too many bum notes. Thanks to W Bro Cox for inviting me to play!

Eddie Wildman, Guest Pianist

 

Thursday 14th March 2024:

Thesaurus Lodge Installation

report by Eddie Wildman

In 1998 the last of Britain's lighthouses was automated, and in Hull this evening a flaming torch-lit procession of five hundred volunteers processed from Hull Minster to the Marina for a firework display celebrating the Lighthouse as a guide and warning to those at sea and those who worked in them. Consequently, despite the 5:30 start of Thesaurus Lodge's Installation Ceremony, it was was difficult to find parking space and some of the visitors were indeed delayed, arriving after the Lodge had opened.

It was a night of celebration for Thesaurus Lodge 3891 which features symbolic light on its logo with an image of the rising sun. W Bro Adam Spencer Watson opened the Lodge with efficient authority and a knock at the door was answered by the Inner Guard, Bro Pericles Miller, who conveyed the message that the Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies W Bro Simon Simpson requested entry. He was of course admitted, and he announced that the Deputy Provincial Grand Master V W Bro Jonathan Mark Mitchell Smith demanded admission. (Only Rulers demand admission; all others request it.)

The entry of the Active Provincial Team, two Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, Grand Lodge Officers including the Grand Lodge of Ireland and the Deputy Grand Master himself was impressive. The Lodge Room at Dagger Lane is not large, and the well coordinated movements of the Provincial Officers while the organ played the Grand March from Verdi's Aida positively glittered as the Brethren stood to order. The VWDPGM wore a smile in addition to his regalia, and took the gavel from the WM, sitting in the Masters place. Under the dirction of W Bro Simon Simpson, he was saluted and the Brethren sat, except for the Provincial Team which V W Bro Smith introduced severally with wit and humour, which put everyone in a good mood. V W Bro Smith relinquished the gavel and seat to W Bro Watson, and the meeting continued with the confirmation of the minutes (the Secretary, Bro Malcolm Dale, was thanked by the VWDPGM for their excellence) and brief reports (even W Bro Malcolm Forbes, Charity Steward, who never uses a sentence when a paragraph will do managed to keep his report to managable length) followed by a succesful ballot for a Joining Member.

The Lodge was raised to the 2°. Installations begin in this degree after the Entered Apprentices retired; historically this relates to when there were only two degrees, Apprentice and Fellow, with a Master to preside over all. (The Third Degree was only introduced in the 1720s). W Bro Richard East was an imposing figure as Installing Director of Ceremonies for the Installation ceremony and presented the Master Elect, Bro Matthew Hunt. The expectations and charges of a Master were read, and Bro Hunt took an obligation to abide by these regulations. 

The Lodge was raised to the 3° and all offices were declared vacant; senior Lodge members took the place of the Wardens, Chaplain and Inner Guard. The Officers of 2023 - 2024 returned their collars and all Masons below the degree of an installed Master retired, with the exception of Brother Hunt.

The Inner Working ensued, during which time Bro Hunt was again obligated and entrusted with the password of an Installed Master, after which the Lodge was gradually lowered through the three degrees and the members and visitors readmitted. W Bro Paul Ralph sang the Masonic Anthem, a verse for each degree, and the Brethren joined in the chorus, Thesaurus members perambulating round the Lodge after the proclamations to MMs, FCs and EA. The Working Tools of each degree were presented to W Bro Hunt by members of the Lodge.


The Warrant of the Lodge was passed on to the new WM along with the Book of Constitutions and W Bro Hunt appointed and elegantly invested his Officers. 

The VWDPGM delivered the address to the Master, I gave the address to the Wardens, and W Bro Ian Johnson, the Assistant Provincial Grand Master and a Past Master of the Thesaurus Lodge gave the address to the Brethren (I felt humbled to be in such exalted company: I'm well proud of my Grand rank collar, but the Rulers are dignified by chains of office. I felt better when W Bro Johnson reminded us all that we have but one aim in view: "to please each other and unite in the grand design of being happy and communicating happiness." As an old friend once remarked to me, it's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice."

W Bro Hunt thanked the Installing Officers and closed the Lodge in due form, looking a little stunned (this is often the case with newly installed masters. It soon wears off.)

Photographs were taken (I'd forgotten to bring my mobile, so thanks to Peter Kenyon-Brodie for sending me the pics) and the Brethren made their way downstairs for the Festive Board for a convivial meal. W Bro Peter Kenyon-Brodie spoke to W Bro Hunt as we went downstairs. "Worshipful Master," he said, "You ought to go outside. There's setting off loads of fireworks just for you!"

Before we dined the national anthem was sung and the first four toasts given.  Fishcakes, Shepherds Pie and Profiteroles added extensively to my calorie intake, plus the glass of whisky from the WM - thank - and for your kind words, Worshipful Master - it's much appreciated! W Bro Ralph sang the Worshipful Masters Song beautifully, and also the Visitors song. A fuller account of the toasts has been supplied by W Malcolm Forbes in his report for this date on the Andrew Marvell website.

All in all it was a splendid Installation. On my own behalf, I congratulate W Bro Matthew and his team, and look forward to a happy and committed year in the Thesaurus Lodge 3891, with its logo bearing a temple, a chequered floor and the QPHE motto: "That which you seek is here."

Eddie Wildman, Organist

 

Wednesday 13th March 2024:

Latest Initiation into the Oldest Lodge in Hull

by Malcolm Forbes, Invited Guest

It was good to catch up with the Brethren of Minerva Lodge, many of whom I know through membership of Minerva Chapter 250, Minerva Mark Lodge 250 and Minerva RAM 12TI. I had only confirmed my attendance some forty-eight hours before the meeting through Lodge Secretary W Bro Tom Cawkwell, the Worshipful Master of Andrew Marvell Lodge 5642. Unfortunately, Assistant Secretary W Bro Chris Brown, who also holds the Office of Senior Deacon in Andrew Marvell Lodge, was unable to attend the meeting.

Grand Lodge Officer W Bro Eddie Wildman was also unable to attend due to his attendance at Grand Lodge for a Quarterly Communication meeting in London. As a member of Humber Lodge he had accompanied another member of L57 to the meeting at Grand Lodge.

In addition to the Lodge's own Brethren, there were visitors attending Dagger Lane from the Province of West Wales, the Province of Cornwall and the Province of Lincolnshire.

Minerva Lodge is proud of its history, tradition and ritual and the warm welcome it gives with much justification. The Lodge now meets nine times per year on the second Wednesday of the month, with Minerva Chapter meeting on the second Wednesday of the month three times per year when Minerva Lodge does not meet.

The Lodge tyled at 6.30 pm. Stand-in Worshipful Master W Bro Kevin Marshall duly opened the Lodge.

The main business of the meeting was to initiate Christopher Milner, who had been proposed by W Bro Danny Betts and seconded by W Bro Richard Theaker on 13th December 2023 and balloted for on 10th January 2024.

Stand-in Junior Deacon Bro Simon Tompkins ably conducted Mr Milner through the initiation. Director of Ceremonies W Bro Theaker ensured the ceremony was conducted to the high standards associated with Minerva Lodge.

The working tools were presented to Bro Milner by Bro Ian Hill, a member of Zetland Lodge 1071 in the Province of Cornwall. Bro Hill had known Bro Milner for some forty years since their time together serving in the Royal Navy. Bro Hill's ritual along with that of the other ritualists was exemplary.

Following the initiation, Lodge reports were delivered: Lodge Charity Steward and IPM W Bro Dave Green highlighted Festival 29 and how Brethren can donate to the Festival in his report. In his Treasurer's report, Organist and Treasurer W Bro Graham Miles reviewed the Lodge's finances and indicated that due to rising costs which Lodges have to meet it would be necessary to propose a notice of motion at the Lodge's meeting in May to increase the annual membership subscriptions. In his Royal Arch Representative's report W Bro Tadeusz Krawczyk reported that the Chapter had increased its membership significantly in contrast to other Chapters and that an exaltation ceremony is due to take place at the next meeting on 10th April 2024.

In giving greetings on behalf of Andrew Marvell Lodge, in common with other visitors, I was pleased to congratulate WM Marshall and his Officers on the excellence of the initiation ceremony and the meeting.

Upon closing the meeting the closing hymn was sung.

The Festive Board was attended by twenty-four Brethren. I took my place next to Junior Warden Bro Kurt Crawford and Lodge Almoner W Bro Malcolm Sharman and opposite to Bro Tompkins.

The three course meal was well appreciated. WM Marshall delivered a long toast list. Bro Hill proposed the toast on behalf of the Candidate. Bro Milner delivered his response with conviction indicating the significance to himself and his family of what Freemasonry and joining Minerva Lodge meant to him. The Apprentice's song was sung with gusto.

The response to the visitors toast was given by W Bro Nick Hammond, a visitor from the Province of Lincolnshire and who was accompanied by other members of his Province. It was clear that the visitors had thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

Following the parting toast the Brethren dispersed. I made my way to the car in the company of Chaplain W Bro Mike Ogram, thankful for the personal invitation to attend the meeting I had received from W Bro Cawkwell.

[Photographs: Bros Ian Hall L1071 and Christopher Milner L250; The EPs, DC W Bro Richard Theaker, W Bro Kevin Marshall, Bro Milner and friends from outside the Province by Tom Cawkwell.]

 

W Bro Malolm Forbes, Visitor

 

Wednesday 13th March 2024:

Grand Trip to London

by Bro Matthew

I picked Eddie up at 06:45 as agreed - we were only delayed by a minute as he'd forgotten his phone and went back for it. How anybody can survive in the 21st Century without  phone is beyond me, but Eddie insists he is a dinosaur and a Luddite. (However, later, when I showed him to track where we were on the map by using an App on his phone he kept trying out out every few minutes.) We arrived at Hull Paragon in time to buy a coffee before taking the 07:21 to Doncaster, then the fast train to London.

The journey was without incident as we sped past soggy fields, some of them completely under water. Eddie was revising ritual for some imminent Craft and Chapter meetings; I rang my daughter who was getting ready for school and was jealous of me visiting the capital. "I'll take some photos while I'm there," I promised.

We tubed from Kings X to Covent Garden. A plethora of suspicious looking guys in black ties, morning suits and mysterious looking cases were taking the same route - we looked like an indertaker's convention. Freemasons' Hall was surprisingly close. I offered to take a picture of Eddie on my phone but he said he already knew what he looked like. I knew what I looked like as well, so I took a picture with neither of us in view. (Pity about the rubbish bins and the lorry.)

We entered the building and were told which floor to report to; Eddie said he'd come with me to the second floor (dinosaurs, he said, are on the first floor, but he wanted to be sure I was properly looked after. I'm not yet thirty-one and less than half his age and worried that he might have a heart attack climbing the stairs, but he didn't.) In room nine we met a very helpful Scrutineer who ensured we were properly dressed. "Come back in tenty minutes," he suggested, "and I'll take you into the Temple." We had a look round before returning, (I decided not to purchase a £50 Masonic waistcoat) and were told what to expect when Grand Lodge opened, and how to salute the Pro GM. "Some will get it wrong," he predicted. Sure enough, there was an amusing flurry of white gloves from the Brethren who failed to count correctly!

Grand Lodge is a superb building and I'd like to visit again - the museum was closed, unfortunately, but perhaps I'll be able to visit with the family and get a tour round. The ceilings were fantastic - art deco - not to mention the floors. Eddie took me into the Egyptian Room afterwards - but the place was still swarming with masons. It was very warm.

 

As to the meeting itself, the Pro Grand Master MW Bro J Spence presided after processing in with great dignity: impresssive organ music (Handel, Eddie said) with the Grand Standard Bearer, Sword Bearer and an impressive retinue - our own RWPGM, RW Bro Dr David Chambers was part of the team. The meeting went ahead as per the business paper, and the Most Worshipful Grand Master HRH the Duke of Kent was re-elected for the ensuing year. This was formally announced by the Grand Director of Ceremonies, VW Bro C B Hopkinson-Woolley, who recited the Grand Master's many titles and honours with fine aplomb.

 

The Pro Grand Master spoke of the desirability of recognition between Orders and Harmonisation between Grand Lodge andGrand Chapter which will impact favourable on costings with the introduction of a single registration fee to cover both Initiation in the Craft and subsequent Exaltaion into the Royal Arch. A later presentation developed this theme.

The Lodge was closed and we were able to retire and find a suitable pub for lunch. We passed W Bros Steve Cox and Malvin Sharpless who agreed that the Shakespeare's Head was a good choice. W Bro Cox would be eating in the Connaught Rooms, however.

 

Well stuffed with chicken jalfrezi I wanted to be a tourist and explore London. I love the place - the excitement, the things to look at, the history, and after the spendour and dignity of the morning it seemed a good idea to exercise ourselves a little and take a walk to the embankment. Besides, I'd promised to take some photographs.

Our time was a little limited but we went on a foot-tour of London. My daughter would have been delighted. We walked over Waterloo Bridge to the South Bank, and I took pictures of the Shard, the Eye and Canary Wharf where Eddie was not quite knocked over by lunatic skateboarders (better luck next time,) The Thames was choppy but there were plenty of pleasure boats with tourists from all over the world, plus school groups in abundance. We admired Westminster Palace - over nine hundred years old and still magnificent, crossed the river on Westminster Bridge and were at the foot of Big Ben when it chimed three o' clock - much more impressively than the annoying doorbell at Dagger Lane.

We walked down Whitehall to Trafalgar Square - I took a picture of one of the Horse Guards for my little girl, who I know will be demanding a full account of the journey tomorrow. One American tourist with multicoloured fingernails had the audacity to stroke the animal's nose (despite printed warnings.) The horse and its impassive rider ignored her. Eddie said he hoped it would bite her hand off.

Between Trafalgar Square and Picadilly Circus we admired the classical architecture, spotting the columns in the Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite style. Eddie dilated on the perpendicular period in gothic church architecture and the window traceries while I took pictures of some of the theatres - showing The Lion King and other delights. 

At Picadilly Circus we tubed to Kings X where we met the RWPGM, the VWProvGM, with W Bros Cox and Sharpless, looking well fed. Our train was earlier than theirs, however, and we clamboured aboard without difficulty. I managed to write this blog on the journey back to stop Eddie ringing me up and asking for details.

I also rang my wife to tell her I was on my way back, and my daughter laughed with delight when I showed her the view from the train window as we sped along. Eddie shook his head in amazement at the technology, muttering darkly about dinosaurs again. "Tell your daughter you're a mushroom," he said. "What do you mean? I asked. He smiled. "You're a fun guy," he replied.

We discussed the meeting on the long ride back, noting that the decline in membership was recognised and being addressed by UGLE and that it was not merely a local issue. Fifty-eight Lodges have closed and surrendered their warrants in the last quarter. Twenty-three did the same in the previous quarter. "As one of the youngest in Humber 57," I said, "I feel sort of responsible." Eddie disagreed. "It's the responsibility of each of," he said in his schoolteacher voice," but when it comes to candidates, people generally invite their peers.  You are less than half my age - and it's young blood we need. Have you any thoughts about how to rectify the age problem? Some Lodges are thriving - but they have younger, active members who want to be involved."

I thought about it for a while. On the slow train from Doncaster, with the engine barely getting up to speed before it was slowing down for the next village on the line, I looked out of the window. It was starting to get dark. "You know," I said, "you call yourself a dinosaur, but in fact you're not. You communicate with the Lodge - and other Lodges with the website. But it's not just the website nowadays - I'll bet those thriving Lodges are all the time communicating with WhatsApp and texts and even Facebook. Look at the Cornerstone Lodge - they're always sharing ideas and asking question. It's not great literature, but these guys are constantly texting - even if it's only jokes and gossip. And commitment is always encouraged by communication. Perhaps we need to push the Lodge's presence and profile a bit more on social media to start with."

Eddie thought about it. "You certainly have a point, there," he mused. "It's what Sherlock Holmes would call a three pipe problem. I'll tell you what, let's put your thoughts on the website and see if there's any reaction. Some dinosaurs don't read very well. But other people do."

I dropped Eddie at his house and drove on. It had been a good day for both of us and I'd loved London, but I was looking forward to seeing my wife - and the kids would be in bed by now.

Brother Matthew

 

 

Tuesday 12th March 2024:

Giving the Old Rituals an Eyring

Humber Lodge was somewhat lightweight for the March meeting, sixteen, plus W Bro Ken Eyre, our visiting speaker.

It was nonetheless a friendly and convivial gathering; W Bro Alan Todd opened the Lodge with his customary good humour with the assistance of his Officers and the minutes of the February meeting were confirmed and signed. The next business was to invest W Bro Malcolm Forbes as Junior Deacon and also Charity Steward, he having been cricketing in India during the Installation ceremony.

The main item of the evening, however, was a lecture entitled Rituals of the Tenth Century by W Bro Ken Eyre, a member of the Provincial Learning and Development Team. He delved into the academic writings of Dr Oliver 91782 - 1867) who followed his career of headmaster of Grimsby Grammar School by being ordained as a deacon, and later perpetual curate of St Peter's Collegiate Church in Wolverhampton. Work in the Church did not conflict with his Freemasonry, and George Oliver was appointed Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Lincolnshire in 1832. He was well known as a writer on Masonic matters, and wrote several Masonic plays which were put on, anonymously, by the theatre manager Joseph Smedley, another Freemason.

W Bro Eyre considered the origins of Masonry in York with the regulations promulgated by King Athelstan for the Masons, and the development of these rules in doggerel form to assist in learning at a time when few could read. The landmarks of the Craft, he argued, were established here.

He continued to find examples in the learning catechisms favoured in later ages noting the tendency towards self-improvement and moral responsibility. Meanwhile Lodges themselves changed; Christopher Wren was instrumental in further developments. W Bro Eyre concluded with comparative texts regarding a Masons' Key, which has a peculiar esoteric significance among members of the Craft.

W Bro Malcolm Forbes dilated fairly briefly on the latest development in charity matters and exhorted the Brethren to consult the Charity Page on this website. W Bro Stephen Longthorp spoke of his role as Area Membership Officer, saying the the future of Freemasonry is dependent on the younger Brethren taking it forward.

The WM closed the Lodge and the Brethren enjoyed a Festive Board with braised steak. Toasts one and two were submitted, and the parting toast after the raffle, and the Brethren parted somewhat earlier than usual, but in peace and harmony.

[Photo: W Bros Alan Todd, WM and Ken Eyre of the Provincial Learning and Development team.]

 

Eddie Wildman, Organist

 

 

Saturday 9th March 2024:

Lord Bolton Raising

Responding on behalf of the four visitors, W Bro Anthony Cadle of the Old Hymerian Lodge 6885 spoke of the pleasure of being at the Lord Bolton Lodge 3263, its warmth and friendship and skill with ritual. "It's a fantastic Lodge," he affirmed. The Representative of the RWPGM, W Bro David Johnstone, had concluded his response to the fifth toast thanking the Lord Bolton Brethren for their warm reception.

It had been a delightful evening at the Beverley Road Masonic Hall. The WM, W Bro Robert Gwatkin had opened the Lodge efficiently, and the DC for the Representative, W Bro Eddie Brooks organised an escort for W Bro Johnstone. The business of the evening was to raise the Junior Deacon, Bro Jamie Bird to the third degree; Jamie relinquished his office for the evening to W Bro Gerald Lock, and was escorted round the Lodge by Bro Ian Fuller (who did a magnificent job of explaining the 3° Working Tools as well.)

After answering the questions leading to the ceremony of becoming a Master Mason, Jamie retired to change and the Lodge was prepared. On his return, the Chaplain W Bro Andrew Hoggard led the prayer for the welfare of the Candidate, the WM obligated him and W Bro Alan Shand delivered the Retrospect, one of the most meaningful passages in the ritual book. The Senior Warden, Bro Colin Bird (Jamie's father) invested his son with the Master Mason's apron.

I was privileged to give the Historical Oration and an explanation of the 3° Tracing Board. As Jamie is very tall and I am vertically challenged, I was in danger of getting a stiff neck. W Bro Shand (who is not as tall as I am) communicated the Secrets, then took the Senior Deacon's staff of office from him so that Bro Fuller could explain the Working tools before resuming his place at Bro Bird's side. The Chaplain delivered the Charge after Raising.

It was Curry Night at the Festive Board and Luke the Chef had produced a succulent selection of curries which went down very well. The toasts followed, and W Bro Johnstone mentioned Festival 29 and the meeting at York in May before congratulating Bro Bird on his taken this important step, reminding him that in one month's time he would be eligible for joining the Holy Royal Arch to complete his Masonic journey.

I travelled with W Bro John Stebbings both before and after the meeting - thanks, John, for the lifts! I was ready for bed, but some of the younger members were making their way to Spiders Night Club. Ah, the energy of youth,

[Photos: 1) L to R; Bro Colin Bird, SW, W Bro Robert Gwatkin, WM, Bro Jamie Bird, Master Mason, W Bro David Johnstone, Representative of the RWPGM, W Bro Eddie Brooks, DC to the Rep; 2) Bird Senior and Junior.]

Eddie Wildman, Guest Organist

 

Friday 8th March 2024:

Aire & Calder Lodge 458

I travelled with W Bro Peter Kenyon-Brodie, WM of the Phoenix Lodge 9963 to the Aire and Calder Lodge 458 in the Masonic Province of Yorkshire West Riding to witness a double second degree ceremony. The Lodge began at 7:00pm and it was a very long evening. The WM, W Bro Peter David Acaster PAGDC PPSGW was also the Lodge organist, and for the opening and closing odes (University College and St Sylvester) he used the organ in the SW corner of the Lodge Room, but played perambulation music on a portable keyboard next to his pedestal in the East.

The Humber Lodge is named after Hull's principal river; the rivers Aire and Calder were used for the formation of L458 in 1839 when Goole was a thriving port. Recently the Lodge has enjoyed a plethora of new Candidates. On this occasion, Entered Apprentice Freemasons Bros Cooper and Beecham were passed to the 2° in Freemasonry. (There are two other Brothers awaiting passing, and another awaiting raising. There was also a successful ballot for a joining member. This bodes well.)

It was approaching nine o' clock when it was time to present Bro Przemyslaw Cherzy Stepien with his Grand Lodge Certificate, so W Bro Stephen Priestley PAGStB and I decided to move things along a little; rather than Stephen delivering the fifteen-minute oration, I gave my four-minute version while Stephen presented Bro Stepien with the written text of the full version. This proved highly succesful and several Brethren asked for a copy of the Wildman poem - and were disappointed.

The meal was substantial, tasty and very welcome. Peter and I requested permission to leave after the National Anthem, however; Peter was driving me back home and himself had an early start in the morning. We bade farewell to the WM and the Brethren and returned to the car. We discussed the layout of the Lodge Room with its splendid free-standing pillars and differences in ritual between the Aire and Calder Lodge and the Phoenix Lodge on the drive back (the latter has streamlined the ceremony.) Meanwhile, I believe the A&C Brethren were indulging in a sing-song session. "Quid mira varietate," Peter noted. "Sed tarda et deliberata," I agreed. Ah, the benefits of a classical education, I thought.

Thank you, Aire and Caldar Lodge - good night!

Eddie Wildman

 

Wednesday 6th March 2024:

Third Degree Kingston

W Bro Gary Crossland, Worshipful Master of the Kingston Lodge 1010, presided over his second working night in the Chair with a third degree ceremony. The Senior Deacon, Carl Proctor, was succesfully raised to the degree of a Master Mason, expertly conducted round the Lodge by W Bro Michael Price PPSGD (Worcs), Junior Deacon; generally it is the Senior Deacon's role, but obviously not possible on this occasion.

Bro Proctor said he hadn't known what to expect, but he enjoyed the drama of the degree and was looking forward to seeing it performed elsewhere.

The Festive Board was again of the highest standard; many thanks to Luke, the Chef who cheerfully supplies the Brethren's dietary requirements with outstanding cuisine.

The Senior Warden, Bro Wayne Walker gave the toast to the four visitors, and Alan Shand of the Lord Bolton Lodge 3263 responded.

[Photograph of Bro Proctor and W Bro Crossland by ERW.]

Eddie Wildman

 

Monday 26th February 2024:

 Andrew Marvell Lodge and the 2° Tracing Board 

report by Malcolm Forbes 

Having missed January's Installation meeting due to cricket tours to India and Sri Lanka, it was good to return to the fold by attending the meeting. Change is afoot at Andrew Marvell Lodge with three members who joined the Lodge in January, namely Bro Steve Walker, W Bro Chris Brown, and W Bro Barry Longstaff, taking up the Offices of Junior Warden, Senior Deacon and in W Bro Longstaff's case Lodge Mentor and Lodge Membership Officer respectively. 
 
In addition to Lodge Brethren, there were four visitors from Minerva Lodge 250, Holderness Lodge 3563, the Lodge of St Andrew 4683, and further afield, the Lodge of Air Unity 7445 in the Province of Middlesex, bringing the total number attending the meeting to twenty-one. Sixteen Brethren would later dine.
 
The Lodge tyled at 6.30pm and was duly opened by Worshipful Master W Bro Tom Cawkwell.
 
After the Lodge Secretary W Bro John Towler read a portion of the Ancient Charges and a By-law of the Lodge, WM Cawkwell invested those Officers not present at the Installation, namely W Bro Malcolm Forbes as Charity Steward and Bro Ian Montgomery, a member of the Lodge of St Andrew and regular visitor to Andrew Marvell Lodge, as Tyler. 
 
The minutes of the Installation meeting held on 22nd January were then confirmed and approved. In relation to correspondence, W Bro Towler read out a thank you letter from one of the Lodge widows who had received an annual Christmas cash gift from the Lodge. 
 
WM Cawkwell then presented a Past Master's Jewel to W Bro Forbes. 
 
On a busy night WM Cawkwell then presented a Book of Constitution, Masonic Bible and Solomon certificate to Fellowcraft Bro Nigel Henry and a Book of Constitution and Masonic Bible to Fellowcraft Ian Walker.
 
The main business of the meeting, a presentation from WM Cawkwell to explain the 2nd Degree Tracing Board then followed. The delivery of the presentation was outstanding and elicited much praise from those in attendance. The interaction between WM Cawkwell and his audience was particularly noteworthy. 
 
Bro Henry then delivered a Masonic Nugget, which illustrated his commitment to Freemasonry. 
 
The first Lodge report to be delivered was by Treasurer W Bro Colin Shields, who presented a comprehensive set of yearly Lodge accounts for consideration and approval. The accounts were duly adopted. 
 
Lodge Almoner W Bro Chris Lefevre, who also stood in for W Bro Adrian Hayward as Chaplain, then presented the Almoner’s report. W Bro Lefevre commented that it was good to see W Bro Barry Kensett in attendance. W Bro Kensett had received a lift to the meeting from W Bro Andrew Peach.
 
In the Charity Steward's report W Bro Forbes reported on the Lodge Relief Chest in the context of Festival 29. Brethren were encouraged to sign up to make regular donations through the Relief Chest scheme and to the Festival. Festival Jewels and ties which can now be purchased and worn with immediate effect at Lodge meetings. 
 
In his Mentor's report W Bro Longstaff gave due credit to Bro Henry for the work he had done in the module to obtain the Solomon certificate he had received earlier in the evening. 
 
A proposition for a candidate to become a member of Andrew Marvell Lodge was then proposed by Bro Steve Walker and seconded by WM Cawkwell. The potential candidate has come through the Provincial membership scheme and the Area Membership Officer. 
 
In the risings, Grand Lodge Officer W Bro Eddie Wildman when giving greetings on behalf of UGLE duly praised the Worshipful Master for an excellent presentation and evening, As a member of Humber Lodge 57 I stood with W Bro Wildman as he gave greetings as a visitor on behalf of Humber Lodge. 
 
After the meeting was closed in due and ancient form the closing hymn was sung.
The layout of the tables at the Festive Board in the form of a square encouraged open conversation amongst the Brethren. The three course meal was again of the highest standard. Director of Ceremonies, W Bro Richard Green, ensured the smooth running of the Lodge meeting upstairs and at the Festive Board. Senior Warden Bro Ian Fuller, welcomed the three visitors who were able to attend the Festive Board, and invited Bro Sunil Lad, a member of the Lodge of Air Unity 7445, to  reply on behalf of the visitors. In his first such response Bro Lad spoke with clarity and assurance. 
 
Following the raffle the Worshipful Master (pictured) in his parish notes reminded the Brethren to attend the next Lodge of Instruction on 11th March when there will be a rehearsal for two forthcoming third degree ceremonies at the March and April Lodge meetings. The WM thanked Margaret Shields, the wife of W Bro Shields, for the setting of the tables. He then delivered the parting toast. 
 
It was good to see everyone leaving with smiles on their faces after a thoroughly enjoyable evening. 
I drove home in the company of Lodge member, Bro Chris Wright, and Bro Montgomery reflecting on positive times for the Lodge. 
 
Malcolm Forbes 

 

 

Saturday 24th February 2024:

Phoenix Installation

report by Eddie Wildman

It was the best weather we'd had for ages, the sky cerulean and cloudless and the sunshine encouraging the more timid winter venturers to step out and enjoy the early promise of Spring. An auspicious beginning, I thought, for the Installation of Peter Kenyon-Brodie into the Chair of Phoenix Lodge 9963.

For the fourth time in the week I had the privilege of travelling with a Worshipful Master in the Driver's seat; this time W Bro Alex McCallum PPStdB, WM of the Phoenix Lodge 9963 who lives nearby picked me up and we headed to Dagger Lane, where the installation was to take place. When we arrived, a number of Brethren were already there, with W Bro Danny Betts PPAGDC setting out the dining tables, Secretary Antonio Ramirez PPAGStB placing the register on the Lodge Room landing and the DC Elect, W Bro Richard Smedley AGDC making last minute checks that all was in order upstairs and down. Grateful thanks go to Humber Lodge for granting permission to use the collars and cuffs and Lodge items for the occasion. Four members of Humber Lodge also belong to Phoenix.

In April, June, September and November the Phoenix Lodge meets in the Sail Loft of the Sailmakers Arms in Hull's Old Town. A working man's Lodge, it offers the opportunity four times a year for the Brethren to convene at a later hour than usual and enjoy their Masonry above a hostelry without the strict formality of Lodge meetings elsewhere, though the ceremonies are of course taken seriously. To accommodate those arriving straight from work, the dress code is more relaxed, and the absence of a formal festive board afterwards makes it possible for those Brethren with wives and families at home to get away earlier. The Lodge is set up in the ancient way, with the principal officers around a table,

The Phoenix Installations, however, follow a different protocol. Held in a regular Masonic Hall (in this case, Dagger Lane) the Lodge is opened in the regular fashion, but the ceremony of Installation cuts no corners. In this instance, the Installing Master was W Bro Alex McCallum, under the formidable directorship of W Bro Richard Smedley. I played the organ at the opening, double-tasking as Inner Guard (whoops, that was an oversight) until taking on the role of Installing Chaplain for the Inner Workings.

Alex, splendid in the tricorne worn by the WM, opened the Lodge smartly in due form after the visitors were vouched for. A report at the door announced that W Bro Jimmy Kerr PPSGW requested admission; this worthy Brother informed the Lodge of the presence of the Representative of the RWPGM, W Bro Tony Dyer, Provincial Membership Officer. An escort was formed for W Bro Dyer to enter the Lodge Room and take his seat by the WM. It was pleasant to see the room full. The minutes were signed, reports were given and the Entered Apprentice retired. The Lodge was raised to the 2°, W Bro Stanley Smith PPJGD took the Chair of the Junior Warden and Bro Peter Kenyon-Brodie was presented and obligated as Master Elect, the duties expected of him announced in Open Lodge. The Lodge was opened in the 3°, all offices declared vacant; the retiring Officers returned their collars and saluted W Bro McCallum for the last time. Those below the rank of Installed Master departed for the time being.

The Inner Workings must remain a mystery along with the Working Tools of an Installed Master, but W Bro McCallum installed Peter into the figurative Chair of King Solomon with great panache, presenting the tricorne to him with a flourish. (The photograph was taken afterwards. It's not permitted to take photographs while the Lodge is in session.)

The Brethren readmitted, the Working Tools of the three degrees were presented by Bros Mark Starkey, Kieran Newton and Alistair Kenyon-Brodie. Worshipful Brother Peter Kenyon-Brodie appointed and invested his Officers. I was privileged to take the Office of Senior Warden; Peter's son, Alistair, was appointed Junior Warden.

The address to the WM was given by W Bro Tony Dyer, that to the Wardens by W Bro Stanley Smith PPJGD, and that to the Brethren by W Bro John Stanley Broughton PPJGW.

At this juncture the SW leapt out of his seat to that on the organ to accompany W Bro Smedley for the singing of the Masonic Anthem. The Brethren joined in the choruses magnificently.

W Bro Peter closed the Lodge in due form.

There was a brief pause for photographs; let me here thank Bros Kelly and Stokes for their contributions!

Despite the sunshine outside it was somewhat nippy in the Lodge Room and the Brethren were looking forward to stretching a little before settling down to the Festive Board. I was in the Senior Warden's Chair, of course, but handily close to the keyboard.

Bro Martin Lauer, the Chaplain, had selected excellent graces for before and afterwards, and we tucked into our Prawn Cocktail, Roast Lamb and Treacle Sponge with relish. W Bro Richard Smedley moved the toasts along swiftly. Instead of the usual National Anthem, the Phoenix Lodge uses the old Here's a Health unto his Majesty, a popular loyalist song in the the time of Charles II - it dates from about 1670. The words were printed for the Brethren to join in - and they soon got the hang of the "Fa la la la" interjections - rising from the ashes, the Phoenix Lodge happily combines old and new. There's no keyboard in the Sailmakers, so our songs there are performed a cappella.

The regular toasts followed. Despite his confessed nervousness, Peter submitted the toasts with style, and at toast five skilfully introduced W Bro Tony Dyer; the two characters have interests in common, including flying, cliff climbing and Charitable work.

W Bro Dyer responded, without notes and at length. As Provincial Membership Officer he said that the Working Man's aspect of the Phoenix Lodge was a positive aspect and should be promoted, but that since Covid, Freemasonry has suffered unacceptable losses. He dilated on the Pro Grand Master's measures to counter this and was pleased to remark that the trend was being reversed. He backed up his argument with persuasive figures. However, he added, it was important that only suitable men are brought into the Craft. 

He enlarged on the duties of the Membership Officer's team, and the process by which requests made by letter or on line are dealt with; the "vetting procedure" and the duty of individual Lodges to ensure that suggested Candidates are the right people for them.

He went on to stress the importance of retention and the care that should be exercised not only to welcome new Brethren but to keep them interested and involved. "They should be 'fit and proper persons,'" he remarked, referring to the familiar ritual. The Office of Mentor came under close scrutiny. His response lasted nearly forty minutes.

As Scotland and England were playing in the Calcutta Cup that afternoon some Brethren politely took their leave at this point. Richard and I decided we would omit some of the songs we had intended to include. The next toast was to the new Worshipful Master - and I enjoyed proposing this: I've known Peter for over thirty years and I was genuinely delighted to see my good friend receiving the highest honour a Lodge can bestow on any of its members. The Worshipful Master's Song followed, and Peter, a little emotionally at first, (such is the power of the song, especially when as well delivered as by Richard Smedley,) responded with an apocryphal story of me falling through his loft floor and landing on a water bed. It didn't quite happen the way he told it. He thanked all his officers and looked forward to an exciting year of Masonic involvement, building on the strengths of the Brethren. "It's not all about ritual," he said, "though we will all do our best. But every Brother has his individual strengths and we want to build on these." He said he intended to make visits elsewhere, continuing to raise the Lodge's profile, and encouraged the Phoenix Brethren to join him in these.

Antonio Ramirez made a beautiful speech extolling the work Alex McCallum had done to uphold the standards of the Phoenix Lodge, and Alex's humble and sincere response was equally eloquent.

Junior Warden Alistair Kenyon-Brodie gave a word-perfect toast to Absent Brethren, I saw his dad smiling proudly.

I proposed the toast to the visitors. W Bro Peter Stokes, Master of the Lodge of St Michael 7833 responded with commendable brevity. The Tyler's Toast was submitted by that stalwart of the Lodge, W Bro Danny Betts, after which it was time to leave. Not having the alcoholic capacity of some of the younger Brethren, I declined the invitation to watch the rugby in a local hostelry, and left with W Bro Crozier - IPZ of the Old Hymerian Lodge 6885. The sun was still shining.

What a splendid day.

Well done, Phoenix Lodge, one and all.

Eddie Wildman, SW

 

 

Friday 23rd February 2024:

Famous Masons

W Bro Michael F Coates' first working night as WM of the Ridings Tablers' Lodge 9586 was a quiet success. The opening ritual was confident. the business dealt with, the minutes confirmed. Unusually, I was the only UGLE Officer present; numbers were low for some reason.

On the plus side, we felt much more involved as a Lodge when W Bro Darren Wiseman (pictured) set up a screen and wound up his laptop for his presentation on "Famous Masons". With script and slides based on an article in the Solomon programme, freemasons past and present with a claim to fame were mentioned - Benjamin Franklin, Mozart, Kipling, athletes including "Sugar" Ray Robinson and Jack Dempsey; entertainers such as John Wayne. A friendly quiz followed - good natured and lightened with humour. The WM thanked Darren for the most interesting talk, and the Brethren warmly applauded. Darren recommended the Solomon programme to those unfamiliar with it, and on behalf of the Provincial Grand Orator's Presentation Team thanked the Brethren for their undivided attention.

W Bro Coates received reports (the new team throwing themselves enthusiastically into their roles) before closing the Lodge with facility.

Downstairs the festive board provided tasty fare. I was fortunate in sitting with interesting people, none of us famous Masons, but all with stories to tell, and the conversation ranged between ancient Roman architecture, modern steel structures and the vagaries of golfing.

I'd been offered a lift in (and back home) by the WM (the third time in a week I'd travelled with a Worshipful Master) and therefore enjoyed a beer at the festive board and a glass of port afterwards. I thanked Mike for his kindness, and looked forward to the next RTL meeting - an initiation.

And so to this report before bed. A lovely evening after a stressful day.

 [Photo: Darren Wiseman before the meeting.]

 

Eddie Wildman

 

 

Thursday 22nd February 2024:

Bah Humbug!

The Lodge of St Michael 7833 hosted a presentation of Neil Armstrong's thoughtful examination of Dickens' Christmas Carol at Dagger Lane. The meeting upstairs, under the able mastership of W Bro Peter Stokes started (by design) half an hour later than usual; the meal afterwards similarly was reduced to two courses: this experimental initiative is designed to make it easier for younger Brethren to battle the traffic into town and park and to accommodate the more elderly who cannot cope with eating a hearty meal before bed.

Two dozen attended, five from three sister Lodges (including Neil and Gary from Kingston).

The Lodge meeting was kept as brief as possible (despite those who never use a sentence when a paragraph will do) and the presentation deferred to be delivered downstairs, where the projector and screen were already set up. Consequently the Brethren could buy a drink at the bar and watch the half-hour show in comfort.

Neil's two-man show (with Gary operating the slide changes from the sidelines) places Dickens in context as a social reformer, particularly through his Christmas Carol which significantly changed the awareness of Britain and the Empire to the hardships endured by the Victorian poor. However, his quotations from the novel (Eddie Wildman playing the parts of Scrooge, the ghosts and others) demonstrate a moral, social and cultural sensitivity strongly resonating with Masonic principles. Neil spoke of local benefactors, including some featured in oil and stone at Dagger Lane and mentioned Dickens' visits to Hull to give readings.

The presentation was well received, the bar reopened, the Chicken Pie served. Gary responded to the Senior Warden's toast to the visitors. Bro Leslie Thornet kindly took a snapshot of Neil, Gary and myself afterwards. I had a lift home from Gary, Worshipful Master of KIngston Lodge 1010, which was an extra bonus. It had been a good evening, and it was nice to have an early night for a change!

Eddie Wildman

Monday 19th February 2024:

York Lodge 236

Eddie Wildman reports

The Worshipful Master picked me up on the way to York and I was impressed as he rhapsodised about the walled city, the medieval town, the snickets and walkways and the history. He parked in Nunnery Lane (named after the Bar Convent Nunnery which added a layer of gentility to the area in 1823 but previously had been Bagergate, then Beggar Gate) though we saw neither nuns, hawkers, pedlars nor beggars there. We passed a few mendicants later which elicited a story of a professional beggar who would climb into his Mercedes after a succesful day holding his hand out for alms. Whether this was in Hull or Barton I didn't know, and didn't ask, as Alan was almost skipping along. He'd told me the Lodge was just round the corner, but it was a big corner. "I want to buy some extendable shoe horns for Trish," he said, after I plunged into a charity shop for a cap (I'd forgotten mine, and it was getting chilly.)

We had plenty of time; Alan had set off early, and he herded me round various nooks and crannies with surprising knowledge about the place. "Look, the KIngs Arms is still boarded against flooding," he pointed out as we crossed the Ouse; he has a working knowledge of many of the pubs in York, and we popped into one or two to admire the ambience. It was like being in a Harry Potter film. The Minster stood in gothic splendour while two skateboarders were taking pictures of themselves performing Alpha Flips, Nerd Shunts and Gazelle Spins with great seriousness. I was impressed, but now Alan was searching for coffee, dashing hither and yon, a mobile encyclopaedia. He pointed out hitherto unobserved cat sculptures on walls and rooftops and dilated on Guy Falkes and Dick Turpin until we found a suitable coffee shop.

York Lodge meets at Duncombe Place, and retains a sense of Victorian times. Duncombe Place (named after Augustus Duncolbe, Dean of York in 1880) is the main approach to the Minster and almost all the buildings are listed. The Second Boer War Memorial (Perpendicular Gothic, like the Minster) commemorates the Yorkshire soldiers who died at the turn of the last century, stood in a muddy grassed area, so I didn't examine it more closely. We turned our backs on the prestigious Dean Court Hotel and knocked on the unpretentious door of the Lodge. "I wonder what the rates are here," mused Alan as we waited for Hagrid to open up, "it must be really expensive."

York Lodge's Warrant dates from 1777. Originally called the Union Lodge, it changed its name in 1870. It had first met at Lockwood's Coffee House on Brigate, and possibly in the crypt of York Mister after that, but now it met in Duncombe Place. Despite the unassuming entrance, the building within is amazing. I suspect there are hidden passages behind the wainscoting, possibly with ghosts. There's a youtube article https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxLWdpvwT7s which captures some of the magnificence of the place and the treasures within. The Lodge Room itself is beautiful from top to bottom. I admired the pillars at the west end; surmounted by globes, each has a network thrown over the top as described in the First Degree Tracing Board. Few Lodges enjoy such detail. The sky blue ceiling is richly adorned, including a zodiacal central circle. The Wardens' Chairs are superb . . . but I'll not go on. Watch the video - and if you can, visit. York Lodge meets ten times a year.

The trainee Organist, Bro Travis, had been asked to be the Inner Guard that evening, and as I was availale, I was asked if I would play the organ for the ceremony. I agreed. While much of the pipework of the original instrument has been retained, the manuals have been replaced by a vintage Electone which is not connected to the original unstrument at all. There's little room behing the Senior Warden's Chair, and it was too cramped to manage the pedals adequately. I had a look at it beforehand to see how to operate it properly. Almost immediately people began offering advice: "Have you turned it on?" "The light switch is over there, I think," "Use that button - it says 'bass'." I became rather frustrated (I wanted to listen to the sounds of the different stops) and suggested that they played the instrument themselves, whereupon the advice ceased. One Brother was indeed a player, and very familiar with that sort of instrument, but he declined the job saying he hadn't brought his music, which was a pity.

The York Lodge Opening Ode is unique. Composed by the Past Provincial Grand Organist Bro A Sample round about 1900 it is an attractive tune, and the Brethren sang it well. 

The meeting began. It was the first working night for the WM, W Bro Chris Moran, an initiation, and he and his Brethren performed very well. It was heartening to see so many there, and of those, plenty of young Masons who had not taken the Chair. The checkered flooring is polished (not a carpet) and the Deacons  conducting the Candidate round the Lodge sounded like a military squadron marching in step. It was tremendously smart.

Mr Richard Buck became an Entered Apprentice in due form, paying close attention to the words addressed to him. All the ritualists were well rehearsed, and the ceremony flowed smoothly.

There were minor differences in ritual, which relates to Humber and West Yorkshire Working. (Records show Masonic meetings with Brethren from both York and Hull; one wonders how long the journey between the two would have taken by Eighteenth Century horse and carriage. A same-day return would not have been feasible.) W Bro Moran asked for reports from the Almoner, Charity Steward and Chapter Representative and there was a proposal for another Candidate: the Lodge is flourishing. 

Over a century ago, Bro Sample adapted the tune Illsley (composed c 1700 by John Bishop) using the words of the 1900 Secretary of L236. It has the somewhat unusual rhyme scheme ABBA: "Now toil is ended, night is near,/ Great Architect to Thee we raise/ Our evensong of thanks and praise,/ From hearts that worship and revere." The Brethren sang it when the Lodge closed. I was lucky to get a photograph of W Bro Moran and Bro Buck afterwards.

The Victorian dining room is upstairs. It commands a view of the Minster, a prime spot! A brace of unexpected Brethren had arrived at the meeting (two of the fourteen visitors) and a couple of extra places were laid to accommodate them. One visitor hailed from a Lodge in Capetown, South Africa, some had arrived en masse from Bridlington. The fare was delicious and beautifully presented. I accompanied the Entered Apprentice Song and Bro Buck gave an eloquent response to the toast. Good food and drink in good company - who could ask for more? Alan responded on behalf of the visitors, congratulating Bro Buck and encouraging him to visit, and thanking the WM and Brethren for the splendid time we'd had.

It had rained while we'd been inside (good heavens - four hours! How the time had flown!) and the air was cold. I was glad I'd bought my braveheart cap as we carried our cases through Micklegate. Alan continued to regale me with facts and figures. "This is the Tyburn walk," he said. "The York Tyburn was controlled by the Crown and administered from the Castle." I was puffed trying to keep up with him. "Really?" I panted, "it's a gallows, then, like at Marble Arch in London?" Alan slowed down as I was gasping for breath. "The site of where the gallows stood is actually on Tadcaster Road," he told me, "and we turn off before there. But this is the route they took when they brought Dick Turpin to be executed in 1739." "The highwayman?" I said. Alan nodded knowledgeably before setting off again. "He was hanged for stealing three horses with a total value of £37." I stopped walking. "Alan, isn't your Black Bess down Nunnery Lane?" He nodded again. "In that case, we should turn left here - following the city wall."

"I like York," Alan told me on the way home. "Trish and I always do our Christmas shopping here. And I enjoyed the Lodge meeting - I'm certainly going to be visiting again."

It certainly had been a great evening - thank you, Alan, and thank you, York Lodge!

Eddie Wildman, organist

 

 

 

Saturday 17th February 2024:

Technical Initiation

A splendid evening at Beverley Road Masonic Hall: the new team at Technical 5666 was a credit to Freemasonry in general and to Lodge 5666 in particular. There was not a book in sight at the opening, and the WM, W Bro Ian Parkinson opened the Lodge in due form, unfazed by W Bro Martin Eggermont in his UGLE regalia on his right or the Vice Chairman of the MCF W Bro David George Wood of the Old Guisborian Lodge 7793; these Brethren from the northern wilds of the Province. The minutes were signed and a knock at the door announced Mr Craig Neil Hillary as a Candidate seeking initiation.

Mr Hillary's trim upright figure and disciplined stance even when at ease marked him as a military man. Led round the Lodge by the Junior Deacon Bro Steve Walker to the organ quietly playing Dykes' Lux benigna he was presented to the Junior Warden Bro Adam Tunnicliffe and Senior Warden Nigel Goldthorpe before taking his obligation.

The ritual that followed was of a very high standard, the Lesser Lights clearly and comprehensibly explained by Bro Ken Wright, an Entered Apprentice; the handshake and word peculiar to the first degree in Freemasonry superbly demonstrated by W Bro Paul Hillary PPSGW who this evening was excused the Tyler's role as he had proposed his cousin as Candidate. Bro Craig Hillary proved his grasp of these essential elements by demonstrating them to the Wardens and Bro Nigel Goldthorpe invested him with the unadorned apron of an Entered Apprentice Freemason, accompanied by his infectious grin.

Bro Malcolm Ali Hussain-Gambles gave a faultless rendition of the address at the Northeast Corner of the Lodge matched by Bro Nanda Kumar's almost conversational presentation of the Warrant and Book of Constitutions. Nanda then took on the temporary role of the Inner Guard as Bro Edward Thompson described the Working Tools in a beautifully measured delivery. W Bro David Turner, his distinctive apron an indication of Provincial recognition despite him never having taken the Master's Chair, felivered the Ancient Charge.

It was impressive that there were six Brethren in the Lodge who had yet to take their Third Degrees. Their dedication and obvious striving for excellence bodes well for the future of the Technical Lodge.

The Q&A session of the information for Masonic progression was passed between the principal officers, and Bro Hillary retired to restore himself to his suit and tie while the usual plethora of reports was communicated. On Bro Hillary's return, the stand-in Tyler W Bro Allan McKay in his capacity as Lodge Mentor entered the Lodge to present the Lodge's newest Candidate with the Province's newest literature for a newly-made Mason.

W Bro John Chapman was moved to congratulate the Master and the Lodge for the extraordinary level of competence displayed during the ceremony. "It was not only done from memory, but done with feeling," he said. A susseration of agreement round the Lodge was accompanied by the nodding of heads.

The WM closed the Lodge in due form.

The festive board was excellent; the Beverley Road Masonic Hall is blessed with a superb chef in the person of Luke Pyrah. The toasts were brief, with W Bro Paul Hillary introducing his cousin (now Brother) as a man who has retired after over two decades of dodging bombs and bullets. Brother Craig Hillary responded eloquently, saying that he was looking forward to friendship, loyalty and brotherhood, thanking Bro Walker for conducting him round the Lodge and the Brethren for their support.

The toast to the visitors was followed by the Visitors Song, led by W Bros Atkinson, Turner-Bone and Chapman, and W Bro David Wood replied, welcoming Bro Craig and speaking of the value of visiting.

The WM presented Bro Hillary with a songsheet signed by all the Brethren present before drawing the raffle which had raised £160, after which the last song of the evening, Happy to Meet Again was gloriously sung by W Bro John Chapman.

I have rarely witnessed such a high standard in a regular Lodge: well done Technical!

[Photograph of Bro Hillary and Worshipful Brother Parkinson by John Chapman.]

Eddie Wildman, organist.

 

 

 

Thursday 15th February 2024:

For an account of the Chapter of St Michael 7833 Installation, please see the Chapter blog for this date.

 

 

Wednesday 14th February 2024:

 

Third Degree at Dagger Lane

 

Today being Valentine's Day, it took some time to clear the hallway of cards that had been pushed through my letter box, but I managed to gather them all together and threw them into two large cardboard containers before setting out for the Lodge meeting at Dagger Lane. This would be my third meeting on the trot in the Old Town - and again tomorrow night for the Chapter of St Michael - but it is all about commitment.

 

I'm not sure whether it was Valentine's Day that reduced the numbers at the Lodge meeting but there were a good dozen apologies. The Lecture Master, W Bro Danny Betts PPDGD had his work cut out reorganising the team, but he did a brilliant job. W Bro David Green took the WM's Chair and opened the Lodge while the stand-in Secretary W Bro Graham Miles PPJGW took careful notes. The Minerva Lodge is blessed with more light blue than dark blue aprons, and it was good to see them taking office.

 

The opening in due form was well managed and W Bro Jeff Swales kindly escorted the Entered Apprentice out of the Lodge just before it was raised to the 2°. They were soon joined by two more, as the Fellowcrafts took their leave. Brother Rich Driver, however, was examined in the Q&As given when he had been passed to the degree of a Fellowcraft, after which he too retired to prepare himself for the Third Degree Ceremony. The annoying doorbell interrupted us twice (please can it be turned off when the ceremony begins, or the stupid ringing bells limited to downstairs?) but the Brethren bravely forged on with the ritual.

 

It would be inappropriate to describe here what happens in the Third Degree in Freemnasonry - it is a wonderful experience and it would not be quite so dramatic for the Candidate if he knew what to expect. Thus Brother Driver was still in the dark when he returned the password entrusted to him before re-entering. He was now wearing the Minerva Lodge judo suit and more tattoos than the Edinbrugh Festival.

 

The ceremony is dramatic and powerful, and this evening it was magnificently performed. The Secrets were given by W Bro Ogram PPGSwdB. Brother Chris Fear's delivery of the Retrospect was one of the best I've heard in over twenty years: I could feel the hair standing up on the back of my neck (quite an achievement for an old baldy.) Mark Hartley assisted, rising to the occasion, and W Bro Peter Willoughby, with his rare Provincial Apron, gave the Historical Oration and explanation of the Tracing Board with great aplomb. Brother Driver's eyes grew large as the Working tools were interpreted.

 

Interestingly, before the Q&A's were passed between the WM and his principal officers, W Bro Miles interposed an explanation of the natural progression of a Master Mason to a Royal Arch Chapter Mason, completing the fourth side of the Masonic Square.

 

The Wardens, having reminded all Master Masons of the words as Bro Driver listened, sat down as Brother Driver retired to restore himself to his usual comforts.

 

Back in the 1°, W Bro Swales, the FCs and EA returned to their seats, I presented a Grand Lodge Certificate to Bro John Robertson, after which reports were given. The current Lodge Charity Steward, W Bro Green spoke enthusiastically and at length about the 2029 Festival; his report will follow in due course on the Charity Page. Reports and other Masonic business concluded, greetings were given from UGLE and  the Province of YN&ER. I gave greetings from Humber 57 of course. I managed to take a snapshot of Stand-in Master David Green with Master Mason Rich Driver before the festive board. Back in his elegant suit, Rich still looked rather awed. "That was fantastic," he said to David, "Thank you so much!"

 

So, two toasts and an early night. I was grateful for the lift home ( - Thanks, Dave.) Now to spend the rest of the evening opening all my Valentine cards. Life is so tough!)

 

Eddie Wildman, Guest Organist

 

 

Tuesday 13th February 2024:

"Regalia - How do you recognise the Grand PooBah?"

W Bro Richard Smedley's light hearted lecture at the Humber Lodge's regular meeting in February was most interesting. We were not well attended - among the two dozen listeners several had persistant coughs, but whether or not this was the recent "One hundred day cough" - a bacterial infection causing repeated coughing that can last for three months or more I couldn't say. It may be just the usual raft of colds common in the winter months in this country. Nonetheless, it was good to see the Brethren at Dagger Lane and we all enjoyed Richard's presentation. Alas, we were still without both Wardens in attendance so the photograph of the WM and his pricipal officers will have to wait.

The opening was not slick, but there were a number of stand-ins which may have accounted for the hesitancy at the beginning. Once the Lodge was opened and the minutes signed, Bro Ian Douglas was invested as Junior Warden and took his place in the South. Bro Ben Houghton as Chief Steward was invested with the Barnie Harris apron, and Bro Mike Barber received his first collar of office as Steward. 

The IPM, W Bro Charles Alexander was presented with his Past Master's Jewel, (see the Nugget Cache) which later became part of Richard's talk. Here is the WM's presentation:

 Presentation of The Past Master’s Jewel

Worshipful Brother, you, along with all other Past Masters of this Lodge have been a great source of Inspiration to the Brethren to carry out the work of Masonry, as Master of this Lodge.

No Master is chosen by seniority but is elected by merit. As in all earthly endeavours there is a phrase that applies to all that have earned a position of Leadership: “From the ranks you rose and you will now be returning to join the elite company of those Brethren who have distinguished themselves by serving their representative Lodges as Masters and now proudly wear the title PAST MASTER."

W Bro Smedley, Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, began by asking what code of dress was required for the Humber Lodge. From some of the answers given, it is evident that not everybody reads their summons. White collar, not white shirt, Richard said, pointing out one Brother whose shirt was not white, but he was still correctly clad with a pristine collar. Richard speculated that this practice derived from the days of the detachable collar, which could be removed when soiled and a fresh one held in place by studs. He dilated on the correctness of ties; Provincial ties should be worn only in one's own Province, not elsewhere.

He went on to talk about the symbolism of the apron in general, and the third degree apron in particular, pointing out the badges of office worn on the aprons of the Master and Wardens, on the dress and undress aprons worn by Provincial and UGLE Officers (and how to tell the difference) and on the jewels on the collars in both Craft and Chapter. Reflections on the red colour of the Provincial Grand Stewards' Lodge - and the hefty financial commitment of the Official London Steward's Lodges' WMs were interesting sidelines. Richard was heartily applauded at the end of his talk.

Grand Officers Full Dress Embroidered Apron

Reports followed, our Almoner, W Bro Terry, has his finger firmly on the pulse of the Lodge and spoke of the health of the Brethren. The Charity Steward was still in India umpiring cricket matches, but W Bro Ian Syddall mentioned the MCF festival and the need to raise money for this very worthy cause, before going on to say that the Humber Chapter has two joining members and an exaltee in the pipeline. Charles Alexander made a plea for donations to the whisky stall at Connought Court. 

Bro Craig Morrison, Senior Deacon, was brought to the Lodge's attention as having succesfully identified the Rough Ashlar depicted last month on the summons; a note about this will shortly be included in the Table Nuggets as bookmarks about this ancient Masonic feature were supplied at the Festive Board. Bro Morrison received a prize for his industry in searching for the answer to the question posed on the website.

Greetings were given from UGLE, Provincial Officers, from the Phoenix Lodge 9963 and the Lord Heneage Lodge 5972 in the Province of Lincolnshire before the stand-in SW Ian Syddall gavelled and gave hearty greetings on behalf of the Humber Brethren.

Alms were collected on retiring, and the Festive Board was convivial. We finished early - which was a relief for me - I was tired, having attended a KT meeting in Middlesbrough earlier that day.

[Photos: Richard Smedley, Lecturer and Tyler; Alan Todd, WM; Aprons: 3°, ProvGStwd, UGLE undress, UGLE dress.]

 Eddie Wildman Organist

 

 

Saturday 10th February 2024:

Pater et Filius et Ambo Fratres

The Lord Bolton Lodge 3263 meeting followed the nearby Hull City match this evening, and the traffic was heavy with disgruntled Hull supporters; Bro Ian Fuller arrived at the Lodge just before the six o' clock start and slid into the Senior Deacon's seat just as the WM was about to gavel. He didn't look happy, so I didn't ask him the score.

Ian was taking on the office of Senior Deacon this evening as the current SD, Bro Liam Gwatkin was the Candidate to be raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason, and the Deacon's guidance is vital for the perambulations in this degree. The stand-in Lecture Master, W Bro Stebbings gave a silent sigh of relief as Ian arrived and nodded to the DC, W Bro Alex Hoggard to settle everyone down. Alex stood up, unfolding like a six-foot-plus penknife and said that as everyone present was familiar with the fire precautions, there was no necessity to point out the fire exits. The Worshipful Master, W Bro Robert E Gwatkin gavelled with the familiar words "Assist me to open the Lodge."

It was sparsely attended, and I doubt if any of the absentees had been watching Hull City versus Swansea. Nor was it raining - the JW, Bro Keith McMaster told me it had been misty in Hornsea when he set off, but Hull was clear. There were  some health issues among some of the Brethren and their families, and the Almoner was keeping a weather eye on this, as his report showed later in the evening. Nonetheless, the meeting began in order, the opening ode sung and the UGLE Officer saluted. The Secretary, W Bro Tompkins read a portion of the Ancient Charge and we were under way.

There was a succesful ballot for a new Candidate after which the Entered Apprentice retired and the Lodge was raised to the 2°. The Junior Deacon, who was a Fellowcraft and therefore not eligible to remain in the Lodge when it was raised to the 3° retired (to join the EA and discuss Hull City before researching the significance of the Deacons' wands. Bro Jamie should be taking his 3° next month.) His office was taken by W Bro Gary Millett, the Lodge Supersub.

Bro Liam had learnt the Q&As for advancement and responded with confidence before being entrusted with the password to gain admission to a Master Masons' Lodge; he retired to prepare himself, the Lodge was raised to the 3° and the Tyler, W Bro Chris leFevre was called in to set up the Lodge in the configuration required for the making of a Master Mason.

I'll not give away much about the Third Degree; it is a dramatic and richly symbolic ceremony, but I would not wish to spoil it for someone who has not undergone the ceremony by telling them what happens. I would, however, mention W Bro Alan Shand, who delivered the Retrospect to Bro Liam superbly. This passage is one of the most meaningful in Freemasonry in my opinion and it was well done. The Senior Warden, Bro Colin Bird, invested Bro Gwatkin with the blue-trimmed apron and I gave the Historical Oration and an explanation of the Tracing Board. Ian Fuller's presentation of the working tools of the degree was excellent.

The Q&As for the Chapter, the fourth side of the Masonic Square were exchanged between the Principal Officers and Master Mason Liam retired to restore himself to his suit.

The Lodge was lowered through the degrees, the FC and EA reentered, reports were given.

The perceptive reader may have noticed a similarity in some surnames in this Lodge; the Birds, Hoggards and Gwatkins - there is a strong family element in L3263, and it was particularly pleasant to see a father obligating his son this evening. Father, Son and Both Brothers, as the title implies. However, there is only one John Stebbings.

The steak pie at the festive board was lovely and the company was excellent. W Bro Neil Armstrong responded on behalf of the visitors; he'd obviously been paying attention, as during the course of the evening I'd included symphonic references from Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Mahler whilst playing during the ballot and perambulations. Neil pointed this out and said that while it was not known for certain whether Beethoven was a Freemason, his music contained unmistakably Masonic allusions. "In his ninth symphony," Neil said, "known as the Choral, the last movement sets to music the words of Friedrich Schiller: Alles Mennshen werden Brüder." Looking at the somewhat puzzled faces before him, he translated: "All men become Brothers." He thanked the Brethren for their fraternal friendship that evening.

It is not certain whether or not Schiller was a Freemason either, but the hymn An die Freude (Ode to Joy) from which Neil quoted was not only used for Beethoven's final symphony, but as the anthem of the European Union 250 years later.

Brother Ian Fuller kindly gave me a lift home; once again rain was pouring down. Most of the drivers looked miserable, but a bus of drunk football supporters, singing in beautiful harmony could be heard behind us on Spring Bank. Ian grunted as he turned the windscreen wipers on to full. "Muddy Swansea," he muttered. At least, that's what I think he said.

[Photo: W Bro Robert E Gwatkin, WM, and Bro Liam Gwatkin, Master Mason.]

Neil Armstrong's write-up may be found on the Kingston Website..

Eddie Wildman - organist

 

 

 

Friday 9th February 2024:

Life Since Ukraine

Worshipful Master Peter Frank Clark had invited the de la Pole Lodge's Senior Deacon to address the Brethren this month. The Lodge was opened - a little shakily - and the UGLE Officers saluted (W Bro Paul Harper PJGD, who had represented the RWPGM the night before (see the blog below) and myself) and the Senior Warden, who had been unable to attend the Installation, was invested with his collar. Brother Robert Borkowski had travelled on the train from Leeds to be at tonight's meeting, and returned after the Lodge closed, relinquishing the SW role to Bro Ian Fuller for the festive board; and his commitment is commended.

Brother John Holmes began his illustrated presentation by telling us that nine years ago he had been initiated into the de la Pole Lodge 1605 and today his nerves were just the same. However, his clearly audible, confident delivery was well done.

It is impressed upon Freemasons that their discussions should never be of a religious or political nature, and Bro Holmes skilfully manouvered his talk to avoid anything which might be construed as expressing  bias  or judgement. He focussed on the work done to assist victims of the conflict, speaking as a man who has spent years of his life in the Ukraine, whose wife is Ukranian, both in that part of the world and here in Hull.

With the help of Brethren of the Lodge and of Trinity House he was instrumental, with others, in establishing a hub for supplies, including clothing, cooking facilities and medical supplies. His pictures of the conditions in which people were living were saddening, and it was good to see the restoration work willingly undertaken by refugees in the Hull and East Riding Ukranian Community in preparing the storage site and shop on Whitefriargate. He spoke of other voluntary work undertaken to assist refugees in Hull - including classes and fun projects for youngsters to come together and to learn to speak English.

It was difficult to be unemotional, and those watching and listening could not fail to be impressed at the work being done to assist those less fortunate than ourselves. The WM announced that the takings from the raffle downstairs would be dedicated to this charity, and a glance round the room (about thirty Brethren) shows nods of agreement. Bro Holmes was applauded for his moving and salutary presentation.

The reports having been sent out by email along with correspondance, Brethren gave greetings; W Bro Darren Desker all the way from Singapore. W Bro Clark closed the Lodge and the Brethren went for refreshment - Luke Pyrah's meals are the envy of many Masons who do not eat at Beverley Road. The raffle raised over £300 and Bro Holmes sincerely thanked the Brethren for their generosity.

[Photos: Peter Clark, WM; John Holmes, SD.]

Eddie Wildman, organist

 

 

Thursday 8th February 2024:

Old Hymerian Lodge Installation

There was a good turn-out for L 6885 despite the 5:30 start. I was playing the organ for the occasion and was impressed by the quality of the singing. The opening and closing odes, while not unique to the Lodge, differ from most. St Bees, by Hull-born John Bacchus Dykes dates from 1862 and is named after a coastal village in Cumbria. Stuttgart is an adaptation of an eighteenth century melody by the German composer C F Witt, first published in 1715, harmonised by H J Gauntlett nearly a hundred and fifty years later.

The WM, W Bro Andrew Crozier opened the Lodge with his usual flair and the Right Worshipful Brother Jeffrey Gillyon PPGM was saluted with seven under the firm direction of the DC, W Bro Anthony Cadle, who kept the Brethren in order all evening. A report at the door announced the presence of W Bro Mark Cusack in the crimson regalia of the Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge 9611, who informed the WM that the representative of the RWPGM, W Bro Paul Harper PJGD requested admission. An escort was formed, and Paul took his place next to the WM.

An account of everything that occurred would be tantamount to minuting the meeting and inappropriate, but the Lodge was raised to the second degree and the Master Elect, Brother David Aretas Waddington was presented, and obligated with the responsibilities of mastership after having agreed to abide the the conditions essential to that role.

The Lodge was raised to the 3° whereupon the Officers removed their collars of office, returned them to the Master, and all Brethren below the degree of a Master Mason retired, with the exception of Bro Waddington.

The Inner Working was under the direction of W Bro Michael de Villamar Roberts PJGD, superbly executed. The Old Hymerian Lodge uses Emulation Ritual, and as far as I can recall, it was word perfect. W Bro Waddington invested W Bro Crozier with the collar of the IPM in the presence of twenty-one Installed Masters before lowering the Lodge through the degrees.

The new WM invested his Officers. R W Bro Jeffrey Gillyon gave the address to the WM, W Bro David Greendale addressed the Wardens, and W Bro Michael de Villamar Roberts addressed the Brethren - three superb demonstrations of ritual at its best. (The PPGM noted afterwards that if one were to add up the ages of the Brethren giving the addresses, the total would be considerable.)

W Bro Graham Hunter sang the anthem beautifully in the Lodge Room; it is a pleasure to accompany someone who not only has a good voice, but sings with understanding  and feeling. 

Graham sang again at the Festive Board and the Brethren joined in the choruses of The Worshipful Masters Song. The meal had been delicious, the company delightful, the toasts and responses well considered and witty. It had been a good night. Thank you, Old Hymerians, for asking me to play on this occasion. It was a pleasure.

[Photo: Bro Peter Presland, JW, W Bro David Waddington, WM and Bro Malcolm Cuthbert, SW.]

Eddie Wildman, Guest Organist

 

 

Wednesday 7th February 2024:

Sixty Years On

Gary Crossland, WM of the Kingston Lodge 1010 took the Chair for his first working night at the Masonic Hall, Beverley Road, Hull with the celebration of the sixtieth year in Masonry of Worshipful Brother John Christopher Philip Sharp, Past Grand Standard Bearer in the United Grand Lodge of England and Past Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah for the Province of Yorkshire North and East Ridings.

Despite the cold evening, the event was supported by Brethren who knew Chris, and the Humber Lodge was represented by W Bros Alan Todd as WM, Winston Pannett, David Terry and me (though I also stood as a member of the Lodge of St Michael 7833 with W Bros Stephen Prior, Terry Black and Shaun Rennison, with W Bro James Steele, (who was standing in as the Junior Warden) as a member of Phoenix 9963, and with Brethren from Technical 5666.)  Other Lodges were represented too including Old Hymerians 6885 and the Lodge of St Matthew 1447 in the Province of Lincolnshire and others. A salute (and fanfare) was given to W Bro Sharp at the opening of the Lodge.

Very Worshipful Brother William (Bill) Henry Fisher, Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master interviewed W Bro Sharp, drawing out details of his initiation on New Years Day in 1964, which was not only the first Wednesday of the year, but the beginning of the 100th year of the Lodge itself. Chris recalled that his cousin demanded he remove his signet ring during the ceremony, as no metal objects may be worn by the Candidate during the initiation ceremony. "I still wear it," smiled Chris, raising his hand to show everyone, "though it's a little looser these days. That comes from being eighty-seven."

V W Bro Fisher elicited detals of Chris's boarding school education, O-levels, College (third seat in the rowing team, to which he attributes his bad back) National Service ("thoroughly enjoyed it - not much different from being at boarding school,") Rediffusion, Radio Ham work, and succesful involvement in various businesses. In the meantime he married Angela and became involved with other organisations such as Rotary and Round Table.

Masonically, Chris has served under eight Provincial Grand Masters, the first being the Most Hon Lawrence Aldred Mervyn, 3rd Marquess of Zetland. He became Worshipful Master of the Kingston Lodge 1010 in 1973, and has received substantial Provincial Offices subsequently, being honoured with the Grand Rank of Past Grand Standard Bearer. There have been many changes over the years, he reflected, and he spoke briefly of these at the festive board afterwards.

V W Bro Bill Fisher presented Chris  with his sixty-year certificate from the RWPGM, along with a lapel pin, and the Brethren applauded. The WM thanked Interviewer and Interviewee for the interesting and enlightening presentation before gavelling and closing the Lodge in due form.

Roast beef and Yorkshire pud followed at the festive board - with wine provided by Chris (thanks!) who sat with his guests at the middle table leg. Toasts were limited to the first two, but Chris had asked for some singing, and the redoubtable Junior Deacon, W Bro Michael Price PPSGD (Worcs) obliged with the Visitors Song and Happy to meet Again, the Brethren joining in with the choruses.

It was a chilly evening, but the warmth of the friendships re-established at the Lodge more than made up for the low temperature outside.

For Stephen Prior's blow-by-blow account of the evening, see this date on the Lodge of St Michael blog page.

[Photograph of Bill Fisher, Christopher Sharp and Gary Crossland by Philip Daniels.]

Eddie Wildman, Organist.

 

Monday 3th February 2024:

Perfection - Humber Installed Masters 2494

The members of this ancient Lodge, as its name suggests, have all been through the Worshipful Master's Chair elsewhere, and the installation of W Bro William Glanville PAGDC marked the beginning of its 131st year of ceremonies. It was a magnificent turnout: the RWPGM and his provincial army, complete with Banner Bearer and Sword Bearer added gilt to the gingerbread - there was a lot of gold braid on display.

The outgoing WM, W Bro Philip Daniels PPSGW had confided that he was concerned about retaining the necessary ritual for the evening. It didn't show, however. From the first stroke of the gavel he was in magnificent control, with no hint of nervousness; the ritual was perfect, measured and clearly audible. Philip relinquished the Chair to the RWPGM W Bro Dr David Chambers as the Provincial Team took its collective seat, and after resuming the gavel, thanked the boss and everyone else for being there and hoped for an enjoyable evening.

A portion of the Ancient Charges was read; the minutes signed. R W Bro Jeffrey Gillyon gave a moving eulogy for the late John Bridger, TD PGStB. W Bro Bridger was WM of L2494 in 1984.

There being nobody present below the degree of a Fellowcraft, the Lodge was impeccably raised to the 2° and the Installing DC, W Bro Richard Smedley PAGDC (who had taken on the role with only three days' notice) presented the Master Elect, W Bro William Glanville PAGDC, who took his first obligation.

(Until the 18th Century there were only two degrees in Craft Masonry: EA and FC. The WM was elected from the Fellowcraft rank, which signified he had passed his Apprenticeship and was now a qualified Craftsman. This tradition persists today, though in the Humber Installed Masters' Lodge, the only people below the rank of an Installed Master were visitors.)

W Bro Daniels opened the Lodge in the 3°. It was interesting to see the variety of ways in which the Brethren stood to order; different Lodges have different traditions. These variations are part of the rich tapestry of the Craft - looking round the assembled company from the Organist's stool I felt a frisson of pride at being part of this rich tapestry.

All those below the rank of an Installed Master were asked to leave at this stage (there was only one, Bro Steve Walker, who will be mentioned again later) after which W Bro Daniels declared that the convocation now constituted a Board of Installed Masters. As W Bro Glanville had experienced the ceremony on more than one occasion previously, it was not necessary to perform the ritual in full, but he was beautifully obligated and installed with flawless ritual.

The Working Tools of an Installed Master were presented by V W Bro Jonathan Mark Mitchell Smith and the Warrant was presented by the IPM. (Often regarded as a lesser piece of ritual in the 1°, the Warrant is important, authorising the holding of meetings and embodying the Lodge's history, showing to whom the Lodge is indebted for its existence. The Humber Installed Masters Lodge also holds a Centenary Warrant. The entrusting of the Lodge's certification to each Worshipful Master is a short but significant part of the ceremony.)

Worshipful Brother Glanville was now in the Chair, and received congratulations from the W Brethren both in formal salute and personally; everyone wanting to shake his hand - and Philip's. The new WM closed the Board of Installed Masters and the Master Mason was readmitted.

W Bro Richard Smedley proclaimed the Master in all three degrees; the working tools were presented along with the Book of Constitutions and the bylaws. W Bro Glanville invested his officers.

The RWPGM gave the address to the WM, W Bro Roger Lewis addressed the Wardens and W Bro Adrian Hayward (returned after a health scare) addressed the Brethren, after which W Bro Smedley sang the Anthem.

That concluded the ceremony of Installation, and the WM thanked everyone, saying he felt humbled and impressed, and that it had been a perfect evening so far. Reports followed (it is good to see W Bro Syddall back as Almoner - he has been dealing with his own health issues as well as those of others) propositions made and greetings given.

 

The festive board continued with good humour and vivacity. The RWPGM responded to his toast, speaking of the  implementation of change following his eighteen months in the Chair; the augmentation of Assistant Past Masters, the invitation of family and friends to the PGL convocation, the utilisation of the energy and enthusuasm of younger Brethren in Provincial administration, the importance of the forthcoming Festival and the use of the Provincial website.

V W Bro Jonathan Smith's toast to the WM was superb - he and the WM had been cadets together under Drill Sergeant Bob Clarkson - there were some amusing tales to tell. Richard Smedley sang the Masters Song before Bill responded. The WM warned the Brethren not to have a shave just before coming out (the bathroom looks like an abattoir, he said) and thanking the IPM, IDC and Brethren for contributing to a perfect evening.

W Bro John Chapman toasted the IPM with moving sincerity, mentioning the many achievements of the year, and joined W Bro Smedley and myself in singing "Bless this Lodge" before Philip responded, thanking people for their work during his year in Office.

In response to the toast to the visitors, Tom Cawkwell (recently installed as WM of Andrew Marvell Lodge 5642 - see 22 Jan below) mentioned the upcoming consecration of the Cornerstone Lodge, brainchild of Bro Steve Walker, "inspiring the next generation of Freemasons." This was reiterated by the WM in his few notices before the raffle: as Provincial Secretary has been integral in its formation. The raffle raised over £218.

Everyone joined in the Song "Happy to Meet Again" before we took our leave of each other. 

A wonderful night.

[Photos T to B: Phil Daniels, Bill Glanville, RWPGM and Provincial Army, T Fisher, SW with W Glanville WM and  A Calvert JW.]

For Neil Armstrong's report, see the Kingston Lodge Blog Page.

For Peter Stokes' report, see the Lodge of St Michael website.

 

Eddie Wildman, organist

 

 

Saturday 3rd February 2024:

Beverlonian Lodge 9084 Initiates a new Brother


There were nine visitors from seven Sister Lodges, which swelled the numbers; for some reason the Beverlonian members were thin on the ground this evening due to family commitments or other issues. This meant, of course, that some Brethren had to double up on the work. The redoubtable W Bro Roger Lewis, for example, acted as Senior Deacon, but also communicated the Secrets and delivered the Ancient Charge, and Entered Apprentice Lewis McKinley, who has been a Freemason for less than half a year, explained the Lesser Lights and the Dangers, and later the Warrant - sterling work!

 

The Worshipful Master, W Bro Thomas Nicholas Baxter opened the Lodge with calm efficiency after welcoming the visitors - and particularly W Bro Alan Woodeson, returned to the JW's Chair after an episode of tottering ill-health. 

Alan was on good form, regularly coughing politely as a reminder to the stand-in SW, Tony Dickens, who busy in his capacity as Orator and Mentor, occasionally forgot to gavel. However, Alan didn't stay to eat afterwards; the IPM, W Bro Mark  Fox (who had stood in as Tyler) took Alan's place at the Festive Board.

After the minutes had been approved, W Bro Nick Varey mentioned that he had attended the funeral of the Beverlonian Lodge's first Secretary, Founder Member Richard Martyn Kirby, who was an avid collector of egg cups. Attendees at the funeral had been asked each to take one of the collection as something to remember W Bro Kirby by, and W Bro Varey requested that the one he had brought with him should be displayed in the bar as a token of remembrance.

 

Yet though small in number, the Lodge enjoyed a good ceremony: Samuel Paul Regan was well initiated. Bro David Wilson's caveat following the presentation of the apron was a masterpiece of oratory. I was privileged to give the address at the Northeast Corner, and Liam Robinson, who had conducted the Candidate round the Lodge in his capacity as Junior Deacon, handed his wand of office to the Director of Ceremonies, W Bro Rod Taylor, while he explained the Working Tools of an Entered Apprentice Freemason. The Secretary, W Bro Gary Shores was kept busy recording events; he had proposed Sam as a fit person to join the Lodge, and W Bro Fox had seconded him.

 

Bro Regan retired to restore himself to his smart suit. During his absence the Almoner, W Bro Peter Saxton give a report on the health of the Lodge and read selections from letters sent by some of the widows of past Brethren who were pleased to be remembered with Christmas vouchers. On his return, Bro Regan was given a brief explanation of the ceremony he had experienced by the Mentor, W Bro Tony Dickens.

I had the honour of presenting Bro Liam Robinson with his UGLE Certificate. Standing on the dais I was almost on eye level with him. Well done that man!

At the Festive Board (Chicken and chips - yummy!) Gary Shores gave the toast to Bro Sam. Gary had taught Sam when he was a schoolboy. Sam responded eloquently. W Bro Fox proposed the toast to the Visitors, and W Bro John Wilson from Brough Lodge 5464 responded, speaking of the joy of visiting and the wide family that is Freemasonry. The Beverlonian Lodge was doing well, he said, with two Entered Apprentices and a joining member; the WM would have his work cut out for the rest of his year. It was a convivial evening, and I had the pleasure of travelling back with the W Bros Hoggard, of Lord Bolton Lodge 3263 (both of whom won raffle prizes while I continued my unbroken losing streak) so this report could be made on the same evening as the Lodge. A lovely way to end the week.

[EAs Sam Regan and Lewis McKinley; Bro Liam Robinson, W Bro Tom Baxter, WM and Bro Sam Regan.]

Eddie Wildman, Organist.

 

 

Thursday 1st February 2024:

Constitutional Initiation

I travelled to Beverley by bus using my pensioner's pass and arrived in good time for the ceremony, at which I had the privilege of playing the organ. W Bro Mike Noble as WM set a high standard for the ritual, and the Brethren followed suit; the Candidate, Ali Teçke was well impressed by the ceremonial. Octogenarian Bro Laing, the Lodge's oldest member explained the three great dangers, W Bro John  Rowland expounded the secrets and W Bro Martin Rowland delivered the address at the Northeast Corner. W Bro Dan Longley (JW) dilated on the spiritual meaning of the working tools in the first degree and the Inner Guard, Bro Ben Blenchard gave an authoritative rendition of the Ancient Charge. Well done, Constitutional 294! (The WM rewarded himself with an extra helping of Tereza's zero calorie chips.)

The Brethren had sung with enthusiasm in the opening and closing odes, but best displayed their talent for polytonality in the Entered Apprentice Song. Bro Teçke smilingly responded to the toast to him, thanking his proposer, Bro Karl Douglas for his kindness.

The toast to the visitors was proposed by the SW, Bro Sam Adkins, and Bro Neil Tomlin from the Thesaurus Lodge 3891 responded; he had known the Candidate for some years and dilated on some of his achievements as a rising businessman in the town. Bro Tomlin had travelled with W Bro Mark Rudston (another Thesaurian) and the latter offered me a lift back home. Generally seen driving in sedate dignity as a funeral director, Mark regaled me stories of his passion for driving and the incredible speeds he had reached on the Grand Prix race track at Monaco. We hurtled through the back streets of South Cave and beyond, exceeding the sound barrier, I believe, on more than one occasion. Mark was perfectly relaxed while my knuckles were white, but I arrived home safe and sound - and very grateful for an excellent night.

Eddie Wildman - Guest Organist

 

Monday 29th January 2024:


Festival Pre-launch Presentation

This event was well supported with Brethren both from far afield and closer to home, meeting at the Masonic Hall, Beverley Road. A welcome cup of tea or coffee greeted the arrivals and the chocolate biscuits disappeared very quickly.

The Festival 2029 team, introduced by the Chairman W Bro Martin Eggermont, enlightened those present with facts and figures regarding the upcoming festival and recommending that Brethren consult the Festival section on the Provincial website for up-to-date and state-of-the-art information. The website is a useful tool not only for news, but for discovering which Lodges and Chapters are meeting and when. Social events are reported - this site is highly recommended.

Did you know that the Province has received in excess of two million pounds since the last YN&ER festival? (That's more than the amount raised last time!) Are you aware of work  done to assist those needy Brethren and families? Have you considered signing up for the Festival jewel? Look out for future reports on our Charity Page.

Humber Lodge was well represented by W Bros Terry, Syddall, Wildman and Smedley along with Bro Kenyon-Brodie, the latter three also members of the Phoenix Lodge 9963.

Eddie Wildman

 

 

Saturday 27th January 2024:

 Burns Night

Technical Lodge 5666 is well-known for its Burns Nights over the past couple of decades, and this evening was another resounding success, with Whisky Master Philip Daniels (Known as Phil McDaniels during the evening) and other Daggard performers, on this occasion with Rob(Mc)Atkinson as the Master of Ceremonies, John (Mc)Chapman, Jimmy (Mc)Kerr and David (Mc)Turner as the three tenors, Richard (Mc)Smedders as the bass baritone, and Philip sang baritone while I accompanied and compered the show, singing in the occasional bass line in the choruses. The audience (some eighty-plus) enthusiastically joined in the choruses, skilfully shown on screen by Jimmy 2 Kilts.

Special mention should be made of Richard's exquisite rendering of Burns' My Love is Like a Red Red Rose, in which he presented said flower to his wife Isabel. There was not a dry eye in the house, at least among the ladies.

The WM, W Bro Ian Parkinson was the Chieftan, with the toast to the Immortal Memory, his good lady, Vikki Barber responding superbly with wit and panache. The piper, Cameron, was in excellent form and performed at the door of the reception hall, piping in the Chieftan, plus the arrival of the Haggis (Jimmy 2 KIlts gave the address - Mark (Mc)Cusack the response) carried by the Beverley Road Chef, Luke (Mc)Pyrah, and for Auld Lang Syne at the end.

I'll not detail all the songs and jokes, though Daggard Neil Armstrong, resplendant in his kilt came in for some stick. Doubtless he will get his revenge later.

It had been a wonderful evening. I for one was buzzing at the end. Let me thank the Daggards who made it special: it is a privilege to work with them.

 

[Photo of Eddie in his highland outfit by Louis Morgan.]

 

Eddie Wildman

 

 

Friday 26th January 2024:

Myton Lodge Installation

report by Eddie

Myton Lodge 9808 is a daylight Lodge. Consecrated in 2005 it meets during daylight hours and has rather more retired members in consequence. Wives and partners are encouraged to join them after their brief meetings and to dine with them. The name derives from the original description of the site where the rivers Hull and Humber join.

I went as a gate crasher but was invited to stay for the meal afterwards - thank you, W Bro Phil Harrison!

I'd an ulterior motive, I confess; I wanted to have a swift rehearsal with Jimmy Two Kilts for our performance together at the Burns Night tomorrow (we had no problem doing this before the meeting started at 11.30) - Jim was there as the DC for the Representative, Bill Glanville, Provincial Grand Secretary.

There was plenty of gold braid about - the RWPGM Dr David Chambers was in attendance as a founder member, along with the Immediate Past Provincial Grand Master Jeffrey Gillyon, but there were also Master Masons in light blue - Bro Roger Watkinson (later appointed as JW) was but one of the Kingston 1010 Brethren there (Marcus Whereat and Bill Hartley are also members) and I was delighted to give greetings with Peter Stokes and David Whittall as members of the Lodge of St Michael 7833.

As the Lodge suddenly had an organist, the opening and closing odes were sung. Other than the occasional So Mote It Be there was little else for me to do other than provide background perambulation music when needed - with a distinctly Scottish flavour as my fingers were preparing for Burns Night.

The Lodge meeting was distinctly gentlemanly, undertaken with courteous solmenity. Marcus Whereat as the Installing DC took charge with relaxed dignity introducing the Master Elect, W Bro John David Ward. As the latter has been through the Chair before, the ceremony was somewhat truncated, but the outgoing Master, W Bro Derek Edwards performed his role admirably, elaborating on the importance of the Great Lights and transferring the gavel with impressive courtliness.

At the Festive Board the Brethren rallied round to serve their wives; there were two toasts only. It was a lovely way to spend a Friday afternoon. At the end (with Jimmy's help) I turned the keyboard round and set out the chairs for tomorrow's singers, reminding myself that I needed to practise my words - not to mention the music.

[Photo: Jim Kerr, Rep's DC; Dr David Chambers RWPGM; Bill Glanville, Representative; John David Ward, WM: Derek William Edwards, IPM by Peter Stokes.]

Eddie Wildman, guest organist

 

 

Thursday 25th January 2024:

 Peter Sellers - a Freemason for the wrong reasons

report by Eddie

Worshipful Master Peter Stokes dilated eloquently using notes taken from a paper on the above topic by Yasha Beresiner, prolific author, lecturer and Freemason. After welcoming the brace of visitors from Hull Grammarians' Lodge 5129 and opening the Lodge in due form, the WM launched into a talk on the biography and circumstances of Sellers (1925 - 1980), his upbringing as part of a constantly shifting poor family and education at a Catholic School, the only Jewish boy there.

Sellers was seventeen in 1943 and enlisted, meeting Michael Bentine (later founder of the Goons) in the Entertainment Division of the RAF. He joined Chelsea Lodge 3098 in 1948 - his father having been a member there. He was not a regular attender of this Performer and Artistes' Lodge and it is possible he had joined for commercial reasons, being ambitious to progress in showbusiness. Beresiner opines "He brought little into our Craft and derived even less benefit from it because Peter Sellers never embraced the true and basic spirit of Freemsonry."

The Almoner and Charity Steward, W Bro David Whittall then dilated on the welfare of several Brethren, widows and family members and asking the Brethren that worthy causes for Charity might be brought to his attention. The RAR, Bro John Burton (whose Chapter blog reports feature frequently on this website) spoke of the forthcoming Installation (15th February) when he would be retiring from the Z's Chair.

On the first rising, I took the opportunity to commend  W Bro Stokes on his lecture and to remark that it is often salutary to hear of something wrong in order that we as Masons can endeavour in ourselves to put it right. For example, in music, there is much to be learnt by listening to a poor performer - it makes one aware of how much good practice is missing. Certainly we all learnt something from the lecture, as it gave us much to think about. Peter Sellers was far more than Inspector Clouseau from the Pink Panther, and far less than an ideal Freemason.

I also took the opportunity to congratulate the WM on being the first to identify the now rare masonic artifact pictured in the 7833 website sidebar as a quiz question; he won a box of chocolates!

The festive board had a Scottish theme, it being the date of the birth of the Scottish Bard, and the Brethren appropriately joined hands to sing Auld Lang Syne to complete the evening.

Eddie Wildman, Organist

 

 

Wednesday 24th January 2024:

David Terry's account of the Chapter of St Andrew's Installation can be found on this date on the Chapter Blog Page.

 

 

Monday 22nd January 2024:

Andrew Marvell Lodge Installation

by Eddie Wildman

The Installation is a high point of the Lodge's year as a new Worshipful Master is ceremonially placed in his Chair to rule the Lodge for the ensuing twelve months.The retiring Master becomes the Immediate Past Master and the newcomer picks up the gavel and names his officers. This evening was such an occasion.

W Bro Chris Lefevre, an experienced Freemason at nearly eighty-six years old, welcomed the visitors, remarking it was pleasing to see such a goodly number attending, and opened the Andrew Marvell Lodge 5642 with the easy familiarity of a Master at the end of his year. The UGLE officers in attendance (both from Humber Lodge 57) were saluted, after which the Provincial Grand Steward, W Bro Steven Burns,  Director of Ceremonies for the Representative of the RWPGM and sartorially elegant in his red regalia announced that W Bro William E Glanville, PAGDC, Provincial Grand Secretary and Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra requested admission. A retinue of Provincial Officers was formed to accompany the Representative into the Lodge Room.

This worthy man and Mason smilingly acknowledged the honour accorded him after which the minutes were signed, essential business briefly transacted and the Lodge was raised from the 1° to the 2°.

Brother Tom Cawkwell, Senior Warden in the Lodge was then presented to the assembled company as the Master Elect with due ceremony after which the two Fellow Craft members retired, a late arrival was admitted and welcomed and the Lodge raised to the 3°. All Offices were declared vacant and the Wardens' Chairs and other principal posts were taken by senior officers of the Lodge. W Bro Colin Shields stood in as the Inner Guard, the polished gladius looking like a toy in his enormous hands. W Bro Andrew Peach as Installing Director of Ceremonies was an example to us all with his calm authority and impeccable ritual. He directed the retiring Officers to return their collars to W Bro Lefevre and organised the departure of all below the degree of an Installed Master - with the exception of Brother Cawkwell - to retire.

Then followed the "Inner Working" during which ceremony the Master Elect was obligated and placed in the figurative Chair of King Solomon.

The Brethren returned, the Working Tools being presented in each degree, after which the new Master, Worshipful Brother Thomas Stephen Cawkwell appointed and invested his Officers.

The address to the Master was given by his father-in-law, W Bro Christopher Brown PPSGW, a recent member of the Lodge; I had the privilege of addressing the Wardens, Bros Fuller and Walker, and W Bro Adrian Hayward PPJGW gave the address to the Brethren. W Bro Richard Smedley PAGDC gave a fine rendition of the Masonic Anthem - everyone joining in the choruses, after which W Bro Andrew Peach announced with enormous dignity that the ceremony of installing W Bro Tom Cawkwell was now concluded. The new WM thanked everyone for their support, a little emotionally perhaps, as the full weight of the responsibility of Mastership began to make itself felt.

W Bro Glanville presented W Bro Lefevre with a Past Master's Jewel, congratulating him on his work done throughout the last year. Greetings were given from the visiting Lodges; a phalanx from Minerva acknowledged Tom's reputation as Secretary in L250. It was good to see W Bro Garry Crossland, newly appointed WM of Kingston Lodge 1010 stand to greet the WM; Garry later responded to the toast to the visitors at the Festive Board. Phoenix Lodge 9963, the Ridings Tablers' Lodge 9586 and other Lodges were represented. W Bro Cawkwell closed the Lodge efficiently and the Brethren retired.

There were a few photographs taken and the Welcome Page will be updated when the opportunity arrives as the SW, being on call that evening, had to leave. (He returned a little later, but couldn't stay, being needed for yet another call-out. W Bro Brown stood in for him as Warden at the Festive Board.)

The meal, traditional Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding, was of the high standard we have come to expect of Luke Pyrah the Beverley Road Chef, and the toasts followed. W Bro Glanville again commended the IPM and the Lodge, and dilated for twenty minutes on the Provincial Grand Master's buzz word, "change", mentioning the databases which will shortly be available to the Brethren, the initiatives planned for the convocation on 11th May and the launch of Festival 2029 along with future promotions.

The toast to the WM was given by Chris Brown, mentioning that at forty years old his son-in-law was a Masonic youngster, half the age of his predecessor, but that he had already proved himself and he was looking forward to the year. Richard Smedley sang the Master's Song beautifully. Tom responded eloquently. I gave the toast to the IPM, a privilege and pleasure.

It was a late finish - nearly eleven o' clock, but it had been a most enjoyable evening. Congratulations to all concerned!

Eddie Wildman, Organist

 

 

Saturday  20th January 2024:

Fifty Years On: Father of the Lodge David Turner receives his certificate

Technical Lodge 5666 enjoyed a splendid evening; well supported by the Brethren (and some of the ladies ate as well, though in another room, appreciating Luke's fine cuisine.) W Bro Ian Johnson, Assistant PGM was an informal visitor along with W Bro Alan Todd. Following a succesful ballot for a new member, a regimental quarter master sergeant for the British Army who hopefully will be initiated next month, the main business of the evening was the presentation of a certificate celebrating David Turner's fifty years in Freemasonry.

W Brother Phillip Daniels elicited the following responses from David by dint of skilful questioning; that Freemasonry ran in the family (his father and Brothers were Masons, and his Brother Peter, an Old Hymerian was in attendance that evening), and that times have changed considerably since David's joining in December 1973.

David did his first three degrees during only nine months. In those days all newcomers were Stewards and waited on the more senior Brethren at the Festive Board, only taking their own meals in a seperate room when the other Brethren were fed and beginning the toasts and speeches.

Philip and David became business partners in optometry in 1991 and David's support allowed Philip to take on the role of WM. Meanwhile Philip encouraged David to become more active following a fallow period where his attendance had been minimal. Blessed with a fine voice himself, Philip mentioned David's singing skills, which had their roots in church involvement; David regularly sings solos at festive boards and installations - along with other good voices in L5666.

The Assistant Provincial Grand Master Ian Johnson spoke of David's Masonic career, encouraging him to highlight the changing attitude in Masonry, the music, the appropriate humour, the Park Street days, and explaining to the Brethren the significance of David's rare Provincial Apron. With smart blue rosettes instead of the usual levels, this was awarded because of David's contribution to Masonry and beyond - his outstanding charitable work and his encouragement of the younger Brethren. The APGM announced David as the Father of the Lodge, presenting him with a commemorative pin and a certificate signed by the RWPGM. (Applause.)

The festive board was friendly - as I'm getting deafer I find it hard to cope with - people don't project in the Lodge Room and while I don't object to the chatter round the table I find it difficult to focus. This is a lose-lose situation. I spoke to Philip about it. "Pardon?" he said. Phil and John Chapman gave a lovely duet version of the visitors song. Alan Todd responded on behalf of the visitors saying it had been a delightful night and what an achievement it was to receive a 50-year certificate. As he was sitting opposite me I could see how much he'd enjoyed the soup, the chicken and the apple pie and custard presented in Luke Pyrah's distinctive style. Jon Sykes sang the Parting Toast Song, Happy to Meet Again after the Worshipful Master W Bro Ian Parkinson had drawn the raffle and given notice of future rehearsals and events.

To echo David Turner's words in the Lodge: "This is a thoroughly enjoyable Lodge to be a member of."

[Photograph L to R: Phil Daniels, David Turner, Ian Parkinson and Ian Johnson at the pedestal with the 50-year certificate by Alan Todd.]

Eddie Wildman

 

Friday 12th January 2024:

The Wisdom of Solomon

W Bro Peter Frank Clark presided as WM over the de la Pole Lodge 1605 at Beverley Road when W Bro David Russell Garbutt, LMO and W Bro James Kerr PPSGW, Lodge Mentor (pictured) gave illustrated talks on the topics of "The Membership Challenge" and "How to get the most out of Solomon", the former addressing the incidence of membership attrition, an endemic issue; the other introducing the Masonic learning website https://solomon.ugle.org.uk/.

As I'm becoming increasingly deafer, I wish I'd sat nearer the speakers (and closer to the screen too) but it was interesting to hear statistics regarding membership declension and discover different viewpoints on it. Likewise  Jim's comments about the website, which, being accessible to freemasons and non-masons alike, raised discussion about its legitimacy.

It was good to have an exchange of views without acrimony; we are all entitled to opinions. As a contributor to Solomon, I refrained from expressing any viewpoint, but it was a worthwhile meeting. The Worshipful Master thanked W Bros Garbutt and Kerr for their contribution to the evening before closing the Lodge.

Luke Pyrah's fish and chips were lovely, and we retired early, able to miss the traffic rush from the Hull City & Norwich City match nearby.

Here is Russ Garbutt's precis:

                                    The Membership Challenge

 

The de la Pole Lodge, as with nearly all Lodges throughout England, has suffered an overall loss of membership in recent years. This is unsustainable.

Using ‘The members Pathway’ UGLE and The Province have launched The Membership Challenge to reverse that trend so that the total gains exceed total losses. Not rocket science, but will require determined effort over time, involving all members of the Lodge to attract and retain Brethren.

For a detailed analysis of the strategy I urge all of you to visit the UGLE site: b.ugle.org.uk/membership.

W Bro Russ Garbutt, Lodge Membership Officer

 

Eddie Wildman, organist

 

Thursday 11th January 2024:

Thesaurus Initiation

It was not entirely surprising that the WM of the Thesaurus Lodge 3891 was unable to attend; his wife had telephoned the Lodge DC, to say that Adam had shingles. W Bro Richard East PPGPurs opined that given the age and health issues of some of the Brethren to introduce herpes zoster into Dagger Lane would be positively dangerous.

Richard had set up the Lodge Room earlier in the day so I relaxed on one of the barroom chesterfields with a cup of tea as the other Brethren arrived. The IPM, W Bro Stephen Burns, ProvGStwd agreed to take the Chair (this was not the first occasion) and W Bro Garry Millett said he would deliver the Obligation to the Candidate.

We were consequently a little late starting, but were soon under way with the opening ode, which uses the popular tune Vienna. Dating from 1799, the music is by Justin Heinrich Knecht of Wurtemberg.

A colourful figure in Provincial Stewards' Crimson, the Stand-in WM opened the Lodge in due form. There were twenty-seven Brethren present despite the couple of last minute apologies. The visitors hailed from lodges in Hornsea, Pocklington and Lincolnshire. A ballot for a joining member from a London Lodge proved clear.

The main business was of course the initiation of Mr Luke Alexander Byron. At thirty-one he lowered the average age of the members, as his proposer, Bro Nigel Bell remarked. I reflected during the opening that the famous poet, Lord Byron had been a Freemason. Initiated into the Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No. 2 in Edinburgh, his membership became a significant part of his social and intellectual life during that time. However I do not know if Luke is any relation or has written any deathless verse.

Having passed the test at the door administered by the Inner Guard, Bro Pericles Miller, Mr Byron was led round the Lodge with military precision by the Junior Deacon, Bro Carl Moore. He was obligated by W Bro Garry Millett PPGSwdB; Bro Alan Miller explained the Lesser Lights and the secrets were communicated by W Bro Rob McKenna who also invested him the the distinguishing badge of an EAF. Bro Stuart Gamble gave the address at the Northeast Corner and the Secretary, Bro Malcolm Dale gave a flawless presentation of the Warrant, Book of Constitutions and the Bylaws. 

The Working Tools were explained by the JW, W Bro Mark Rudston PPGStdB after which the Q&As for advancement were shared between the WM and the Wardens. Brother Luke Byron retired to restore himself to his smart attire and during the hiatus W Bro Ian Johnson, Assistant Provincial Grand Master presented Bro Carl Moore with a token of appreciation for the latter's sterling work in the last two years as Lodge Steward,

Brother Byron returned and stood while W Bro Adrian Hayward PPJGD delivered the ancient charge.

Reports followed and the Lodge was closed in due form though some Brethren returned to be photographed afterwards. The picture shown here is of Bro Byron and W Bro Burns, which is alliterative if not poetic.

The convivial festive board saw the toast to the Candidate by his proposer and Bro Byron's sincere and eloquent response in addition to the usual toasts. The singing of the Entered Apprentice Song gave a whole new meaning to the expression "A bunch of keys." W Bro Burns thanked everyone for their efforts, modestly omitting himself, and I was pleased to able able to express the appreciation of the Thesaurus Lodge for W Bro Burns' superb contribution to what had been an excellent evening. Well done all!

Eddie Wildman, Organist

 

 Thursday 11th January 2024:

 

Constitutional Lodge 294 Installation 
 
by Malcolm Forbes
 
I arrived at Beverley Masonic Hall at 4.15 pm in plenty of time for the Installation meeting which was due to start at 5.00 pm. Other early arrivals included W Bro Barry Longstaff, a member of Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge 9611 and also Andrew Marvell Lodge 5642, who attended in his capacity as DC to W Bro Les Kirby, the representative to the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master. W Bro Kirby had travelled from North Yorkshire and replaced W Bro Ian Syddall, the Provincial Grand Charity Steward and member of Humber Lodge 57, who was unable to attend due to illness. 
 
The meeting was opened by Worshipful Master Mike Noble. Due to the recent untimely death of the Worshipful Master elect W Bro Terry Wilson, WM Noble had agreed to continue as Worshipful Master until the next Installation in January 2025. A moving eulogy on behalf of W Bro Wilson was delivered before the Installation took place. 
 
Three unattached Masons, Bros Mike Brocklesby, Ian Dixon and Steve Falkinder, who were all previously members of Andrew Marvell Lodge, were successfully balloted for as joining members of Constitutional Lodge. All three Masons were proposed by Junior Warden Bro Karl Douglas, another former member of Andrew Marvell Lodge, and seconded by myself. 
 
The Installation of W Bro Mike Noble as WM was a proclamation ceremony. W Bro David Turner who acted as Installing DC carried out his duties impeccably. I was pleased to be invested as Lodge Charity Steward. 
 
The Address to the Wardens was delivered by W Bro John Kettlewell. The Address to the Brethren was presented by the Lodge Orator, W Bro Keith Charlesworth. The Master's Song was sung by Chaplain W Bro David Brazier. 

As WM Noble remarked the Installation was tinged with sadness due to the passing to the Grand Lodge above of WM elect W Bro Wilson, but nonetheless the Lodge and the Officers would hold his spirit dear to them throughout the year as they continue the good work of the Lodge. 

The meeting closed at 6.45 pm.

At the Festive Board I sat in the good company of Bros Brocklesby and Falkinder rekindling old acquaintances, and W Bro Kettlewell. The three course meal was met with universal approval. Ten toasts were delivered. 

W Bro Kirby in his reply as representative of the PGM pointed out that it was a special pleasure for him to attend as he has a family connection with WM Noble. He talked in passing about Festival 29 and the need to support local good causes, which was music to my ears. He also highlighted the membership challenge which Lodges are facing. Constitutional Lodge is well placed with a steady intake of initiates, including one at the February meeting, and with joining members. 

Lodge Secretary W Bro Gavin Collinson delivered the toast to the WM and his Officers as well as to the 2023 team of Officers. In his response WM Noble stated that it would be another busy year for the Lodge. 

The response to the visitors toast was given by W Bro Des McKenzie, a member of Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge. His comments about the evening were very positive.  I was able to converse with W Bro Mckenzie about cricket, a common interest we both share, and he subsequently emailed me about the possibility of umpiring in a Provincial Charity Cricket match later in the year. 

The raffle raised £134. I, along with WM Noble, thanked my predecessor as Lodge Charity Steward W Bro Martin Rowland for all the hard work he had put in over the years. 

The parting toast was delivered at 10.15 pm. 

I left in the company of W Bro Langstaff as he departed to Barton Upon Humber and I departed to Thorngumbald. The evening reflected highly on the Lodge. 

 

Malcolm Forbes, Charity Steward
 

 

Wednesday 10th January 2024:

Minerva Raising

 

The Minerva summons proclaimed a choice of Candidates for the 3°, arranged in chronological order according to the time of joining. This bodes well for the future - along with the Entered Apprentices (and another Candidate successfully ballotted for during the evening, the WM, W Bro Martin Wright has his work well cut out for the year ahead.) I'd arrived early bearing in mind the unforgiving traffic yesterday (see the blog below) and had plenty of time to nip upstairs and prepare my music - I'd left it overnight along with my regalia and will be doing so again as I'm at Dagger Lane again tomorrow for a Thesaurus Lodge 1°.

The opening ode for L250 is unique to the area. "Hail Eternal" is sung to the tune St Bees by Hull-born John Bacchus Dykes, who named many of his tunes after places in the north of England. The village of St Bees is in a valley just south of the St Bees Head cliffs in Cumbria and takes its name from a seventh century Irish girl who established a nunnery there. The music was published in 1862, eighty years after the founding of the Minerva Lodge.

Returning downstairs I discovered that there had been a message from the WM, who had been sent home from work with a high temperature and chest infection. W Bro Danny Betts, PPSGD, Lecture Master was unfazed. "I'll take the Chair," he said, "we've no Junior Warden, so Dean Marshall can do that - with Richard as Senior, we'll have Marshalls as Wardens. Chris Brown knows he's stand-in Secretary. We need a stand-in Junior  Deacon, but no Fear, we'll manage."

And manage we did! The opening was crisp and efficient, and from the enthusiastic singing of "Hail Eternal" I knew we were in for a good time. Salutes to UGLE and the Province of YN&ER were smartly given under the firm direction of the DC, WB Richard Theaker PPJGD and the Lodge was opened in the 2° almost perfectly. "I'm a bit rusty," apologised DB, dismissing the Entered Apprentices, "Let's do that again." Fellow Craft Freemason Terry Palmer, who had been made a 2° Mason exactly a year ago, answered the questions put to him admirably ("You're a credit to your proser and seconder," remarked the WM) and was entrusted with the passgrip and word leading to the 3ˆ before retiring to prepare himself for the forthcoming ceremony.

Ready in jig time, he was announced as soon as the Lodge was prepared, and went through the ceremony of being raised under the excellent guidance of the Senior Deacon, Bro Jim Bradshaw. I'll not dilate on the drama and deep symbolism of the conclusion of the Craft degrees as it would be wrong to spoil it for those who have not yet experienced it, but the ceremony was admirable. The retrospect was given by W Bro Mike Ogram PPGSwdB, the secrets by W Bro Chris Brown PPJGW, and the Traditional History, the Tracing Board and Working tools by E Comp Peter Willoughby. The only downside (and I hope our visitors from the South Bank didn't notice) was that one Senior Brother spent much of the time on his mobile. Whether he was texting or taking messages I don't know, but I would recommend to any Brother that if he has urgent business to be dealt with, then he should excuse himself from the Lodge and continue his task outside rather than contemptuously ignore the proceedings. This is not the first time nor the first Lodge where I have seen this happen - I know that mobile phones are now an essential prosthetic for many nowadays, but I still deplore their use in a Lodge except in very exceptional circumstances.

The Lodge was lowered in short form to the second and first degree, the EAs and FCs returning with their Mentor for the evening, and reports given. I had the privilege of presenting a Grand Lodge Certificate to Bro Simon Tomkins, after which the closing ode (again to a tune by Dykes) was sung and the Lodge was closed in due form.

The Festive Board was convivial and the stand-in WM thanked all those who had taken part, especially the stand-ins. W Bro Graham Miles PPJGW thanked Danny on behalf of the Lodge for a sterling ceremony. It had been a splendid evening.

[Photos: Bro Terry Palmer relaxing with a pint afterwards and Bro Simon Tompkins, Chief Steward, with a smile because the festive board was a success.]

 Eddie Wildman, organist

 

 

Tuesday 9th January 2024:

Our visitor, Alistair, increased the number attending by 5%. He gave eloquent greetings from Phoenix Lodge 9963, while his dad, Peter, Richard Smedley and I also stood as members. (Richard informed the Lodge that Peter would be taking the Chair of Phoenix Lodge on Saturday February 24th at Dagger Lane, and asked for the support of the Humber Brethren on this occasion. Watch this space.)

It was the WM's first working night at Humber Lodge, and the business was a first degree enactment, with pauses while explanations were given of various aspects of the ceremony: the links to the ancient guilds, illustrated by the unique paintings of the Ancients' and Moderns' shields on the Northwest wall, the irregular steps, the significance of the trowel, the differences between local Lodges and the importance of the Warrant were dilated upon. Many Brethren remarked afterwards how interesting it had been: "We ought to do that more often," said W Bro David Terry.

The stand-in Junior Warden, Malcolm Forbes spoke briefly for ten minutes about the upcoming Festival Pre-launch meeting at Beverley Road on the 29th inst exhorting members to attend.

The Lodge was closed in due and ancient form and the Brethren retired to the festive board.

Eddie Wildman

 

Thursday 4th January 2024:

See the first Humber Chapter report for 2024 on the Chapter blog page for this date.