Five Lancashire Chapters celebrate their Centenaries in Grand Style

Monday 30th July saw an event unique in the history of the Supreme Council 33° for England and Wales – the centenary celebration of 5 Rose Croix Chapters at one meeting.

The background to the event was unique and still leaves us with some unknowns. Warrants for five new Chapters were issued on the same day, 18th April 1918, all the Chapters to meet in the same District, the North Western District, which then comprised Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumberland and Westmorland. Those five Chapters are still extant and meeting in 3 of the 4 current Lancashire Districts:

Manchester Chapter No. 193 (Middleton, SE Lancashire)

Mark Wilkinson Chapter No.194 (Darwen, NE Lancashire)

Walter M Hamilton Chapter No.195 (Eccles, SE Lancashire)

Col. JD Murray Chapter No.196 (Pemberton, SW Lancashire)

James D Murray Chapter No.197 (Padiham, NE Lancashire)

So far as anyone is aware, there have never been as many as 5 Chapters warranted on the same day, either before or since this particular case, and certainly not in one District.

And what circumstances prevailed that 5 Chapters could be erected in one District at a time when the country was still at war, with the outcome uncertain? It is also somewhat unusual to have 2 Chapters named after the same (living) individual, especially when there was already a Murray Chapter No.177 in the Manchester area named after him.

Fast forward 98 years and the Inspectors General with responsibility for the 5 centenary Chapters got together to discuss options. 5 separate celebrations seemed a big imposition on Supreme Council and would lack the impact and scale that a single celebratory event would achieve. In the end, the Grand Secretary General of Supreme Council came up with the solution; the Supreme Council’s ‘private’ Chapter, Morning Star Chapter No.33 would hold its Enthronement meeting, by dispensation, in Lancashire (we had already designated Brookfield Masonic Hall in Westhoughton as the ideal venue) and bring together the members of all 5 centenary Chapters plus as many Princes from the Lancashire and neighbouring Districts as could be accommodated at one ‘stellar’ event.

And so it proved. There were present: Five members of Supreme Council, supported by the Grand DC, a Deputy Grand DC and the Grand Tyler, other members of Morning Star Chapter including the Most Wise Sovereign, E&P Bro Sir David Wooton (better known in other circles as the Assistant Grand Master in the Craft), the Sovereign-elect, E&P Bro Professor George Boys-Stones, 9 Inspectors General, 3 Past Inspectors General and 9 District Recorders. The Sovereigns of all 5 centenary Chapters were present and were well supported by members of their own and other Chapters in each of the 3 Districts.

Following a superb Enthronement ceremony, V∴Ill∴Bro David Hawkins 33°, Past Inspector General for the North East Lancashire District, gave a brief history on the subject of life and Freemasonry in 1918.

The Sovereign Grand Commander, M∴P∴Bro Alan Englefield 33° then took the floor and presented each of the centenary Chapter Sovereigns with their Chapter’s Centenary Warrant, authorising the wearing of a Centenary jewel.

The festive board comprised an excellent 3-course dinner with the customary toasts, plus an additional toast to the health of V∴Ill∴Bro Nick Bosanquet 33° the Grand Director of Ceremonies who was retiring after this evening’s special event after 10 years in office.

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Months of planning and preparation resulted in a fantastic – and unique – event, which will be fondly remembered by all those who took part for many years to come.

 

 

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Data Protection Policy and Data Protection Notice

The Data Protection Policy and Data Protection Notice for the District Of North East Lancashire are now available from the Downloads section of the website.

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Annual District Meeting for 2018 hosted by James D Murray Chapter

The Annual Meeting of the North East Lancashire District was held at the Masonic Ballroom, Rochdale on Saturday 2nd June 2018, under the warrant of James D Murray Chapter No.197 in its Centenary Year.

Over 80 Rose Croix Masons attended the meeting, including the Inspectors General from 8 neighbouring Districts, most of whom were accompanied by their District Recorders and enthusiastic members of Chapters from their Districts.

The usual arrangement for our District Meetings is for the host Chapter to Perfect a Candidate. On this occasion, WBro Stephen Ryder, a Past Master of Abbey Lodge No.2529 in Whalley, was duly Perfected by the Most Wise Sovereign of James D Murray Chapter, Illustrious Brother John Hudson 31° assisted by Sovereigns and Past Sovereigns from Chapters across the District.

 Our own Past Inspector General, Very Illustrious Brother David Bouic Hawkins 33° acted as Prelate throughout the meeting and the Third Point was conducted by the Inspector General for North East Lancashire, Very Illustrious Brother David John Biggs 33°.

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Our newest Prince, E&P Bro Steve Ryder (R) with members of James D Murray Chapter No.197

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The catering team at Rochdale provided an excellent luncheon of Tomato Soup, Roast Ham in Parsley Sauce with Seasonal Vegetables and Fresh Fruit Salad to finish, much to the enjoyment of all present, as the photos* above show.

*Photos courtesy of the District Recorder, Illustrious Brother Jack Aston 32°

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Second Annual District Lunch at Bury

The second annual District Lunch was held on Sunday 4th March 2018 at Bury Masonic Hall. Rose Croix Masons from Chapters across the District, accompanied by family members and friends, braved the awful weather to support the event.

We were particularly honoured by the presence the Inspector General for the District of South West Lancashire, V.Ill.Bro. Ian Clark 33° and his wife Lois, marking the close friendship between our two districts.

An excellent hot buffet was provided by Fine Dine, the ‘in-house’ caterers for Bury Masonic Hall. There were two choices for the meat eaters and a hearty vegetarian option together with what seemed a never-ending supply of garlic bread, new potatoes and chips. A wonderful selection of desserts, cheese and biscuits and tea and coffee followed.

Once we were enjoying our tea and coffee, Ill.Bro. Jack Aston, the District Recorder, provided some light-hearted after-dinner entertainment by running two quizzes, each with a prize of a donated bottle of wine, both of which were won by Ill.Bro. Steve Flanagan’s table (did someone cry “fix”!).

Our thanks go to Bury Masonic Hall for providing such a warm and welcoming venue, Fine Dine for the splendid buffet and of course, to Jack Aston, the District Recorder, for organising the whole event. We now look forward to the third annual District lunch in 2019, provisionally to be held at a venue in the more Northern part of the District.

 

 

 

 

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Higher Degrees ~ February 2018

Four Brethren from the North East Lancashire District travelled to London on Tuesday 13th February 2018 to receive promotion to the 30°, Grand Elected Knight Kadosh, Knight of the Black and White Eagle at the Higher Degrees Meeting held at the Grand East, 10 Duke Street, St. James’s:

Ill.Bro. Frank Bailey, 30° – Rochdale St. Chad Chapter No.494

Ill.Bro. Reg Foster, 30° – Rochdale St. Chad Chapter No.494

Ill.Bro. Malcolm Hearsey, 30° – Emmanuel Chapter No.447

Ill.Bro. Ted Heywood, 30° – Rochdale St. Chad Chapter No.494

As usual, the ceremony was followed by a drinks reception and an excellent festive board at the Royal Overseas League along with Ill.Bro. Jack Aston 32°, the District Recorder for the North East Lancashire District.

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Pictured L-R: Jack, Malcolm, Ted, Frank and Reg.

Congratulations to all four newly promoted Brethren, we hope that their further advancement in the Order will give them much satisfaction and that they will treasure the happy memories of this special occasion for many years to come.

 

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Higher Degrees ~ July 2017

At the Higher Degrees Meeting on Tuesday 11th July 2017, Ill. Bro. Rob Tyler, Recorder of St. Peter’s Chapter No. 31 in Bolton, received his long-awaited promotion to the 30°.

Rob had originally been invited to attend the Higher Degrees Meeting in May, along with five other candidates from the North East Lancashire District, but was prevented from doing so due by work commitments. Rob was accompanied on the trip to London by Ill. Bro. Ken Alker 31°, the Immediate Past Sovereign of St. Peter’s Chapter.

As usual, the ceremony at 10 Duke Street, St. James’s was followed by a drinks reception and an excellent festive board at the Royal Overseas League where we were also joined by Ill. Bro. John Hughes 30°, also a Past Sovereign of St. Peter’s Chapter.

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Ill. Bro. Ken Alker 31° (L) congratulates Ill. Bro. Rob Tyler (R) on his promotion to the 30°

 

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Higher Degrees ~ June 2017

Two Brethren from the North East Lancashire District received promotion to the 32°, Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret at the Higher Degrees Meeting held at the Grand East, 10 Duke Street, St. James’s on Tuesday 6th June 2017:

Ill.Bro. Dave Crowley, 32° – Rochdale St. Chad Chapter No.494

Ill.Bro. John Grundy, 32° – Bury Chapter No.435

As usual, the ceremony was followed by a drinks reception and an excellent festive board at the Royal Overseas League.

Congratulations Dave and John, we hope that your further advancement in the Order will give you much satisfaction and that you will treasure the happy memories of this special occasion for many years to come.

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Annual District Meeting for 2017 hosted by Accrington Chapter

The Annual Meeting of the North East Lancashire District was held at the Masonic Ballroom, Rochdale on Saturday 3rd June 2017, under the warrant of Accrington Chapter Rose Croix No.364.

As is the usual custom for District Meetings, the host Chapter provides a candidate and on this occasion Bro Gary Howard, a Master Mason of the Lodge of Remembrance, was duly Perfected by the Most Wise Sovereign of Accrington Chapter, E&P Bro Alan Jones.

The various sections of the ceremony were taken in turn by a veritable galaxy of Past Sovereigns from Chapters across the District under the direction of the Chapter Director of Ceremonies, Illustrious Brother Jack Aston 32° who also, in his capacity as District Recorder, was responsible for the administration of the event.

Over 70 Rose Croix Masons were in attendance, including the Inspectors General from 7 neighbouring Districts, most of whom were accompanied by their District Recorders and enthusiastic members of Chapters from their Districts.

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Very Illustrious Inspectors General. From L-R: Ian Clark (South West Lancashire), David Bowden (Cumberland & Westmorland), Paul Paterson (Durham), David Biggs (North East Lancashire), Michael Daws (Northumberland), Royce Batters (South East Lancashire), Nigel Cooper (East Cheshire) and Michael Page (Nottinghamshire). Picture courtesy of David Bouic Hawkins (Past Inspector General, North East Lancashire)

The catering team at Rochdale provided an excellent luncheon of Tomato and Basil Soup, Roast Ham in Parsley Sauce with Seasonal Vegetables and Fresh Fruit Salad to finish.

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Higher Degrees ~ May 2017

The following Brethren from the North East Lancashire District received promotions at the Higher Degrees Meeting held at the Grand East, 10 Duke Street, St. James’s on Tuesday 16th May 2017:

Ill.Bro. Alan Astin, 30° – Canon Francis Paton-Williams Chapter No.781 (Rawtenstall)

Ill.Bro. John Hargreaves, 30° – Verney Clayton Chapter No.261 (Accrington)

Ill.Bro. Allan Low, 30° – Verney Clayton Chapter No.261 (Accrington)

Ill.Bro. Ian Ogden, 30° – Accrington Chapter No.364 (Accrington)

Ill.Bro. Ross Turner, 30° – Bethel Chapter No.290 (Rawtenstall)

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Congratulations to our newly promoted Brethren, we hope you enjoyed the ceremony and the festive board afterwards at the Royal Overseas League.

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Mark Wilkinson Chapter hosts the inaugural District-wide Family Lunch

In response to a suggestion made at the District AGM in October 2015, the Most Wise Sovereign and Officers of Mark Wilkinson Chapter at Darwen kindly volunteered to host an inaugural District Family Lunch at their meeting on Saturday 8th April 2017.

By happy coincidence, the Chapter’s business meeting is held on the Saturday before Good Friday, so is perfectly timed to celebrate the events of Easter. In recent years it has also been the practice to invite a local Minister to deliver an Easter message at the festive board following the Chapter meeting and it was felt that this format would ideally suit a social event with ladies and gentlemen visitors present.

While the Chapter members and visiting Princes carried out the Chapter business upstairs, the ladies and a couple of gentlemen guests received a tongue-in-cheek slide presentation from the Inspector General followed by a Q&A session on Freemasonry.

Lunch was duly served at 12.30 pm, when around 40 diners gathered in the Hawkshaw Suite to enjoy a splendid buffet provided by Wilkinson’s Caterers.

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The Most Wise Sovereign, E&P Bro Robert Norris welcomed the ladies, gentlemen and two guest speakers, noting that this was the first time such an event had been held in the District, and, he hoped, not the last.

Following the lunch, we were entertained by the Reverend Geoff Tulley who spoke about the significant characters in history whose lives had been influenced by the story of the Resurrection and the Reverend Lena Talbot who gave an excellent discourse on the Easter story, comparing and contrasting the different versions in the four Gospels.

By 2.30 pm it was all over and the diners, two of whom had travelled all the way from Stafford, were on their way home.

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