London Royal Arch Digest Autumn 2021
Here are just a few of the London Royal Arch Chapters that have started to meet again over the autumnal months, not just throughout central London but within dedicated Masonic Halls and Centres from Ealing to Croydon, Chingford to Harrow and Southgate to Penge.
London’s Royal Arch Companions have been revelling in being back in each other’s company. The general sense of excitement that was palpable from September onwards – as masonic friends were reunited in their Chapters – remained strong throughout the autumn with a flurry of Installations, Inductions, Proclamations and, most encouragingly, an exciting number of Exaltations taking place. Equally important, London’s Royal Arch Companions were able to relax and socialise in each other’s company once more, breaking bread and raising a glass or two together.
On 20th October at Great Queen Street, the Companions and guests of Australia No 6505 reunited after a considerable time apart to exalt Bros Raj Jawahar, Andy Sutcliffe and Shanks Thangasamy into Royal Arch masonry, much to the appreciation of the new Metropolitan Grand Inspector and Visiting Officer, both of whom were visiting the Chapter for the first time. The convocation was followed by a sumptuous and lively Festive Board held within the new café and bar area of Freemasons’ Hall.
At Freemasons’ Hall on 18th October, the hungry Companions of Royal Colonial Institute No 3556 savoured the delights of the ‘sweet trolley’ at Trattoria Verdi following the Exaltation of Bro Chris Walker. The trolley having been suitably replenished, the Companions of Ex Libris No 3765 celebrated the Exaltation of Bro Don Benton on 19th November at Great Queen Street by also dining at Trattoria Verdi.
Following convocations at Freemasons’ Hall, United Engineers No 3862 and Armament 3898 hosted Festive Boards on 25th November at the Freemasons Arms, having Exalted Bros Dylan Calabro and Chris Warner, respectively. Armament No 3898 will be celebrating its Centenary at its February 2022 Convocation.
On 25th November, Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp Ian Burgess attended Euston No 4395 at the Civil Service Club, Great Scotland Yard, SW1 to present a 50 Year Certificate to E Comp Laurie Deal, under the watchful eye of the 1st Principal, E Comp Scott Simpson, Metropolitan Grand Inspector.
On 16th November, Sir Thomas White 1820 conducted the double Exaltation of Bros Martin Nicholls and Ian Ford-Batey at Gt. Queen Street and celebrated the occasion by an elegant dinner at the East India Club, St James’s Square.
On 16th September, Ceylon No 6436 met at Freemasons’ Hall after a long hiatus, and MEZ E Comp James Hoyes installed the new 2nd Principal E Comp Luke Dillon and Exalted Bro Martin Guest. Just a fortnight after the Exaltation, Comp Martin Guest undertook and completed the Trailwalker Challenge (100km in under 30 hours) to fundraise for the Gurkha Welfare Trust and Oxfam. After 6,900ft of ascent, over 13,000 calories and 129,848 steps, he completed the walk in 27 hours 53 minutes, raising over £2,000 in the process.
At Duke Street, St James’s on 15th September, the 1st and 2nd Principals of Utilitas No 5693 E Comps Richard Bates and Alan Giddings were declared to remain in office, and Comp Corin Burr was Installed as 3rd Principal. The ceremony was followed by a sumptuous dinner at the Army and Navy Club, Pall Mall.
A fantastic Festive Board was held at the Royal Ocean Racing Club, St James’s Place on 26th October following the Installation meeting of Empire No 2108 at Duke Street where E Comp John Buckingham on behalf of the Ritual Support Team Installed E Comp David Lees into the 1st Principals Chair of this Chapter for the first time.
Following a relatively short Installation meeting at Duke Street on 9th November, where the Principals of Haymarket No 6271 were Proclaimed for a further Year in Office, the Companions retired to the Army and Navy Club, where the barman was kept busy, and a lively Festive Board lasted deep into the evening. Also, at Duke Street on 15th November, E Comps Alan South and John Buckingham of the Ritual Support Team assisted Connaught No 3270 to Exalt Bro Ric Beall.
Cholmeley No 1731 held its Installation meeting on 11th October, dining within Barts Great Hall EC1. Whilst at Penge, Hanover No 5601 held its Installation meeting on 11th November, dining within the SE London Masonic Hall.
The Companions and guests of Lewisham No 2579, meeting at Croydon & District Masonic Hall, gathered on 25th September when the Metropolitan Grand Inspector, E Comp Tony Shepherd, took great pleasure in presenting chapter Almoner E Comp Michael Herlihy with a Metropolitan Grand Almoners Certificate of Merit, a rare honour, awarded for outstanding service to his Chapter. Much laughter and chat were shared during the Festive Board held within the masonic hall.
On 23rd November at Freemasons’ Hall, 200-year-old Mount Zion and Jerusalem No 185 Exalted Bros Egas Carvalho and Daniel Graham into Royal Arch masonry in the presence of their Metropolitan Grand Inspector, E Comp Nick Critchlow PGSoj, escorted by Metropolitan Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies E Comp Adrian Sheridan LGCR. The ‘Exaltation Team’ of E Comps David Brower PAGDC and David Rose PGStB was led by First Principal, E Comp Andrew Farleigh SLGCR. The Chapter has advanced plans to Exalt a further four brethren across their February and June 2022 meetings. Over 30 thirsty attendees, including a retinue of senior Royal Arch masons from the Province of Middlesex and Metropolitan Grand Inspector E Comp John Parry PAGSoj, then retired to the nearby DoubleTree by Hilton for a well-deserved Festive Board. A wonderful day was merrily rounded off as Chapter member E Comp Alf Lawson was serenaded with a rendition of Happy Birthday to commemorate his 102nd birthday!
On 2nd October, Torch No 7236 Installed E Comp Kevin Sullivan as 1st, E Comp Karolis Bagdonas as 2nd and Comp Audrius Bagdonas as 3rd Principal respectively – a special ceremony given that Karolis and Audrius are blood brothers!
Three days later, also at Freemasons’ Hall, Anglo Sierra Leone Royal & Loyal No 9416 Installed E Comp Aliyu Salawu as 1st, E Comp Winston Davies as 2nd and Comp Hassan Kefel as 3rd Principal respectively.
On 13th October, Maguncor No 3806 held its Installation meeting at Mark Masons’ Hall. On Remembrance Sunday the following month, Companions of Maguncor Lodge and Chapter laid their traditional wreath of poppies at the Machine Gun Corps Memorial at Hyde Park Corner. The Lodge and Chapter were named Maguncor after the telegraphic code word used for ‘machine gun corps’ during the First World War and were consecrated in 1917 and 1924, respectively, by officers of the Machine Gun Corps.
Also at Mark Masons’ Hall, on 3rd December, Temple Chapter at Jerusalem No 4611 Exalted Bro John Abadom and will Exalt another Master Mason in May 2022 as part of Metropolitan Grand Chapter’s The Welcome Project. On 27th November 2021, in Freemasons’ Hall, Norfolk & Garden City Chapter No 2852 celebrated the Centenary of its consecration (23rd October 1920) with a visit from the Assistant Metropolitan Grand Superintendent E Comp Ian Clark PGSwdB.
E Comp Ian Clark was accompanied by E Comp David Swain PGSoj Met GSE, E Comp John Hughes MetGChap, E Comp Rob Chaproniere MetGInsp and E Comp Martin Kemble, the Chapter’s Senior Visiting Officer. E Comp Ron Jenkins, the Chapters Visiting Officer, was also in attendance. The Chapter was also further honoured with the presence of E Comp Emile Carr, The District Grand Superintendent for Sierra Leone and The Gambia Scribe Ezra, E Comp Trevor Armstrong, delivered an entertaining history of the Chapter concentrated on the theme of unity and was based on the Chapter’s motto, Amore Uniti or United Love.
Having been absent in a meaningful way since Spring 2019, the Annual Convocation of Metropolitan Grand Chapter will be held within the Grand Temple at Freemasons’ Hall on 6th April 2022 when London’s Royal Arch ‘family’ will again gather to honour and celebrate with all those receiving the preferment of LGCR and SLGCR and those being invested as Active Officers for the ensuing year. Make 6th April 2022 a date for the diary. It’s an occasion not to be missed!
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This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 50 December 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 50 here.