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Across the Plain The magazine of the Masonic Province of Wiltshire

Winter 2017

Including the Royal Arch

Home at Last

W Bro Michael Lee

W Bro Michael Tanner

1717 decoding the epoch Bro Paul Sharp

Charity In action W Bro Ian Priest

The congregation at the Salisbury Cathedral evensong service Sunday 3rd September.


The Provincial Grand Master Where do I start? It’s a question I ask myself far too frequently, especially when I know there is so much I would like to say about what is happening in our wonderful Province. I am always aware and not a little afraid that I may leave out something interesting or worse miss someone out of my comments, and while I would never intentionally cause offence it is all too easy to do just that. We do appear to be living in a world when taking offence has become a national pastime, and where it is considered perfectly acceptable to take offence on behalf of someone else without even asking that person if they have been offended. In a previous edition of Across the Plain I wrote about the absolute need for Freemasons to ‘be kind to one another’ - the exhortation found in the First Degree Long Closing. It is no surprise to discover that such action “proves to the world the happy and beneficial effect of our Ancient and Honourable Institution.” I am absolutely persuaded that in practising the moral principle of ‘doing to others as in similar cases you would wish they do to you’ our lives would be immeasurably enriched. Our Tercentenary evensong service at Salisbury was a great success despite the weather which conspired to dampen the mood of even the hardiest of souls, not helped by a significant drop in temperature from the previous week’s blistering heat. The magnificent turnout of over 1,000 Freemasons, their families and friends was very heartening - thank you for making the day so very special. Of course an occasion such as the Cathedral service ‘doesn’t just happen’ - it takes a great deal of planning and organisation for which we have to thank Stephen Bridge APrGM. I know Stephen spent many hours liaising with the Dean and Chapter, in particular with Canon Precentor Tom Clammer who proved to be a staunch supporter and promoter of our participation in what was essentially a Cathedral service, something we should never forget. Rev Dr John Railton is what a football manager would call ‘an easy pick’ for the team sheet. How fortunate we are to have John in our team, his sermon was wonderfully crafted, expertly delivered and perfectly fitted the occasion. To be a part of the incoming procession was quite surreal, and I must confess to being emotional, as we turned to walk the length of the nave; it was a very proud moment for Stephen and myself to escort the Lord Lieutenant and the High Sheriff into this most impressive testament to the skill and application of operative masons from centuries past. At the end of September we moved to Trowbridge and the Civic Hall where we welcomed The Deputy Grand Master Jonathan Spence and Richard Hone QC The President of the Masonic Charitable Foundation. The occasion was the end of Festival luncheon and the announcement of the Festival Result coupled with a celebration of the Tercentenary.

It

hardly seems that five years have ‘slipped’ by since Francis Wakem and Peter Winton launched the Wiltshire 2017 Festival. We were privileged to welcome Virginia Winton accompanied by their son Luke to Trowbridge; yes there were tears but they were tears of love and tears of sadness mingled with tears of unalloyed joy as we remembered Peter and paid tribute to his leadership of the Festival. In 2012 we asked Lodges throughout the Province to work towards achieving a target of £750,000, which was no mean feat given the financial situation in the country. I was delighted to be able to report that Wiltshire Freemasons had once more proved equal to the task set before them, indeed the result surpassed our expectations and as the spinning wheels changed from colourful images of the square and compasses to the logo of the Masonic Charitable Foundation and finally to the actual amount - I could sense the anticipation of everyone in the dining room. A simply incredible sum of £820,662 flashed onto the big screen and the applause told its own story. We had done it - Peter would have been very happy indeed. It came as no surprise that Richard Hone the President of the Masonic Charitable Foundation paid fulsome tribute to the sterling efforts of the whole Wiltshire Masonic family; for the result was due to the input of so many. Our Twitter account went into ‘overdrive’ as the amount was ‘tweeted’ to well over 50,000 followers. The afternoon was greatly enhanced by the appearance of musicians from The Pipes and Drums of the Royal Tank Regiment, Winter 2017 Edition page 2


Proud to be a Wiltshire Freemason. an inspired addition to the day for which I do thank Colin

The Province has a new display unit which has been liveried by

Cheshire who served with the Regiment during his distinguished

Bro Ian Lever (Highworth Lodge No.9009). This acquisition has

military career. I must also mention the outstanding lunch which was prepared and served so professionally by Leigh Catering from Chippenham; it was quite exceptional and the empty plates were testament to the superb quality. The event was so well organised and I thank Andrew Tiffin, John Badger and Ian Dunbar not forgetting Maureen and Tymele for all their hard work in making the day such a success. I particularly liked the yellow and green balloons! To mark the Tercentenary the Masonic Charitable Foundation provided £3,000,000 to be divided between the Masonic Provinces of which Wiltshire received £50,000. The MCF

been made possible thanks to a generous bequest which

did something quite extraordinary when it offered the general

specified the money had to be used for this purpose.

public the opportunity to decide how the £50,000 should be allocated. This was not that famous ‘Brenda moment’ when everyone said ‘oh no - not another vote’ rather it was a case of let’s do it; and 177,809 people voted for their favourite charity and decided who was to receive each of four significant sums with the highest amount being £25,000.

The Communication Team brought the display trailer from its Swindon base to Trowbridge on the 23rd September where it received its first viewing by me and members of the Province. I am confident the display trailer will prove to be a useful and very welcome method for promoting Freemasonry in the Province. The trailer was also on view at Salisbury Racecourse

Provincial Charity Steward Ian Priest provided a list of candidates

on 4th October and at Provincial Grand Lodge outside the City

all chosen against strict criteria issued by the Foundation.

Hall on Thursday 5th October.

Having had the list approved the next task was to promote the charities and the scheme’ - no big deal you might think. The problem was that while an innovative scheme in Masonic circles, it wasn’t in the world of charities. Despite some initial reticence the scheme proved very successful among Freemasons, members of the public and local media. The four charities nominated by the Province were The John McNeill Opportunity Centre based in Salisbury, SMASH located in Swindon, Hope Nature Centre situated in Trowbridge and The Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust covering the county. The amounts being offered were £25,000, £15,000, £6,000 and £4,000.

Finally, we have a new Teddies for Loving Care display stand for which we thank Bro Luke Facey. The new display unit which is totally portable has a new panel set with a TLC Bear at its centre. If your Lodge is holding a charity event and you wish to use the display stand please contact Bro Paul Brown by email paul.brown7568@yahoo.com Having written so much about the good things happening in the Province I suppose it really is ‘a lot like Christmas’ with gifts galore. What is so important is that every one of the good things I have mentioned has something special about them, they are only possible due to an act of kindness. Which really does take me back to my opening comments

I am pleased to confirm that Hope Nature Centre came out top of the vote and were awarded £25,000. The John McNeill Opportunity Centre received £15,000 while SMASH and The Bobby Van Trust received £6,000 and £4,000 respectively.

about the need for Freemasons to ‘be kind to one another’. Christmas is often referred to as the ‘season of joy’ when the message is ‘Peace on earth and goodwill to all men’ Is this a million miles away from what we as Freemasons

Ian invited representatives from the four charities to attend

believe in and seek to practise in our daily lives? I would

Provincial Grand Lodge in October where they met with Ian

hope that we would all seek to extend the hand of friendship

and myself and were presented with their Award Certificates.

to a Brother but we are taught that “such generous and

I hope you took time to speak with them when you attended

noble sentiments must be extended still further, therefore

the meeting in Salisbury’s City Hall.

be good to all”. A tough ‘ask’ but one we all should embrace if we are to demonstrate the virtues we profess to admire. Winter 2017 Edition page 3


Salisbury Cathedral service …. Salisbury was a great success - says APrGM.

W. Bro Stephen Bridge PSGD, APrGM Sunday 3rd September may well have been cold and wet in rural Wiltshire but that didn't stop over 1,000 Freemasons and their families from braving the elements to attend Salisbury's magnificent Cathedral for a very special evensong service. WBro Stephen Bridge APrGM said "It was a truly remarkable event, one in which we were privileged to take part and in doing so create Masonic history in Wiltshire" Stephen recognised and acknowledged there were some logistical issues which needed to be addressed for the future, but it was his hope that they should not detract from the fact that the occasion was a huge success on so many fronts.

The Provincial Grand Master RW Bro Philip Bullock welcomed civic leaders the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire Mrs Sarah Rose Troughton and the High Sheriff Lady Marland who joined Masonic leaders RW Bro Anthony Wilson and RW Bro George Francis PAGM for lunch before the service. The service itself was the culmination of two years preparatory work by Stephen Bridge who worked very closely with Canon Precentor Rev. Tom Clammer in organising the event. Stephen said “Looking down the nave of the Cathedral it was incredible to see so many people present and proudly wearing Masonic regalia; which was a moment of intense and humbling delight and something that will stay fresh in the memory for many years to come. It’s at times like these that all of the planning, negotiation and apprehension became worthwhile.” Stephen Bridge, continuing his comments said “We have celebrated the Tercentenary in Wiltshire’s most beautiful and impressive place of worship. In doing so we have not only honoured those Brethren who founded the first Grand Lodge, but also the generations of operative masons who built and maintain such an inspiring building. I can think of no more appropriate place for us to mark such an important Masonic event and in doing so I trust we have also contributed to the start of a mutually supportive relationship with the Cathedral, something that can only help promote Freemasonry in Wiltshire and beyond”.

Lady Marland, The High Sheriff

By attending a Service that was part of the Cathedral’s ordained pattern of worship Wiltshire Freemasons also provided an admirable public window onto Freemasonry and is a tangible manifestation of the vital openness agenda.

Winter 2017 Edition page 4


…. followed by festival lunch.

W. Bro Andrew Tiffin PPrSGW

Although only catering for 240 Freemasons and partners as

An early inspection by Edward Goodchild DGDC confirmed he

opposed to the 1,000 in Salisbury Cathedral, the festival

was happy with the arrangements, in particular the

luncheon held in the Civic Hall at Trowbridge was every bit as

participation of the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Tank

successful; and that despite

Regiment. As guests started to arrive stirring music from the

an ‘incident’ which required

Pipes and Drums welcomed them before entering the spacious

the police to close off parts

reception foyer where the bar was situated.

of the town including the car parks immediately adjacent to the lunchtime venue. Thankfully the caterers were able to arrive on site ‘bright and early’ to ensure lunch was served on time.

Philip Bullock PrGM hosted a reception for The Deputy Grand Master Jonathan Spence, Richard Hone and Les Hutchinson where 16 year old harpist Daisy Waymouth entertained them. During an excellent lunch, musicians from the Pipes and Drums

Principal organisers John Badger and Ian Dunbar were joined by Tymele and Maureen to transform the Civic Centre main hall into an elegant dining room dressed with linen table

entertained the diners with a selection of music and Scottish dancing. The Provincial Grand Master was delighted to share a dram from the silver quaich with the Pipe Major.

cloths and Masonic Samaritan Fund napkins, each one

And so to the Grand Reveal of the Festival total, after which

embroidered with the Wiltshire 2017 Festival logo. Tables

both the Deputy Grand Master and Richard Hone paid tribute

were embellished with beautiful decorations and balloons in

to the endeavours of the Province in raising the incredible sum

the charities colours of yellow and green, and the mood was

of £862,660 for the Masonic Samaritan Fund. Ian Priest

set for a quite excellent afternoon.

explains more about the work of the Fund on page 7.

…. and onto the next event ……. another dinner!

Time:

6.30pm for 7.00pm

Winter 2017 Edition page 5


A view from my window.

The Editor

Masonic events are just like buses. You wait a long time for one and then two or more come along together. It was marvellous to see the evensong Tercentenary Service in Salisbury Cathedral held on Sunday 3rd September and the Festival Lunch at Trowbridge on Saturday 23rd September supported so well with both venues filled with Brethren accompanied by their wives/partners and families enjoying the occasion, despite the poor weather and the lack of sandwiches at Salisbury, for which profound apologies all round. I do know that the quality and quantity of food at the Festival Luncheon in Trowbridge raised no issues whatsoever, it really was superb. If there is one event in the Masonic calendar I do really look forward to, it is the Provincial Grand Lodge meeting held at The City Hall in Salisbury. However, it appears that in spite of numerous mentions there are some Brethren who do not know that every year there is a Provincial Grand Lodge meeting. Brethren, it’s the first Thursday in October every year, rain or shine. Please may I urge you all to put next year’s event in your diary today, it will be held on Thursday 4th There can be no more stately or superb edifice in Wiltshire than the magnificent and splendid Salisbury Cathedral. This image from the camera of John Rose captures Freemasons ‘Celebrating the Tercentenary’ of the formation of the first or premier Grand Lodge.

October 2018. The second October event, was the Tercentenary meeting at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Tuesday 31st October followed by dinner in the House of Lords and House of Commons. Over 200

Important information. While every care is taken in the compilation of Across The Plain, errors or omissions are not the responsibility of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Wiltshire or the editor. Opinions and views expressed

Wiltshire Freemasons and their wives/partners enjoyed the day which was the culmination of Colin Cheshire’s skill in planning an event. Having applied all of his military logistics skill it was no surprise the event was a great success.

are not necessarily those of the Provincial Grand

Our new display unit was on show at Salisbury Racecourse on 4th

Lodge of Wiltshire or the editor. Products or

October and attracted a good deal of attention. If you wish the

businesses advertised in Across The Plain do not carry

display unit to support an event you are organising please contact

any endorsement or recommendation by the

Paul Brown via email at display@pglwilts.org.uk

Provincial Grand Lodge of Wiltshire or the editor. All rights reserved.

A future event which deserves a mention is the dinner for Masters and Immediate Past Masters together with their partners on

All submissions for inclusion in Across The Plain are

Saturday 18th November (see notice on page 5). This really does

subject to editorial approval and the editor reserves

promise to be an evening with a difference especially as the guest

the right to review and amend or reject all copy. Any

speaker will be Air Chief Marshal Sir John Cheshire. I know that 88

image supplied and used becomes the property of the

Brethren have been invited and at today’s date only 20 have

Provincial Grand Lodge of Wiltshire.

responded; Brethren, even if you can’t make the event please will

Advertisement requests are welcome.

you advise your host (the Provincial Grand Master).

Editor: Des Morgan. editor@pglwilts.org.uk

There are some superb articles in the Winter edition of Across the

Reviewers: Barry Cooper, Francis Wakem, Steve Lee,

Plain; including Michael Lee, on how we address each other, a

Colin Cheshire, Norman Logan, Michael Lee.

situation which sometimes confuses younger Masons; Paul Sharp

Images: Adrian Wooster, Gary Dolphin, Phil Elliott.

continues his four part analysis ‘1717 - decoding the epoch’ and Mike

Media Contact: Tony Batchelor.

Tanner concludes his ‘Arabian Adventures’.

Royal Arch Communication: Alan Colman. Twitter: @wiltspgl

If you have a story to tell or would like us to publish your article in Across the Plain send it to editor@pglwilts.org.uk Winter 2017 Edition page 6


The Masonic Charitable Foundation

Ian Priest PAGDC, PGChStwd

The Masonic Charitable Foundation is now established as one of the largest charities in the country, building on the legacy of the four separate charities that had existed since 1788. Caring for people is, and always will be, at the heart of what they do. By building better lives by encouraging opportunity, promoting independence and improving wellbeing; it is incredible to see how support can change lives. Over the last year and a half, the Masonic Charitable Foundation has proudly supported around 5,000 Freemasons and their families across England and Wales, as well as 477 local and national charities. The Masonic Charitable Foundation is there to support Freemasons and their family members who are facing financial, health, family or care difficulties. Support primarily takes the form of regular financial grants to cover essential living costs and also provides a range of additional, specific grants and practical support. Promoting independence by protecting the financial stability of families and individuals and providing home adaptations and mobility equipment for those with disabilities or limited mobility. Through MCF grants for school trips, extra-curricular activities and course fees, and the MCF holidays, we encourage opportunity by preventing social exclusion and isolation as well as supporting the education of children and young people. Improvement to wellbeing by funding medical treatment, respite care, counselling services and providing quality residential care. All of this support is funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families. Masonic Charitable Foundation support extends beyond Freemasonry through grants to local and national charities that help the most vulnerable people in wider society. From community nurses to artists teaching the blind; and from addiction support workers to adventure activities for disabled people; support has funded projects that make both the ordinary and the extraordinary possible for those facing disadvantage. The Masonic Charitable Foundation has awarded 477 grants to charities since launching in April 2016. They are also funding pioneering medical research studies that will impact lives of those living with illness, and those yet to be diagnosed, including £150,000 to Brain Tumour Research. Our funding will help groundbreaking research into one of the most common and deadly types of brain tumour. Professor Silvia Marino who is leading the research, explained; “Our grant will pave the way for new drugs designed to target and kill the cancer cells which will stop the tumour in its tracks”. Although the research is in its early stages, imagine a world where people diagnosed with brain cancer could feel a greater sense of hope, in part because of Masonic funding. In the past 12 months the Masonic Charitable Foundation has supported Freemasons and their families in Wiltshire as follows: Swindon Food Bank (£5,000): An unrestricted grant for the Charity’s general running costs. Wiltshire Air Ambulance (£4,000): bringing the total since 2007 to £50,000. The Inspire Foundation (£65,000 over 3 years): A grant for research into neuromodulation as an alternative to pharmaceutical therapies for bladder, bowel and lower limb spasticity in Spinal Cord Injury: Towards wearable stimulation devices. Splitz Support Service (£36,313): A grant to fund 2 skilled practitioners working with children and young people aged 9-16 who have experienced domestic abuse and are presenting with behavioural challenges. Since 1984 local hospices have received support from Freemasons as follows: Dorothy House Hospice

£66,696

Prospect Hospice

£73,177

Salisbury Hospice Care Trust

£ 8,750

Salisbury Hospice Charity

£ 9,778

Total

£158,401

If you are a Freemason or close family member of a Freemason and need support with a financial,

health, family or care

need, call the confidential enquiry line on freephone 0800 035 60 90 or email help@mcf.org.uk. Website: mcf.org.uk Twitter: @masonic_charity Winter 2017 Edition page 7


Education is important.

W. Bro Stephen Bridge PSGD, APrGM

As someone who genuinely takes a great deal of pleasure in researching history, and enjoys delving into the past, sifting through musty papers, and rifling through the pages of books which have clearly seen better days, it will come as no surprise that my membership of a UGLE committee focusing on education has proved no hardship whatsoever. Indeed, it has acted as a stimulus and made me even more determined to discover more about this wonderful Order to which we belong, and there really is a lot to discover. Areas of research which I am particularly keen to explore are the significance of the social capital

Sir Daniel Gooch

aspects of freemasonry and also the impact of the arrival of the railways on the Craft . For example, the advent of the Great Western Railway and the development of the rural landscape which we now know as Swindon brought with it a mass inflow of workers many of whom came from Wales. But it wasn’t just manual labour that was required for this new enterprise led by Isambard Kingdom Brunel; there was also the need for skilled craftsmen (and women) plus the clerical and administrative staff who filled the back offices. With the influx of people into the area it was hardly surprising that amongst them would be some members of the Masonic fraternity, chief of whom was Daniel Gooch (photo Left) whose letter to Brunel was the catalyst for the GWR locating its engine and carriage work at Swindon, and the man after which Gooch Lodge No.1295 is named. Some of the major figures in the early development of the railways were active Freemasons. Sir Daniel Gooch, Bart (1816-1889), for many years chairman of the Great Western Railway, was Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Wiltshire and Provincial Grand Master for the conjoined Province of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire (now two separate Provinces each having its own Provincial Grand Master). Born in Northumberland, Gooch was a Freemason who trained as an engineer with Robert Stephenson, designer of the famous Rocket locomotive. Gooch’s father moved his family to Tredegar where Daniel became manager of the ironworks. He continued his training with Thomas Ellis, Samuel Homfray, and Richard Trevithick (a Freemason), who were pioneering the development of locomotives. Through them Gooch met Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who was planning what became the Great Western Railway. In 1837, Brunel appointed Gooch as locomotive superintendent for the project, responsible for designing all the engines but also helping Brunel solve the engineering problems of a long-distance railway track. When Swindon was settled on as a major railway engineering centre, Gooch became heavily involved in developing Freemasonry in the town and was a founder member of the ‘original’ Methuen Lodge No.631 which he is said to have ‘appropriated’ upon moving to Berkshire; but as recompense he supported the formation of a new Lodge aptly named Gooch Lodge No.1295. Daniel Gooch was a regular visitor to the Queens Royal Hotel (picture right) which was part of the railway station complex.

The Queens Royal Hotel at Swindon Station

The hotel was where Methuen Lodge No.631 met, along with Gooch Lodge No.1295 and Pleydell Lodge No.4687. Sadly, in 1898 a fire damaged the hotel and Gooch Lodge lost much of its furniture. In 1924 the Lodge together with Pleydell Lodge moved to a room above what was then Brown and Plummers a wine merchant in the Square in Old Town (now invariably known as The Locarno). The move to The Square wasn’t entirely successful, the Lodge Room having to be cleared and then laid up ready for supper with the Brethren having to accommodate themselves elsewhere while this was done. Eventually a site at The Planks was purchased and the Swindon Lodges got together and built the premises we now know as the Swindon Masonic Centre. The Lodge Banner of Gooch Lodge is derived from the arms of Sir Daniel Gooch Bart. Which themselves were derived from the arms of Sir William Gooch, the first Baronet and past Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. Sir Daniel added a wheel, to emphasise his achievements in locomotion.

With thanks to F M McFarland and his history of ‘Freemasonry in Wiltshire.

Winter 2017 Edition page 8


1717 decoding the epoch.

Bro Paul Sharp

In this the second part of ‘1717 - DECODING THE EPOCH’, we will begin the analysis of the tracing board, designed to support the hypothesis that the 24th of June 1717 was a date deliberately chosen for the formal launch of Freemasonry. In doing so, we must first understand the sequence in which each of the five ‘sections’ of the board are to be analysed and the structure of the overall design. The steps leading to this understanding are as follows: Step 1: Overlay the board with a 3 x 3 grid (the ‘magic square’, Figure 1). Step 2: Plot the sequence by starting in the bottom right hand square, moving to the bottom left square, then up to the top left square, into the middle and then finish in top right square. The pattern creates a ‘Sigil’ (see definition bottom of page) which we now use in step 3. Figure 1

Step 3: Add the numbers created by the Sigil together; 6 + 8 + 4 + 5 + 2 = 25 convert to a Numerology value = 7; and finally extract the seventh letter of the alphabet = ‘G’

Figure 2

A party trick? – maybe, but this technique has been used before (Figure 2). The Desert Holds a Secret (Section 1 - Figure 3): Scholars have long believed that there were many Gospels and not just the 4 primary Gospels presented in the Bible. This belief became reality with discoveries including the Gospel of Mary Magdalene in 1896 and the Nag Hammadi Library in upper Egypt in 1945. The latter includes many primary 'Gnostic Gospels’ which were previously thought to have been destroyed during the early Christian struggles. The first section of the board honours the influence and continued significance of the region in which these documents were found. In 1612, Edward Wightman was the last heretic to be burned by the Church of England under the instruction of King James I. The nature of his heresy differs depending on the account. The first section reminds us of the fate that awaited anyone professing to have knowledge and/or practising teachings deemed heretical to the church. Simply to dabble required absolute secrecy. This is represented by the Knights Templar (the Templars) Code Cipher characters at the bottom of Figure 3. (see left). The following steps are used to decode the characters: Step 1: Convert the characters to letters = T + M + L + H + G + R + X Figure 3

Step 2: Using the ATBASH Cipher, convert the letters = GNOSTIC

Unfinished Business (Section 2 - Figure 4): The Holy Land finally slipped from the hands of the Christians following the fall of Acre in 1291 effectively bringing the Crusades to a close. The Templars would be blamed for the loss of this territory, a loss which conveniently fed a growing contempt for the Order. To the Hebrews, columns, or pillars, were used metaphorically to signify important individuals

Figure 4

such as a prince or noble - the ‘pillars’ of a state. The broken column represents the fall of an important individual. King Phillip ordered the arrest of the French Templars on Friday the 13th of October 1307. The image of a broken column bearing a Templar cross, represents the demise of the Templars and the death of Grand Master Jacque de Molay. The material treasure of the Templars has never been found nor have any significant records of their activities. But what if the ‘real’ treasure was the knowledge obtained in the Holy Land. Heretical knowledge hidden from the church (not likely given the charges levied against the Order), or at least tolerated while the Order fought for its cause during the Crusades. This treasure could easily be carried in the minds of the many Templars who escaped. Section 2 introduces the hypothesis that the real ‘business’ of the Templars had not yet been fully realised. This is represented by the start of a new foundation formed from 3 rows of black and white squares, each row contains 17 squares thereby introducing the number 17 for the first time. This foundation would take 400 years to complete. ‘Sigil’ - an inscribed or painted symbol considered to have magical power Winter 2017 Edition page 9


'...every Brother has had his due...

W. Bro Michael Lee CBE,PAGDC

Editor’s note: Michael Lee a retired Royal Air Force Officer is a regular contributor to the pages of Across the Plain. His unparalleled knowledge and clear insight on Masonic matters has been gained over many years of study. Michael was for many years Preceptor in Stonehenge Lodge No.6114 meeting in the city of Salisbury, where he continues to deliver lectures and short talks on a wide range of topical subjects.

This article is one of the many to be found in

Michael’s extensive library filed under the title ‘A Preceptor’s Notebook’. Across the Plain is grateful to Michael for his continued support to the magazine, the Province and to Freemasonry in general; but above all for his willingness to share his great knowledge of masonic history, ritual and the principles of the fraternity with his Brethren in masonry. '...that every Brother has had his due...' How often have we heard those familiar closing words from the Senior Warden? How often though have we paused to wonder what they might mean? If pressed, many might suggest it was all about wages but they could well be mistaken. In explanation we should perhaps remember that the Speculative Founders in our rituals drew heavily on the practises of the early operative masons. Picture a large mediaeval building site with its lodge(s) in place. As well as determining the building's detailed design, responsibility for approving and employing each mason was normally that of the site's Master Mason. The remuneration of the craftsmen however would normally be undertaken directly by the client or 'customer' and not by the Master Mason. [As an example, to this day within the Salisbury Cathedral Chapter House one can see the circular 'cart wheel' table across which the Cathedral Treasurer paid the men their wages - of a penny a day. When the labourers demanded an extra farthing, the City's 'Penny Farthing Street' became a permanent reminder of the Clergy's parsimony. So then what was meant by 'his due'? Let us return to the building site. Fellow Craftsmen were fully qualified to work unsupervised or in isolation either on the building or in the quarry. To represent their collective interests however they required an arbitrator or charge hand (or 'shop steward'), customarily known as the lodge warden. His was the responsibility to the Master Mason both for ensuring general site discipline ('health and safety') and also for resolving disputes between individual masons to ensure that the work flowed smoothly. [This latter was of such importance – to the client, the Master Mason and fellow masons alike - that the need for a speedy resolution of problems on site was specifically included in the C14 and C15 Masonic 'Old Charges' and Constitutions.] The words 'his due' in mediaeval times therefore acquired the primary significance of 'his right' or 'his merit'. [Today we still retain this use in for example. 'his due concerns', or in other words. his rightful concerns]. Disputes about rights could arise from for example, relative seniority when accessing the 'free' or most workable stone, the nearest work station to the lodge, the fewest number of ladders to be climbed etc. The list of contestable entitlements might seem endless. The Warden's responsibility was to resolve all these issues, to be even handed - and to complete them quickly and quietly. If an immediate and amicable resolution was not possible then the matter was held over until the next 'love day' or 'holy day' when all work would have to stop and, so the employer's interests could not suffer, the men in dispute would stay away from the site until then – interestingly not dissimilar to the advice given to newly made Freemasons in the ceremony of the First Degree. If we listen carefully during the Installation ceremony to the Master's instructions when appointing the Senior Warden this mediaeval meaning of 'his due' is in fact made very clear: 'The level... points out the equal measures you are bound to pursue...in the well ruling..of the Lodge' '...this gavel...to enable you to assist me in preserving order in the Lodge...' We are very familiar with the Junior Warden's responsibilities towards visitors. In keeping with these operative traditions, the Senior Warden is seemingly also given a specific responsibility - for ensuring that as and when perhaps newer or more junior members have their differences (over 'their dues') these are resolved quickly, quietly, fairly and always with good fellowship. Free of these unnecessary distractions the Worshipful Master can then focus his energies into presiding over a happy and successful Year for all of his Brethren. Winter 2017 Edition page 10


…..Including the Royal Arch

Reproduced from an original article by kind permission of the author.

Being Raised to that admirable rank of a Master Mason brings many benefits. The first could well be a surprising rise in your popularity with senior masons jostling to offer you a drink - coupled with a quiet invitation to join their very special 'higher' degree – 'because you were such a good candidate'. Romantic titles like The Mark; Secret Monitor; Ancient and Accepted; Royal Order of Scotland; Rosicrucian come tumbling out. You feel both honoured as well as spoilt for choice. Good friends however may merely enquire if in fact you should choose any so soon, adding quietly that it might perhaps be preferable to try to understand and enjoy Craft Freemasonry for a few more years before purchasing that extra regalia? United Grand Lodge cannot be accused of being evasive about the next step. The Book of Constitutions states simply and unambiguously that 'pure Antient Masonry consists of three degrees and no more… including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch'. Simply put, for a Freemason to seek a fully harmonious moral life it considers that there are no other degrees within Speculative Freemasonry either necessary or available. The three Degrees, including the Holy Royal Arch, provide all the guidance and inspiration that are required. So then what is the purpose of the Holy Royal Arch? For an explanation we must first turn to our history. Within the 17th century Grand Lodge of the Antients the Third Degree was divided into two parts. The first reminded us of our spiritual nature and the Divine justice which guided our earthly actions. The second disclosed the source and authority of those laws by which we shall be judged. This became known as ‘The Order of the Holy Royal Arch'. As our Grand Superintendent has previously noted, for these reasons Laurence Dermott (the Grand Secretary 1752-1771 of the Grand Lodge of the Antients) declared “the Royal Arch is the root, heart and marrow of Freemasonry.” (The Holy Royal Arch was termed an Order as it was then already part of a Degree.) In the 18th century Freemasonry was largely confined to a Western Europe containing Jew, Christian and Moslem (the Abrahamic religions). All three recognised the first five books of the Old Testament (the Pentateuch) as Holy Script and so, when seeking the Great Architect, it was appropriate for the ritual to continue using the theme of King Solomon's Temple. The Grand Lodge of the Modern’s however was concerned about remaining true to the original Operative Masonic traditions. It also wished to advance the global spread of this Speculative Freemasonry across nations where the Abrahamic religions were not recognised. During the reconciliation of the Antient and Modern rituals in 1813 it was accepted therefore that for Craft Freemasonry to become universal the second part of the Third Degree had to be made optional. Does the title 'Holy' make the Royal Arch a religious Order? Certainly not. As the Pro Grand Master has reminded us, Freemasonry is not a religion but it does respect many religious values. It recognises a Supreme Being and our preparation for 'the Grand Lodge Above', i.e. a recognition that each Mason has an after-life. However Freemasonry follows no religious rituals, customs or traditions. It might be said that the beautiful and action filled ritual of the Royal Arch has far fewer religious overtones than, say, the First Degree in which all Candidates are asked 'to pray to God to keep them steadfast' in an Obligation made on their Volume of Sacred Law. May we summarise? Does one have to join the Royal Arch? Well, yes, and well, no. For an enthusiastic Freemason who wishes to develop his knowledge of our Craft then, as the Pro Grand Master recommends, membership of the Royal Arch is a natural and logical complement to the modern Third Degree by supplying its moral authority. Membership also helps a Mason understand more fully the moral principles and human values that inspired our Founders to formulate those three Degrees. For Masons who recognise a Supreme Being beyond the Abrahamic religions however then United Grand Lodge leaves them free to select an alternative source of spiritual guidance. The choice is yours… 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. Editor’s note: Reproduced from an original article by kind permission of the author. Winter 2017 Edition page 11


The Grand Superintendent A few weeks ago I was asked a question, which to be honest was completely new to me, the question was “Why are you called the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent and not the Provincial First Grand Principal?” I’m sure you will agree that both titles are long on words but the question did get me thinking; so here is an answer which I trust you will find interesting. After the formation of the Grand and Royal Chapter in 1766, Thomas Dunckerley was appointed Grand Superintendent for several Provinces to superintend, as the title suggests, the working of the Craft Lodges and Chapters in those Provinces. At the time Dunckerley was appointed in 1766 there is little evidence to support the idea that there was any intention of appointing Grand Superintendents leading to the creation of Provincial Grand Chapters as we know them today: the Chapters working in any given area came under the direct control of their Grand Superintendents who acted as intermediaries between them and the Grand Chapter. Provincial Grand Chapters as we know them today did not come into existence until after the formation of Supreme Grand Chapter in 1817. As the head of each Royal Arch Province was to be appointed by the First Grand Principal and to act for him within the Province it was decided to continue using the title of Grand Superintendent rather than introduce that of Provincial First Grand Principal, thus reflecting the Grand Superintendent’s direct authority from the First Grand Principal and his status as his proxy. The distinction also emphasises that the Grand Superintendent is the authority within the Province and his Second and Third Principals are assistants and not co-equal with him, unlike a private Chapter where the three Principals rule the Chapter together as equals. Another question I am often asked is whether or not the Holy Royal Arch is a ‘side degree’ - a term used by many experienced Freemasons to describe other Masonic Orders, and there in a nutshell is the answer. As the excellent article on page 11 states The United Grand Lodge of England in the Book of Constitutions states simply and unambiguously that 'pure Antient Masonry consists of three degrees and no more … including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch'. How much clearer can it be, the Royal Arch is an Order and there are but three degrees in Craft Masonry. I hope you noticed my sleight of pen by adding yet another word to the debate, the word being of course - Craft. At this point you may well be falling asleep or maybe just stretching for a cup of soothing Horlicks, after all how complicated can the history and lineage of Freemasonry be? Trust me when I say we don’t have time or space in this article to do what countless hundreds of scholars have attempted to do and that is explain the mysteries of Freemasonry. However, I do urge you to read the article on the preceding page as it does answer the basic question of when and from where did the Holy Royal Arch originate. Let me add one further point to this piece. At least once every year the Provincial Grand Master meets with the Heads of Other Orders, he doesn’t meet with Heads of other Degrees in Freemasonry. During the past few weeks Carole and myself have been privileged to join Brethren and companions from across the Province at two very important events. The first being the Tercentenary Cathedral service held in Salisbury and secondly, the end of Festival Lunch in Trowbridge. Two very different events but each unique in its own way and both very special. I was delighted to see such a good attendance at both functions and especially proud to be able to wear Masonic regalia inside the Cathedral. Provincial Grand Lodge met at Salisbury on 5th October where the Royal Arch stand asked ‘Are you ready to complete your journey?’ New images were designed and produced which will help in promoting the Order. London and the Royal Albert Hall beckons on Tuesday 31st October where over 5,000 Freemasons from across the globe will join The Grand Master HRH The Duke of Kent to celebrate the Tercentenary of the founding of the First Grand Lodge. After the official meeting Wiltshire Freemasons will decamp to the Houses of Parliament for dinner hosted in the Lords by Black Rod and in the Commons by North Swindon’s MP.

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


“aim to make change happen” The next step for a Master Mason Complete your journey The Order of the Holy Royal Arch, more familiarly known as Chapter, is sometimes referred to as the fourth step in ‘pure Antient Masonry’ However, I prefer to think of it as quite simply the ‘next step’. 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 can justly be held to be the very essence of Freemasonry, the foundation and keystone of the whole Masonic structure. It has been said that “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 invokes simultaneous sensations of humility and our

One of our new Royal Arch pop-ups designed and

dependence on our unseen creator. However, it is important to recognise the words of the Deputy

printed by Comp Ian Lever - Highworth Chapter

Grand Master Jonathan Spence, who wrote “in pure Antient

We approach 2018 with a degree of trepidation as our world

Freemasonry [including the Holy Royal Arch] we belong to a

appears unsettled economically, politically and socially. The

secular, non-religious organisation that …..fails to meet any

future is not ours to see but that doesn’t mean we can’t do

single one of the tests of a religion”.

something to shape it and make sure it is a safer, fairer and

One of the great joys of Freemasonry is its infinite capacity to amaze, and having been Raised to the sublime degree of

nicer place for our children to live. Our aim should be to make change happen.

a Master Mason one might think ‘this is the peak’ - might I

I wish each and every one of you a Happy Christmas and a

suggest it’s but a step along the way.

prosperous and healthy New Year

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 in the Provincial Reference Book.

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


MCF Community Awards

Ian Priest PAGDC, PrChStwd At the recent end of Festival Luncheon held in Trowbridge, we were pleased to welcome Richard Hone and Les Hutchinson from the Masonic Charitable Foundation. As President of the Masonic Charitable Foundation Richard Hone pointed out that The Masonic Samaritan Fund is now a part of the Masonic Charitable Foundation and that all funds raised through the 2017 Festival will be used to advance health and wellbeing for Freemasons, their families and the wider community. The Masonic Charitable Foundation brings together the work of four national Charities which had been operating separately under various names since the early 18th Century.

I have often wondered what it would be like to be waiting for an envelope containing exam results to drop through the letter box. Well now I know, it’s awful. Every time the post hits the floor you rush to see if its arrived’ - in this case the ‘if’ I was waiting for was the results of the Masonic Charitable Foundation Community Awards. Voting closed on the 31st July and the results were to be announced on the 5th September. However, I wasn’t the only one waiting with eager anticipation;

During their time in operating, the four charities each provided a specific type of support to meet various charitable aims in support of Freemasons and their families. Although much of the support provided took the form of financial grants, the charities also operated a number of institutions. The legacy of these charities and the principle of Relief underpins the work of the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

the four Wiltshire charities nominated by the Province were

In 2016 over 5,000 Freemasons and their family members

just as keen to know how they had done in the public ballot. I

benefited from the support of the Masonic Charitable

sat at home trying to imagine what was going through the

Foundation and also many others in the wider society from our

minds and thoughts of the teams from The John McNeill

charity grants and immediate response to disasters overseas.

Opportunity Centre based in Salisbury, SMASH located in Swindon, Hope Nature Centre situated in Trowbridge and The Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust covering the county. What I did know was that any donation would make a big difference to each of the charities as they struggle with an ever increasing demand for the client based services they provide and a reducing pool of available funding for money to pay for them. I also knew that a donation of £25,000 or £15,000 would make a huge difference. As I opened the email (no envelope, I’m sorry to say) I was pleased to see that Hope Nature Centre was the voters choice to receive £25,000 with John McNeill Opportunity Centre receiving £15,000. The Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust getting £6,000 and SMASH £4,000. All four charities were present at Provincial Grand Lodge on Thursday 5th October and it was a wonderful experience to share our special day with their representatives. I certainly came away from Salisbury absolutely convinced that the MCF Community Award was going to make a real and positive difference in the work of each of the organisations.

Winter 2017 Edition page 14


MCF Community Awards 2017

Congratulating the four charities

Winter 2017 Edition page 15


Home at last…..!

W Bro Michael Tanner PAGDC

As I look back some 65 years since I enlisted in the Royal Air Force, a little short of my eighteenth birthday, I wonder how I ever managed to get into so many scrapes; and more importantly, just how I managed to get out of them. But I can say with all honesty that my life in Her Majesty’s service was as enjoyable as it was eventful; after all, how many of today’s teenagers can lay claim to having experienced so much excitement while so young? 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 this edition of Across the Plain I’ll tell you what happened when our plane was struck by lightning enroute to Lyneham. In February 1955 I said my goodbyes to Iraq and prepared to travel back to the UK. I was the only one from the camp to get on the RAF Hastings en route from Malaya and occupied by what seemed like the entire British Army - squaddies everywhere! I asked for assurance that my kit had been loaded only to be told that if it was properly labelled it would be. The flight was deemed to be the direct route, landing at RAF Idris in Libya for a night stop. In the early morning we boarded the aircraft; the pilot completed the routine checks and announced there was a fault with the hydraulics, we all got off the aircraft and were told that we had another day in camp. As we were in uniform going off base was not possible. However, the lads stationed at RAF Idris were only too willing to lend us civilian clothes so that we could visit the main city of Tripoli. This was a great experience and it was the closest we had been to a European place in two years - there were lots of Italians living there. At last and with all repairs completed we left Libya in the direction of the UK and home via RAF Lyneham. As we flew over the Mediterranean Sea a sudden storm broke and the aircraft was struck by lightning. The sergeant steward was stuck on the roof of the cabin when the aircraft dropped 500 feet crumpling to the floor in a bleeding heap as the pilot regained control. We were advised that the pilot would try and fly below the storm but this proved futile, so he decided to climb from the normal altitude of 10,000 ft to 18,000 ft in an attempt to fly over it. The bleeding steward came round with oxygen masks of which there was only half the amount of what was required. We took it in turns to have a few quick puffs before handing it back to our ‘buddy’. This was a period of anxiety for some while others adopted a ‘couldn’t care less attitude’ - it will come as no surprise to know that the camp you fell in depended very much on whether or not you had the oxygen mask. On our arrival at Lyneham it was discovered that the lightning conductor on one wing had been reduced to something like a big pipe cleaner. We were sent to wait in a large Nissen hut and told to stand by our kit and, yes you’ve guessed it, mine was not there and had been put on a plane going to Egypt. So much for being properly labelled! After two years abroad I only had a bag containing my pyjamas and wash kit. It was freezing cold and the boiler in the hut was largely ‘ceremonial’ in that it didn’t give out much heat. What a homecoming. However, having said our goodbyes to the squaddies the RAF boys were taken to RAF Innsworth for demob. I met a Scotsman who had gone home before me and like me his kit had been ‘mislaid’ and he couldn’t be demobbed until it was found and delivered, so when were were marched out and formed in a circle to throw various items of tropical kit as and when it was called for, I made gestures with my hand, as the old kit was to be burned. I eventually received my signed clearance certificate and returned home. I telephoned RAF Lyneham and asked them to contact me when my kit arrived, which they eventually did. I kept all my kit for many years just in case someone knocked on the door and asked for it back - Quartermaster’s can be like that! And so came the end of my three year adventure and I was still 3 months away from reaching 21 years of age. I wonder how the young people of today would deal with my adventures, I somehow think they would do exactly what I and many thousands of young men and women did back in the day - be accepting of the circumstances and jolly well get on with life. The Summer 2018 edition of Across the Plain will see the first part of a new story, this time from the pen of Icarus the nom de plume of a Brother who enjoyed a distinguished career in the military. He starts his first piece as follows - “There is no simple way of writing this. It is not a claim to fame that I welcome but I was first of our squad to be thrown into the Station Guard Room, having been removed bodily from the Parade Ground by two tight-lipped and very determined eight foot tall Drill Instructors, with my elbows grasped in a vice-tight embrace and with feet barely troubling the ground's surface . Winter 2017 Edition page 16


A personal reflection.

W Bro Ron Chambers

A personal reflection: Following the tremendous interest in Mike Tanner’s Arabian Nights adventures, Bro Ron Chambers a member of Lodge of Remembrance No.4037 wrote to the editor “ I found Mike Tanner’s articles very interesting, because like him I spent a large part of my National Service at RAF Habbaniyah. My service was with 19 Topographical Squadron, Royal Engineers. The unit was part of 42 Survey Engineer Regiment who were based first in Egypt and then Cyprus. The squadron was tasked with the triangulation of the whole of Iraq. Whilst beyond the base, and out of the countryside, our personnel were dressed in civilian clothing, and the transport had civilian registrations and non military colours. Nearly all of Michael’s references to the various places there are familiar, and it seems so sad that the country is now ruined by the warfare that is going on across the whole area. His references to visits to Baghdad conjured up things mentioned to me by some of our personnel who should have known better, especially after the frequent lectures on the subject from our superiors! One of own memorable trips was to visit the ancient city of Babylon, and on my return having tea in an Arab tent! Something quite different.”

Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge Freemasons’ Hall, London Wednesday 13th December 2017 David Little invites you to join him and the Provincial Grand Master for a great day out in London

Winter 2017 Edition page 17


Provincial Demonstration Team at work. The Wiltshire Provincial Demonstration Team will be presenting ‘The Lecture of the First Degree in Freemasonry’ at the meeting of the Lodge of Brothers in Arms No. 9540 in the Masonic Hall, Crane Street, Salisbury on the 1st of February 2018 commencing at 1800 hrs. All visitors will be welcome, further details regarding dining will be issued nearer the time. 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 and I encourage all Lodges to consider inviting Stephen and the Provincial Demonstration Team to make a presentation using their unique presentational style.” If you would like to book the services of the team, please contact Stephen Mansfield demoteam@pglwilts.org.uk

If every Lodge in the Province raises just £250 each year for Teddies for Loving Care we can continue to support the two main Accident and Emergency departments in Salisbury and Swindon

Winter 2017 Edition page 18


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Our Terms & Conditions reflect very basic commercial requirements simply because we operate on the basis of trust. Orders: space will only be reserved upon receipt of a signed booking. By signing the booking form you agree to provide us with accurate and complete artwork, make payment in line with our terms and accept the conditions regarding cancellation. Purchase Order Number: If you require us to use your purchase order number please supply the number at the time of placing your booking. Payment terms: you will be invoiced when we receive your signed booking. Payment is due within 10 days from the date of invoice. Cheques are to be made payable to: Provincial Grand Lodge of Wiltshire. Cancellations: all cancellations must be made in writing (email is acceptable) at least 28 days before the publication date. If you do not cancel the order within 28 days before publication, or if your artwork does not arrive by the copy deadline, you will be required to pay for the advertising. Artwork: it is your responsibility to ensure that the artwork (text and images) arrives before the copy deadline. While we are sure you would not ask us to include copy or images of an inappropriate nature, we reserve the right to refuse advertisements containing unsuitable material. The decision as to what is deemed unsuitable rests solely with the editor. Artwork should be emailed to: ATPartwork@pglwilts.org.uk or sent on a CD to: ATP artwork, Proofs: you must check carefully and report any amendments or errors immediately to us. We cannot accept responsibility for any consequential losses arising as a result of errors or omissions in advertisements or editorial.

Winter 2017 Edition page 19


Will

Something to Freemasonry In your Will

Speak to your Lodge Charity Steward

43 the average age of an Initiate in Wiltshire

You leave

65 the average age of a Wiltshire Freemason

Winter 2017 Edition page 20


Bobs …… Bits and Bobs Have your say Have you a question to ask,or is there something you want to know about Freemasonry. Maybe you just want to

The Provincial Grand Master replies to your question: Q. Why is the First Degree Tracing Board never explained, whereas the Second and Third Degree Tracing Boards are?

express a view or make a comment,

A. You make a very good point. The First Degree

whatever it is why not write to the

Tracing Board takes about twenty minutes to deliver

Provincial Grand Master?

and is quite a feat of memory. It contains an immense

ATPLetters@pglwilts.org.uk All letters and emails are subject to editorial control. Regrettably due to space not all letters can be published Would you like to play a part in promoting Freemasonry in the Province, can you write media

amount of detail which almost certainly would not be absorbed by the Initiate at the first hearing. However as with many aspects of the Ritual it is not really intended to be; rather all masonic learning is progressive hence we talk about ‘making a daily advancement in masonic knowledge’. I know many Lodges feel the First Degree ceremony is long enough without adding a presentation of the Tracing Board, and that in ‘strict’ Emulation workings the Ceremony of Initiation is not followed by an Explanation of the First Tracing Board.

copy? The Communications Team

I am sure you will be aware that much of the content of the First Degree Tracing

would be pleased to hear from

Board appears in the words accompanying the presentation of a Grand Lodge

you. pco@pglwilts.org.uk

Certificate. Therefore, whilst it would be nice to hear the Explanation of the First Tracing Board the content is covered elsewhere.

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I am pleased to be able to tell you that the excellent Provincial Demonstration Team ably led by Stephen Mansfield will be presenting The First Degree Lecture

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on Thursday 1st February 2018 at the regular meeting of Lodge of Brothers In Arms which meets at Freemasons’ Hall, Crane Street, Salisbury (see page 18). Masonic Word Search - set by Barry Cooper of St Edmund Lodge

Pick your flowers from Barry’s garden and check your answers on page 23

Books of the Old Testament Find each of the Old Testament books in the matrix

Exodus Haggai Isaiah Psalms Ezekiel Genesis Numbers Proverbs

Job Amos Joel Hosea Kings Micah Daniel Esther Winter 2017 Edition page 21


Whatever title suits thee….

WBro Michael Lee CBE. PAGDC

Let us not forget ....”that we are all sprung from the same stock, partakers of the same nature and sharers in the same hope; and although distinctions among men are necessary to preserve subordination, yet ought no eminence of situation make us forget that we are all Brothers”.... (from the extended Explanation of the Second Degree Working Tools). Debrett’s celebrated book on Peerage had more than a few words to say on rank and title, but had he been a Freemason he might well have been persuaded to add to them. For an organisation that prides itself on the democratic nature of brotherhood we do tend to make things rather difficult and it might be said that some Brethren adopt all manner of ‘airs and graces’. A basic question might be to ask just where does the equality of brotherhood end and respect for rank begin? For example, our Provincial Grand Masters are invariably amiable and approachable gentlemen who normally delight in hearing your views but should you be minded to slap one on the back at the next Provincial Meeting and, as his Brother, ask to borrow a tenner to buy the next round it would barely be micro-seconds before a distant stare transfixed you against the far wall, whilst possibly as swiftly, the Provincial team hoves to alongside inviting you to join them outside for ‘a quiet chat’ and some fairly accurate fortune telling. The moral? Don’t push it! Respect for responsibility, courtesy and plain common sense will invariably be your best guide. We can perhaps let the Lodge DC worry about titles and precedence for Grand and Provincial Grand Officers. It is perhaps within the Lodge meeting room itself that forms of address can be confusing and many of us seek guidance. Should a man be called, say, ‘John’, Brother John, Brother Smith, Worshipful Brother John, Worshipful Brother Smith, Worshipful Brother John Smith etc. etc.? As ever the Book of Constitutions is especially helpful in its guidance particularly Rules 6, 68 and 104a. Let us start with the word ‘Worshipful’. Rule 6 states quite simply that every Master of a Lodge, present or past, is entitled to be addressed as Worshipful Brother. However the Master of the Lodge is the only Lodge Masonic office entitled to the word ‘Worshipful’ and, while sometimes reference to his office may be made simply as 'the Master' courtesy suggests he should always be addressed as ‘Worshipful Master’ (never just ‘Master’) throughout his Year - and this perhaps is really the end of the matter. However as no other office has the prefix of ‘Worshipful' - the use of, say, 'Worshipful Brother Secretary' is plainly wrong. The incumbent is either Worshipful Brother Smith or Brother Secretary. Remember, ‘Worshipful’ always belongs to the person and, other than the currently elected Master, never to his office. What if one or more Freemasons have the same surname? When one is a Brother and the other a Worshipful Brother then there are no grounds for confusion. We can just use the surname. When both Masons are Brothers or both Worshipful Brothers then it makes good sense to include the forename to distinguish them: ‘Worshipful Brother Jack Smith’ and ‘Worshipful Brother Mike Smith’ are admirably clear distinctions should both be present. It is when we move from the Temple to the Dining or Committee Room that some confusion can still arise. There are no guidelines laid down other than our basic rules of courtesy and commonsense. A useful rule of thumb though is to be either formal or informal but not mix the two. Let me explain. Let us say the Worshipful Master wishes to thank Brethren on appointment or when they have helped him in the ceremony or social function. Within the Temple good advice is to favour formality and be consistent. If you are going to use forenames then use forenames throughout e.g. Brother Tom, Brother Dick, and Brother Harry... If on the other hand you can’t immediately recall every forename then use surnames throughout. Should you try to mix the two it may come across as a form of discrimination between those within the Master’s favoured circle and those cast into the outer darkness - Remember, we are a Brotherhood. In private conversation at the bar or over the dining table, of course, simple first or Christian names or familiar nicknames will normally never go out of fashion. It is courteous nonetheless to initially address the most senior officer present by his title – he will indicate when a less formal approach is appropriate. Remember too that a man’s personal name is very precious to him especially when newly joined. It follows that saying ‘Hey, you’ to a junior Steward is especially to be deplored. If nothing else it can make for a very dry evening.

Generosity consists not only of the sum given, but also the manner in which it is bestowed. Planned giving is an easy way to manage your charitable donations Winter 2017 Edition page 22


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The practice of Brotherly Love can be difficult to practise. If there is one aspect of human behaviour which we all find unacceptable it is surely the very unpleasant manner in which some individuals treat one another, what we generally refer to as ‘being unkind’, and whilst we would hope that this would never apply to our Brethren in Freemasonry, very sadly sometimes it does, although it is a very rare event. One of the first and very significant lessons taught to a newly made Freemason is the important virtue of charity, and when using this word we should remember that in its original sense, which was still relevant and in use in the 18th century, meant much more than the act of buying raffle tickets or signing a five year covenant to the Charity Chest. These acts of giving, generous as they are, represent only one aspect of an inner sense of morality, which can best be said to reflect what we refer to as the grand principles on which Freemasonry is founded ‘Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth’. Brotherly love (of one another,) relief (of those disadvantaged) and truth, the courage to live and be true to high standards of morality. Brotherly love, relief and charity therefore all have the very same meaning – to give to another. This being so there can be no merit or virtue in donating money towards a charity outside your Lodge if you are not in charity, or are at variance, with a Brother within it. Charity truly begins at home. In the Volume of the Sacred Law (VSL) we are reminded ‘And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.’ In many contemporary translations of the VSL the word charity is also referred to as love (taken from the Greek ‘agape’ which when translated into Latin gives us the word ‘caritas’ which in turn became anglicised into the word ‘charity’) and is said to be the pre-eminent of the three graces. But should this term be considered relevant to our attitude towards our fellow Brethren or is brotherly love on the wane? If we believe Freemasonry to be a ‘family’ we would surely accept that from time to time there will be familial fall outs, differences of opinion and occasionally outright hostility; however, as with most families the seemingly intractable problems are usually short lived and peace and harmony is quickly restored. Occasionally the ‘issues’ whilst not necessarily warranting it are a little more difficult to resolve and lead to medium and even long term disquiet. Such situations are at best very sad and at worst damaging to the very moral fabric of our Order. One of the great advantages of a Lodge is that men rub shoulders with each other and learn that each is not the sole person in the Lodge, but that others have their rights and are entitled to consideration. The friendly social inter-relationship which comes from membership is of real value in helping to mould the character of every member of the Lodge. We are taught to subordinate our wills to the general good and to think and act unselfishly and for the good of the Lodge as a whole, rather than to simply go our own way ignoring the interests of others. We all ‘sign up’ to the proposition that we will attempt to ‘settle our differences amicably’ in the earnest expectation that we will ‘enter the Lodge and work with that love and harmony which should at all times characterise Freemasons.’ And yet is that really what we aspire to or is it simply a form of words which we repeat and hear repeated, but believe it only applies to the Entered Apprentice? ‘Sadly discord and a lack of harmony are all too apparent in some Lodges. How can this be? What heinous offence has occurred which can justify such intemperate behaviour? How can we stray so far from the ideal expressed in the Address given to the Brethren at every Installation ceremony: ‘May brotherly love and affection ever distinguish us as men and as Masons. May the principles and tenets of our profession which are founded on the principles of religious truth and virtue, teach us to measure our actions by the rule of rectitude, square our conduct by the principles of morality, and guide our inclinations, and even our thoughts, within the compass of propriety.’ So there we have it, as plain as can be, it is ‘brotherly love and affection’ which distinguishes us as men and as Masons, and it is ‘by a uniformly kind, just, amiable and virtuous deportment, that we prove to the world the happy and beneficial effects of our Ancient and Honourable Institution.’ If, therefore we experience some incident which should cause offence, hurt our feelings or simply ruffles our feathers, let us stop and remember the final entreaty found in the First Degree Long Closing; an eloquent and yet sadly underused piece of ritual – ‘Finally Brethren, be of one mind, live in peace with one another’ . Is that too much to ask? Winter 2017 Edition page 24


What is a Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works? At Provincial Grand Lodge in October, the Provincial Grand Master Philip Bullock appointed Simon Leighfield as Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works. Your editor asked Simon to explain the role of a Superintendent of Works in the Province.

Simon’s professional background? Simon is the managing director of a local building company having worked in the construction industry for nearly 40 years. His unparalleled experience in managing building projects provides him with a unique insight of the issues facing many Masonic Hall Committees, and allows him to offer impartial expert advice across a range of situations.

What does the title Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works mean and what does he do? Although it’s a Masonic title, first used in 1813, many ‘old Swindonians, especially those who worked ‘inside’ will recognise the similarity with GWR terminology. It’s also a term often used in the realm of public works. I like to think of it as a property adviser or surveyor, responsible to the Provincial Grand Master for making sure that Masonic Halls within the Province conform to statutory regulations and to offer advice to Masonic Hall Committees about changes which may affect them, general building principles and construction techniques and any legal liabilities they may be responsible for.

Managing building works can be quite complex. Some of our Masonic Halls are quite old and there has never been ‘enough’ money to do all the work Hall Committees would like to do, and in some cases know they need to do. My role is to promote investment in the material upkeep of Masonic buildings by encouraging an outward looking vision for the future. What I do know is that members work incredibly hard to keep the fabric of their buildings in good order. I am also aware that quite extensive works involving plumbing, electrical and construction have been undertaken by skilled craftsmen who are members of the Lodges meeting in the Masonic Hall. It would be true to say that without their input many essential jobs would either never be accomplished or the cost of doing the works would be prohibitive.

What are the challenges facing Masonic buildings? There are a few, not least the costs associated with running and maintaining them. I’m a director of Swindon’s Masonic Centre, and we have recognised the need to supplement the income that Freemasonry brought in with ‘other things’. Some people think that’s simple and straightforward, that all you do is put up a sign saying ‘Parking Available’ and all your troubles will be over. What many committees have realised is that there is an awful lot of choice in a very competitive marketplace. You have to be professional about the way you attract outside income, after all, the dynamic changes when you have customers. The approach at Swindon is only one example of the challenges in managing a building (in this case the car park) one solution does not fit all. What I want to do is encourage people to go to the right people and ask the right questions in order to make an informed commercial decision about their building.

How is Province helping at a local level? We can only encourage common sense and good practice in the way in which Lodges decide to use their land and buildings. It’s not the Province’s role to dictate. My role is to encourage and support those who own and occupy Masonic buildings to pause, sit back and ask themselves whether their buildings are not only fit for purpose today but will continue to be so in 10 or 20 years’ time. In a changing world circumstances force us to think about what we are doing with our buildings. We can either think about this in sufficient time to make an orderly and sensible decision. Or, we can wait until, all of a sudden, circumstances overwhelm us. That is when the problems arise, when people are forced to take critical decisions too quickly.

Generosity consists not only of the sum given, but also the manner in which it is given. Planned giving is an easy way to manage your charitable donations. To find out more talk to your Lodge Charity Steward. Winter 2017 Edition page 25


Winter 2017 Edition page 26


Winter 2017 Edition page 27


Atp winter 2017 issuu  
Atp winter 2017 issuu  

The magazine of the Masonic Province of Wiltshire

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