The Grand Tyler or Janitor is not outside the door of the Lodge or Chapter,
W Bro Trevor Koschalka PAGDC finds out why.
Like me, if you have ever been at Grand Lodge during Quarterly Communications, you may have noticed that the Grand Tyler is not stationed outside the door of the Temple, armed with his drawn sword to keep off intruders, as we are all familiar with, and perhaps you may have wondered why?
London Freemason W Bro Graham Daly, who is a Senior Visiting Officer in the Craft, was appointed as Grand Tyler in the Craft and Grand Janitor in the Holy Royal Arch at the April Grand Lodge/Chapter investitures, gives an insight into the role and explains why the duties are different from those of a Lodge or Chapter Tyler/Janitor.
After a career in the Metropolitan Police Service, Graham recently retired. He spent the last years of his service on protection duties with various members of the Royal Family, including H.M. The Queen and the late Duke of Edinburgh. Graham explains that his role, although principally focused on the protection of the Royal Family, also involved liaising with organisers of the various places to be visited by the Principals so that the event would run both seamlessly and safely.
Not entirely dissimilar, the role of Grand Tyler/Janitor is also one of coordination and planning. First and foremost, it consists in ensuring that the Rulers taking part in a ceremony are in the right place and have the right regalia available. At Grand Lodge, this involves being on duty at Quarterly Communications and Grand Lodge/Grand Chapter investitures to ensure, for instance, that the correct chain is given to the Grand Master or those acting on his behalf as well as to those to be invested.
The Grand Tyler/Janitor also plays an important part when the Grand Master, Pro Grand Master or another ruler attends a Provincial or District Grand Lodge or Grand Chapter to invest a new Provincial or District Grand Master/Grand Superintendent. He must ensure that all the correct regalia and the Patent issued under the authority of the Grand Master are collected and taken to the location where the investiture is to take place. Graham explains that the Grand Lodge party would usually arrive the evening before the investiture is due to take place, to meet the Provincial or District Rulers and put them at ease prior to the important event planned for the following day. It is also Graham’s responsibility to place the kneeling stool in the centre of the Provincial Grand Lodge and to provide the VSL on which the oath is taken.
The Grand Tyler/Janitor is appointed personally by the Grand Master and is an active rank in Grand Lodge. It is, however, unusual in the sense that the appointment is open-ended. The office holder will continue to hold the office at the pleasure of the Grand Master. In fact, the last incumbent, W Bro Malcolm Brooks, held the role for fourteen years before retiring in April. It is also the responsibility of the Grand Tyler to propose the Tyler’s toast at Provincial Grand Lodge investitures and at the Grand Festival.
Graham explains that being offered this role came as a great surprise and huge honour. Although still in the early days, it is one that he is thoroughly enjoying.
So, the next time you see the Grand Tyler/Janitor in the Grand Lodge and not outside the door, maybe you will understand why!
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 49 August 2022 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 49 here.