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Wednesday 10th April 2024:

Good Companions

by Eddie Wildman

"Despite his youthful appearance and lively manner, Companion Driver is older than he looks," said Excellent Companion Chris Brown in the toast to the Candidate at the Festive Board. Indeed, one wouldn't have considered Companion Paul Frank Driver to be much above forty, and I was surprised to find him ten years in advance of that. It was a genuine pleasure to attend the Minerva Chapter meeting at Dagger Lane; I'd agreed to present a handful of Grand Chapter Certificates and other than that, simply to enjoy the ceremony.  E Comp Graham Miles was playing the organ. E Comp Richard Theaker acted as DC. The three Principals, E Comps Mark Hartley (MEZ), Ben Kelly (H) and Kevin Marshall (J) were in good form. Bro (Rich) Driver was ballotted for and accepted that evening. (See the October report on the Chapter Installation Ceremony below.)

For those unfamiliar with the Chapter set-up, it is different to the Craft  as it is based around a story of events following the destruction of King Solomon's Temple and the discoveries made by those returning from exile. The Candidate, once he has been obligated by the Most Excellent Zerubbabel (and E Comp Mark Hartley did this very well) enacts the part of one of the journeyman sojourners, while his team mates (E Comp Danny Betts, Comp Tom Cawkwell and Comp Antonio Ramirez) interact as supplicants, labourers and discoverers as the story unfolds, and are rewarded by the triumvirate leaders representing KIng Zerubbabel, the prophet Haggai and the High Priest Joshua. E Companion Miles explained what each section of the story entailed before its enactment; the signs and symbolism shared between Companions were eloquently given by E Comp Brown. The charge was delivered by E Comp Willoughby.

The word "Companion" (not "Brother" as in the Craft - the bond is closer in the Chapter) has its roots in the Latin com, meaning with, and panis, meaning bread, and describes someone with whom a meal is shared. The ceremony of the Royal Arch is about a shared experience and of greatness deriving from humble beginnings. In a more spiritual sense, for the tale has deeper levels of meaning, it is about truth in the light of eternity.

Companion Driver took his seat amongst Companions of the Order - there were two dozen there, including me as the only visitor. Reports were given from the Almoner and CHarity Steward, and from the Treasurer, E Comp Steve Cox who warned that some subs were now overdue. 

I was privileged to be able to present Supreme Grand Chapter Certificates to Companions Simon Tomkins, Tom Cawkwell and Jeremy Stevens. Several of the E Comps and Comps present had never heard a presentation of this sort before. The Chapter Room at Dagger Lane is an ideal venue for the explanation of the Certificate, with its links to the Craft and displays symbols which feature in the Royal Arch. I extend grateful thanks to the Minerva Chapter for the courtesy extended in allowing me to formally certificate the exaltees.

[Photo L to R: E Comps Ben Kelly, H; Mark Hartley, MEZ; Kevin Marshall, J and Comp Rich Driver by Comp James Ashby-Kelly, Scribe Nehemiah.]

Eddie Wildman PAGDC

 

Wednesday 20th March 2024:

Final Night Ahoy!

by W Bro Chris Brown

Our Minerva Final Night is a chance for the younger/newer Brethren to undertake the whole of the Fist Degree Ceremony as a practice for the next year’s team. Bro Dean Marshall took the chair and W Bro Martin Wright, current Worshipful Master, acted as the Candidate.

The evening has always been informal and in recent years it has almost become an excuse for a satirical dress code. From the picture one can see the joke was on Martin who had just returned form a long cruise – hence the nautical headgear and tropical outfits. The Ceremony was conducted nonetheless with due gravity and the performance of the younger Brethren was impressive. It would be wrong to single out individuals, as a team they worked hard and delivered an excellent ceremony, with the odd ironic comment inserted.

W Bro Tom Cawkwell delivered an excellent First Degree tracing board, the first time many Brethren in the Minerva Lodge had ever heard it – he was even given a special naval cap for the evening.

The festive board was similarly exotic with Thai fish cakes and a chicken curry and more appropriately comical comments in the toasts.

The whole evening bodes well for next year under the stewardship of Bro Dean Marshall and an excellent and very capable team.

W Bro Christopher Brown PPJGW

 

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 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.

The raffle raised £95.

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 Masonic friends from outside the Province by Tom Cawkwell.]

W Bro Malolm Forbes, Visitor.

 

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 (and hence the opportunity to use this blog on the Humber website as well.)

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

 

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

 

Wednesday 24th January 2024:

Chapter of St Andrew 75th Anniversary

by Mark Hartley

Last night I had the pleasure of visiting an Installation at the St Andrews Chapter 4683 at Beverley Road, Hull.

I was greeted and welcomed by all the Companions and enjoyed an excellent Installation ceremony enhanced by the attendance of the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent E Comp Dr David Chambers and his team of Active Provincial Officers, introduced by the ProvDC, E Comp Jim Kerr. The three Principals were installed: E Comps Mike Graham, MEZ, Jason Garland, H and Edward Brooks J in a well-rehearsed ceremony under the direction of E Comp Ian Sugarman PAGDC.

A lovely surprise following this was a detailed and dramatised explanation of the Chapter Certificate presented to Companions Philip Beadle and Ashley Eastburn, presented by the MEGS and select members of his team. They all delivered it very well and it was  interesting in the characters they played from the 18th century, I do love the history of Freemasonry.

At the end of the ceremony, I gave greetings on behalf of the Minerva Chapter. It was pleasing to see our own E Comp Danny Betts ProvAGDC appointed as the St Andrew Chapter DC:  he ensured the festive board toasts moved along swiftly.

 

Sat with the Principal Soujourner, Brian Daragon PPGSwdB and the visiting Companions, I enjoyed good conversations: again we were made welcome. The food was very enjoyable (Luke Pyrah's famous chicken and leek pie) and I was delighted not to be expected to pay on this occasion! The MEGS spoke on the subject of Change being essential and mentioned the upcoming 2029 Festival.

I responded on behalf of the twenty-odd visiting Companions and finished the night off by winning a prize on the raffle. All in all a very enjoyable meeting!

Many thanks to the Chapter of St Andrew and all those who contributed to a most excellent evening.

Mark Hartley MEZ

 

Monday 22nd January 2024:

A visit to The Andrew Marvell Lodge 5642

by Graham Miles

One of the benefits of being a member of the Masonic fraternity is to be able to visit other Lodges, develop new friendships and possibly enjoy a different interpretation of the ritual and actions used in the workings of ceremonies. Back in the 1980’s when I was in the WM's Chair, the Master was expected to take up the majority of invitations he received from sister Lodges and at the end of my year the total number of visits exceeded fifty. With the problems caused by covid and the escalating cost of living, visiting other Lodges is not so abundant as it once was. However, there are always special occasions when a trip out is warranted and my visit to the Andrew Marvell Lodge was such an occasion.

Why? You may ask.

Well, the answer is that Thomas Cawkwell, the Secretary of the Minerva Lodge was to be installed as the new Worshipful Master of the Andrew Marvell Lodge and had indicated that he would appreciate any support his fellow Minerva members could provide.

I think a little background information would help. Being the Secretary of a Masonic Lodge requires quite an undertaking in time and effort and the office is usually held for five years. The Secretary, in conjunction with the Worshipful Master, is responsible for the well running of the Lodge - keeping the show on the road you might say. While he is in this office he cannot progress to a higher office in that Lodge, such as Worshipful Master. As Tom is relatively young in Masonic terms and has unbounded energy, he found that if he became a member of the Andrew Marvell Lodge, it would quickly afford him an opportunity to take the Chair as Worshipful Master. This would both benefit the Lodge and provide him an opportunity for further advancement. I noted from the summons that he had already persuaded his Father-in-Law, Chris Brown to join.  Eddie Wildman is an honorary member and organist at L5642.

The meeting took place at Beverley Road Masonic Hall, which has an extensive car park and an equally extensive Lodge room. I had no sooner stepped out of my car, and was organising my crutches when John Towler, the Andrew Marvell Secretary appeared from the depths of the car park and came to say hello and asked if I needed some help, which I gratefully accepted. On entering the building, I bumped into an old friend, Tim Dillon, who was there for a dinner in another part of the building. I was then greeted by a number of Brethren from several lodges, some of whom I had not seen for a long time. Andrew Peach and I were contemporaries back in the ‘70s when we both joined Freemasonry and it was probably back in 2018 since I last saw him when he visited Minerva as WM of his Lodge, and also Adrian Hayward, who I was on the Master’s circuit with many years ago.

This being an installation the Provincial Grand Master, David Chambers had asked Bill Granville, our Provincial Grand Secretary to Represent him. I shared some pleasantries with him and was then greeted by his DC, Steve Burns who was Acting Master at the Thesaurus Lodge Christmas 202,  and for whose members I had provided Christmas music and entertainment on my keyboard and had not seen since. At that same meeting, I had accompanied Richard Smedley the 2nd Assistant Grand Principal, and a wonderful singer as his pianist whilst he sang the traditional installation songs to the Master and Brethren. I was pleased to hear that he would be doing the same at this meeting accompanied by Eddie Wildman. Greetings continued, (what a warm welcome!) and eventually I met up with my Brethren from Minerva, including the Worshipful Master Elect. With the assistance of Richard Theaker, I used the stair lift to go up to the Temple. It was terribly slow and groaned when it got to the step bit at the end, maybe it was trying to tell me something about my weight.

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; Eddie Wildman PGPrg addressed 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; the phalanx from Minerva acknowledged Tom's reputation as Secretary in L250.  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. Eddie Wildman 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!

Graham Miles

Wednesday 10th January 2024:

The Third Degree

by Eddie

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 Humber Lodge Blog) 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 unphased. "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

 

Monday 18th December 2023:

Holderness Lodge 3563

Christmas Celebrations

by Eddie

Among the first people I met at Beverley Road were Dean Marshall and Wayne Sutherby from Minerva Lodge 250. "I have one son in Minerva Lodge, and another here," he said, So I'm keeping up with the family while visiting." I acknowledged that this was a good idea. "Will you take a photograph of the Wedding Belles?" I asked, "for the Minerva website?" "Of course," he replied.

I reflected how technology has advanced since I was a youngster. In those days a photograph would be in black and white, taken with great care because once the button was pressed the film had to be wound on. Then there was the palaver of removing the film from the machine, ensuring it was tightly rolled and not exposed to light. It had to be taken to the local chemist for developing, which was a long delay and an extra expense. 

Dean took a lovely snapshot and emailed it to me within seconds. (See below.)

However, I'm getting out of order: I'd arrived early and did some practise on the organ before W Bros Greenwood and Tyson came into the Lodge Room to set things out. "Where's the Junior Warden's collar? It should have a plumbrule on it and I can't see it anywhere." Meanwhile, folk were gathering below - wives, widows and friends were keeping Deeane busy at the bar. I joined them and ordered a glass of H2O: today I'd resolved would be alcohol free.

The WM, Worshipful Brother Darren Wiseman opened the Lodge skilfully and dealt with the essential business rapidly. Reports were given, and apologies from those unable to be present were tendered by the Secretary, Bro John Ledger. Then, to my surprise, I was proposed as a joining member of the Lodge and immediately accepted. I was so proud! The Worshipful Master closed the Lodge with equal facility after greetings were given from Humber 57, Minerva 250 and St Andrew 4683.

The guests and ladies joined the Brethren upstairs and the female choir, The Wedding Belles performed. Much effort had gone into organising the festive board: the room was beautifully prepared (by the outstanding work of Andrew Holbrooke and John Ledger) in organising the seating and making the place look so welcoming. The food was up to Chef Luke Pyrah's usual high standard.

Two toasts - to the King and to the Grand Master - completed the formal part of the evening, but the WM made reference to Absent Brethren, bearing in mind those that had recently passed to the Grand Lodge Above. Mrs. Rita Taylor responded on behalf of the Widows, remarking how things change over time, but she was heartened by the number of new, younger faces in the Lodge. "The future," she said, "lies in the youngsters being involved and this Lodge is obviously doing that." She presented the WM with an impressive brass door knocker in the shape of a square and compasses, recalling that her husband had purchased it for the Lodge while on holiday.

I led everyone in a rendition of "O Come all ye faithful" and a couple of other Christmas numbers, including the popular Twelve Days of Christmas after which the raffle was drawn. The proceedings from this exceeded £380 and were to go towards FIND charity which is involved with improving conditions for mental health sufferers.

One member of the Lodge who alas was not able to be present once told me "a successful Lodge is one where the Brethren leave happy and smiling." This was certainly the case this evening. Well done, Holderness!

Eddie Wildman, honorary member

 

Saturday 16th December 2023:

Technical Christmas Lodge

report by Eddie

It was pleasant to be picked up by my good friend Philip - the more so as Mrs D was in the front seat, looking delightful as always. "Don't tell her that, she'll want more housekeeping," quipped Philip as we headed to the Lodge at Beverley Road.

The ladies were to join us after the brief meeting - along with friends in the good old tradition of the Technical Lodge 5666. The reception room was filling up with folk and the bar was busy as the Brethren climbed the stairs for a brief meeting; W Bro Ian Parkinson, assisted by his DC, W Bro Rob Atkinson, gave salutations and took reports with commendable facility. The WM spoke of a relative having suffered a brain injury following a fall and mentioned the local community P.A.U.L. which is instrumental in assisting such victims as a worthy recipient of charity this Christmastime, to which the Brethren agreed. 

Reports included information from the LMO that the Lodge now had a Candidate for February and other likely chaps in the pipeline. Greetings were given on behalf of Humber 57, Minerva 250, De la Pole 1605, Andrew Marvell 5642 and others.

The Lodge closed promptly at 7:00; a record for the WM, who never uses a sentence when a paragraph will do, and the Brethren were joined by the Ladies and other guests in the Lodge Room. Grand Lodge Officer W Bro Paul Harper PJGD, lead editor of the Solomon Programme then made history by presenting Brother Steve Walker with a certificate, awarded by UGLE for successfully completing the Questions set on its Masonic Website; the first person to do so. Paul spoke of Steve's commitment to the Craft and his initiative in forming a new Lodge to promote engagement in Masonry  with the Cornerstone Lodge, aimed at like-minded Masons keen to promote knowledge and to enjoy visiting new and interesting venues. The Provincial Grand Mentor Mike Cheeseman was also present.

The Beverley Male Voice Choir then entertained us all mightily.

I have heard other choirs in the Lodge over the years, but this one, although reduced in numbers, was head and shoulders above the rest. The musical director on this occasion was Mr Nigel Clarke. The accompanist, Amy Butler, was the best I have heard for a long time. The choir was excellent giving us a variety of numbers ranging from Handel to Irving Berlin, with consistent attention to details of vowel sounds, diction and dynamics, all with a sense of enjoyment and musically. The audience (nearly three score of us) were invited to join in with some items (including Jingle Bells).

The WM and his lady, doubtless assisted by some of the Technical Brethren had decorated the dining room magnificently. Luke the Chef had as ever provided suitable fare for all, accommodating those with particular dietary requirements without apparent effort. Tonight there was waitress service and we all enjoyed the festive repast.

There was a Christmas Music Bingo Quiz - I was fortunate to be with Bro Turner-Bone who was impressively knowledgable about the pop music and called "Bingo" just before one or two others. I was well impressed.

We sang a few Christmas songs followed by the ever-popular Twelve Days of Christmas in which W Bro Mark Cusack surprised us all with his rendition of Six Geese A-laying, bellowing notes never before achieved by the human voice, and after W Bro Parkinson had made a few announcements, the evening closed with Chappers and other melodious Brethren caroling "Happy to Meet Again". W Bro Chapman had also been singing Top Tenor in the Beverley Male Voice Choir - but this time we could see him.

A thoroughly pleasant evening.

[Photograph of Steve Walker by Bazza Longstaff.]

Eddie Wildman, organist.

Wednesday 13th December 2023:

Minerva in the 2°

by Thomas Calkwell 

This evening I had the pleasure of attending the Minerva 250 Christmas Lodge event; a second degree ceremony followed by a white table evening for both prospective candidates and family and friends of the Brethren.

We were honoured by the presence of W Bro John Davidson MBE PGJW as the Representative of the Provincial Grand Master, ably supported by W Bro James Steele as his DC.

Upstairs we had a full but fast second degree ceremony under the mastership of W Bro Martin Wright, with particular thanks to Bro Rich Driver, a Fellow Craft who stood in at late notice as Inner Guard and performed admirably, and to Bro Ashley Tong who had clearly worked hard on both the memorisation of his Q&As and his delivery of the same. W Bro Rick Theaker communicated the Secrets, W Bro Mark Hartley delivered the Address at the SEC and I explained the Working Tools.

Downstairs, the Festive Board was happily convivial, with Brethren, ladies and family and friends alike all coming together in a spirited performance of technicolour Christmas carols led by W Bro Graham Miles!

With a new Candidate proposed in the meeting upstairs and another keen to be considered after the FB it was a successful evening all around. For a number of us, festivities continued at a local bar afterwards as we awaited carriages but with an early start tomorrow, I was forced to bid farewell early.

Merry Christmas Brethren!

[Photograph L to R: W Bro James Steele, DC; W Bro Martin Wright, WM; Bro Ashley Tong, FCF; W Bro John Davidson, Representative.]

Tom Cawkwell, Lodge Secretary

 

 

Tuesday 12th December 2023:

Humber 57 Installation

by David Green

On Tuesday December the 12th along with eleven other visitors from seven Sister Lodges I attended the installation of W Bro Alan Todd into the Chair of King Solomon. For the last time as Worshipful Master W Bro Charles Alexander opened the Lodge in due form. The officers of UGLE were saluted and W Bro Richard Smedlley returned thanks from himself and W Bro Eddie Wildman. The Inner Guard then reported that W Bro Mark Cusack of the Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge was at the door seeking admittance. Once inside, W Bro Cusack informed teveryone that W Bro Tony Randle was at the door and as the Representative of the Provincial Grand Master requested admittance; a guard of honour was formed and the Representative entered the Lodge.

The next business was to install the WM elect. The Lodge was opened in the 2nd degree. W. Bro Fisher, the DC, presented the WM elect, and as W. Bro. Todd had already been through the Chair in the lodge of Vigilantes 7264 it was not necessary to repeat the ceremony in detail so prayers were offered and W Bro Todd recited his obligation.

The Lodge was then opened in the 3rd degree and all offices declared vacant; installing officers were put in place and all but Installed Masters retired. Bro Alexander then installed W Bro Todd as WM of the Humber 57 Lodge. The Board of installed Masters was then closed and all MM were admitted and the 3rd degree working tools explained. The new WM then lowered the Lodge to the 2nd degree and the working tools presented. Finally the Lodge was lowered to the 1st degree and the working tools presented.

W Bro Todd then invested his officers. The addresses to the Worshipful Master, Wardens and Brethren were expertly given and W. Bro Smedley then sang the anthem. The installation was now complete and the ordinary business of the Lodge was completed, greetings given and the Lodge closed and we retired to the festive board.

I was particularly pleased that the Lodge had decided to have a main course of roast beef and not of a Christmas dinner! The meal was very good and the company excellent. The representative of the PGM in his response told us of the need for a more visible community presence and the need to reverse the decline in membership. The toast to the WM was given by W Bro Smedley who then sang the Masters song. W Bro Fisher gave the toast to the IPM to which W Bro Alexander gave an excellent response. After the toast to us, the visitors, we were treated to the visitors song. After the raffle, in which once again I failed to secure a prize, the WM gave parish notices and it was then time to leave this very convivial Lodge until next time I am able to visit. Humber 57 May not be the Premier Lodge as it proports to be but still a welcoming one to visit: thank you Humber Lodge!

David Green IPM

 

Monday 11th December 2023:

Andrew Marvell Christmas Lodge

by Eddie Wildman

W Bro Malcolm Forbes had a busy evening. He'd agreed to pick me up to take me to Beverley Road Masonic Hall, and there were two other passengers, Chris Wright and Ian Montgomery, who has stood in as Tyler for the Andrew Marvell Lodge 5642 throughout the year. We arrived in good time, and there were several ladies there already - this was to be a white table evening.

I knew this was to be a short business meeting preceding next month's Installation; I hadn't known that Malcolm was in the Master's Chair this evening, Chris Lefevre being engaged on other unavoidable business. Malcolm opened the Lodge with the relaxed efficiency of a Past Master - there were only a dozen Brethren in the Lodge Room - a sign of the times, alas; I have frequently noted the dearth of members post-covid.

However it was a pleasure to see W Bro Barry Kensett in attendance after a long absence and his melifluous baritone lent authority to the singing of the opening hymn.

Andrew Marvell Lodge 5642, unlike other local Lodges, uses the tune "Innocents" for the opening ode. It is a deceptively simple melody and it is named from the Feast of the Holy Innocents, as the original words began "Little flowers of Martyrdom". (This feast is observed towards the end of December and is in remembrance of King Herod's massacre of young children in Bethlehem in his attempt to kill the infant Jesus. The slain children were regarded by the early church as the first martyrs as they died for Christ.) The tune was harmonised by the prolific hymnist William Henry Monk and was included in the first edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern in 1861.

Salutes were given to the the Brethren of UGLE and the Province of YN&ER. Sadly, the Secretary reported a couple of resignations; Brethren who have not attended for some considerable time owing to health issues. Happily, three joining members were ballotted for and accepted, and two of them, W Bro Chris Brown (L250 Asst Sec) and Bro Steve Walker were at the Festive Board later. The third, W Bro Barry Longstaff will doubtless be at the Installation meeting next month. W Bro Forbes remarked that the new arrivals "will take us forward as a Lodge".

There were various propositions regarding the 2029 Festival and charity work after which the Master Elect, Bro Tom Calkwell (L250 Secretary) was declared along with the Treasurer Elect, W Bro Colin Shields.

Committee members for 2024 were elected after which reports were given, the Secretary suggesting that the apologies be taken as read (carried).

Greetings were given and the Closing Ode was sung. Notes on "Melita" can be found on this website on the Music Page.

The festive board was delightful. W Bro Colin Shields and his wife Margaret had  arranged the tables into a large square (there were twenty dining) and decorated them with lights and Christmas themed bouquets. The place mats were customised. There was a free raffle (numbers hidden under the side plates) for a bottle of bubbly, crackers to pull, and, of course, Luke Pyrah's superb cooking (waitress service.) Background Christmas music enhanced the atmosphere. We sang a few Christmas carols and enjoyed the Christmas Quiz devised by W Bro Forbes (Chris Brown and I almost won but were pipped at the post by Colin and Margaret in the tie-breaker.) Another raffle won prizes for some of us, and there were gifts for the ladies and partners, from the Peter and Barbara Atkinson Bequest. It was a delightful evening.

Malcolm Forbes thanked everybody for coming, extending the good wishes and apologies of Chris Lefevre and ensuring that all the Brethren had signed the get well card for W Bro Adrian Hayward who was rushed into hospital last week with appendicitis. He is now back home and we hope to see him at the next meeting.

W Bro Peach stood and remarked that everybody had been thanked except for our stand-in Worshipful Master, and we all applauded Malcolm for his sterling work during the evening. It was a lovely end to the Andrew Marvell year, and we look forward to a new beginning in January with Tom Calkwell in the Chair.

Let me take this opportunity to thank Malcolm for being my taxi to the Lodge and back home again. A super night.

Eddie Wildman, Organist

 

Friday 1st December 2023:

Brough Christmas Lodge

Bro Dean Marshall and I went to Brough Lodge 5464 for their Christmas Celebrations. The Lodge was well attended with a good many visitors most of whom came with wives and partners. I left my wife in the company of ladies she knew and went to the Masonic part of the meeting with the other Brethren.

The Worshipful Master, W Bro Brian Trevor Fletcher opened the Lodge in due form and then took the reports from the Almoner and Treasurer. The Lodge was then called off (i.e. Masonic business was suspended) and the ladies along with non-masons joined us for some festive poems eloquently rendered by some of the Brough ladies. The guests then retired and the Lodge was called on again for the remaining Masonic business.

Greetings were then given from Provincial Officers and visiting Brethren, and from the SW on behalf of L5464, which was then closed in due form and we retired downstairs to tuck into an excellent Christmas dinner. We enjoyed singing some Christmas carols and song, but it would be fair to say the singing was a little underwhelming!

We'd had an excellent night at a Lodge known for its hospitality and look forward to visiting it the future. Thanks, Brough Lodge!

David Green IPM

Monday 27th November 2023:

Andrew Marvell and King Athelstan

by Tom Cawkwell

This evening I was in attendance at Andrew Marvell Lodge 5642 in my capacity as SW where Bro Steve Walker (Technical 5666) and I assisted W Bro Barry ‘Bazza’ Longstaff to deliver an interesting presentation on the History of King Athelstan and the legend of the York meeting of 926 AD which is the foundation of the Athelstan order. Attended by two distinguished Brethren of the order (W Bro Tony Burke & W Bro Ling Fang Yu), the talk was well received and evoked healthy debate about legend vs established historical account.

Downstairs, WM Chris Lefevre presided over an excellent Roast Beef festive board. A wonderful and insightful evening.

[Photo L to R: Steve Walker, Barry Longstaff and Tom Cawkwell.]

Tom Cawkwell

 

Monday 20th November 2023:

Holderness 2°

by Dean Marshall

Bro Rich Driver and I visited Holderness Lodge 3563 at Beverley Road.

It was opened in due and ancient form by the WM, W Bro Darren Wiseman, and a report announced that W Bro Steve Burns from the Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge 9611 requested admission. W Bro Burns informed the Lodge that,W Bro Ian Syddall ProvChStwd representing the RWPGM was outside the door. An escort of Provincial Officers was formed and W Bro Syddall entered the Lodge and took his place next to the WM, who warmly welcomed him.

A ballot for a joining member proved successful, followed by the main business of the evening, which saw Brother James Anderson being passed to the Fellowcraft degree. This was the first passing Bro Rich had witnessed; he having made the same advancement earlier in the month (see 8th November below) and it put things into perspective for this newest member of the Minerva Lodge. Indeed, L250 was well represented that evening by several Brethren from the longest established Lodge in the city.

One of the many enjoyable features of the Craft is that the Brethren experience a common experience: the details vary from Lodge to Lodge, but every Master Mason has been initiated, passed and raised in a similar manner, and witnessing the procedure in others serves to remind us of bond between us.

W Bro Ian Syddall then presented a Grand Lodge Certificate to the Holderness Inner Guard, Bro Andrew Holbrook, pointing out those features on the certificate which appear in the Lodge and expanding on their meanings.

The usual reports were given and the Lodge was then closed in the customary manner, after which the Brethren retired to the Festive Board. The Representative of the RWPGM talked for a little while about the up and coming Festival starting in 2024.

A raffle followed the usual toasts and I was lucky. W Bro Eddie Wildman, seated opposite me, seized the opportunity to capture this on the paper tablecloth, though in reality I look much younger than his sketch.

Bro Rich Driver agreed it had been a really enjoyable night with good food, good conversation and convivial company.

[Photo: Steve Burns, DC; Ian Syddall, Rep; Darren Wiseman, WM; James Anderson, FCF.]

Dean Marshall, PM

 

 

Saturday 18th November 2023:

Technical Installation

by David Green

I attended the installation of Worshipful Brother Ian Parkinson into the chair of the Technical Lodge 5666. Technical Lodge always start their installation meeting early at 4pm and as well as the bar being open the Brethren can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and a selection of cakes and biscuits provided by some of the ladies of the Lodge.

Once upstairs in the Lodge Room the Lodge was opened in due form by WM Danny Laughton. A report at the door led to the admission into the lodge of W Bro Brian Carlisle PPSGD who informed the Lodge that W Bro. Paul Harper PGJD, a Representative of the RWPGM was at the door and requested admission; an escort was formed and W Bro Harper entered the Lodge and after greetings and thanks we commenced the Installation.

Unfortunately all Entered Appretices had to leave the lodge at this point. W Bro Parkinson took his first obligation as to the duties of the Worshipful Master. The Fellowcraft Masons then retired and all offices were declared vacant. A board of Installed Masters was opened and W Bro Parkinson took his second obligation with W Bro Laughton who completed the Inner Working with commendable aplomb. The Lodge was then successively lowered and Master Masons, Fellowcraft and Entered Apprentices returned to the Lodge. The working tools were presented by Bro Ed Thompson, Thekkootupasharam Nandakumer and Kenneth Wright who all did an excellent piece of ritual and are to be commended for the contribution. Lodge Officers were appointed and the addresses to the WM, Wardens and Brethren were faultlessly given by W Bros Eddie Wildman, Mark Cusack and Paul Hillary. Bro David Turner sang the anthem after which the new Worshipful Master closed the Lodge.

Once downstairs we were treated to an excellent festive board of fish cake with a spicy sauce, pork in three ways and crème brûlée. W Bro. Harper responded to the Provincial Officers toast and commenting on the challenges of increasing the membership and keeping those Brethren who may feel Freemasonry is no longer for them. Technical Lodge has some fine singers and we were treated to W Bro Philip Daniels singing the Masters Song and W Bro Chapman followed with the Song to the Visitors. A quintet of voices comprising of Br. Turner and W Bros Chapman, Daniels, Atkinson and Sykes concluded with “Happy to Meet Again “.

An excellent evening was rounded off with the taxi home being on time and us all ready for a good night sleep.

[Photograph of WM Ian Parkinson and IPM Danny Laughton by W Bro Peter Stokes.]

W Bro David Green IPM

 

 

Wednesday 8th November 2023:

Second Degree Ceremony and the Entered Apprentices

Most readers will be aware that when a Lodge is taken up into a higher degree, those not yet qualified for that degree are required to leave the Lodge room for a while. This was the case this evening; Bro Paul Driver was waiting to be raised to the Second Degree, and therefore the Entered Apprentices were asked to retire at that point in the ceremony.

As there is not much for the organist to do during the Second Degree ceremony, I asked the Worshipful Master, W Bro Martin Wright, if I could retire with Brothers Ashley Tong and Evaldas Korsakas and do some mentoring - something I haven't undertaken for a while, and I'm always keen to share aspects of Freemasonry with the Brethren. The WM agreed, and we were also joined by the actual Lodge Mentor, W Bro Mark Hartley - possibly to make sure I was doing it properly! Consequently, the first part of this report is about what took place outside the Lodge, while W Bro Wright will follow with what transpired inside.

Grand Lodge Certificate.jpgI had several United Grand Lodge Certificates with me, and challenged Ashley and Evaldas (pictured left) to spot the differences between them. I was impressed at how much they gleaned comparing the various coats of arms, dates and signatures. There are few differences between the certificates printed now and the originals produced in 1819, for the movable and immovable jewels have not changed, and the allocation of the classical pillars to historical figures as well as to the WM and his Wardens remains as they were three centuries ago, and it was good to hear how much the Brethren had remembered from their Initiation ceremonies, pointing out the symbolism of the rough and perfect ashlars and the chequered pavement amongst other things. The UGLE seal was examined and the postulated historical antecedants of the Craft discussed. I found it stimulating, and (ever a teacher) was pleased to award Ashley, Evalsas and Mark with stars as a mark of excellence. We returned to the Lodge when it was lowered to the First Degree, all a little wiser.

Eddie Wildman

From the Worshipful Master:

The Lodge was opened in the First Degree and the Brethren gave Grand Lodge salutations to Worshipful Brother Edwin Wildman Past Grand Organist, who responded appropriately followed by an acknowledgement of Provincial officers present by the DC.

The Brother Secretary read a portion of the Ancient Charges and confirmed the circulation of the minutes of the previous meeting of 11th October which were duly confirmed and signed.

The next business was to pass Bro Driver to the degree of a Fellow Craft. He placed himself in the hands of the Senior Deacon, after which the WM excused W Bro Wildman and the Lodge Mentor W Bro Hartley from the Lodge with the Entered Apprentices, Brothers Ashley and Korsakas. Bro Driver then was entrusted with the password for readmission and retired from the Lodge for preparation.

The Lodge was raised to the Second Degree and Bro Driver now prepared, was passed to the Degree of a Fellow Craft.

Bro Cawkwell imparted the Secrets, W Bro Ogram gave the address at the South East Corner and Bro Cawkwell explained the Working Tools, after which, to assist Bro Driver to be raised to the sublime Degree of a Master Mason on a later occasion, the questions and answers theretopertaining were passed between the Wardens, after which Bro Driver again retired from the Lodge to restore himelf to his usual comforts.

The Lodge was the lowered to the First Degree and the Entered Apprentices were re-admitted to the Lodge accompanied by W Bros Wildman and Hartley.

After reports were received, correspondence and apologies were given by the Bro Secretary.

Greetings were given from Grand Lodge, Provincial Grand Lodge, visitors and Bro Richard Marshall on behalf of the Officers.

The Lodge was closed at 8.15pm and the Brethren retired to the festive board (minestrone soup, braised beef, dessert option of cheese board or rice pudding.)

We had the pleasure of non-Masonic guests at the Festive Board, so only toasts to HM The King and The Grand Master were submitted.

After the raffle and parish notes the Brethren took their leave of each other having enjoyed a great evening.

Martin Wright. WM

 

Thursday 2nd November 2023:

Constitutional Initiation

by Eddie Wildman

I'm not fond of driving at night, and the Hull traffic is chaotic at present; I was delighted that W Bro Martin Rowland said he'd drive me to Trinity Lane Beverley for a meeting of the Constitutional Lodge 294, where W Bro Mike Noble was in the Chair and an initiation was to take place.

Martin's wife Theresa was in the front passenger seat; I was in the back with W Bro Charlesworth who told me that a large crowd was expected at the Lodge; the Candidate's father was a Provincial Officer in the Province of Yorkshire West Riding, and he was bringing a contingent of visitors with him to see his son take his first regular step in the Craft. Meanwhile Martin and Theresa argued about the best route to take as there seemed to be roadworks everywhere, and Theresa hoped that the bar was ready for her to begin serving, and was there a float?

Keith Charlesworth checked his phone which had live images of what was happening at Trinity Lane, Beverley. "The bar's open," he confirmed, naming who was serving, and clicking on pictures of the various rooms. "The temple's set up, and there's a space in the carpark."

"Good," said Martin, and proved his skill as a driver by effortlessly backing into said carpark without any hesitation, "Everybody out."

It was a pleasure to see so many there - and more arriving as I took my coat off. Theresa poured me a glass of tap water. I went upstairs to prepare my music for the meeting and met the Master. "Thanks for coming, Eddie," he said. "We'll be able to sing the opening ode in tune now." (This was not entirely accurate.)

Before the Lodge opened, the Secretary, W Bro Gavin Collinson reminded everyone to turn their phones to silent (there was some hurried checking amongst the Brethren) and pointed out the fire escapes. "If there's an alarm," he told us, "it won't be a practice. If it goes off, just follow me."

The raised voices in the opening ode were supplemented by West Yorkshire accents, but as Mike had predicted, some were in tune. W Bro Noble opened the Lodge with authority, setting a high standard and was ably assisted by his officers who likewise delivered their lines clearly and with confidence - there was not a book in sight. There was a high proportion of Provincial Officers - the Scarborough Lodge 1214 carried an impressive amount of gold braid.


Despite its name, it meets at Batley, YWR. I have little doubt there will soon be a return meeting! There were West Yorkshire Brethren from Zetland Lodge 603, Coine Valley 1645, Rugby Football 9811, Victory 1302 and Amphibious 258 in addition to more local Lodges which included Sykes 1040, Invictus 9960, Ridings Tablers' 9586 and Wyke Millennium 9696. I was pleased to see Brother Evaldas Korsakas from Minerva 250, initiated just last month. I tried to capture all the Lodges when greetings were given at the end, but I may have missed one or two - sorry. I did manage, however, to extend greetings for the Humber Lodge 57, premier Lodge in the Province.

The minutes having been confirmed and signed, there was a report from the Tyler and the Candidate was introduced, but the sharp-eyed DC, Keith Charlesworth returned him to the door to be properly dressed - I think the wrong arm had been bared - after which the ceremony continued flawlessly.

The WM, W Bro Mike Noble was born in Beverley and has returned to the area after a checkered passage to the Outer Hebrides, Bridlington, then a military career (where his capacity for memorising information and assuming command came to the fore) and afterwards becoming a key worker during the covid pandemic. If you ever need a military tattoo, he's the man to ask. He has been a star performer in the Daggards on many occasions, and I was proud to see him running the Lodge with such studied efficiency.

Mr Christian Thomas Lovell was perambulated round in the traditions of the Constitutional Lodge in a subtly different fashion to other local Lodges. Constituted in 1793 the workings of this previously military Lodge keep the organist on his toes regarding the perambulations. Proclaiming himself willing to persevere through the ceremony of his initiation, Mr Lovell was advanced to the pedestal and took his obligation, dictated by the Worshipful Master. The greater and lesser lights were brought to his attention.

Octeganarion Brother Lane, oldest member of the Lodge explained the three great dangers admirably from a seated position. While his legs have become inform over the years his mind was as sharp as the sword he held. The secrets were entrusted to Bro Lovell by W Bro Charlesworth in a beautifully conversational manner which gave the ritual a delightful sense of spontaneity.

Brother Lovell was conducted to the JW, W Bro Martin Rowland on this occasion, and the SW, Bro Sam Adkins to show he was in possession of the secrets after which Bro Adkins invested him with the Entered Apprentice Apron. The caveat was delivered by the WM and the address at the North East Corner given by Bro Ben Blanchard, another recent member of the Constitutional Lodge.

W Bro Rowland explained the working tools of an Entered Apprentice Freemason. As a practical craftsman himself, his familiarity with them as integral parts of his professional work and the confidence with which he wielded them gave a peculiar poignancy to this meaningful section of the ritual, especially when the significance of the rough ashlar was revealed.

W Bro Steve Kimber PPDepGReg from Scarborough Lodge 1214 delivered the Ancient Charge.

The WM passed the questions leading to the next degree in FM to Bro Lovell, who then retired to change into his dark suit while reports were given from the Almoner, Treasurer (increase of fees) and various propositions made. I was then privileged as the only Grand Lodge Officer there to present UGLE Certificates to Bro Cameron Kershaw Laing of the Coine Valley Lodge 1645 WY and to Bro Blanchard.

Greetings were given from the visitors and the Brethren of the Constitutional Lodge and photographs were taken .

The festive board was impressive: prawn cocktail, steak pie and sticky toffee pudding with custard. Bro Lovell's father, Steve Lovell PPGReg gave the toast to the Candidate. The singing of the Entered Apprentices Song was an interesting exercise in polytonality; Martin Rowland and Sam Adkin both producing notes that I wouldn't have thought possible from human vocal cords, this seems to be a characteristic of L 294. It was a relaxed night after the strict precision of the Lodge meeting, and a late finish; indeed some hardy Brethren from Wakefield and thereabouts continued exchanging stories in the bar well past my bedtime - and I am grateful to Theresa who kindly gave me a lift home.

All in all it was a wonderful evening - I thoroughly enjoyed it - thank you, Constitutional Lodge!

 Eddie Wildman Guest Organist

 

Monday 23rd October 2023:

The WM, W Bro Christopher Bond LeFevre, Provincial Grand Sword Bearer took his seat in the Lodge before the meeting began as walking was becoming increasingly difficult and he had just negotiated the stairs to the Lodge Room at Beverley Road Masonic Hall for the regular meeting of the Andrew Marvell Lodge 5654. He welcomed the "five smiling faces" of the visitors (plus Bro Ian Montgomery from the Lodge of St Andrew 4583 who regularly stands in for the Inner Guard) and opened the Lodge. Another stand-in was W Bro Malcolm Forbes, a member of L5644 as well as L57 - acting as Junior Warden for W Bro Mike Potts who has been unable to attend so far. The visitors included W Bro Danny Betts, from the Minerva Lodge 250 (as was the SW, Tom Calkwell) and three members of the Dreadnought Lodge 4366 in the metropolis of London.

Correspondance was dealt with expeditiously under the capable management of W Bro John Towler, PPDepGDC, Lodge Secretary and the main business of the evening, the Passing of Bro Ian Walker to the degree of a Fellowcraft Freemason (see his initiation on 27th March below.)

Bro Walker answered the questions leading to the degree fluently and with understanding and was conducted by the Junior Deacon, Bro Chris Wright to the WM to prove his possession of the First degree  password. The latter hobbled back to his Chair and Bro Walker was conducted to the SW, Bro Calkwell, who gave him the password (and its historical explanation) leading to the 2°. The Candidate retired and the Lodge was opened in the Fellowcraft degree, the suspended G in the centre of the room illuminated according to ancient custom.

Bro Walker returned, properly prepared and was admitted in due form, and now placed in the hands of the Senior Deacon, Bro Ian Fuller. Ably proving himself in possession of the passgrip and word, Bro Walker was conducted through the ceremony of being passed to the degree of a Fellowcraft.

WB Colin Shields communicated the Secrets, Bro Cawkwell invested him with the distinguishing badge of a FCF, Bro Fuller delivered the address at the South-east corner.

Bro Calkwell explained the working tools of the degree and the significance of the perfect ashlar before delegating the SD to advance Bro Walker to the East  to recieve a pianissimo delivery of the second degree charge from the Chaplain, W Bro Adrian Hayward PPJGW.

The questions leading to the third degree were demonstrated before Bro Walker retired to restore himself to his regular attire, during which time the WM lowered the Lodge to the 1°.

The WM thanked his team and gave a brief Almoner's report, supplimented by comments from the floor regarding the health of the Brethren. W Bro Forbes as Charity Steward and Membership Officer dilated on last month's Charity Night (see 25th September https://www.andrewmarvell5642.co.uk/?Blog_Page), offered Provincial Raffle Tickets for sale and invited the visitors to the Andrew Marvell Christmas Social.

Bro Walker was readmitted in time to hear W Bro Colin Shield ProvJGD give the Treasurer's report. informing the Lodge that after the Charity Night's donations the Lodge coffers needed replenishing.

Greetings were extended and the Lodge was closed, and I managed a quick snapshot of Bro Walker, Fellowcraft Mason with the WM and the Wardens before the Brethren descended to a tasty festive board, at which W Bro Betts, Bro Montgomery and I assisted with the distribution of the food and the collection of the plates.

Eddie Wildman

 

Tuesday 17th October 2023:

St Matthew Lodge 1447 Sesquicentenial Celebration

by Martin Wright

The Brethren took their seats in a temple packed to the gunnels to celebrate the 150th anniversary of St Matthew Lodge 1447 in Barton-upon-Humber.

The Lodge was opened at 6.00pm; after the reading of the summons convening the Lodge, the minutes of the previous meeting were approved by the Brethren and signed by the WM, W Bro D W Crosskell.

Grand Lodge and Provincial salutations were given under the guidance of the DC.

After a report was made to the WM, the Provincial DC informed the WM that at the door of the Lodge stood Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master David Malcolm Wheeler, who demanded admission; he was accompanied by the Very Worshipful Deputy Provincial Grand Master Brother John Barry Crutchley. (Pictured on the right and left respectively of the WM below.) The WM instructed the Provincial DC to admit him.

A Provincial guard of honour was assembled and the RWPGM entered the Lodge, briefly addressed the WM and Brethren and took his seat, declining to take the Chair on this occasion.

The JW, Bro Nick Lumb, gave a fascinating history of St Matthews Lodge dating back to the 18th century from its initial formation as a daughter Lodge of Minerva 250, and subsequent events and detail. I was proud to be representing the Minerva Lodge that evening, supported by Bro Tom Calkwell and W Bro Eddie Wildman. Accounts of the history may be found on the Humber website for this date and likewise on the Kingston blog page.

The next item was for Brother Jeffrey Melia to received a certificate for fifty years' service from the PGW. Although in his eighties, Bro Melia was still sprightly and spoke briefly of the changes he had seen in the Craft over the last half century.

After the regular business of reports for the evening the Lodge was closed at 7.45pm, and the Brethren took their seats at the festive board. Sixty-one Masons packed into the dining room, where they were served a starter of Brussels paté with toast and red onion chutney, a main course of roast beef and yorkshire puddings (probably for the benefit of Minerva!), and a strawberry cheesecake and ice cream for dessert followed by biscuits with a selection of cheese served by, and from, the WM’s cheese board (a tradition in this Lincolnshire Lodge.)

After the toasts of the evening, the St Matthew song was sung by the lyricist Bro Nick Lumb and the St Matthew Brethren to the tune of The Lincolnshire Poacher  accompanied by our very own W Bro Eddie Wildman, who’d kindly stood in at the last minute for organist W Bro Geoff Steen, who’d been taken ill.

The Brethren then received the visitors toast and response, and subsequently serenaded once again with the Visitors Song.

The raffle being drawn, toasts to absent friends and the Tyler’s toast were submitted.

A truly great evening drew to a close and the Minerva Brethren headed home over the Humber Bridge fully fed and watered. I reflected as I drove through the toll-gate on the occasion mentioned in the St Matthew Lodge history when crossing the river to visit Minerva Lodge was a four-hour journey in an open boat.

We've come a long way in the last century!

Martin Wright WM

 

 

Monday 16th October 2023:

That Bright Morning Star

Neil Armstrong's Holderness Lecture

Holderness Lodge 3563 was let down by the intended visiting lecturer but W Bro Neil Armstrong PPGSwdB obliged at very short notice with a custom-built PowerPoint presentation with a stunning talk on "Venus, that Bright Morning Star" which features on several occasions in Masonic ritual. After the sun and moon, the planet Venus (known by the Ancient Greeks as Phosphorus and by the Romans as Lucifer) is the brightest celestial body in the night sky. "It is often confused with the Dog Star," Neil told me. "You cannot be Sirius," I replied.

The WM, W Bro Darren Wiseman opened the Beverley Rd Lodge promptly at 6:30 and after confirming the minutes of the previous meeting, invited Neil to speak. We listened as he dilated on the orbital curiousity of the second planet from the sun: Earth and Venus have a near orbital resonance of 13:8 (Earth orbits eight times for every 13 orbits of Venus). Therefore they approach each other and reach inferior conjunction in synodic periods of 584 days, on average. The path that Venus makes in relation to Earth viewed geocentrically draws a pentagram over five synodic periods, shifting every period by 144°. This pentagram of Venus is sometimes referred to as the petals of Venus due to the path's visual similarity to a flower. which is in the strange relationship of 5:8 with the Earth. The pentagram featured in some of Neil's presentation (I was still trying to work out the maths in my head) and the predictable accuracy of this figuration, he said, can be represented by the five-pointed star which may be seen in the Lodge. He mentioned Stonehenge incorporating the orbit of this essentially female heavenly body (hence Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) and speculated that in the 3° every Master Mason is raised in her symbolic light.

The lecture was short, but packed with information regarding portents, the rise and fall of a  forgotten Phonician city and its connection with the Israelites, the 1° Tracing Board, and the Knights Templar. (I was still musing on how much Neil had found in relation to a glance at the evening sky when I arrived home.)

There were reports from the Charity Steward, the Almoner, the Mentor and the Royal Arch Representative before W Bro Wiseman rose for greetings. These were extended from visitors from Kingston Lodge 1010, Minerva Lodge 250 and Humber 57. The Master closed the Lodge in due form and we headed downstairs for the evening meal. W Bro Bob Wallace gave me a lift home, which was very welcome as the night was very cold. The sky, however, was full of stars. Venus was shining brightly within the constellation of Leo, and I gave her little nod of recognition before unlocking my door and composing this report on my laptop. It had been a most interesting evening: thanks, Neil!

[Photo of Neil Armstrong by Eddie Wildman.]

Eddie Wildman, Guest Organist.

 

Wednesday 11th October 2023:

Chapter Installation

While Installations frequently start at an earlier hour than normal, Minerva Chapter began at 6:30 as usual with the entry of the three Principals: MEZ, E Comp Tadeusz Krawczyk; H, E Comp Mark Hartley; and J, E Comp Ben Kelly. The triumvirate opened the Chapter in due form, the organist softly playing Cwm Rhonnda as the triple triangle was formed. An alarm announced that the Provincial DC, E Comp Jim Kerr requested admission; he in turn announced the presence of E Comp Trevor Collinson, Assistant to the Three Grand Principals with a team of Active Provincial Officers. (E Comp Collinson later explained that his accompaniment of a Provincial Team was to underline the close connection with the status of the APGMs in the Craft.) This impressive array of Provincial rank having taken their places, the MEZ welcomed everybody. The minutes were signed and the Installation proceeded.

Under the direction of E Comp Richard Theaker ProvGSwdB as Installing DC and E Comp Danny Betts as Installing Chaplain, Companion Kevin Marshall was presented and charged to accept the precepts of the Order dictated by E Comp Kelly, to all of which he agreed. After a prayer for his welfare he took a solemn obligation regarding the duties of the Third Chair of the Order. A similar process was practised for Ben Kelly and Mark Hartley.

Companions below the rank of First Grand Principal retired and E Comp Hartley was entrusted with the OT readings, invested and installed as MEZ, E Comp Kelly was similarly installed as H and Comp Marshall as J. The Companions were admitted and the three Principals were proclaimed. The Warrant was presented with the rules and regulations of Supreme Grand Chapter and various bylaws, after which the Officers were invested. Companion Kurt Crawford gave an excellent rendition of the Scarlet robe. The address to the Companions was given by E Comp Ogram PPGSwdB. I gave greetings as an Officer of Supreme Grand Chapter, greetings were given from the fine array of Provincial Officers and visitors including C294, C1010 and C7833 before the Chapter was closed in due form. The Principal Sojourner, Companion Antonio Ramirez was word perfect. I managed to take a photograph before everyone hastened to the dining room below.

Tomato and Basil soup, Braised Steak and Eton mess - a substantial meal, but the Companions did it justice. The fifth toast was preceded by E Comp Hartley's grief account of E Comp Collinson's naval and police career and his sailing on the west coast of Scotland and appreciating the single malt whiskies available around there. E Comp Collinson in response gave greetings from the MEGS, congratulated E Comps Cox and Theaker for their Provincial honours awarded at the recent Chapter convocation, and congratulated the Chapter on the average age of its members, mentioning new initiatives being put into place to address the decline of membership over the Province. The parting toast was given by Danny Betts.

Eddie Wildman.

Monday 18th September 2023:

Holderness Lodge 3563 with Tom Cawkwell

I regularly attend the Holderness Lodge meetings as Organist, and was delighted to see that the main business of the meeting this evening was a presentation by Bro Cawkwell on the First Degree Tracing Board - in his own distinctive style. When I arrived at the Lodge Room to set up my music, he was there in his shirt sleeves, carefully going through his words. I'd heard his debut at the Andrew Marvell Lodge (see 23rd May below) and this performance was equally stunning. It was pleasing that the Lodge was well attended with plenty of visitors from Tom's Mother Lodge, Minerva.

I asked afterwards if he'd do a brief write-up for this website. "I'll be in Sheffield for the next three days," he said, "but I'll put something together tonight for you." Sure enough, he did. An article was waiting in my in-box when I arrived home. Here it is.

Tom's Account

This evening, I had the pleasure of visiting Holderness Lodge, along with new Entered Apprentice, Ashley Tong and Dean Marshall at the request of WM Darren Wiseman in order to deliver the First Degree Tracing Board as a lecture to the Brethren.

The Lodge having been opened in due and ancient form, former Minerva member Danial Marshall was successfully balloted for as a joining member and it was a pleasure to sit in open Lodge with Danny again.

The lecture incorporated an explanation of the Tracing Board, Jacob's Ladder and the Jewels of the Lodge before the Entered Apprentices present were tested on the First Degree Working Tools in an interactive part of the presentation.

By the commendable attention that the Brethren gave, I trust they enjoyed the ritual as much as I enjoyed presenting it. Indeed, W Bro Wildman, whilst giving greetings from UGLE, reminded us all that the charge exhorts us to make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge . . . everyone present is now several months in credit!

The Festive Board gave opportunity to meet visitors from as far afield as the Isle of Mann and provided the backdrop for an interesting discussion about the historical meaning of the two parallel lines, representing the winter and summer solstices; particularly pertinent to Minerva Brethren given our installation is held on the Feast of St John the Baptist.

A great evening was had by all.

Tom Cawkwell

 

Saturday 16th September 2023:

Chapter Convocation at the Race Course

I'm not used to two six o' clocks in one day, and Craig, bless him, thoughtfully rang me at six to make sure I was out of bed and to say that he'd pick me up in ten minutes. I'd everything laid out ready (I hoped) and even had time for a cup of tea before he arrived, then we were on our way to York in jig time.

Craig is an early bird and chattered on matters masonic as I gradually adjusted to wide-awake mode. I was looking forward to him receiving  the active Chapter rank of Provincial Grand Steward in the Masonic Province of Yorkshire North and East Ridings. He had duties to perform along with other Stewards which is why we were so unconscionably early, under the able direction of E Comp James Kerr, Provincial Grand DC, I watched with interest as the Companions were directed hither and yon with astonishing efficiency. Some were gently admonished; two had forgotten their jackets. Jimmy managed somehow to find jackets for them whilst delegating Stewards to different areas with specific tasks. I carefully kept out of the way.

The Chapter had already been set up in the Voltigeur Suite and I persuaded a Companion brandishing his phone to take a pic of me on my camera. Meanwhile, on the floor below, stalls were being set up in the robing area with masonic ties and regalia on sale; interesting Masonic jewels (consult E Comp Richard Theaker, who has a fine collection of rare items;) the latest design in Masonic gloves, and - thankfully, cups of coffee. It was there I met E Comp Hiten Thaker of the Technical Lodge 5666 who had received Grand Chapter honours with me in London. "I see we're sitting together again," he said. "Why aren't you wearing your tailcoat?"

Damn. I knew I'd forgotten something. "Everybody will be looking at you," I said, "so I didn't bother."

Our rank merited seats with a good view of the ceremony, which was impressive. We were almost the last to be paraded in before the entry of the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent Excellent Companion Dr David Chambers and the Provincial Rulers - a great honour - and E Comp Nick Page played suitable music on the keyboard.

Minerva Chapter was well represented by E Comp Stephen Cox PPAGDC - a first appointment, and  E Comp Richard Theaker, promoted from Active Rank to PPAGSoj. Companion Geoffrey Nicholson PPGADC was there supporting, smart in his colourful regalia, and E Comp Danny Betts PPAGDC, always there to offer assistance when needed, was helping with the organising. I felt a frisson of pride as my friends were officially recognised for their contributions to Chapter Masonry.

The three Principals looked extremely dignified in their robes and chains: the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent Dr David Chambers in the scarlet robe of office, the Second Grand Principal Excellent Companion Richard John Smedley in the rich deep blue of Haggai, and Excellent Companion Mark Iveson PPGScN in the lighter blue of Joshua. These three opened the Chapter magnificently before taking their seats, after which the MEGS addressed the Companions, welcoming distinguished guests from neighbouring Provinces and conducting the business side of the meeting with enviable alacrity.

Nearly seventy Companions received honours that morning, some continuing the tasks in which they were already engaged, others coming forward to receive their collars. 

The Most Excellent addressed the Companions speaking of the limitations in the number of awards he was allowed to confer, but also exhorting those with talents that might be of service to the Chapter or Craft to make themsleves known. Why should someone with useful expertise have to wait several years before his skills might be used to promote masonry? The MEGS mentioned media skills, but was keen to learn of whatever else could be offered. Another theme was a pre-festival plug and the suggestion that a standing order would be a useful way to contribute. The Chapter was closed in due and ancient form.

Many of the Companions stayed for the meal but Craig and I, both having meetings later that day, had decided to forgo lunch. 

The drive back was comfortable (E Comp Maurier is an excellent chauffeur - thanks, Craig!) There was time, I decided, for a short nap before tonight's Second Degree at Technical Lodge (see above) and the second six o' clock of the day.

Eddie Wildman

 

Wednesday 13th September 2023:

Minerva Welcomes a New Initiate

Report from the Worshipful Master

The Lodge was opened in the First Degree and the Brethren gave Grand Lodge salutations to Worshipful Brother Edwin Wildman Past Grand Organist, who responded appropriately followed by Provincial salutations to all Provincial officers present.

The Brother Secretary read a portion of the Ancient Charges and confirmed the circulation of the minutes of the previous meeting of  12th July which were duly confirmed and signed.

W Bro.Sharman, absent from the Installation meeting, was duly installed as Almoner.

Also absent from the Installation meeting was W Bro Hartley: he was duly installed as Lodge Mentor.

Bro Ken Atkinson was balloted for as a rejoining member, the ballot proved successful.

The next business was to initiate Mr Evaldas Korsakas. He was prepared, and entered of his own free will and accord according to ancient custom. On his approaching the pedestal he was obligated and the great emblematic lights in Freemasonry were explained by the WM. Brother Richard Driver explained the lesser lights.
W Bro Richard Theaker imparted the secrets, W Bro Danny Betts gave the address at the North East Corner, Bro Simon Tompkins explained the Warrant and Bro. David Fee explained the Working Tools.
W Bro Mike Ogram delivered the Ancient Charge, after which, to assist Bro Korsakas to be passed to the degree of a Fellow Craft at a later occasion, the necessary questions and answers were passed between the Master and the Wardens. Our new initiate retired from the Lodge to restore himself to his usual comforts.

After reports were received, correspondence and apologies were tendered by the Bro Secretary.

Greetings were given from Grand Lodge, Provincial Grand Lodge, the visitors, and Senior Warden Bro Richard Marshall on behalf of the officers.

The Lodge was closed at 8.00pm and the Brethren retired to the Festive Board (mushroom soup, chicken with potatoes and vegetables followed by melon for dessert).

As WM I had the privilege of proposing the toast of the evening to our newly-made Brother who responded in a heartfelt and admirable manner.

The SW gave the toast to our visitors, from as far afield as London, Buckinghamshire and Australia.

The JW submitted the parting toast and we took our leave of each other having enjoyed a great time.

[Photo: W Bro Martin Wright, WM, with Entered Apprentice Evaldas Korsakov by ERW.]

Martin Wright, Worshipful Master.

 

Saturday 9th September 2023:

Open Day in Civic Week

Report by Kurt Crawford

It was that time of year again and National Heritage Day was upon us. Once again the Minerva Masonic Hall was proud to open its doors to the public.

There was much interest in the history of the building which was described by some of the visitors as a hidden jewel in the city centre,  unaware it was there until now. There were  Masons on hand including myself to give guided tours which were greeted with much appreciation from the public. A small insight into Freemasonry was explained by the tour guides to help people understand how old and ancient our beautiful fraternity really is.

During the weekend, there was a plethora of groups attending the building who showed real interest in the history of freemasonry and the Masonic Hall. Many questions were asked and many were answered, but not all! Some answers were reserved for anyone who may want to come and join our fraternity at a future time. All in all it was a pleasant and successful weekend and proved very informative and positive to the public. Hopefully some may have found it interesting enough to actually put in an application and seek the rest of the answers when once admitted.

Bro Kurt Crawford, volunteer guide.

Wednesday 9th August 2023:

Two Exaltations and Joining Companions

Report by E Comp Tadeusz Krawczyk MEZ

During the last two meetings I am delighted to state that we have Exalted two Companions and a further brace of Companions has joined our number from elsewhere, drawn by our unique and antient ritual and ceremonial.

Both Exaltation Ceremonies I can describe as dramatic: the Ritual was sharp and accomplished and very well delivered. The team of officers worked very hard to make the ceremony for Brothers Simon Tompkinson and Darren Wiseman an easy transition to the sublime degree. Both were warmly welcomed on entering the Minerva Masonic Hall, and hopefully made to feel they were  members already. The best was yet to come. Both Candidates entered into the spirit of the ceremony and gave word perfect answers to the questions. As they progressed through the colourful ceremonial they appeared very content, studiously observant and not overwhelmed: each said that the whole evening was memorable and it would stay with them permanently.

The Minerva Chapter 250 is vibrant and moving in the right direction after the impact of Covid. The Chapter is very much a mixture of young and old and contains members from very different Lodges. We welcome Brethren joining us from any Lodge near or far.

Unfortunately, my year as First Principal is nearly at an end but I am delighted to be installing E Comp Mark Hartley into the Chair of Z at our next meeting: Wednesday 11 October at 6.30 pm. All will be made welcome. See also the Chapter Page on this website.

TK MEZ

 

 

Wednesday 12th July 2023:

Double Initiation

Report by W Bro Martin Wright

The Lodge was opened in in the First Degree at 6.30pm, and the Brethren gave salutations to Provincial Officers, in particular Brother Peter Willoughby who has recently received the Provincial honour of Past Provincial Grand Standard Bearer and who responded appropriately.

The Bro Secretary read a portion of the Ancient Charges, and confirmed the circulation of the minutes of the Installation meeting, which were duly confirmed and signed by the WM.

Brothers Simon Tompkins and John Robertson, absent from the Installation, were duly installed as Bro Stewards by the WM.

Mr Evaldas Korsakas was then balloted for as a fit and proper person for Freemasonry in general and the Minerva Lodge in particular and the ballot proved successful. His initiation will take place in the near future.

The next business was to initiate two Candidates.

Mr Gilson was the first Candidate. He was prepared and initiated up to and including his obligation after which the WM explained the great emblematic lights and Bro James Bradshaw explained the lesser lights. Brother Gibson then had the unusual experience of immediately witnessing the ceremony he'd just undertaken: the Junior Deacon, Bro Chris Fear escorted him to a seat, and he watched the second Candidate, Mr Tong perambulated and obligated in a similar manner.

The Senior Deacon, Bro Jim Bradshaw then assisted the Junior Deacon with the perambulation of Brothers Gilson and Tong for the remainder of the ceremony.

W Bro Mike Ogram imparted the Secrets, Bro Wayne Sotherby gave the address at the North East Corner, Bro Simon Tompkins explained the Warrant and Bro David Fee explained Working Tools.

Bro Peter Willoughby then delivered the Ancient Charge, after which, to assist Brothers Gilson and Tong to be passed to the degree of a Fellow Craft, the questions and answers were passed between the Wardens, after which the Initiates retired from the Lodge.

After reports were received, correspondence and apologies were tendered by the Bro Secretary.

The Worshipful Master proposed Bro Ken Atkinson to be a joining member of the Minerva Lodge No. 250, W Bro Mike Ogram seconded the proposal.

Greetings were given from Provincial Grand Lodge, and to the WM from the Senior Warden, Bro Richard Marshall, on behalf of all his Officers.

The Lodge was closed shortly after 8.00pm and the Brethren retired to the Festive Board below (Chicken salad) and a convivial conclusion to the ceremony upstairs; as WM I had the privilege of proposing the toast of the evening to our newly-made Brethren, both of whom responded admirably. The JW submitted the parting toast and we took our leave of each other having enjoyed a great time.

[Photograph L to R: Bro Ashleigh Tong, EA; W Bro Martin Wright, WM; Bro Rowan Gilson, EA.]

W Bro Martin Wright, WM

 

Sunday 25th June 2023:

Message from the Worshipful Master

Worshipful Brother Martin Wright sent the following email out to target all those who were at the Installation ceremony on Saturday. It speaks for itself:

Brethren all,

Having had a brandy once home last night and a good night’s sleep, I have finally come down from the ceiling and the high of my installation as Master of the Lodge.
What an experience. Firstly to see so many visitors from different Lodges, seventeen from ten Lodges,
including a Nigerian Lodge, and our own Brethren giving the visitors a warm welcome and making them feel at home.

A fantastic ceremony was then conducted by both our Lecture Master, W Bro Danny Betts and our
installing DC W Bro. Richard Theaker, many thanks to you both.
Personally, the ceremony of being installed to the Chair of King Solomon, will be forever etched in
my memory, with thanks to our IPM W Bro David Green.
At the festive board, a good time was had by all. The food was excellent and the drink flowed freely.
With lots of humour, “a good laugh” possibly an understatement.
As well as singing the Anthem in the Lodge, W Bro Graham Miles delivered superbly, the Masters
Song and the parting toast, accompanied throughout by our resident guest organist, W Bro Eddie
Wildman, many thanks again Graham and Eddie.
So here’s thanks and best wishes to my team, Minerva Brethren, visiting Worshipful Brethren and
Brethren - there will always be a warm welcome for you at Minerva Lodge 250, Dagger Lane.
I look forward to seeing you all on the 12th July, when we will have a double first degree ceremony.
Thanks again.
Yours sincerely and fraternally.
W Bro Martin L Wright
Worshipful Master Minerva Lodge 250

 

Saturday 24th June 2023:

Installation

Report by Eddie Wildman

The Minerva Lodge traditionally meets at the summer solstice, so it was understandably very warm in the Lodge Room at Dagger Lane and the Worshipful Master, W Bro Dave Green, gave permission for the Brethren to remove their gloves if they wished before he opened the Lodge in due form. The DC for the Representative, W Bro Marcus Whereat, Provincial Grand Steward was admitted on a report and he informed the Brethren that the Representative of the RWPGM, W Bro Paul Hillary PPJGW was outside the door of the Lodge, whereupon the Lodge DC, W Bro Richard Theaker PPJGD organised an escort for W Bro Hillary. Thereafter the minutes, having been distributed electronically and there being no amendments required, were declared carried and signed by the Worshipful Master. Brief reports were delivered.

There were two Entered Apprentices present: they retired and the Lodge was raised to the Second Degree. Bro Martin Wright was then presented to the Lodge as Master Elect. W Bro Green informed Bro Wright of the character expected of him when in the Chair, before the Secretary, Bro Tom Cawkwell, read out the duties he would be expected to fulfill. Bro Wright having indicated his agreement to all the above, then took his obligation as Master Elect.

The Lodge was raised to the Third Degree, and all those below the degree of an Installed Master retired. The Lodge was further raised to a Board of Installed Master, and during the ceremony known as the Inner Working, during which W Bro Green gave the second obligation - again from memory - and the Installed Masters saw Worshipful Brother Martin Leslie Wright placed in the Chair of King Solomon and the gavel placed in his hand.

The Lodge was severally lowered to the First Degree, the Brethren were appropriately readmitted and perambulated under the skilful direction of W Bro Theaker, saluting the newly installed master, who sat in the East with a broad smile on his face, proudly wearing his apron and collar of Office. The address to the WM was given by the Representative, that to the Wardens by me, and that to the Brethren by W Bro Christopher Brown. Normal business was resumed, and W Bro Wright took greetings from the many visitors and closed the Lodge, the Brethren figuratively locking away their secrets in the safe and sacred repository of their hearts. The Masonic Anthem was powerfully sung by W Bro Graham Miles, the Brethren joining in the choruses.

The festive board (thankfully a salad!) was a time for merriment - Graham sang the Masonic Anthem and also "Happy to Meet Again" at the end and the Brethren departed looking forward to the next meeting.

[Photograph of W Bro Martin Wright by W Bro Charles Alexander WM of H57.]

Eddie Wildman, Guest Organist

I leave the last word to the Immediate Past Master,

Worshipful Brother David Green

Installation at Minerva 250

The Minerva Lodge usually meets on the 2nd Wednesday of the month but that changes every June when it meets on the nearest Saturday to the feast day of St. John the Baptist, which is June the 24th and this year it actually fell on a Saturday. This was the day your writer had been preparing for over the last few weeks as he relinquished the chair of the Minerva lodge and installed Bro Martin Wright as the new Worshipful Master.

After opening the Lodge in the first degree there was a report and W Bro Marcus Whereat was admitted, and informed the Lodge that W Bro Paul Hillary, Representative of the RWPGM was at the door of the Lodge and those Provincial Officers so nominated should retire and form an escort.

After signing the minutes of our May meeting and taking various reports the WM asked the JW if all present were Fellowcraft; the JW then requested that anyone below the rank of Fellowcraft leave the Lodge. The two Entered Apprentices retired from the Lodge which was then raised to the Second Degree.

Brother Martin Wright was presented to the Lodge as Master Elect and was informed of the qualifications needed to be Master of the Lodge by W Bro Green. He was then told by the Secretary, Bro Cawkwell of his duties to the Lodge to which Bro Wright gave his unqualified agreement. He was then obligated as WM Elect.

The Lodge was raised to the Third Degree, Installing Officers appointed and all Master Masons below the rank of Installed Master retired from the Lodge. It was then raised to an Installed Masters lodge. W Bro Green then obligated Bro Wright as an Installed Master and according to ancient custom placed him in the Chair of King Solomon. All Installed Masters congratulated him and saluted him as Worshipful Master.

W Bro Green, now Immediate Past Master closed the Installed Masters Lodge. The Master Masons were admitted and W Bro Theaker informed them that W Bro Wright had been installed as WM; they saluted him and perambulated round the Lodge. W Bro Theaker then explained the Working Tools. The same was done for Fellowcraft and Entered Apprentices.

When everyone was back in the Lodge the WM appointed his officers. The address to the WM was given by the Representative W Bro Hillary, W Bro Wildman gave the address to the Wardens, and finally W Bro Brown the address to the Brethren.

Greetings were given and the Lodge was duly closed. The Masonic Anthem was sung majestically by W Bro Miles. After some photos we adjourned downstairs to the festive board for a meal of Egg Mayonnaise, Cold Meats and Salad followed by Strawberries and Ice Cream. All the Brethren and visitors had an excellent night with wine, scotch and port provided by our new Worshipful Master.

I am sure W Bro Wright had an excellent night which will long live in his memory. On a closing note, I would like to thank my team for the support they have given me during my year in office. I couldn't have done it without you all! I'm looking forward to relaxing in the IPM's Chair now, admiring my name in gold leaf on the honours board!

W Bro David Green, IPM

 

Monday 19th June 2023:

Last Visit to Holderness

Report by W Bro David Green

As my time in the Master’s Chair of Minerva 250 is drawing to a close, I paid my last visit of the year on Monday19th June to the Holderness Lodge 3563. The main business of the evening was to initiate Mr. James Richard Anderson. Mr Anderson had arrived at the Lodge via the provincial scheme which allows gentlemen to access Freemasonry when they have no direct contact with a Freemason and it has proved a good way of recruiting if Lodges are diligent in their checks.

W Bro Darren Wiseman was Worshipful Master. Mr. Anderson was conducted throughout the ceremony by the Junior Deacon, W Bro Danny Betts. Mr Anderson answered all questions clearly before being obligated by the Worshipful Master. The lesser lights were delivered by Bro Wilson. The Tyler, W Bro Ashby-Kelly was admitted to deliver the secrets after which they were communicated to the JW, Bro Kitchen and to the SW, Bro Taylor. After being invested with the white leather apron of an entered apprentice Bro Anderson was conducted to the NE corner where W Bro Tyson expertly delivered the address, which to my mind contains some of the most important aspects of Freemasonry and therefore a good delivery is so important.

W Bro Sharpless explained the warrant and the Book of Constitution as well as the provincial and lodge by-laws. Bro Atkinson did a fine job in explaining the working tools.

The stand-in Chaplain W Bro Kelly delivered a flawless Ancient Charge. There only remained for Bro Anderson to hear the questions and answers he will need for the next stage of his Masonic journey. He then retired to restore his personal comforts.

Lodge reports were given and the WM received greetings from myself on behalf of Minerva 250 (I was delighted to see so many Minerva Brethren there) along with other visiting Brethren including the Old Hymerian Lodge 6885 who indicated they were claiming the Traveling Gavel. After singing the closing ode we retired to the festive board and once again Luke, the cook at Beverley Road, had produced an excellent dinner of Melon, followed by a mild Chicken Curry and a Black Forest gateau which your author, with difficulty, resisted. W Bro Ashby- Kelly proposed the toast to the newly initiated Brother Anderson, who respond eloquently.

The raffle was draws and as is usual there was no prize for me but £130 and 1p was raised for Charity.

The WM gave the parting toast and brought to an end a wonderful evening.

A visit to Holderness Lodge should be on everyone’s agenda for a visit where you will be assured of a warm welcome and an excellent evening. 

[Photograph of Bro Anderson and W Bro Wiseman by Bro Mike Kelly.]

David Green. Worshipful Master

 

Tuesday 13th June 2023:

Robert Lomax at Humber Lodge

Report by W Bro David Green

It’s always comfortable visiting Humber 57 at Dagger Lane as I know a few of the Brethren. The Lodge was opened in due form and the raised to the second degree, unfortunately it was at this point that one Brother, who was a Fellow Craft, had to leave as we were to be treated to a lecture by the international Masonic author W Bro Dr Robert Lomas on the third degree and he wasn't yet qualified to hear it. (On his return he proposed his father to become a joining member, so he's obviously enjoying his Freemasonry nevertheless!)

The talk was illustrated by a PowerPoint presentation and built on lectures W Bro Lomas had already given about the earlier degrees showing how at initiation we were taught about light and knowledge, and on passing, about the hidden mysteries, and character.

We talk, as Masons, about advancement of Masonic knowledge, and this talk certainly did that keeping everyone enthralled not only with a wonderful delivery by W Bro Lomas but the illustrations that accompanied the words.

After taking questions the WM thanked W Bro Lomas for his excellent talk then lowed the Lodge to the first degree. After receiving reports the Lodge was closed and the closing hymn was sung.

At the festive board I was fortunate to be sat opposite W Bro Neil Armstrong of Kingston Lodge 1010 and we had a long conversation about our love of the city of Hull, how it had changed and also a shared love of steam engines, both marine and locomotive, W Bro. Armstrong also gave the response for the visitors after a lively rendition of the visitors song by W Bros Smedley and Terry.

A wonderful night ended with no raffle prize again! Thank you Humber 57 for a great night anyway.

I think that Minerva should try to get W Bro Lomas to give the 1st and 2nd degree talks at some point as I am sure everyone would find them interesting and help the newer Brethren understand a bit more about the ceremonies they go through and
their significance.

[Photograph of W Bro Dr Robert Lomas and L57 WM Charles Alexander by Eddie Wildman.]

David Green WM

 

Tuesday 6th June 2023:

Technical Royal Arch Chapter 5666

Excellent Companion Steve Berry PPDepGDC is a quietly efficient Scribe E and when I asked him I I could gate-crash the Tuesday meeting, he looked thoughtful. "Are you staying for a meal, Eddie?" he asked. "If that's okay," I said, aware that meals are booked in advance. "You're lucky," he told me, "We've had a cancellation."

Consequently I turned up at Beverley Road for the second time that week (and I'd also be there on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, God willing) but this time, with my Chapter regalia.

There were three main items of business: to invest and install Comp Arash Vesali as First Assistant Sojourner as he'd been unable to attend the Installation; to ballot for a new member; and to exalt Bro Kieron Alan Rose Newton.  (For those readers not yet in the Chapter, the 'initiation' ceremony is known as an exaltation, in the sense of rising in rank or power (deriving from the Latin 'altus' meaning 'high'.) Joining the Royal Arch Chapter after Craft Masonry is a recommended step - the completion of the journey begun in the first Craft degree and the fouth side of the Masonic Square.) It was interesting that both the new member, and the one balloted for, are not members of the Technical Craft Lodge. Personally I am in favour of this - joining beyond the familiar faces and venue provides an opportunity to meet new people and find more friends.

It was also good not to be playing the organ - as a visitor, I could sit and relax, and indeed, I sat with visitors E Comp Danny Betts from Minerva 250 on my left and E Comp John Burton from the Chapter of St Michael 7833 on my right. There were eight visitors from six sister Chapters, and twenty-seven Companions altogether.

Regular readers will know that I prefer to see ritual performed without books and slips of paper, and I really admired the way the Most Excellent Zerubabbel coped. E Comp Malcolm Brocklesby took his responsibility as first of the Principals seriously and despite having the occasional prompt gave a good performance. He opened the Chapter and welcomed the visitors, invested his Second Assistant Sojourner and oversaw the ballot which proved successful.

There are differences in ritual between this and other local Chapters; John Burton, MEZ of the Chapter of St Michael, took careful note. The recent introduction of the "Setting the Scene" interludes has done much to clarify the enactments taking place in the ceremony; these were delivered by the Scribe E with great authority. Brother Kieron was admitted as a Master Mason, entrusted with the necessary words for readmission, and readmitted as a questing sojourner, led round the Chapter by two Companion Sojourners and admitted to a virtual chamber where he was bidden to find something before retiring again to prepare for the next part of his journey. The most dramatic episode, the sojourners' discovery, was recounted fluently and compellingly by Comp Mark Cusack, and the newly appointed First Assistant Sojourner also pushed the story forward. Bill Turner-Bone gave a flawless rendition of the signs, rendered in a slow delivery so as to let the meaning become apparent, and David Green explained the tools in his inimitable conversational style. Mention must be made of Adam Tunnicliffe who explained the first part of the Mystical Lecture - he has not been in the Chapter very long, but is proving himself a committed Companion, and Keith Challis PPGStdB, who as an old hand, has a relaxed quality which made his delivery of the Charge look easy.

Kieron retired to restore himself to his usual comforts, and returned, smart in his new regalia, with his Chapter badge correctly worn close to the heart. Greetings were given; I explained that as E Comp Hiten Thaker had been awarded his Grand Chapter honours about sixty seconds before I received mine, he was in fact senior to me, but he insisted as DC that I gave Grand Chapter greetings on behalf of the two of us.

The festive board was of the high standard we have come to expect from Luke Pyrah, and the Principal Sojourner, Mark Cusack, having thoroughly berated himself for having put a comma in the wrong place during his ritual, assuaged his grief by eating enough for three people.

It had been a splendid evening.

[Photograph of Jon Paul Robinson (H), Kieron Newton (Companion), Malcolm Brocklesby (MEZ) and Ian Parkinson (J) by ERW]

For John Burton's account of this meeting, see the St Michael Chapter blog for this date.

Eddie Wildman, J from 1010 and organist in 7833.

 

Monday 5th June 2023:

For an account of Hiten Thaker's superb talk at the Humber Installed Masters Lodge 294c, attended by W Bros Danny Betts and Eddie Wildman, see Eddie's account on the Humber Lodge Blog Page for this date.

 

Thursday 1st June 2023:

Constitutional 297

Dave Green reports

Along with WB Danny Betts and Bro. Tom Cawkwell, I visited Constitutional Lodge in Beverley for a third degree ceremony.

The Lodge was opened in due form and received W Bro John Wilkinson, Provincial Grand Registrar, representing the RWPGM.

The Worshipful Master W Bro. Michael Noble opened in the second degree and then asked Brother Cameron Kershaw Laing his questions which he successfully answered. After receiving that necessary passport for entrance to a Master Masons Lodge Bro. Laing retired for preparation and the Lodge was opened in the third degree.

Some excellent ritual was delivered as Bro. Laing was raised and I am sure it was something he will remember.

This ceremony was unusual in that Bro. Laing was actually a member of The Colne Valley Lodge in the Province of West Yorkshire but at the moment was living in the area hence being raised by Constitutional Lodge. It was unfortunate that his mum was taken into hospital not long before the ceremony which meant his dad could not attend. Bro. Laing was set for another change in his life in that he was “emigrating" to the Shetland Islands very shortly but he hoped to find a Lodge there (which will be under the Scottish Constitution.)

The WM lowered the Lodge and received reports before closing and the Brethren retired to the festive board.

We wish Brother Laing well in his move to Scotland in both his working life and his Masonic career in the Shetlands.

 

Monday 22nd May 2023:

Tom Cawkwell's Lecture début

Eddie Wildman reports

When greetings were given at the end of the meeting upstairs at Beverley Road Masonic Hall, I was put in mind of the Venn diagrams used to identify sets. (John Venn was a mathematician born in Hull - see the Well Connected nugget in the Humber nugget cache.) The Andrew Marvell Lodge 5642 was quite full - indeed the visitors outnumbered the Brethren, with half a dozen Entered Apprentices, from L5642, from Juno 10001, and from a Lodge in Ipswich. One visitor was from a London Lodge, but there was a contingent from Humber 57 (Malcolm Forbes and me - but if you were to draw Venn diagram bubbles to connect us, we would also be in the Andrew Marvell bubble as Malcolm is Charity Steward - and stand-in Junior Warden on this occasion.) Bro Tom Calkwell, of whom more later, is the Andrew Marvell Senior Warden, but as he is the Minerva Lodge Secretary, he shared a bubble with supporting Brethren from Minerva 250: Chris Brown, Danny Betts, Rich Driver and me. The Representative of the RWPGM, Steve Cox, is a member of Holderness 3563 along with Danny and Malvin Sharpless. His DC, James Steele. is a member of Juno. There were other connections, but that's enough!

The Worshipful Master, W Bro Chris Lefevre opened the Lodge, pleased at the number of visitors and asking the Entered Apprentices to stay behind for a photograph afterwards. A knock on the door from W Bro James E G Steele, making his first appearance as Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies and his smart entry was impressive; he fluently organised a Provincial escort  and subsequently formed them into a well disciplined parade for the Provincial Senior Grand Warden, W Bro Stephen Cox, whose commanding presence and enormous poise highlighted what the ritual calls "the dignity and high importance of Masonry."

After the minutes had been signed and other essential business, the Lodge was called off. This must have been a new experience for some of the visitors; the VSL closed, the Wardens' columns reversed; but it marks a certain relaxation, and permits the Tyler to enter (while keeping a close watch should there be any latecomers.)

The next business was an explanation of the First degree Tracing board, by the Senior Warden, Bro Tom Cawkwell.

The Lodge Room has a painting  after John Harris on the South Wall, and the Brethren seated themselves in order to view this, but Tom had thoughtfully provided photocopies as the detail on the large painting has become obscured by age-darkened varnish.

The explanation is a long piece of ritual, and I was not surprised to discover that Tom had spent much of his holiday time learning it - "I don't know what the others must have thought," he said, "when I was just sat by the pool with a book in my hand, mumbling to myself." It had paid off, though. Tom's measured delivery was crisp and clear, carefully enunciated at a pace that allowed the listeners to understand the Victorian sentences, yet with conversational inflexions, and with movement around the Lodge, to hold the interest. I have seen the Tracing Boards described many times, and few explanations were as engaging as this. When it came to the working tools, Tom asked the Entered Apprentices to stand, and asked who could say what they were, handing the items in question to those who answered correctly; an effective bit of theatre which involved his listeners far more than a dull recital could ever do.

W Bro Chris Brown, visiting as a member of Minerva Lodge summarised it eloquently: "I was onfident Tom would be good," he said, "but not as good as he was: he came over as an experienced lecturer at a top university, keeping interest throughout."

Brethren wishing to study more can find explanations on line, and of course, Solomon is a useful resource; I shall not reproduce Tom's lecture here. But I was interested that there were digressions within the familiar ritual I have not heard before, perhaps peculiar to the Minerva Lodge explanation. Rebecca's exhortation to Jacob to flee his brother's wrath and the consequences thereof was given in more detail than I recall - and there were other instances. 

At the conclusion, the WM remarked that "The Tracing Board is one of the biggest pieces delivered in our Order, and I am in awe."

The Lodge was called back on, and reports received. W Bro Colin Shields reported that Lodge finances were sound and that the Lodge of Instruction is expected to be held in September this year. The Charity Steward named the two charities who would be receiving donations at the special Charity Lodge meeting: Hull and East Yorkshire Centre for the Deaf  and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Greetings were extended (see the first paragraph) and the Lodge closed, after which (some of) the Brethren gathered for photographs. The array of untrimmed aprons was impressive.

The meal was lovely, the company convivial, the toasts under the expert direction of W Bro Barry Kensett, stand-in DC. Alas, the Andrew Marvell Brethren were few in number, some were obliged by virtue of their Office to stay in their seats, some prevented by age and others were typically reluctant to move, so a number of the visitors lent a hand as waiters. Well done, those visitors.

The WM introduced the Representative of the RWPGM, speaking of his love for classic cars and his meteoric rise in the Craft before proposing a toast to the Provincial Officers. W Bro Cox responded to the toast gracefully, with a mild reprimand that no mention had been made upstairs of W Bro Colin Shields' promotion to Provincial Junior Grand Deacon and the Master's own promotion to the Office of Provincial Grand Sword Bearer - both active Offices which reflected honour not only on the recipients but also on the Lodge. He addressed the Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft Freemasons, speaking of the value of visiting and congratulating Tom Calkwell on his brilliant presentation. He dilated inspirationally on the subject of Change, explaining the Provincial Grand Master's intention to tap into talent regardless of rank, and of finding out the best people to promote what the Craft needs. Using himself as an example, he told his listeners that a healthy ambition is useful, and that the Brethren should not be afraid to promote themselves.

W Bro Mark Luscolme, WM of the Hull Old Grammarians' Lodge 5129 was eloquent, saying to the newcomers that visiting contributes much to Masonry and to Masons: "Every night you learn something, and cement bonds with your fellow man." I thought again of the Venn diagram - those interconnecting circles, extending, ultimately, all over the globe.

"Happy to meet, sorry to part, and happy to meet again," intoned the WM for the parting toast, and we took our leave of each other, well satisfied both mentally and physically, in peace and harmony.

[Photograph by Eddie Wildman. Perhaps someone can tell me all the names?]

Eddie Wildman, Lodge Organist.

 

Monday 15th May 2023:

Holderness Installation: David Green reports.

I received a cordial invitation from W Bro Danny Betts to attend the Installation Ceremony at the Holderness Lodge 3563, which meets at Beverley Road. Having already been to Holderness a couple of times I had no hesitation in accepting his offer to what is a very friendly Lodge. As a visitor I was not alone: there were 29 visitors from 17 lodges and as the new Master is from “down south“ there were Brethren from further afield, with so many visitors it made for a very convivial evening both upstairs and at the Festive Board.

The outgoing Master, W Bro Rich Tyson got thing underway promptly at 6pm. The Lodge was opened in due form. The Inner Guard was kept busy as we had three reports; firstly

  • W. Bro Marvin Sharpless requested admission and the WM congratulated W Bro. Sharpless on his promotion to Provincial Grand Tyler. This was quickly followed by
  • W Bro Ben Kelly who was congratulated on his promotion to Assistant Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies. It didn’t end there; next we had
  • W Bro Steve Cox who was the new Provincial Grand Senior Warden. It was a great honour for Holderness Lodge to have three active Provincial officers and is testimony to how well the Lodge is doing.

We had a bit of a hiatus due to the unfortunate delayed arrival of the Deputy Provincial DC due to getting a puncture on his way to the Lodge which was one of those things you hope never happens, and when it does it’s always at the most inconvenient time. The Assistant Provincial Grand Master, W Bro  Alan Ramsey Armbrister decided to wait, with his team of active officers, for W Bro Simpson's arrival.

W Bro Tyson filled the time in by taking reports from the Charity Steward, the Almoner and the Royal Arch Representative.

After admitting the Assistant Provincial Grand Master and his team of officers the Lodge was opened in the Second Degree and W Bro Tyson delivered the first of the obligations. The Lodge was then opened in the Third Degree and all offices were declared vacant. The installing Wardens, Inner Guard, Chaplain and DC took their places and all but the Installed Masters left the Lodge Room.

Bro. Wiseman was expertly taken through the Inner Workings by W Bro Tyson and installed in the Master's Chair. The Lodge was lowered to the Third Degree and Master Masons admitted and the Working Tools explained. The Lodge then was lowered to the Second then the First Degree. The Warrant was presented, then, in a nice touch, the newly installed WM's father presented W Bro Wiseman with the Book of Constitutions.

W Bro Armbrister gave the address to the WM, W Bro Ashby-Kelly delivered the address to the Wardens. and W Bro Danny Betts delivered the address to the Brethren.

That concluded the ceremony of Installation but we were treated to a wonderful rendition of the Masonic Anthem by W Bro Peter Spencer.

The festive board was excellent consisting of spring vegetable soup, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding followed by raspberry crème brûlée. The hour was getting late so the Assistant Provincial Grand Master was brief but complimentary. W Bro Betts gave the toast to the new master and gave us an insight into why W Bro Wiseman joined Holderness Lodge. W Bro Spencer was called upon to give an excellent rendition of “Here’s to His Health”.  W Bro Ben Kelly highlighted the outgoing WM's many achievements to which the new IPM humbly responded, trusting that the Lodge would continue to excel.

After the parting toast the lateness of the hour meant that myself and many other were keen to get home. But it had been an enjoyable evening and I would urge readers to visit this fine Lodge where you will receive a warm welcome.

[Photograph of the WM flanked by his father and brother with the first Provincial Team Visit of the Year by Eddie Wildman.]

David Green, WM

 

Saturday 13th May 2023:

Convocation at York

The Province of Yorkshire North and East Ridings' Convocation meeting was opened at 10:30am. While the official start time was 11:00 am, we assembled for instructions before the processions of Grand Lodge Officers, Active Provincial Officers and distinguished guests began. Never having been to York Racecourse before I was a little disappointed that the view of the proceedings was not as good as ones held at York University which has tiered seating making it a lot easier to see everything. I was also I little disappointed in the lack of light blue aprons: we do need to encourage more Master Masons who have not received provincial honours, to attend. Minerva Lodge 250 was well represented however, with Danny Betts, Richard Theaker, Graham Miles and Geoff Nicholson in attendance.

The Provincial Grand Master invested his officers, it was good to see friends receive honours but unfortunately Bro Peter Willoughby from Minerva 250, who was receiving a first appointment to the rank of Past Provincial Assistant Grand Standard Bearer, was unable to attend as it was his 75th birthday and he was celebrating with family. Nevertheless it was a fine spectacle and the RWPGM is thinking of inviting family members in the future so that they can be part of the day and celebrate with the participants.

The RWPGM spoke of the link between Craft and Chapter and of harmony within Lodges. We were also treated to an excellent talk given by W Bro Dr. Hitendra Thaker of Technical Lodge 5666 who as an infectious diseases consultant was involved at the forefront of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hiten took us through the early day of the infection when the two Chinese travelers in York became the first to test positive and were transferred to Castle Hill Hospital in Hull to be cared for by Hiten and his team. Hiten’s talk was fascinating and certainly gave an insight into the pressures medical staff were under. I hope a transcript of his lecture will be uploaded to the Provincial Website so others can have an understanding of what went on in the early days of the pandemic.

Neither W Bro Wildman nor myself stayed for lunch so after a pleasant drive home in afternoon sunshine I dropped Eddie off at home but he was already contemplating attending Lord Bolton Lodge for the evening.

For Eddie Wildman's account see this date (a.m.) on http://humber57.org.uk/?Blog-Page

David Green WM

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Wednesday 10th May 2023:

Sublime Penultimate

Wednesday the 10th of May saw WB David Green conduct his final degree ceremony before the Minerva Lodge installation meeting. Before being raised to the sublime degree Bro John Robertson confidently answered the questions put to him by the Worshipful Master.

The L250 Brethren were then treated to a excellent ceremony; the Retrospect was expertly delivered by Bro Fear, WB Ogram and WB Hartley, Bro Fee explained the Traditional History while WB Brown, who was a last-minute stand-in did a splendid job in confiding the Secrets. Bro Peter Willoughby expounded eloquently on the Working tools and Bro Jordan Burns delivered theTracing Board. Before completing the ceremony the Wardens answered the questions that Bro Robertson would need to be acquainted with before being Exalted into the Holy Royal Arch.

It was unfortunate that we had no visitors to observe this excellent evening but the Minerva Brethren were fulsome in their praise for each other's ritual. After conducting the business part of the meeting we enjoyed a Festive Board of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.

From my point of view as Worshipful Master, it was a successful and enjoyable end to my penultimate evening in the Chair of King Solomon, and I would like to thank everyone most sincerely for their support.

[Photo L to R: W Bro Chris Brown, Bro Simon Allinson. Bro J Robertson, W Bro David Green, Bro Dean Marshall and Bro Richard Marshall - photographer Bro Richard Driver.]

David Green WM

 

Tuesday 23rd April 2023:

Members of the Provincial Chapter team arrived for an early 17.30 start at the Brough Chapter 5464 to support the installation. This was an extra special night for the outgoing Provincial 3rd Grand Principal, Ex Comp Chris Thomas as this was his last visit in that role.

The Chapter opened in due form and the MEZ received the Provincial Team under the direction of E Comp Kingsley Verity and proceeded to install the new Principals. E Comp John Derek Wilson who then appointed his officers.

A lively festive board with 30 attendees enjoyed fantastic food and good conversation. Congratulations to the MEZ and his team and the outgoing 3rd Grand Principal, E Comp Scarah.

Richard Theaker

 

Wednesday 19th April 2023:

Bro Tom Cawkwell magnificently communicated the Secrets to Bro Kenyon-Brodie, the Candidate raised to the third degree at the Phoenix Lodge 9963 in the loft room of the Sailmakers Arms in Hull's Old Town. For a fuller account, see the Humber website blogpage for this date.

 

Tuesday 18th April 2023:

Visit to Barton by WM David Green

Along with W Bro Marshall, Bro Cawkwell and Bro Wright I attended St Matthew Lodge 1447 in Barton upon Humber. This was our first visit to St Matthew Lodge which is in fact a daughter lodge to Minerva. Bro Cawkwell was kind enough to drive us on our adventure across the Humber Bridge into the unknown depths of Lincolnshire. Thankfully, he even drove us back again afterwards!

We were warmly greeted by many of the St Matthew Brethren which made us all feel very welcome. Before opening the Lodge the WM, W Bro Crosskell ProvGStB welcomed everyone to the meeting. Salutations were extended to all Grand Lodge Officers.

The main business of the evening was to initiate Mr Edward Plaziuk. The ceremony was conducted with great success by the following Brethren: Signs and secrets - W Bro Farr;  Apron/harmony address - W Bro Wingate; North East Corner - W  Bro Cox; Working Tools - Bro Dimbleby; Charge after Initiation - W.Bro Leaning. One of the joys of visiting is to see how different Lodges conduct their ceremonies and as you can see from the headings above, some things are quite different from our own. The words are familiar if not always in the same phrasing, not only this, where things come or are indeed omitted is different. For example, what we call the Ancient Charge is called the Charge after Initiation, which means the initiate is returned to his personal comforts before this is delivered. One other difference was that the questions to learn, before being passed to the next degree, are not passed between the Wardens.

If ever there was a reason to visit other Lodges then the Lincolnshire Lodge showed us that how Masonic knowledge is enhanced by doing so. The festive board concluded a very convivial evening, our WM Elect gave an excellent response to the visitors toast as well as taking home the raffle prize. I can assure any Brethren of a warm welcome if you make the short journey across the Humber to visit the Lodge of St Matthew.

 

David Green, WM

 Friday 14th April 2023:

De la Pole Lodge 1605 at Beverley Road

I arrived quite early at Beverley Road for De la Pole Lodge's regular meeting on Friday the 14th of April having a very quick drive from home, which as we all know is very unusual. I was warmly greeted by the Lodge Secretary, W Bro. Peter Spencer, who during the course of our conversation told me he was a former Treasurer of the Minerva Lodge.

After greeting everyone upstairs, the Worshipful Master Philip Cowling opened the Lodge. Salutations were extended to W Bro Eddie Wildman as a Grand Lodge Officer. The Lodge was also honoured by the presence of W Bro Edward Philip Harrison PJGD representing the RW Provincial Grand Master. W Bro  Harrison was escorted in following a report.

The evening was initially intended as the initiation of a candidate. Unfortunately he was employed as a deck officer on tugboats and had not been able to get a relief. Having been in the same position myself, I am sure he was very frustrated.

Instead of having the initiation we were treated to an enactment; Brother John Hender stepping into the candidate role. This gave all the officers and ritualists an opportunity to practise the first degree ceremony. The enactment was a great success and I am sure that when they are able to initiate the candidate he will be given a night to remember.

The festive board downstairs concluded a very convivial evening and the Beverley Road kitchen did the Lodge proud with an excellent meal. W Bro Phil Harrison spoke about the changes which would become apparent under the directions of the new Provincial Grand Master in preparing for the future. I responded to the Senior Warden Bro Ian Fuller's toast to the visitors, and the Junior Warden, Bro Robert Borkowski gave the toast to Absent, Sick and Seafaring Brethren. I was pleased to accept some table flowers from the WM, who then gave the parting toast. It had been an excellent evening and I can assure any Brethren that they can be sure of a warm welcome at De la Pole Lodge 1605. I look forward to visiting again.

[W Bro Phil Harrison and W Bro Phil Cowling at the festive board by Eddie Wildman.]

David Green WM Minerva 250

 

Monday 3rd March 2023:

Lodge of Instruction Open Night

Three Lodges met at Dagger Lane this evening: the Lodge of St Michael 7833 rehearsed in the Red Room, the Hull Old Grammarians' Lodge 5129 rehearsed in the Board Room and Minerva Lodge 250 enjoyed a Lodge of Instruction Open Night in the regular Lodge Room.

The traffic was horrendous, the start of the meeting was deliberately delayed to allow latecomers to arrive; nonetheless the first part of the ceremony was frequently interrupted by the Westminster Chimes of the doorbell.

An L o I Open Night is the culmination of a year's practice and rehearsal where an Initiation Ceremony is performed, but without regalia, without the open VSL and with a view to enjoying the ritual without the essential solemnity of a regular meeting. The relaxation of the dress code led to some of the Brethren trying to outdo each other in loud shirts and ties; I wished I'd taken my sunglasses.This is not to say it isn't taken seriously - indeed the ritual performed was of a very high standard, much of it by younger Masons, some of whom had never delivered ritual in this forum.

I had the pleasure of sincerely congratulating the L o I WM, Bro Martin Wright and his Team, for an excellent evening, and the Candidate, W Bro David Green (current WM) for being the focus of this convivial gathering. Indeed, it was in deference to David's teaching career that when the time came for the investiture of the Entered Apprentice Apron, the Candidate was garbed with an academic cap and gown - he looked very dashing as a Doctor of Philosophy.

The SW was Richard Marshall, the JW Kurt Crawford: these principle Officers tested the Candidate as he was perambulated round the Lodge by the SD Jim Bradshaw. The Lesser Lights were explained Richard Driver, the Secrets imparted by Tom Cawkwell. The NEC was delivered by Wayne Sutherby, the Warrant by Simon Tomkins, the WTs by Josh Smith and the Ancient Charge by Philip Holtby; all young men who proved their commitment with impressive ritual. The most senior member there, Chris Brown, who had stood in as DC for the evening, commended them all in his toast to the Lecture Master/Chaplain Danny Betts at the Festive Board afterwards.

The Lecture Master, W Bro Danny Betts PPSGD remarked to me afterwards that it is possible to judge the health of a Lodge by its Lodge of Instruction, and as I looked around at the smiling faces as people took their leave of each other I agreed with the sentiment. 

Eddie Wildman - Guest Organist

 

Monday 27th March 2023:

Initiation at Andrew Marvell 5642 - with an eye on the Senior Warden

It was a friendly, relaxed night at the Andrew Marvell Lodge last Monday last, an Initiation and our own Tom Cawkwell’s first working night as Senior Warden. He was word perfect, but in their ritual, though only slightly different, we’ll have to watch Tom if he ever sits in the SW chair in Minerva.

Their Candidate was Brother Ian Walker, a youngish looking lad who, it turned out had a 28 year old daughter, shows how old I’m getting.

It was a truly excellent ceremony, one that any Lodge would be proud to perform, Eddie did a Grand Lodge Certificate presentation for which the Candidate was readmitted. It was followed by an excellent Festive Board downstairs. The Apprentice’s Song, leads me to issue a warning: Tom has many qualities of which singing is not one.

The Andrew Marvell Lodge has, like many others, struggled for candidates and I was told by their longest serving Brother last night that when he joined in 1970 they had 99 members, and just before the 100th Brother was about to join,  they lost a Brother to the Great Architect of the Universe.

I left with the feeling that the Lodge is now very much going in the right direction. 

W Bro Chris Brown PPJGW

 

Monday 20th March 2023:

Third Degree at Holderness Lodge 3563

I was fortunate to be invited to Holderness Lodge 3563 at Beverley Road Masonic Hall. The Lodge business was the raising of Brother Andrew Holbrook to the sublime degree of a Master Mason.

It was very obvious that a lot of practice had gone into the ritual which was expertly delivered by the Worshipful Master, W Bro Rich Tyson and his team of Officers. Bro Holbrook answered the questions leading from the Second to the Third Degree clearly and faultlessly.

The ceremony itself was dramatically and powerfully delivered; the Third Degree is the culmination of Craft Freemasonry, and the Retrospect explains how this comes about. This ritual was given by W Tom Lee. 

After Bro Holbrook had been invested with his Third Degree Apron (now adorned with three rosettes in the light blue that characterises English Craft Freemasonry at its fundamental level) the Historical Oration (without which the degree of a Master Mason cannot be conferred) was delivered by W Bro Eddie Wildman, who also explained the Third Degree Tracing Board.

There were several visitors from six sister Lodges (I was pleased to give greetings supported by W Bros Danny Betts and Eddie Wildman) and we were all made very welcome by the Holderness Brethren. The new Worshipful Master of the Thesaurus Lodge 3563, W Bro Adam Spencer Watson thanked the WM and the Brethren for the warmth and friendliness of their welcome on behalf of us all in response to the toast to the visitors.

I can recommend a visit to the Holderness Lodge, where the Festive Board is just as good as the ritual! Thanks, Brethren!

[Photograph of Bro Holbrook and W Bro Tyson by Eddie Wildman.]

David Green WM

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