LONDON ROYAL ARCH DIGEST Summer 2023
Here are just a few stories from London Royal Arch Companions and the London Chaptersthat have met over the last few months.
On 10th March at Freemasons’Hall E Comp Ian Burgess, Metropolitan Grand Inspector attended Cornucopia Chapter No 5648 to present a 50th Certificate to E Comp Michael Mills. The Metropolitan Grand Inspector said “It was delightful to attend the Chapter on such an auspicious occasion to present a 50th certificate to E.Comp Michael Mills for his amazing service to both Freemasonry and the community. It is one of the principal pleasures that I have in my role of being able to meet and present these certificates to such deserving Companions who have done so much for Freemasonry over the years and who are an inspiration to our younger Companions. "It was also wonderful to find that E.Comp Michael was himself Exalted by E Comp Stanley Ward, who was the first Exaltee of the Chapter and Most Excellent Zerubbabel in 1968 and 1972. When I visited, it was evident that E Comp Mickey is a popular member of the Chapter and enjoyed the evening ”.E Comp Michael was Exalted into Cornucopia Chapter No 5648 on 2nd March 1973, becoming MEZ in 1986 and 1999. In 1994 he was awarded LGCR and received SLGCR in 2002.
Chapter of Unions
Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Nick Critchlow visited Chapter of Unions No 256 on 21st March at Freemasons’Hall and presented a 50 Year Long Service Certificate to E Comp Mike Lloyd, who still travels up from the Isle of Wight for the meetings.
At Freemasons’Hall on 22nd March, Barnato Chapter No 2265 Exalted Bro Anton Uzanoff.
Semper Fidelis Chapter
On 24th March, Semper Fidelis Chapter No 4393 welcomed Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Ian Burgess to honour E Comps Brian Johnson and Vic Tarry with the presentation of Long Service Certificates to mark their 50 years in the Royal Arch, both having recently received their Craft equivalents. Sadly, on this occasion, Vic was unable to attend.
City of Westminster Chapter
City of Westminster Chapter No 1563 held its Installation meeting before dining at La Ballerina on 27th March.
On 28th March Avenue Chapter No 3231 gathered for its Installation meeting at 10 Duke Street and enjoyed an especially baked cake courtesy of Janitor E Comp Jerry Gagandeen, depicting the three new Principals!
Chingford Cluster meeting
On 31st March, Chingford Masonic Hall, London, hosted a Chapter Cluster meeting for the Essex and London Chapters that meet there. Six London Chapters meet at Chingford and were well represented on the day.
On 3rd April at Freemasons’Hall, Acanthus Chapter No 2715 held its Installation meeting.
On 5th April at the Civil Service Club SW1 and in the presence of Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Robert Lakic, Bayard Chapter No1615 held its Installation meeting.
On 5th April, Cator Chapter No 2266 held the double Exaltation of Bros Matteo Malquori and Roger Phillips at Freemasons’ Hall, dining at Tuttons.
- Utilitas Chapter
- On 13th April at 10 Duke Street, Utilitas Chapter No 5693 Exalted Bro Michael Frieser and then enjoyed a fabulous dinner at the Army and Navy Club on Pall Mall.
- Junior Engineers Chapter
- On 15th April, in the presence of Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Wayne Hirst, Junior Engineers Chapter No 2913 Exalted Bro Dimitar Andreev at Freemasons’ Hall.
- Royal Colonial Institute Chapter
- At Freemasons’Hall on 17th April, Royal Colonial Institute Chapter No 3556 Exalted Bro Amar Trivedi and dined at Tuttons, Covent Garden.
- Trevor Armstrong Appointed
- On 27th April, E Comp Trevor Armstrong received a First Appointment to Past Grand Standard Bearer at the Annual Convocation of Supreme Grand Chapter is the presence of his son, Comp Neil Armstrong. Trevor is Scribe E of Norfolk & Garden City Chapter No2852 and the Treasurer of the Domatic Chapter of Instruction.
- Temple Chapter of Jerusalem
- On 5th May (the eve of the Coronation of King Charles III) at Mark Masons’Hall, Temple Chapter at Jerusalem No 4661 received a talk from 1st Principal E Comp Tony Shepherd entitled ‘The Day the Queen was Crowned’, researched and written by E Comp Gerald Nathanson of Royal Crown Chapter No 3133.
- Selsdon Park Chapter
- On 9th May at the Civil Service Club, SW1, members of Selsdon Park Chapter No 5005, having recently moved to Metropolitan from the Province of Surrey were welcomed by Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Nick Critchlow as they made their London debut.
- Athenaeum Chapter
- The companions of Athenaeum Chapter No 1491 gathered at Mark Masons’ Hall on 12th May to pay their respects and mourn thepassing of much-loved companion E Comp Ken Beattie.
- Chapter of Sorrow
- At Freemasons’Hall on 20th May, Aarheus Chapter No 6854 And Bowes Park Chapter No 3119, in the presence of Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Tony Shepherd, delivered a rarely seen Chapter of Sorrow in honour of E Comp Gerald Davis. Adapted and deliveredby E Comp Laurie Shaffer, the Chapter of Sorrow was a poignant, moving and wonderful mark of respect and celebration for a great Royal Arch Mason and friend. Aarheus and Bowes Park Chapters traditionally meet conjointly, supporting each other’s meetings and then dining together.
- Benevolentia Chapter
- Benevolentia Chapter No 2549 installed 3 new Principals at Freemasons’Hall on 19th May, followed by a Festive board at the Double Tree Hilton.
- Renaissance Chapter
- Renaissance Chapter No 3408 held its Installation meeting at Freemasons’ Hall on 9th May and later dined at the Royal India in Covent Garden.
- Connaught Chapter
- On 14th May at 10 Duke Street, Connaught Chapter No 3270 held a double Exaltation ceremonyfor Bros Charles Allen and Peter Barnaby.
- Macauley Chapter
- At Mark Masons’ Hall on 18th May the Companions of Macauley Chapter No5010 welcomed Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp David Ellis.
- Aesculapius Chapter
Aesculapius Chapter No 2410 met at Freemasons’Hall on 17th May in the presence of Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Tony Masella for their Installation meeting.
On 25th May, the Companions of Bedford Chapter No 157 were also joined by Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Tony Masella fortheir Installation meeting.
St Pauls Chapter
St Pauls Chapter No 194 met at Chingford on 27th May and enjoyed their traditional ‘full English fry up’ for lunch!
On 5th June Haymarket Chapter No 6271 met at 10 Duke Street to Exalt Bro Lawrence Adrien in a ceremony wonderfully conducted by E Comps John Fitzgibbons as acting MEZ, John Bayley as PS and Andrew Bodnar delivering the Mystical Lecture followed by a superb evening of very good food and great company at the Army and Navy Club.
On 5th June, at Freemasons’ Hall, Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Tony Shepherd witnessed the Installation of E Comp Michael Shenker as 1st Principal of Amicus Chapter No 3133.
Ex Libris Chapter
At Freemasons’ Hall on 9th June, Ex Libris Chapter No 3765 delivered a poignant Eulogy to E Comp John Gilbert, who passed to the Grand Chapter Above earlier in the spring.
On 12th June 2023, at the meeting of Mandate Chapter No 4258 at Mark Masons’Hall, Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Nick Critchlow made a presentation of a 50 Year Long Service Certificate to E Comp Eric Shapiro and led the Royal Arch Tracing Board presentation Team, which comprised E Comps Nandan Kumar, Mick Scotchmer, Andrew Johnson and James Dyer.
Metropolitan Grand Stewards Chapter
At Freemasons’ Hall on 15th June, Metropolitan Grand Stewards Chapter No 9812 installed E Comps Wayne Hirst, Raymond Adamsand Steve Harris as First, Second and Third Principal respectively.
Henry Muggeridge Chapter
Henry Muggeridge Chapter No 1679 met on 17th June at Freemasons’Hall for the Exaltation of Bro Ucal McLeod, in the presence of Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Nick Critchlow, then dining at the Bloomsbury Thistle.
Grays and Inns of Court Chapter
A visit from Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Tony Masella to the Grays and Inns of Court Chapter No 4938 on 21st June gave rise to a combined Blue Table event with Authors Chapter No 3456. Held at Trattoria Verdi, it was a highly successful event which producedfour future exaltees.
Explanation of the Royal Arch Tracing Broards at Lion & Lamb Chapter
On 22nd June, E Comp Simon White, Assistant Metropolitan Grand Superintendent, led the explanation of the Royal Arch Tracing Boards by the Metropolitan Grand Stewards Demonstration Team, after which 37 dined at the Club for Acts and Actors, Bedford St., WC2
Filia Unitatis Chapter
On 24th June, Filia Unitatis Chapter No4658 welcomed Companions from Switzerland, France, Spain and Belgium, for the double exaltation of Bros David Hoseman and Danilo Fraga de Almeida. Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Tony Masella presented the Exaltees Guides.
On 4th July, Companions of Peckham Chapter No 1475, the Royal Arch Escorting Officers Chapter, gathered at Freemasons’ Hall.
- Scots Chapter Exaltation and 50 Year Certificate presentation
- On 7th March, Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Ian Burgess made a visit to Scots Chapter No 2319 at Freemasons’Hall for the Exaltation of Bro Junior Desai and the presentation of a 50 Year Long Service Certificate to E Comp Richard Floyd PAGSoj.E Comp Floyd is a dedicated Freemason, having received a 60th Year Craft Certificate in November 2022. In the Royal Arch, he remains a member of six chapters having been Exalted into Scots Chapter No 2319 on 6th Mar 1973 and was a founder of Mutual Defence(Surrey) No 6711. He is a member of three other Surrey Chapters and a member of two additional London Chapters: Chapter of Unions No 256 and Temperance in the East No 898. In Surrey he received appointment in the Royal Arch Province of Surrey to Past Provincial Grand Registrar in 1991 and promoted to Past Provincial Grand Treasurer in 2002 and Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals in 2007. In Metropolitan, he received LGCR in 1993.E Comp Richard received the Active SGC Rank of Grand Standard Bearer in 1995 and was promoted to Past Assistant Grand Sojournerin 2004. In Metropolitan Grand Chapter, he was a SVO for at over five years having previously been a visiting Grand Officer until the Group system was abolished. The meeting and the Exaltation were delivered in an excellent manner by E Comp David Gwinn performing a highly proficient ceremony, supported by the Chapter, including his two brothers Paul and Phillip Gwinn. A lovely fact connecting the Exaltation and 50 Year Certificate is that Comp Desai and E Comp Floyd were born 50 years apart! A wonderful meeting concluded with dinner at the Double Tree at Hilton where the Metropolitan Grand Inspector was ‘piped in’ by the Bagpiper, and all present enjoyed the customary Address to the Haggis and seemingly bottomless bottles of whisky.
- An Aldwych Chapter No 3096 Exaltation–a Family Affair
- It is always a pleasure to witness a superb Exaltation ceremony and an absolute joy to behold one that is rich with personal sentiment, such as the Exaltation of a son. It is extremely rare for both to coincide on the same afternoon but, on 26th May in the magnificence of Temple 10 at Freemasons Hall, over 65 Royal Arch Masons gathered for such an occasion and revelled in the Exaltation of Bro Dr Gavin Clark, son of the former Deputy Metropolitan Grand Superintendent, E Comp Chris Clark PGSN. The Guest of Honour, E Comp The Rev Timothy L’Estrange, Deputy Metropolitan Grand Superintendent was joined by a wide array of senior Companions, including the Second Grand Principal, ME Comp Russell Race, two former Deputy Metropolitan Grand Superintendents, E Comps Chris Clark and Chris Frankland, one current and one former Assistant Metropolitan Grand Superintendent, E Comps Ian Clark and Derek Silver respectively; and the 2nd Metropolitan Grand Principal, E Comp Rob Chaproniere. Bro Dr Gavin was initiated, passed and raised in the Lodge of the Liberal Arts No 500 in New Zealand, where he was a Microbiologist and Dean of Enterprise at University of Massey, New Zealand. To mark this auspicious occasion and to add to the list of luminaries, the First Grand Principal of New Zealand, ME Comp Dennis Waller, SGRACNZ especially flew into London.Also present were seven current Metropolitan Grand Inspectors, including E Comp Nick Critchlow, who led the Metropolitan GrandS tewards Demonstration Team’s stunning delivery of a high-quality Exaltation ceremony. The Exaltation Team was composed of E Comps Neil Hutchings, Ade Oladele-Ajose and Richard Hime, acting as First, Second and Third Principals respectively and ably supported by E Comps Doug Syrett, James Dyer, Mick Scotchmer, Ian Morrison and Wayne Hirst. EComp Nick Critchlow delivered the Explanation of the Signs and E Comp David Thompson the Mystical Lecture. The regalia with which Comp Gavin was invested was that worn by E Comp Chris at his own Exaltation in 1971 and which has languished in the bottom of a drawer since 1994, when he was awarded LGCR. The kneeling stool upon which Comp Gavin took his Obligation was made out of oak by his paternal Grandfather, and the cushion was embroidered by his paternal Grandmother; it was presented to Aldwych Chapter by E Comp Chris in 1978. The presentation of a generous £1,000 Aldwych Chapter donation towards the Metropolitan Grand Superintendent’s London Air Ambulance Appeal provided everyone with a much-welcomed chance to catch their breath. Following a wonderful Festive Board at the Double Tree Hilton, Southampton Row, Father and Son were spotted heading off into the night together, no doubt marvelling and commenting on the wonderfully emotional and poignant ceremony earlier that afternoon.Over time, Comp Gavin will fully appreciate that the presence of so many senior Royal Arch Masons and the emotionally charged atmosphere within the temple was without doubt a direct result of the respect and affection in which E Comp Chris Clark is held in London’s Masonic family. As we are all taught very early in our Masonic journeys, you truly do get out what you put in.
- Metropolitan’s Installed First Principals Chapters
- On 30th May, London First Principals Chapter No 2712 were treated to a presentation and talk from Vicki Pipe, Museum Managerof Bow Street Police Museum, entitled Bow Street Beginnings: Law and Order in Covent Garden.The Companions of Euclid Chapter of First Principals No 7464 met on 20th June and received a talk from E Comp Geoffrey Monnickendam on the Hidden Meanings behind the Royal Arch ceremony and rituals. On 21st June Clerkenwell Chapter of First Principals No 9628 installed E Comps John Flain, Dudley Price and Darrel Palmer as the First,Second and Third Principals respectively and made a donation of £5,000 towards the London Air Ambulance Appeal.All three Chapters met at Freemasons Hall.
- Middlesex Imperial Yeomanry: Lodge and Elthorneand Middlesex Lodge Joint Manoeuvres31st March 2023
- Amicable relations and regular visits between the Elthorne and Middlesex Lodge No 2094 and The Middlesex Imperial Yeomanry LodgeNo 3013 (MIY) first started following conversations held over dinner and drinks at a Victoria Rifles Lodge No 822 Festive Board, as part ofthe Circuit of Service Lodges (see more on Victoria Rifles elsewhere in this edition of Arena). During those visits it was established that the Elthorne and Middlesex Lodge did not have their own Royal Arch Chapter, but MIY had one with a rich history. It was suggested that the MIY Chapter might be a suitable Chapter for Candidates from both Lodges wishing to further their Masonic progress. Thus, this unity came into fruition on 31st Marchat Freemasons’ Hall; when the Middlesex Imperial Yeomanry Chapter No 3013 had the pleasant duty of Exalting and welcoming four Candidates from Elthorne and Middlesex Lodge into their number.With this number of Candidates and the amount of work involved, it was a great pleasure to have a number of Chapter members from the Candidates’ mother Lodge support and assist the Middlesex Imperial Yeomanry Chapter Principals in their task.The Meeting concluded with a lively Festive Board at the DeVere Grand Connaught Rooms which further cemented the friendships made among those present.
- Centenary Celebrations of Bromley St Leonard Chapter No.1805
- E Comp Dennis Doman PAGDC, Scribe EzraOn Monday 15th May 2023 at Mark Masons’ Hall, our home for the past 40 years, Bromley St Leonard Chapter No 1805 celebrated its Centenary convocation which unfortunately had been delayed for two years because of the covid pandemic. 48 members and visitors attended the celebration, the Guest of Honour being E Comp The Rev Timothy L’Estrange, Deputy MetropolitanGrand Superintendent; accompanied by E Comp Rob Chaproniere, Metropolitan 2nd Grand Principal, E Comp Ian Burgess, Metropolitan Grand Inspector and joined by E Comp Richard Greenhill, former Metropolitan Assistant Grand Superintendent. E Comp James Skeggs, Metropolitan Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies acted as Escorting Officer. Metropolitan Centenary Coordinator E Comp Archie Walls was most helpful in gaining Supreme Grand Chapter acknowledgement of one hundred years’continuity. This allowed the Chapter to gain a Centenary Charter which is an enabler for it to issue Centenary Jewels to current and future subscribing members. I had great pleasure in delivering an abridged presentation of the Centenary history, authored by myself, as the Chapter’s Scribe Ezra, which concentrated heavily on People, Places and Events. It essentially tracked the history from the idea of five to six Brethren and Royal Arch Masons of Bromley St Leonard Lodge No 1805 in the late autumn of 1920 leadingto a petition for a Chapter annexed to their Lodge. Permission was granted by the elders of the Lodge and the Chapter Charter of Constitution was granted by SGC. The consecration convocation was held at the Talbot Restaurant on March 1st 1921 and the rest, as they say, is history. The history document, summons and dinner menu cards were professionally printed and presented to those attending (with enough for absent members also) as mementos of this special occasion.The success of the Chapter and its continuity over 100 years has been threefold: a clear succession plan at the very start with clear rulesand boundaries, dedicated key Officers, and all the members over the years who have either been Exalted or joined the Chapter, whohave kept it going through some tumultuous times. This especially includes, of course, the Second World War, the aftermath of which led to significant changes in society all over the world. Craft and Royal Arch Masonry has successfully overcome all these events; as did Bromley StLeonard Chapter, which managed to meet at least once in every year from 1921 up and until the Masonic suspension of 2020. We presented a £1000 cheque to Comp Timothy for London’s Air Ambulance appeal; and, thanks to the added generosity of our members and guests, an additional £500 was raised on the evening enabling us to upgrade our donation. Finally, we enjoyed a fabulous four-course dinner, with musical accompaniment from my friend and Piper, E Comp Hamish MacLeod celebrating having reached ‘one hundred not out.
- Calculus Chapter No 3575 presents 50 Year Certificate to E Comp Peter Crawshaw
- In 2022, E Comp Peter Crawshaw of Calculus Chapter No 3575 completed 50 years as a Companion of the Royal Arch having been Exalted on 10th March 1972.Peter has been unable to physically attend the Chapter for some years, so a home presentation was arranged and on 8th March 2023, EComps Barry Barthorpe IPZ, Donald Campbell Scribe E, and Trevor Armstrong Visiting Officer met up at Cole Court Masonic Centre,Twickenham. They set off to Peter’s home armed with the Certificate, which kindly had been brought from Freemasons’ Hall in London by E Comp Frank Butler Treasurer. Comp Peter had a successful Craft career in the Province of Surrey and was honoured with Grand Rankin 1999. He was Exalted into Malta Chapter No 7830 and was MEZ from 1992 to 1994. He Joined Calculus Chapter in January 1996 and served with distinction being MEZ 1997 to 1998; 2000 to 2002; 2004 to 2005; and Almoner 2018 to 2019. Peter was honoured with LGCR in 2003 and SLGCR in 2014. His pride in his Masonic achievements and his association with the City of London, particularly St Paul’s Cathedral where he was avolunteer for many years, was evident from the various mementos and prints displayed in his home.
- Hyde Park Chapter No 1425
- On 3rd March at Freemasons’Hall, Hyde Park Chapter No 1425 held a Convocation of significance, in the presence of E Comp John Peters, Metropolitan Grand Inspector, accompanied by Escorting Officer E Comp Ed Lines, Metropolitan Grand Steward, and E CompsMick Scotchmer and Stuart Palmer, Senior Visiting and Visiting Officer respectively. The Inspector proceeded with a presentation of a Supreme Grand Chapter Certificate to Comp Matthew Northwood, introducing him to the Welcome Project Initiative; and encouraging him, and any other recent Exaltees, to visit another Chapter to experience a high-qualityExaltation.The main thrust of the occasion was the Installation of the Principals, carried out with sincerity and aplomb. MEZ E Comp Simone Sodiniinstalled his successor E Comp Martin Smith in a most impressive manner, made even more so as Italian, not English is his firstlanguage. There were several other Italian Companions visiting the Chapter to support the MEZ on such an auspicious occasion.Indeed, in March 2019, a number of Italian RA Companions joined Hyde Park Chapter; but were prevented from attending by the covid pandemic. Some were finally able to be present on this occasion and the Metropolitan Grand Inspector made English Constitution Supreme Grand Chapter Certificate presentations to several of them and extended to them a hearty welcome into the Royal Arch in London.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 52 August 2023 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 52 here.