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Across the Plain The magazine of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Wiltshire

Summer 2017

Salisbury Cathedral

Trowbridge Civic Centre

Sunday 3rd September

Saturday 23rd September

Teddy Bears Picnic

Provincial Grand Lodge

Sunday 16th July

Thursday 5th October

Summer Edition 2017 page 1


As I write this article for the Summer edition of Across the Plain I am very aware that we are halfway through the year and all that entails. In the Winter 2016 edition I wrote of my hope that the Tercentenary of the formation of the First or Premier Grand Lodge would provide many opportunities to raise the public profile of Freemasonry. I am delighted to report that we have benefited from the positive media exposure generated by the numerous events and activities which have been held across the Province. Many of you will have seen the critically acclaimed series Inside the Freemasons a five part documentary produced by award winning Emporium Productions and shown on Sky 1. The production team was granted unparalleled access both to Freemasons’ Hall for the Quarterly Communication Meeting and other Provincial Masonic centres. Your comments and opinion on the television programme will be very welcome and should be forwarded to the Provincial Communication Officer. On the 5th July I will be attending the annual Provincial Grand Lodge of our near neighbours Hampshire & Isle of Wight when I will receive the Tercentenary Banner from RW Bro Michael Wilkes. After a short time in Wiltshire W Bro Stephen Bridge APrGM and his team will be organising the handover of the Tercentenary Banner to the Province of Dorset. Please do watch out for further news of this event and if you are free to attend I know Stephen will be delighted to see you. I am pleased to report a huge amount of interest in the Tercentenary Cathedral Service in the Cathedral Church of St Mary, Salisbury on Sunday 3rd September. I look forward to welcoming many members of the Province, their families and friends to this wonderful occasion which will be made even more special as Brethren will be allowed to wear full Masonic regalia in the cathedral during the service. This superb event will be a highlight of our Tercentenary celebrations and will be attended by RW Bro George Francis PAGM. Please remember, this is a family and friends event at which everyone will be made very welcome, especially to the celebration ‘tea party’ to be held in the Cathedral Cloisters for which a small charge of £10 per person will be made. Thank you for your wonderful support for the reception and lunch which is being held on Saturday 23rd September at Trowbridge Civic Centre, at which I will be revealing the total amount donated by the Brethren of the Province to the Masonic Samaritan Fund 2017 Festival. The lunch will also allow us to reflect on and celebrate the 300 years since the formation of the first Grand Lodge. Very sadly Peter Winton and Kevin Logan will not be with us, both having passed away in the final weeks of 2016. To say “we miss them” is inadequately to express the immense contribution that they made to the Province and these events in particular. It would be remiss of me not to mention the incredible work undertaken by the Festival Committee and the Tercentenary Team who have put in an amazing number of hours to make sure both events end with a superb finale. The new Provincial Reference Book has ‘hit the shelves’ and what a superb publication it is. For many, the Tercentenary hardback edition will find a privileged place alongside other weighty Masonic tomes which form the basis for much research as we make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge. We really have been very fortunate in having WBro Colin Cheshire as editor for the past five years; he leaves the task of improving on the Reference Book to WBro John Badger who takes over as editor with immediate effect. I am also happy to have previously announced the appointment of WBro David Davies to the office of Deputy Provincial Grand Master, he will be Invested at Provincial Grand Lodge in Salisbury on Thursday 5th October 2017. It was a great pleasure to visit Downton Lodge No.9064 and Harry C Preater Lodge No.8204 where I had the honour to name the Provincial Grand Wardens for 2018.

I am confident that WBro David Little and WBro Steve Lee will enjoy

their year in the office of Senior and Junior Warden respectively and be a great credit to the Province. I am also confident you will give them every support and encouragement. Dr. Tony Milsom has been a great supporter of the Province for many years and for the last six years has been Provincial Grand Chaplain. He has advised me of his wish to ‘stand down’ this year and I have appointed Bro Rev Canon Richard Hancock a member and Chaplain of Pleydell Lodge No.4687 as Tony’s successor. Bro Hancock will be Invested at the Summer Edition 2017 page 2


annual meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge on Thursday 5th October at Salisbury when I will appoint and invest my officers for the coming Masonic year. I offer my congratulations to every Brother who is receiving a first appointment or promotion in Provincial Grand Rank and would remind them that rank is not only a reward for past service, but it is to be regarded as an opportunity and incentive for further services to Masonry. An event I really am looking forward to attending is the Family Garden Party and Teddy Bears Picnic on Sunday 16th July at The Grange in Winterbourne Dauntsey. It will follow a similarly themed event held on Sunday 2ⁿd July by members of Highworth Lodge No.9009 in the garden at the home of John Bridgeman (Jnr) in North Swindon. I know other Lodges are keen to host similar days and I do encourage Brethren to consider hosting a Teddy Bears Picnic, even if it’s held in the Masonic Hall dining room. Stephen Bridge APrGM is leading the 300 hours for 300 years initiative and I am delighted to hear from him of the incredible efforts being made by members of Lodges throughout the Province. In particular I wish to congratulate Tony Haffenden and the members of Lodge of Friendship and Unity No.1271 who meet in Bradford-on-Avon, who, working in conjunction with the Canal and River Trust have really excelled themselves with the superb work they have undertaken. Having viewed some of the photographs I am in no doubt they really did ‘put their backs into the project. As we approach the summer months the Communication team will be out and about with the Provincial Display Unit. A new venue for 2017 is an appearance at the Stratton St Margaret Fair organised by Bro Gordon Lindsay of Methuen Lodge No.8692. Also planned are appearances for the two day Armed Forces weekend at Trowbridge and a day at Kemble (Cotswold Airport) for the ever popular Emergency Services Show. In addition the team will be supporting various Lodges taking part in National Heritage events during September. The team welcomes any help in setting up and taking down the display unit; if you can spare some time please contact Paul Brown who will be only too pleased to add your name to his list of ‘willing helpers’. Finally, I extend a warm welcome to new members and look forward to meeting you during my visits to the Lodges and to the many social events in the Province.

list is compiled from information provided by Lodge secretaries and covers the period from 15th June 2016 to 20th May 2017

Dan Gramlich Michael Mytech Philip Stinson Robert McDonald Colin Hill Mark Winter Jason Brooks-Stevens Russell Lewis Gregory Page Richard Thomas James Heaney Peter Taylor John Edwards Andrew Deegan Adrian Herbert Vincent Wheeler John Hammond Darren Lindsey Peter Bailey Wayne Cole

9548 4451 9540 3129 8788 1295 8547 6616 5908 586 4687 8747 8692 2644 9035 8240 8788 4037 8788 3129

Simon Williams Julian Hart Martin Stringer Craig Spensley Marcio Quaglio Kenneth Mallari Philip Whitmore David Hook Stephen Bemrose David Madigan Ian Powell Benjamin Kiely Timothy Herrington Christopher Egremont Mark MacKenzie Robert Firth Rowen Peare Neil Lucas Dale Martin

626 5908 8432 6616 8435 8977 5137 2888 7525 2227 4714 9090 355 4451 9064 626 8788 586 9090

Tom Hogg Edward Wilson Alexander Sansum Jason Bayliffe David Bradley Jason Whitmarsh Paul Johnson Nigel Henham Luke Winton David Bryant Jordan Marchant David Lent Stuart Thompson Tony Evans Joshua Bates Nicholas Reed Neil Halliley Massimiliano Mazzone John Matthews

Summer Edition 2017 page 3

9009 9035 355 8977 9035 663 1271 1295 7525 663 4451 1478 6616 4714 1533 626 9064 9587 632

Jason Finlay Adrian Noble Darren Grinter Jordan Butler Christopher Pearse Stanislav Tsvetkov Gerald Proctor Patrick Quinn Mark Nelson Daniel Simmons Malcolm Matthieson Kemsley Whittlesea Nicholas Tye Christopher Darker Sean Biggins Gordon Owen Franz Delaney Andrew Flynn Mark Chester

5955 9540 5955 663 9064 4451 6114 4037 626 8620 8747 9540 663 5137 586 8435 1533 8977 2888


W. Bro Stephen Bridge PSGD, APrGM The Tercentenary of the first or premier Grand Lodge of England, or 300 amazing years of English Freemasonry has brought with it enormous opportunities for celebration, for fun, for pride in who we are and what we represent, to engage with our communities and to grow our Order, and I hope you will agree that the Tercentenary is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate your membership of our unique Order. But what is the Tercentenary about, and what exactly is it that Freemasons across the globe are celebrating? Let me answer that by first telling you what it isn’t. It isn’t about the coming together of the two Grand Lodges, the Antients and the Moderns, that event occurred in 1813 and brought about the creation of the United Grand Lodge of England. Several observant Wiltshire Brethren have properly corrected statements which have suggested the Tercentenary is a celebration of that union. With the founding of the first or premier Grand Lodge in London on 24th June 1717, organized Freemasonry was born. The four ‘Old Lodges’ that met at the Goose and Gridiron ale house in St. Paul's Churchyard elected one of their number, Anthony Sayer (Oldest Master Mason and then Master of a Lodge) as Grand Master and agreed to hold a Grand Feast once a year. Sayer also appointed Grand Wardens and "commanded the Master and Wardens of Lodges to meet the Grand Officers every Quarter in Communication" although there is no evidence that these meetings ever took place. For the first three years of its existence Grand Lodge simply provided an opportunity of an annual social gathering of London Lodges. There was no attempt, nor apparently any intention, to exercise control over Provincial Lodges. The four Lodges began to attract men of intellect, notably Dr. John Theophilus Desaguliers Grand Master in 1719 and other members of the Royal Society and the aristocracy, including John 2nd Duke of Montagu, the first noble Grand Master who changed the Grand Lodge from a simple Feast to a regulatory body. By 1730 the Grand Lodge had published its Constitutions, kept official Minutes; issued an annual List of Regular Lodges; set up a Charity Committee and Central Charity Fund; held authority over seventy four Lodges in England and Wales, and had begun to export the Craft abroad by issuing deputations to form lodges in Gibraltar and India. Development at home was aided by the appointment by patent of Provincial Grand Masters to represent the Grand Master in the Counties. The success of the premier Grand Lodge was crowned in 1782 by the installation of HRH Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland as Grand Master. During the early days of the craft there were no permanent Masonic Halls or Temples, and lodges were usually held in taverns or coffee houses. From the latter part of the 17th century the following pattern was followed. First, the candidate took an obligation on the Bible to preserve the mysteries of the craft. The word and sign were then communicated and the charges and legendary history were read. By 1700 a two-degree system, of entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft, was in place, and in the 1720's, a third degree, that of Master Mason, made its appearance. Gradually, the ceremonies became more elaborate. The obligation, accompanied now by a physical penalty, was followed by the communication of the sign and word of the degree in question, while in the second part of the ceremony there was a short catechism, using the simple symbolism based on the stonemason's tools, in which the ceremony and the purpose of the degree were explained. From the 1770's, these explanations began to be expanded, incorporating additional working tools as symbols of particular virtues and symbolical explanations of the candidate's preparation for each degree, as well as of the lodge furniture and members’ regalia. Today the basic framework of the craft in England is effectively the same as it has been since a standard of ritual was introduced in 1816. To recognise this unique chapter in our long history, the Grand Master HRH the Duke of Kent has approved a new permanent jewel to commemorate the Tercentenary of Grand Lodge. It is a particularly attractive jewel and I know that many Wiltshire Brethren have already been seen wearing their Tercentenary jewel. Summer Edition 2017 page 4


While there is no statutory rule, the Board Of General Purposes

Having travelled from Devon to Jersey,

has determined that the new jewel should be

then on to Guernsey and Alderney the

worn to the left of the Royal Arch Chapter jewel

Tercentenary Banner will return to the

(which has precedence). This should be followed

mainland to the safe keeping of the Province of Hampshire and

by the Provincial Festival jewel and then any other

Isle of Wight. Philip Bullock will receive the banner from his

approved Lodge jewel.

fellow Provincial Grand Master RW Bro Michael Wilks at the

On Tuesday 31st October 2017 the Tercentenary of the First or Premier Grand Lodge will be marked

Provincial Grand Lodge meeting of Hampshire and Isle of Wight on Wednesday 5th July at Southampton Guildhall.

at a meeting to be held in London’s iconic Royal

After a brief stay in Wiltshire there will be a handover of the

Albert Hall. This event will be attended by

Tercentenary Banner to RW Bro Richard Merritt Provincial

Freemasons from across the world. Wiltshire will be well

Grand Master for Dorset.

represented on this unique occasion with over forty Brethren being invited to join in the celebrations.

Assistant Provincial Grand Master Stephen Bridge has confirmed that as soon as the details for the handover are

After the official celebrations at the Royal Albert Hall, there

finalised all Lodge secretaries will be notified. In addition an

will be a formal banquet hosted by the Grand Master HRH The

announcement will appear in the monthly newsletter.

Duke of Kent at The Evolution at Battersea.

300 hours for 300 years beyond the Terecentenary

However, more than 200 members of the Wiltshire Masonic Family will join their hosts Black Rod Lt. Gen. David Leakey and Justin Tomlinson MP for North Swindon for dinner when they experience the unique opportunity of enjoying the hospitality of the House of Lords or the House of Commons.

Assistant Provincial Grand Master Stephen Bridge considers the 300 hours for 300 years initiative to have been such a great success that he feels the scheme should continue beyond 2017. Giving time as a volunteer is as much an act of charity as giving money and can be twice as rewarding. If your Lodge is doing something for 300 hours for 300 years let us know. The PrGM has already mentioned how Brethren from Lodge of Friendship and Unity No.1271 have been out in force

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volunteering with the Canal and Rivers Trust. The project has really captured the imagination of the local townsfolk with many of them expressing their appreciation and thanks to the Brethren from the Lodge.

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A very busy Almoner and Charity Steward

If every Lodge in the Province raises just ÂŁ250 each year for Teddies for Loving Care we can continue to support the Accident and Emergency departments in Salisbury and Swindon Summer Edition 2017 page 5


W. Bro Stephen Bridge PSGD, APrGM Of all the messages which have resonated through the portals of Freemasons’ Hall following the recent member surveys the clearest one has been the desire of newly made Freemasons to know more about who we are and what we do. With one voice they are asking for more information about the ceremonies in which they participate, the symbolism of Freemasonry, their origins, and equally importantly their moral message. I am persuaded we must take every opportunity to communicate and emphasise to Lodges the importance of Masonic education becoming a normal part of their core activity, something that features as part of the forward planning programme rather than being something they do when they haven’t got anything else to do!

I appreciate the potential apprehension

that is inherent in this message in that Lodges want to get candidates initiated, progress them through the degrees and ultimately into the Chair, and many will say that they just haven’t got time to schedule in other activities. However, if we consider the results of recent surveys and reports we know that often such a claim does not hold up to scrutiny. If we are going to attract and retain members who are engaged in Freemasonry and see value in their membership we must do more to meet the demand for greater knowledge and understanding in the purpose of membership as a whole. I want to ensure that every Wiltshire Freemason is motivated, encouraged and appropriately supported to pursue a journey of personal Masonic development and learning in a manner and at a time which is suitable for him and which meets or exceeds both his individual aspirations and needs. To achieve this objective we must deliver timely, appropriate and high quality learning and development opportunities in order to create an environment and culture within Wiltshire whereby every member feels engaged, valued and able to gain the maximum pleasure and benefit from his Masonic membership. We have some incredibly talented

‘teachers’ within our ranks, Brethren with vast experience and insight such as

Bro Michael Lee who continues to offer nuggets from his ‘notes from a preceptors handbook’ (see page 11).

I am

sure you will recall the third working tool of an Entered Apprentice Freemason - ‘the chisel points out to us the advantages of education by which means we are rendered fit members of regularly organised society’. I trust you will find our new education programme very worthwhile. As many of you will know I am an avid ‘history buff’ and I continue to be thrilled at what can be discovered about our very own Province. In the May newsletter the Provincial Grand Master

referred to

his visit to Freemasons’ Hall on the 25th April when he was joined by the Master of Gooch Lodge No.1295 WBro Bruce Broughton-Johnson and WBro John Sturgeon IPM at the unveiling by the MW Grand Master HRH the Duke of Kent of the tribute to the 64 Freemasons awarded the Victoria Cross, the Nation’s highest honour for Valour. Included in this list of heroes was the late Bro William Gosling VC who was awarded his Victoria Cross at the age of twenty-four years old when serving in the 3rd Wessex Brigade RA near Arras in France. A mortar bomb

fired by Sergeant Gosling's battery fell only ten

yards from the mortar, near to front-line infantry. Sergeant Gosling left the safety of the trench, lifted the nose of the bomb which had sunk into the ground, unscrewed the fuse, and threw it onto the ground where it immediately exploded. This action undoubtedly saved the lives of the whole detachment, and for this action he was quite rightly awarded the Victoria Cross. William Gosling was initiated in Gooch Lodge on 19th January 1944. Interestingly WBro Bert Fluck father of screen star Diana Dors took part in the ceremony of Raising by delivering the Traditional History. Summer Edition 2017 page 6


The Editor Computers - what would we do without them? Just as I’m getting to the critical stage in setting out the page layout for Across the Plain my PC starts to play up, and when I say play up it’s a big time problem. The machine is so slow I have time to make a cup of tea between key strokes, everything seems to be happening in slow motion - what to do? A phone call to my friend Adrian Road in Corsham who took my ailing PC into his workshop (a real Aladdin’s cave) and one new hard drive later plus some tender loving care my computer is whizzing along and Across the Plain is back on track. Whew! The Summer edition of Across the Plain is unashamedly slanted towards the Tercentenary of the formation of the first or premier Grand Lodge. How could it be anything else given that we are in full celebration mode for 300 years of organised Freemasonry? We are fortunate to have a team of people who are willing and able to offer insightful views on the formation of the first Grand Lodge. On page 10 Paul Sharp asks ‘Why 1717?’ and over the next WBro Ian Lever PrGStwd has once more used his

few editions he will offer his hypothesis on why the date was all

creative talents to design the front cover for the

important, while Stephen Bridge examines the outcomes of the

Summer 2017 edition of Across the Plain. The theme

meeting at The Goose and Gridiron and how those decisions have

of the cover is ‘Celebrating the Tercentenary’ of the

influenced modern day Freemasonry (page 4)

formation of the First or Premier Grand Lodge.

Preparations continue apace for the evensong Tercentenary

Important information.

Service in Salisbury Cathedral on Sunday 3rd September. It will be

While every care is taken in the compilation of Across

marvellous to see the Cathedral filled to capacity. To round off

The Plain, errors or omissions are not the responsibility

what I am sure will be an incredible day there will be a post service

of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Wiltshire or the editor.

reception in the Cathedral Cloisters.

Opinions and views expressed are not necessarily those

Final arrangements have been concluded for the visit to the Royal

of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Wiltshire or the editor.

Albert Hall on Tuesday 31st October and dinner in either the Lords

Products or businesses advertised in Across The Plain do

of Commons. Colin Cheshire has applied military planning to

not carry any endorsement or recommendation by the

ensure the event is a great success, and having accompanied him

Provincial Grand Lodge of Wiltshire or the editor. All

as he reconnoitred the venues I can assure you that everything has

rights reserved.

been checked and double checked.

subject to editorial approval and the editor reserves the right to review and amend or reject all copy. Any image supplied and used becomes the property of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Wiltshire. Advertisement requests are welcome. Editor: Des Morgan. editor@pglwilts.org.uk Reviewers: Barry Cooper, Francis Wakem, Colin Cheshire, Norman Logan, Michael Lee. Images: Adrian Wooster, Gary Dolphin, Phil Elliott. Media Contact: Tony Batchelor. Royal Arch Communication: Alan Colman.

Use this voucher and get 20% off when you spend £5 or more at the Refectory or Gbell Tower Tea Rooms

All submissions for inclusion in Across The Plain are

Twitter: @wiltspgl

Summer Edition 2017 page 7


W. Bro Andrew Tiffin PPrSGW It hardly seems five years ago that Francis Wakem and Peter Winton engaged in an imaginary game of Quidditch (can you remember Harry Potter?) as the Province launched the Masonic Samaritan Fund 2017 Wiltshire Festival, and what an experience the past five years has been. I have witnessed the simple truth that charity is truly that virtue which can be said to be the distinguishing characteristic of a Freemason’s heart, and have seen it cheerfully practised by so many Brethren and their families; and it is to the families of Freemasons that I wish to extend a particularly huge thank you for all the help and support you have given during the five years of festival. We may not say it enough but we really appreciate all you do. Peter Winton, who sadly passed away in December, was minded to write in the previous edition of Across the Plain, “Whenever I visit a Lodge to receive a cheque for the Festival I am often left with a sense of awe and wonder at the scale and diversity of events which have led to significant sums of money being raised. One thing I never forget is that every pound given to the Masonic Samaritan Fund comes out of your pocket and is testament to your generosity”. I know he would be thrilled that the Province is on target to raise in excess of £750,000 a truly remarkable achievement. I am able to confirm that our plans for celebrating the conclusion of the Festival have been finalised and an invitation to the joint Tercentenary and 2017 Festival lunch at the Civic Centre, Trowbridge on Saturday 23 September 2017 has been extended to very member of the Province. Please do make a diary note of this event as I can confirm tickets to this event have been keenly sought. Even though it is a little over eight weeks away you can contact WBro Ian Dunbar either by email or telephone to register your attendance. Ian will be delighted to receive payment of £35 per person. Email Ian on 2017dinner@pglwilts.org.uk We are delighted that Deputy Grand Master RW Bro Jonathan Spence and Grand Registrar RW Bro Richard Hone QC. will be present at this event together with Les Hutchinson CEO of the Masonic Charitable Foundation. Further details will be communicated to your Lodge secretary over the next few weeks and the Masonic Samaritan Fund Committee members look forward to welcoming you to Trowbridge where the Provincial Grand Master, on your behalf will hand over a very large cheque to our guest of honour. I am pleased to confirm that Leigh Catering of Chippenham have put together a superb luncheon menu which Ian Dunbar has sent out to everyone who has booked a seat for the event. If you haven’t received notification, here are the menu options.

Menu Classic Chicken Caesar Roasted Chicken Breast over slices of Romaine Lettuce; served with shavings of fresh Parmesan, Chunky Croutons and Crisp Pancetta drizzled

with a classic Caesar Sauce. Salmon and Prawn Roulade Fresh Prawns with Avocado and creamed cheese; infused with Dill and wrapped in Scottish Smoked Salmon. Grilled Vegetable Terrine (V) Layers of Grilled Bell Peppers, Red Onion and Courgette wrapped in Aubergine with a Pesto Mayonaisse. *****************

Stuffed Chicken Breast Stuffed with Scottish Oatmeal and minced Pork; wrapped in Serrano Ham with new potatoes and a mushroom sauce. Poached Salmon Served with New Potatoes and a Hollandaise Sauce. Goats Cheese, Spinach and Mushroom Wellington (V) Served with New Potatoes and a rich Tomato Sauce. ***************** Golden Chocolate Brownie - Served with Ice Cream and a Golden finish. Strawberry Cheesecake - Served with Chantilly Cream. Fresh Fruit Salad - Served with Pouring Cream

Summer Edition 2017 page 8


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Across the Plain Across the Plain is the magazine for Freemasons and their families in Wiltshire. It is published twice yearly generally being posted to the homes of over 2,200 Wiltshire Freemasons and their families in June and November. It is supported by a monthly newsletter. The magazine contains a mixture of informative articles, news and views plus a very popular quiz and comments page. It is also published online. Advertising and member support ensures we can mail Across the Plain free of charge to members; if you wish to advertise please contact - editor@pglwilts.org.uk Summer Edition 2017 page 9


Bro Paul Sharp Gooch Lodge No.1295

On the 24th of June 2017, Freemasonry celebrated its 300th anniversary. An exciting time to be a Craft Freemason in this landmark year. While reflecting on the significance of the occasion, this author pondered on why and how the date was chosen - random act or carefully selected. This would depend on the true status of Freemasonry at this time. Was it the launch of a new fraternity, the formalisation of an existing group or the conclusion of unfinished business originating in medieval times? It is believed that the date of 24th June 1717 was agreed at a meeting in the Apple Tree Tavern, London, in 1716. Following on from the 1717 launch, it was further agreed to hold regular ‘quarterly’ events, yet there is some doubts that these took place. This raises a number of questions. Q1: Why wait a year? It is common practice to conduct a ‘pilot’ or ‘soft’ launch yet at this time, lodge meetings had no formal structure or ritual and therefore there would appear to have been little to prepare. Q2: Why was the Goose and Gridiron Tavern chosen? Agreement to launch was made in the Apple Tree Tavern. Why not use this venue in honour of Sir Isaac Newton. Q3: Why were the follow up meetings never held or at least recorded as having taken place? These were predominantly social events for the benefit of like minded individuals. They provided an opportunity to discuss matters, some of which were still deemed to be ‘heresy’. Q4: The 24th of June is the birth date of John the Baptist - an important date to many including the Knights Templar but by default, this is an annual event. It could be argued that the actual date does not matter but that we should rather rejoice that it happened and celebrate the occasion. Maybe - but at some point in ritual we are all required to confirm the research objectives of the degree. The attached image is the ‘tracing board’ presented to W.Bro John Sturgeon (Gooch No.1295) at the end of his term as Master. It presents the logic used to formulate this author's hypothesis that the date of the 24th of June 1717 was carefully chosen. The hypothesis makes a number of assumptions. In no particular order, they are: A1: The link between the Knights Templar and Freemasonry continues to be debated but by this very act, the belief of a formal link survives. A2: The history and ritual of the craft reflects the influence of Alchemy, the Kabbalah, Mathematics, Numerology and Gnostic beliefs. A3: Allegory, symbols and cipher have been used to protect knowledge which if exposed, would have put the guardians of such knowledge at considerable risk. A4: Many of those associated with the preparation and launch of modern Freemasonry were men of influence and science. They would have understood the influences presented in Assumption 2. Over the next two publications of ‘Across the Plain’, this author will endeavour to prove the hypothesis that the date of the 24th of June 1717 is much more than a single fixed point in history. Editor’s Note: Paul Sharp is a retired RAMC / RAF officer, married to Wendy they have three daughters and live in Purton. He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1970 to start a career in Pathology and is a Fellow of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences. On being commissioned, he was posted to the Pathology Laboratory, RAF Princess Alexandra Hospital, Wroughton. He transferred his commission to the Medical Branch of the RAF in 1992 and remained at RAF Wroughton until its closure in 1996. On redundancy from the RAF he founded HiruMed Ltd in September 1996. Paul was initiated into Gooch Lodge No.1295 in December 2015. Summer Edition 2017 page 10


W. Bro Michael Lee CBE, PAGDC How often does a chat over a glass of a (medicinal) Single Malt turn to wondering how old Bill (or Bert or Brian…) is now. ‘It seems years since we have seen him. He was such a loyal member.’ Incidentally have you noticed how Freemasons are almost by definition warm hearted, and as the Malt does its work we ask ourselves why don’t we make him an Honorary Member? Momentum gathers and in the Lodge Committee none can possibly speak against. What a wonderful gesture we opine. Or is it…? Rule 167 of the Book of Constitutions sets out the ground rules and is both comprehensive and clear. What might be the advantages? Let us list them. 1. It is a public gesture of respect and affection by the Brethren of the Lodge for the Freemason so honoured. 2. He is relieved of all future fees paid to the Lodge and, it follows, the Lodge is in turn relieved of any dues owing to the Province and to Grand Lodge. (Just don’t tell the Provincial Grand Treasurer what you propose to do). 3. He remains a member of the Lodge and is entitled to receive the Agenda and any circulated Minutes. This seems convincing. Are there any disadvantages? Indeed there are - and some in fact are substantial. Much will depend on whether or not the Honorary Member subscribes to another Craft Lodge. Rule 127 imposes a serious disability on any Honorary Member who is not also a subscribing member elsewhere. This Rule precludes him from visiting another named Lodge more than once – not just once per year but throughout his lifetime! This is or should be quite a sobering thought. (This does not apply of course to his own Lodge or Lodge of Instruction). As an Honorary Member he may not take formal office in his Lodge – except, interestingly, as an elected Tyler. Rule 104 (b). He may be invited from time to time - to stand in for an absent Officer. He may not vote in his Lodge and, just like a Visitor, he should refrain from offering an opinion especially on any financially related matter - to which of course he does not contribute. It follows that, as an 'elder statesman', his advice in his Lodge Committee would assuredly be welcome but he should be cautious about initiating discussion if there are possible financial overtones. He should never invite a personal guest unless he has sought and been given express permission by the Master. All these caveats may seem cruel and unfair towards a man whom the Lodge wishes to see honoured. The rationale of United Grand Lodge is simple. No one should enjoy the privileges of Freemasonry (other than within the Lodge that honoured him) unless he is actually contributing financially towards the good of the whole. Phrased in less formal language: 'No one is entitled to a free ride'. Still want to propose Bill or Bert or Brian? Think long and hard. Take into account his health, his pattern of Lodge activity and his other Craft interests. Honorary Membership can be a supreme reward - but it may also become a heavy cross to bear. Editor’s note. Michael Lee was for many years Preceptor in Stonehenge Lodge No.6114 meeting in Salisbury where he regularly delivered lectures and short talks on a wide range of topical subjects. This is the fourth in a series of short lectures from Michael’s Notes from a Preceptor’s Handbook for which we are most grateful. In the winter 2017 edition of Across the Plain Michael explains the meaning behind the phrase ...that every Brother has had his due Primarily the aim of The Sarsen Club is to organise and host events of a social or Masonically educational nature to enable younger Freemasons to meet each other in an environment which encourages them to become more involved and develop their wider knowledge of Freemasonry, its traditions, ceremonies and ethos. To discover how you can become involved with the social and educational activities of The Sarsen Club please contact David Little or Mark Shaw by emailing sarsenclub@pglwilts.org.uk Summer Edition 2017 page 11


The Grand Superintendent Companions, one of the most frequent questions I am asked by Freemasons throughout the Province is “When should I join Chapter?” My answer is always the same “When you feel it is right for you”. The Preliminary Declaration in the Book of Constitutions tells us that the Royal Arch is part of ‘pure Antient Masonry which consists of three degrees and no more, the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft and the Master Mason, including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch. You may be surprised to learn that this pronouncement was necessary to resolve a difference between the two Grand Lodges at the time of the Union in 1813 with the Premier Grand Lodge viewing the Royal Arch as a separate and distinct society, whereas the Antients held an opposite view: they claimed it as a fourth degree. Two hundred years ago Laurence Dermott, the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of the Antients said, “the Royal Arch is the root, heart and marrow of Freemasonry”. Now, while for some the view of Dermott may seem a little exaggerated, for others it will strike a chord and offer vindication to their zeal in seeking new members. However, the Provincial Grand Master and myself are of one mind on this matter; any Master Mason is entitled to join the Holy Royal Arch one month after being Raised. But let me be clear, the decision must be for the Brother to make, and the objective must always be to assist in enabling a Brother to make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge and not to simply increase Chapter numbers. I am particularly delighted to be able to welcome a number of new Companions to our ranks. It has been my pleasure and privilege to meet most if not all of them as I have visited their Chapter. If I have not yet had the opportunity to personally welcome you to Wiltshire Royal Arch Masonry please do let me know when I next visit your Chapter. I am also pleased to make particular mention of the family connections in the Royal Arch (see picture on page 14) Companions, at the recent Annual Provincial Convocation I was able to confirm the Royal Arch has donated £10,500 to the Masonic Samaritan Fund 2017 Wiltshire Festival. I am absolutely delighted to congratulate Companions throughout the Province for your support which has been most generous, and I know that every pound given will make a significant impact on the final figure; which, incidentally, will be announced at the Festival Luncheon on Saturday 23rd September at the Civic Centre in Trowbridge. Speaking of which, Carol and I look forward to joining the Provincial Grand Master and Sally at the luncheon and welcoming Companions and their wives to the event. In this edition of Across the Plain there is an article on the new Masonic Charitable Foundation, please do take time to read it and discover more about the work of the newly formed charity. The Royal Arch communication team work closely with the Craft team in planning and developing promotional material, and I am sure Companions who attended Provincial Grand Lodge will have seen the new Royal Arch pop up display unit and table banner which we will use at various locations in the future. I am delighted that the Royal Arch has a significant presence on the website. Some of our Chapters have taken the opportunity to place a Google calendar showing the dates of meetings and other Chapter activities - please consider following their example. I am sure we all have a tale to tell, and a few words with a photograph will keep the website fresh and interesting. This is our shop window providing a showcase of the Order to which we are so proud to belong. Please send news items with a picture to editor@pglwilts.org.uk For those who visit the website on a regular basis please take time to read my address to the Annual Convocation held at Melksham on Saturday 13th May.

Are you interested in joining a local Chapter ? www.pglwilts.org.uk/royal-arch/royal-arch-news/ Summer Edition 2017 page 12


“Now is not the time to be complacent” A warm welcome to our new Companions Ryan

Hartley

663

Michael

Swanton

9009

Anthony

Bonner

1271

Graeme

Lewis

9009

Graham

Penney

586

Malcolm

Davies

355

Clive

Stainer

626

Geoff

Johnson

1478

John

Memory

6114

Bryan

Fuller

4714

Mark

Shaw

9090

Ian

Gould

663

David

Wallace

586

Robert

Speed

9090

Robert

Smith

1533

Simon

Lunt

632

Michael

Leighfield

355

Lee

Flanagan

9009

Gary

Tabor

632

James

Stirland

6114

Paul

Noke

1478

Peregrine

Perrott

1295

Robert

Parsons

2888

Leslie

Welling

663

Anthony

German

663

Paul

Ginger

626

Peter

Blakeman

3129

Paul

Taylor

632

John

Mitchell

6114

Kevin

McCarthy

4714

David

Vines

1533

Edward

Reed

2888

Ashley

Croft

1533

Alan

McCrae

9090

Andrew

Cocker

1478

Ian

Dunbar

626

Geoffrey Brewer

663

Ian

Rex

663

David

Plotkin

9009

Andrew

Roan

632

Robert

Hogg

1271

Norman

Webster

2888

Brian

Stevens

586

Arthur

Grun

2888

Joshua

Konynenburg 1533

Phillip

Henry

1478

Cliff

Fiander

4714

Companions, I am delighted to have been able to report that for the first time in a number of years we have experienced growth in our membership in this Province and I congratulate every Chapter for contributing to this success. Of course you will all appreciate that our numbers in the Royal

The next step for Master Masons Complete your journey The Order of the Holy Royal Arch, more familiarly known as Chapter, is the ultimate step in ‘pure Antient Masonry’

It is closely associated with the Craft and is an extension of the preceding three degrees in Craft Freemasonry. In the Royal Arch, the Exaltation ceremony provides an added spiritual dimension and follows on from the Master Mason’s third degree by recovering that which was lost. It is the essence of Freemasonry, the foundation and keystone of the whole Masonic structure. Which is another way of stating what The Grand Superintendent has said on the previous page when quoting Dermott, “the Royal Arch is the root, heart and marrow of Freemasonry” Every Master Mason should take the opportunity of discovering these qualities for himself by joining the Holy Royal Arch. The ceremonies in the Holy Royal Arch are colourful, thought provoking and uplifting. They are based on the legend surrounding the rebuilding of King Solomon’s Temple and invoke simultaneous sensations of humility and our dependence on our unseen creator. If you have any questions or would like to know more about joining the Royal Arch, then please speak to your Lodge Royal Arch representative whose name appears on the Summons and can also be found in the Provincial Reference Book.

Arch are inextricably tied to the numbers in the Craft. It is good to know that the increase of Craft numbers continues to be above the national average and in 2017 is positive and one hopes this bodes well for the future in this Province. Now is not the time to become complacent, but the year ahead continues to look positive with many Chapters reporting a good number of Candidates waiting to join this wonderful Order. Companions, we need to improve the awareness and heighten the interest of potential Candidates so they become more inquisitive to want to find out more about the Royal Arch and that next step. This will not be achieved if we do not engage with them.

Talk to your Lodge Royal Arch Representative www.pglwilts.org.uk/royal-arch/royal-arch-news/ Summer Edition 2017 page 13


A family affair

The McEvoys

The Smiths

The Reeds

The Fullers

Summer Edition 2017 page 14


Ian Priest PAGDC For those without access to the internet, the Masonic Charitable Foundation will make arrangements to collect votes by telephone or by a postal vote. Voting will take place in June and July 2017 with the winners being announced in the autumn This will give the MCF time to incorporate some of the winning charities into the Grand Lodge Tercentenary celebrations taking place at the Royal Albert Hall in October 2017. To ensure that we support charities that are providing services and support, which reflects the interests and values of the community in Wiltshire, the Provincial team has selected four charities they believe are deserving of a grant. The PrGM and Ian Priest with nominated charities

The four Wiltshire charities nominated are: The John McNeill

At the recently held Charity Presentation Evening I was

Opportunity Centre based in Salisbury, SMASH located in

delighted to be able to announce the names of the four

Swindon, Hope Farm Trust situated in Trowbridge and The

Wiltshire charities which will benefit from the The Masonic

Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust covering the county.

Charitable Foundation Community awards initiative.

It is very important to the Foundation that those Freemasons,

The Grand Charity has committed an additional ÂŁ3 million to

who support their work so generously through Festivals,

be awarded in the form of 300 grants to local and regional

legacies and in other ways, see that they are redirecting

charities across the Provinces and Metropolitan Grand Lodge

significant amounts of their donations back into the areas

in 2017. Aptly called The MCF Community Awards, they are

where they live. The MCF hopes that, through your positive

intended to raise the profile of the Foundation within the

promotion of these Awards, we will be able to achieve this

Masonic, non-masonic and charity sector communities, whilst

together.

at the same time acknowledging and celebrating the 300th anniversary of the first Grand Lodge.

For more detailed information, please visit the MCF website https://mcf.org.uk/charities/

Through these grants we hope to assist in supporting the disadvantaged in our community� showing that we have a more practical outlook on the problems encountered within our Province.

If you are a Wiltshire Freemason and would like to know more about the awards scheme, please email the Provincial Grand Charity Steward, Ian Priest.

For the first time in the history of the Masonic charities, it is proposed that we reach out directly to the wider non-Masonic population to ask them how they would like the Masonic community to support people in need. We intend to ask the public to vote on a shortlist of registered charities that your Provincial team have approved. In this way, we hope to reach as many people as possible, who may be unfamiliar with our work and with Freemasonry more generally. The size of grant that will be given to each charity will be decided by way of a public vote, with the most popular charity receiving the largest grant.

Every charity that we have

Voting begins on

nominated will receive a grant. The MCF will be creating an online voting page on their website, which will allow the public, including our Provincial Masonic community and their families,

Monday 12th June 2017

to vote for the charity they want most to support. Summer Edition 2017 page 15

mcf.org.uk/vote


Ian Priest PAGDC, PGChStwd As we approach the end of the MSF Wiltshire 2017 Festival it

Provincial Grand Master has made

seems right and proper to reflect on the amazing success of the

clear that any Festival target for

Festival which was only possible due to the incredible generosity

our Province must reflect our size

of Wiltshire Freemasons.

and

Visiting Lodges across the Province has been informative and interesting in equal measure, and I have been impressed with the many suggestions made with regard to future fundraising. I have been asked by a number of Brethren who having opened

membership;

he

also

recognises that there are other local,

regional

and

personal

economic influences to consider in the setting of targets.

a Charity Chest direct debit if they can continue their planned

One of the most difficult discussions I am sometimes required

giving programme after the Festival period comes to an end; to

to have is with regard to legacy giving. It was Benjamin Franklin

which of the course the answer is “yes you can”.

More

who penned the words “In this world nothing can be said to be

importantly, it is something I would encourage everyone to do.

certain, except death and taxes” And with this in mind I am

The overarching condition attached to any form of giving is that laid down in the Charity Charge “to give as your circumstances in life fairly allow”.

sometimes asked if I can advise how best can a gift be made to the Province which only becomes relevant upon the death of the donor. Approaching such a subject is not for the fainthearted but can actually be quite energising in its own way.

In our Lodges there are usually three recognised forms of giving. The collection of alms (usually in the Lodge Room), ad hoc raffles (usually at the Festive Board) and planned or smooth giving (usually by way of a regular monthly donation to the Lodge Charity Chest). The Brother overseeing charitable giving is the

As the membership of our Lodges shows a growth in the more mature Freemason, it naturally follows that consideration of individual mortality cannot be ignored, particularly when a voracious taxman stands ready to claim his due.

Lodge Charity Steward an appointee of the Master. His role also

Legacy giving, made through the expression contained in a Will

includes nominating charities which might benefit from your

is one way of making sure your money is used to provide for

Lodge giving programme.

family members, reward friends and to assist causes and

Giving is not restricted to Masonic charities, indeed much of the

charities dear to your heart.

giving undertaken by your Lodge may well be to non-Masonic

If you want to give the Province something in your Will, you can

organisations such as the local scouts, the Royal British Legion

leave it either as:

and your local hospice. Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) is one of

the few charities which can be classified as both Masonic and non-Masonic simply due to its history and present day connections.

A fixed amount of money, known as a ‘pecuniary legacy’

A share of what’s left of your estate once all costs and other legacies are paid out, known as a ‘residuary legacy’.

During a time of Festival the Province is asked to support a specific Masonic charity; when Wiltshire is next called upon to hold a Festival, which will not be before 2022, we will be supporting the Masonic Charitable Foundation. As I have pointed out previously, the new charity will continue to distribute funds to Freemasons, their dependants and nonMasonic causes. In some Provinces support for non-Masonic causes is suspended during the period of Festival whereas in Wiltshire that is not the case at all and Lodges are positively encouraged to continue their support of favourite and well loved local charities. I am often asked whether our support for other charities impacts on the Festival target. Please let me assure you that the

As your Will is a legally binding document, and the subject of charitable legacies can be complex, it’s sensible to seek professional help when making a legacy in your will. A local solicitor can make sure you have completed all the formalities correctly and offer guidance on the law in respect of Inheritance Tax. Planning your will can lead to your estate paying less Inheritance Tax to the government. If you are interested in making a Legacy Gift to the Province please do feel free to contact me. My aim is to provide you with the information and assistance which will enable you to plan your legacy gift. Please be assured all discussions will be conducted in the strictest of confidence.

Summer Edition 2017 page 16


Have your say Have you a question to ask,or is there something you want to know about Freemasonry? Maybe you just want to express a view or make a comment,

The Provincial Grand Master replies to your question: Q. I really want to know more about Freemasonry, it’s history and the symbols we use. There seems to be so much I don’t know and no one seems to want to tell me anything.

whatever it is why not write to the

A. The subject of our Masonic history has occupied

Provincial Grand Master?

the minds of many eminent men of intellectual

ATPLetters@pglwilts.org.uk All letters and emails are subject to editorial control. Regrettably due to space not all letters can be published.

prowess, and the number of books written on Masonic symbolism could fill a library. However, it really is good that you and many other Brethren are actively seeking to make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge.

A photo is always welcome but please

It is incumbent on me and the education team to provide you with the tools to

only send high definitition images.

acquire that priceless knowledge.

Would you like to play a part in

The Assistant Provincial Grand Master Stephen Bridge, no mean historian himself,

promoting Freemasonry in the

is a member of a small team charged by UGLE with developing an education

Province, can you write media

programme which will grip the imagination of Freemasons of all ages, particularly

copy? The Communication Team

younger Brethren who have a desire to learn more about our Ancient and

would be pleased to hear from

Honourable Institution. In this edition of Across the Plain Stephen writes about

you. pco@pglwilts.org.uk

the reason for the Tercentenary and develops the theme of education. W.Bro Rev. Richard Maslen offers a fascinating insight into the history of St Aldhelm

Famous Masons Anagrams

Lodge No.2888, W.Bro Michael Lee explains the pros and cons of Honorary Membership and Bro Paul Sharp challenges us to think “Why 1717?”

rousing mortals

angelic knot

a bus notice

dart cocky vet

Never be afraid to ask if you are uncertain of the relevance or meaning of

glib river in

whoa jenny

something there will always be someone willing and able to answer your question.

beginner tenors

ivory herald

turns robber

plug dairy drink

becalm clamp moll

sorry ogre

tree spellers

low sidecar

Masonic Word Search - set by Barry Cooper of St Edmund Lodge

Answers on Page 23

Find the Provincial Grand Master Fowke Grossett Pleydell Ayshford Ing Edwick George

Dunkerley Bullock Calley Forrester Carron Wakem Bouverie eorge Summer Edition 2017 page 17


Summer Edition 2017 page 18


The Provincial Demonstration Team uses the concept of 'street theatre' to explain Masonic ceremonies using presentational techniques which include the use of visualisation, acting and choreography blended with part speaking and interactive dialogue. Stephen Bridge APrGM said “I want to ensure that every Wiltshire Freemason is motivated, encouraged and appropriately supported to pursue a journey of personal Masonic development and learning�. The Provincial Grand Master encourages all Lodges to consider inviting Lecture Master Stephen Mansfield and the Provincial Demonstration Team to make a presentation using their unique presentational style. If any newer Brethren are interested in joining the Provincial Demonstration Team please contact Stephen Mansfield email. demoteam@pglwilts.org.uk All that is required is enthusiasm coupled with a desire to learn and perform. An amazing fact - In April 1918 at a regular meeting of Gooch Lodge No.1295 the Brethren managed three seperate Initiation ceremonies and a double Passing all in one night. Little wonder that in 1931 they could claim a Lodge membership of 175.

Summer Edition 2017 page 19


Summer Edition 2017 page 20


When St Aldhelm Lodge No.2888, which meets in the quintessential market town of Malmesbury heard how early oral and recorded history of Freemasonry has strong links with the great Anglo Saxon King Athelstan of Malmesbury and the "Old Charges" WBro the Rev Richard Maslen PPrGStB, the Lodge Chaplain ably assisted by WBro Colin Lewis PPrGReg, and WBro David Clover PPrSGD who were dressed in the style of earlyGeorgian gentlemen masons to mark the Tercentenary demonstrated Saxon doggerel ritual leading to revisions from early 'speculative' days. They also performed an alleged antique recognition signal which, it was claimed, consists of striking the little finger of the left hand with the first two fingers of the right. It may even catch on. The picture to the left is a bronze plaque showing St Aldhelm and can be found on the outside of St Aldhelm's RC Church, Cross Hayes, Malmesbury, about 100 yards from St Aldhelm Lodge. He was a mediaeval Abbot of Malmesbury and was responsible for re-constructing much of the great building. He is shown with the plans in his hand and the building at his feet. There is, to my mind, little doubt of a connection between Freemasonry today and the "free" masons who built King Solomon's Temple. We certainly go back a long, long way. To Solomon in all his glory, and all his story. It is at the least highly likely there is truth in our much-loved historical stories. The oral accounts of how the masons who built the Temple were organised, as well as the Hiram legend, which have come down word by faithful word, fit all that professional historians say about folk history - of which there is much to be said, especially when it contains the kind of detail we have had passed to us. It is the small, inessential descriptions that prove the larger truth. "Ah" they would have said in their lodges, or round their fires. “That was just how it was - and I well remember every small detail because that is what they told me - and they got it direct from people who were there. That was how we built it. This is how we first gained our ancient rights, and this is the story of our founder, our mysteries, and our secrets - just so you do not forget them� This is not perfect historical proof that the legends are all completely true. Even so, they do place the Temple firmly as the traditional foundation of the Craft's allegorical and spiritual history, which we use and repeat in our modern ritual. The old stories are an essential and integral part of the speculative Freemasonry of today, inherited from our operative or working brethren of yesterday. In that context I add another thought, an old saw often used of the Volume of the Sacred Law, the Christian Bible, which is first of the three great, though emblematical, principal lights, or icons, of our lodges - "It does not have to be true to tell the truth". And truth, as we know, is the solid foundation, not just of the Temple and Hiram stories, but that upon which Freemasonry itself rests - brotherly love, relief and truth, and the practise of every moral and social virtue. We speak of universal truth, an all-embracing concept of charity and respect for others that accords with our past, and hopefully our future. This is a Christian lodge, because of its history, place and people, but personal religious views or practices are not discussed here. Any good man and true, of worth or standing, may seek to join our ranks, whatever his religious or other affiliation, provided he believes in a Creator God, and the divine providence of the Great Architect, or builder, of the Universe. These precepts have been held firmly for years. In addition to the memorised folk history, there are also the 'Old Charges', a series of well over 100 ancient written manuscripts which begin about 1390 and run through to the 18th Century. The oldest of these "constitutions", as they are sometimes described, are the oldest documents known to have been compiled by the masons themselves. Summer Edition 2017 page 21


W Bro Rev Richard Maslen Before that there is a wealth of other written records that certainly refer to "free" masons. Since then modern Freemasonry has evolved over many years, and is still evolving today. Just in passing, it is an interesting personal exercise to wonder what changes might emerge from the present era. No organisation or society, not even Freemasonry can stand wholly still, otherwise it freezes to death. Change is absolutely essential to survival. The Tercentenary Year of 2017, which we are celebrating, is the 300th anniversary of the formation of the first Grand Lodge of England. It is also the 115th anniversary of the consecration of St Aldhelm Lodge, No.2888 in the Roll of Grand Lodge. The history of both are well recorded, and it is to the "Old Charges" that I turn to make that ancient and very local connection with the earliest days of organised, operative "free" masonry in this country, and in this borough. We know great men respected masons, and took their advice. A bronze plaque of St Aldhelm outside the modern Roman Catholic church in Cross Hayes, about 100 yards away from the Masonic Hall, shows him carrying plans for the rebuilding of Malmesbury Abbey. He was an architect and builder. Was he also a Master Mason? Was he initiated into their recognition signals? Maybe, but that would be pure speculation, wouldn’t it? The writer, W. Bro Rev Richard Maslen a Past Master of St Aldhelm Lodge No. 2888 will

St Aldhelm

continue the story of Aldhelm in the Winter 2017 edition of Across the Plain. His intention will be to answer the seemingly simple question “why our Lodge founders decided to name this Lodge after the great and saintly Aldhelm”

Summer Edition 2017 page 22


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W. Bro Michael Tanner PAGDC Having got over the initial disappointment of missing out on my hoped for plum posting to Hong Kong, I travelled to RAF Lytham St Anne's to be issued with tropical kit, right down to a pair of standard issue sun glasses. As I stood in front of a mirror in my quarters, sun glasses atop my head I resigned myself to enjoying my new assignment, RAF Habbaniyah in Iraq - here I come! My first stop was Stansted Airport where I was to take a flight to the Canal Zone in Egypt, and before you think that's the place from where holidaymakers jet off to exotic locations having loaded up on duty free liquor and the like, let me assure you that my experience was of a few Nissin huts and an antiquated York transport plane waiting on the runway - no Easy-Jet for me. But for an 18 year old it was very exciting and the start of an adventure which began somewhat inauspiciously when, during the revving up process prior to take off, a door fell off causing a slight delay in my arrival in Egypt, the land of pyramids and pharaohs and sand, more sand than you could ever imagine. My first three weeks were spent in a transit camp where I was soon put to work, even undertaking a spell on night guard duty with live ammunition in my rifle. If only my flight sergeant had known that I had never fired a rifle before! I eventually got to Iraq via a refuelling stop at RAF Mafraq in Jordan. My new base RAF Habbiniyah was apparently the fourth largest in Iraq. Outside the camp perimeter lived over 30,000 Iraqis many of whom found regular employment throughout the base. Inside the camp, which was the headquarters of Royal Air Force Middle East Command, there were properly built churches of all denominations, an indoor and an outdoor cinema, a huge swimming pool, a shopping centre and a fully fitted hospital, what more could I want; but there was more. It was also home to 3,000 service personnel and their families, some of whom occupied married quarters, while I lived in a building set apart from the other base personnel, surrounded by barbed wire and heavily guarded. We were not particularly well liked by our service colleagues, for no other reason than they did not know our role in the camp and we kept to ourselves for security reasons. Our primary role was to listen in on Russian radar stations centred around Baku on the Caspian Sea. Over time we became so attuned to the various sounds we were able to read signals beyond the noise of nearer signals trying to obscure them. On one occasion I was introduced to the crew of a Canberra, which at that time held the altitude record; it had no markings and was painted jet black and was to be flown over the Caspian. We sat in a state of excitement waiting for the airwaves to 'light up' as the enemy radar stations tracked the Canberra as it invaded their airspace. Soon, we could see the Canberra outflying the Russian Migs sent to intercept it - it was real Boys Own stuff and so thrilling, I was terribly excited. But it wasn't all work and no play. There was a tented leave centre up in the mountains 14 miles from the Turkish Border called Ser Amadia and in 1953 I went there on a leave pass with friends. This wasn't as simple as hopping on a bus; we first had to travel by overnight train from Baghdad to Mosul where we decanted to a fleet of Standard vanguard pick up trucks each with a canvas roof for shelter against the blistering heat. Travelling north we soon left the desert behind us, passing the King's Summer Palace as we journeyed to our destination. Along the road were street vendors and we dutifully stopped at a cafe for chai (tea) - the owner clearly didn't recognise us as RAF as he wound up his gramophone and played 'We joined the navy to see the sea'. The tea was served in glasses, no milk but lots of sugar and mint if you wanted it. Eventually we reached Berbaidi and swapped transport , a pick up truck for mules, I don’t think we thought that was a good swap! Our guide assured us that mules were a much safer form of transport to navigate the steep and very narrow winding road leading up the mountain pass: furthermore he told us that 'not many' mules had fallen down the mountain - we were apprehensive but too young to worry unduly. After a nerve racking couple of hours we arrived at the camp and were assigned our tents. We really did enjoy our time in the mountains, swimming in the outdoor pool whose waters were heated only by the sun, whiling away the hours before our leave ended and the serious work of monitoring the Russians recommenced. Having returned to our base we soon sought excitement and where better to obtain it than Baghdad, images of Arabian nights, Ali Baba and exotic dancers and only 55 miles East of our location. Our taxi driver was the proud owner of a brand new Mercedes but he was distinctly unimpressed with its poor acceleration. I diplomatically suggested that it would be much improved if he was to release the handbrake! Suffice to say we made Baghdad in record time. In the next edition of Across the Plain I’ll tell you what happened when our plane was struck by lightning enroute to Lyneham. Summer Edition 2017 page 24


John Badger PAGDC, PrGReg Ever wondered what the Provincial Registrar does or even what a Registrar is or was? In Grand Lodge and many Provinces the office of Registrar is usually held by a person eminent in the Law as he is deemed to be the principal legal officer of Grand Lodge. This is not the case in Wiltshire; instead, the office concerns itself with the proper registration of every member (in conjunction with the Provincial Grand Secretary), making sure all records and returns to Provincial Grand Lodge are accurate and completed on time. Both tasks are of course completely dependent on the accuracy and timely provision of information provided to the Provincial Grand Secretary by Lodge Secretaries; especially the properly completed and all important Form P, together with updates to me as they occur. Every year I am tasked with compiling the annual return of members which includes new Initiates and joining members. Sadly it also involves recording those members who have resigned or who have passed to the Grand Lodge above. In the case of the latter, as soon as I receive notification that a Brother has died I am able to provide a brief Masonic history to the Lodge which often helps in preparing a fitting eulogy. In addition I advise the editor of Across the Plain who ensures the Brother’s name and Lodge number appear on the obituaries page of the Provincial Website. Analysing numbers can be fun and it is always interesting, especially when you apply that wonderful maxim ‘there are lies, damned lies and statistics’. But don’t worry, all our numbers are instantly verifiable and based on ‘hard facts’. The Provincial Grand Master is keen that Lodges should be aware of the trends which affect our overall membership figures. Part of this is to provide relevant information regularly on membership numbers, comparisons and, wherever possible, seeking to identify trends and movements.

No.

Name

+/- %

1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 Now

No.

335

Rectitude

83.1

59

52

56

42

36

52

49

355

Royal Sussex

101.6

64

68

67

74

68

71

586

Elias de Derham 48.1

106

110

110

94

66

626

Lansdowne

33

109

82

78

65

632

Concord

100

72

68

71

663

Fidelity

49.2

118

110

1271 Friendship

68

100

1295 Gooch

61.7

1478 Longleat

Name

+/-%

1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 Now

6616 Corsham

73.1

93

89

80

72

64

66

68

65

6731 Masters

152

102

78

77

128

145

163

155

47

51

7525 Calley

76.4

72

69

69

69

62

57

55

51

36

36

8204 HCP

44

75

73

65

45

39

36

33

69

72

72

72

8388 Good Fellowship 77.6

58

56

57

49

43

44

45

88

70

66

53

58

8432 Vale of Avon

67.4

43

40

39

32

27

26

29

101

96

82

69

70

68

8435 New Temple

89.1

55

57

46

47

43

46

49

94

80

75

69

62

61

58

8547 Broade Forde

71.2

52

59

56

46

39

35

37

81.2

85

74

75

73

69

67

69

8620 Wyvern

88.5

52

41

35

46

50

46

46

1533 Loyalty

51.6

95

96

81

64

59

46

49

8692 Methuen

80

40

44

41

36

34

33

32

2227 White Horse

70

70

65

65

58

43

44

49

8718 Tisbury

124

25

24

31

34

36

32

31

2644 Chaloner

98.6

72

68

61

62

61

72

71

8747 Moonraker

81.4

70

76

64

62

61

60

57

2888 St Aldhelm

61.5

104

95

84

77

73

64

64

8788 G D of K

94.1

51

50

47

44

40

46

48

3129 Border

72.8

81

83

77

73

73

58

59

8977 Vastern

114

43

48

49

50

50

46

49

4037 Remembrance

70.8

72

72

67

55

56

49

51

9009 Highworth

67.3

52

51

50

50

41

35

35

4451 Radnor

40.8

71

72

64

59

48

28

29

9035 Forget Me Not

64.5

76

74

65

63

55

47

49

4687 Pleydell

82.3

79

76

77

68

64

64

65

9064 Downton

100

42

49

50

36

35

39

42

4714 St Edmund

89.9

69

58

69

70

60

58

62

9090 Agriculture

111.1

63

66

77

76

67

69

70

5137 Sarum

26.7

75

47

36

30

25

17

20

9540 B I A

191.4

35

43

45

59

61

67

5908 Clarendon

69.4

62

57

61

56

49

45

43

9548 Summer

61.1

36

47

33

31

23

22

5955 City

85

60

59

60

56

54

52

51

9587 Innocence

148.4

31

36

41

45

46

46

6114 Stonehenge

76.9

65

65

59

59

52

51

50

9773 Fiat Lux

62.5

48

38

30

30

Summer Edition 2017 page 25


WBro David Henery PAGDC The phrase “You usually have to wait for that which is worth waiting for” was coined by Craig Bruce. However I am sure it can be applied to many of our older members when applied to the length of time we had to wait to become Freemasons. Today’s younger men however march to a different, much faster tune where communication is instant and almost everyone carries a smartphone providing constant updates. In recognising that the pace of change in the world around us is growing ever faster, it is also necessary to acknowledge that the demands on Brethren from outside the Craft are ever greater; and that the modern world provides men with an ever increasing choice of how to spend their time. The need to reflect these demands within Freemasonry and particularly within our own Lodges, has become ever more pressing. I am sure we all are aware of the stories of men of good character who having been asked to become a Freemason and having attended the interview, then faced a wait which for some was short but for many the wait was far too long. Maybe you recognise some similarities to your own entry into Freemasonry. Becoming a Freemason marked the beginning of a journey of self-discovery and many of you will agree with this as you look back over your time as a Freemason with fond memories and great satisfaction. Some of you will be at the early stages of this journey and may be full of questions or even harbour some doubts. However, there are two undeniable facts about Freemasonry that must be acknowledged. First, the core values that laid the foundations for this great organisation 300 years ago are as relevant today as they were then. Second, the success of Freemasonry has been built on a willingness to change with the times, always mindful of the pressures of family and work life. It was Henry Ford the motor car scion who said “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” Can this also be true of Freemasons and Freemasonry? During 2016 Kevin Logan assembled a team tasked with analysing data from historical records, applying some trend modelling, combining common sense and logic and producing a balanced report which would indicate the ‘State of the Province’. Having applied themselves to the task the team produced their report. Its real importance lay in the realisation that instead of relying on ‘gut feelings’ and opinions the Provincial Executive now had hard facts to influence and inform decision making. They also had access to a simple tool with which to inform others. After much discussion and debate the Provincial Grand Master commissioned Kevin and the team to put together a plan to communicate the findings to every Lodge in the Province. Sadly Kevin passed away during the final stages of determining the implementation programme. But Kevin’s plan did not die, that will live on as the team work towards fulfilling the Provincial Grand Master’s wish that in 2017/18 the ‘State of the Province’ programme will be rolled out. Among other things the report demonstrates that Wiltshire Freemasonry simply cannot continue to ‘do what it has always done’ if it does then in the words of Ford ‘it will get what it has always got’ and that is declining numbers leading to eventual extinction. As the newly appointed Divisional Officer, I am looking forward to visiting Lodges in the South of the Province, and working closely with Colin Cheshire in the North and Andrew Tiffin in the Central area during the next year. I am sure that each Lodge will welcome members of the team to make a presentation of how the ‘State of the Province’ applies to them and that after careful consideration will work with the team to develop a plan to take the Lodge forward into the year 2020 and beyond. The prospect of change is often as traumatic as change itself, which is probably why we tend to avoid discussing the subject, never mind actually making changes. Another simple and yet quite amazing quote “To change is difficult, not to change is fatal” persuades me that we have to be prepared to consider every aspect of our wonderful organisation and where necessary make the hard choices which may well necessitate change. But where do we start? Perhaps the first change we need to consider is our approach to welcoming potential members, something very much at the forefront of the initiatives being undertaken by the membership team. It does our cause no favours to make the interview process scarier than it need be and I know many Lodges have adopted the guidelines which now see applicants being interviewed by smaller groups. That really is a great start, but we do have much work to do before we can say ‘all is well’ Summer Edition 2017 page 26


Summer Edition 2017 page 27


Summer Edition 2017 page 28

Atp summer 2017 online with issuu  
Atp summer 2017 online with issuu  
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