Royal Albert Hall Tercentenary Meeting

On Tuesday 31 October, members of Crescamus Lodge were present at the United Grand Lodge of England’s celebrations of the Tercentenary culminated in with a special celebratory meeting held at the Royal Albert Hall.

Royal Albert Hall

Royal Albert Hall

Celebrating 300 years since the formation of the Premier Grand Lodge; nearly 5,000 Freemasons from across the world descended on the Royal Albert Hall, to witness a spectacular star-studded show. From the opening moments, members were amazed when stars of stage and screen, including Derek Jacobi, Samantha Bond, and Sanjeev Bhashkar took to the stage.

The show sent home members both astonished and delighted, having learned new things about our Fraternity and feeling even greater pride in their membership. Using music and drama, the production highlighted how central Freemasons and Freemasonry has been central to Western history.

Enlightenment

Focussing on the enlightenment and its key figures including Voltaire, Montesquieu, Lessing, Goethe, Mozart, Washington, Franklin, and Rousseau. The show demonstrated how Freemasons have been at the forefront of major historical turning points, in science and the arts, as well as socially.

Soane’s Ark

Following the conclusion of the dramatic elements of the show, the Most Worshipful Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent took to the stage to conduct the ceremonial elements of the meeting. The highlight of which was the presentation of the replica Soane’s Ark. Originally built-in 1813 to store the Articles of Union, it stood in the Grand Temple of the old Freemasons Hall until a fire broke out in 1883 and it was destroyed. It is only fitting that in this Tercentenary year, it should be replaced.

Many present then travelled to Battersea Evolution for a celebratory dinner, whilst members of the Crescamus Lodge headed out for a few drinks and a meal to reflect on what had been an amazing day.

If you weren’t fortunate enough to be there, you can watch the entire show at rah300.org

Freemasonry 300 Years: 1717 – 2017 Exhibition

As celebrations continue to take place across the Province of Surrey to mark the Tercentenary of Grand Lodge, today (3 July 2017) an exhibition marking the anniversary opened at Croydon Clocktower.

Tercentenary Exhibition

Exhibition

The display celebrates the history of the Tercentenary throughout the Province of Surrey with the last section of the exhibit portraying the role Freemasonry has played in Croydon’s history.

The exhibition will be open for two weeks before moving on to other locations throughout Surrey. So if you have some spare time over the next week, why not pop into the Clocktower in Croydon? We will!

Map

Croydon Clocktower

For details of other venues, click here.

Crescamus Celebrates Tercentenary

On Saturday 24 June 2017, members of Crescamus Lodge, Croydon joined in the Tercentenary Celebrations marking 300 years of the first Grand Lodge. As part of a contingent from the Foundation Club, they joined a tour led by Mike Neville, from the Royal Exchange in the heart of the City of London, towards Freemasons Hall in Covent Garden.

Goose and Gridiron

Of particular interest was the site (or near to) where the first Grand Lodge was formed. Four London Lodges met at the Goose and Gridiron on 24 June 1717 where they formed a Grand Lodge to govern Freemasonry in England.

Plaque in St Paul's Cathedral Courtyard commemorating the First Grand Lodge of English Freemasons in 1717

Whilst the Goose and Gridiron no longer stands, the tour visited the Old Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street. The historic inn, having been rebuilt in 1667 is the closest building left in London to the Goose and Gridiron, with twisty winding stairways and small bars scattered throughout.

The Tour took in all the historic elements of the City of London which played an important role in the formation of Freemasonry as we know it today. From The Guildhall to St. Paul’s Cathedral; the Old Bailey to the Temple Church. The tour concluded in Covent Garden and the modern home of Freemasonry, Freemasons Hall on Great Queen Street.

Members of the Foundation Club and the Widows Sons outside Grand Lodge marking the Tercentenary

From there they stopped for lunch and were treated to a warm welcome from the Masonic Bikers organisation, The Widows Sons outside Freemasons Hall.

Croydon Masons Take Part in Warlingham Parade

On 17 June, Freemasons from Croydon and across Surrey took part in the annual Warlingham Parade, as part of the Warlingham Festival.

Led by the Provincial Grand Master, Masons from across the Province paraded in full regalia to the delight of the public, as they marked 300 years of the First Grand Lodge.

Surrey Freemasons Parade

The Festival in its 25th year was the most successful to date and the weather was beautiful for the occasion with all having a fabulous time.

 

MCF Community Awards

To celebrate the 300th anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England, Freemasons across England and Wales have nominated 300 local charities across England and Wales to receive a grant from a fund of £3 million pounds from the Masonic Charity Foundation.

MCF Community Awards – Tercentenary Fund

On Saturday 20 May, Surrey’s Provincial Grand Master, Ian Chandler took to the airwaves of BBC Radio Surrey to announce the charities in Surrey that have been chosen. You can listen to the interview on BBC iPlayer until 14th June.

Surrey Charities

Eight well-deserving charities from Surrey were chosen;

  • The Diamond Centre for Disabled Riders who give therapeutic riding and carriage driving for children and adults with disabilities.
  • Meath Epilepsy Charity, who enhance the lives of people who harve complex epilepsy by ensuring they receive the support, and encouragement build confidence, acquire new skills and maximise independence in their daily lives
  • MERU, who designs and makes life-changing disability products for children and young people with disabilities.
  • PHAB is a national charity supporting social activities and sports for children and adults of all ages and all abilities in England and Wales
  • The Fircroft Trust services are designed to support adults living in the community who face a mental health issue and/or learning disabilities.
  • The Grange Centre supports around 100 adults with disabilities to live as independently as possible and to have a fulfilled and happy life
  • White Lodge Centre is a centre of excellence supporting disabled people of all ages
  • Yorda Adventures is a not-for-profit community organisation that works with families in and around the borough of  Kingston-upon-Thames.

Every nominated charity will have a chance of being awarded a grant of up to £25,000 and the MCF needs your vote to help decide how much they get!

Vote for your favourite charity

The vote is open to all Freemasons, their family members and members of the public; everyone can get involved and vote for the charity of their choice.You can only vote once, but you can share who you voted for with your family and friends to help your favourite charity get more votes.

Voting will take place from 12 June to 31 July

Voting will take place in June and July and the results will be announced in August 2017.

You can find out more about the nominated charities once the vote opens by visiting https://mcf.org.uk/

Victoria Cross Memorial – Freemasons’ Valour Remembered

Today saw a memorial to Freemasons who were awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War unveiled.

The Victoria Cross was awarded 628 times for in the First World War. Over 100 recipients have so far been identified as Freemasons of whom sixty-three were members of English Constitution lodges.

Masonic Peace Memorial

In 1933, Freemasons Hall was opened as the Masonic Peace Memorial. It stands as a memorial to all those Freemasons who died in the First World War. Now a new memorial has been laid dedicated to all the English Freemasons awarded the VC during the Great War.

Victoria Cross Freemasons Valour
Freemasons Hall

Charles Graham Robertson VC – Man of Valour

One of the recipients of the Victoria Cross was a Freemason from Surrey, Charles Graham Robertson.  Before the war, he was a railway clerk from Dorking. He volunteered to fight and served with the Royal Fusiliers on the Western Front.

Charles Graham Robertson
Charles Graham Robertson

Realising his position was being cut off, Charles Graham Robertson, sent two men to get reinforcements. He stayed at his post with one other man and a Lewis gun. He managed to kill ‘large numbers of the enemy” but when no reinforcements arrived and realising that he was now completely cut off, he and his fellow soldier withdrew about ten yards. Robertson stayed there for some considerable time firing his machine gun but was again forced to withdraw. In this new position, he climbed on top of a parapet with his comrade, mounted his gun in a shell hole and continued firing at the enemy. His comrade was killed and Robertson was severely wounded but he managed to crawl back to the British line, bringing his gun with him. He could no longer fire it as he had exhausted all the ammunition.

Victoria Cross

For his initiative and resource and magnificent fighting spirit which prevented the enemy making a more rapid advance, Charles Graham Robertson was awarded the Victoria Cross in April 1918.

A few months after the end of the First World War, in February 1919, he was initiated in Deanery Lodge No. 3071. He is one of over one hundred and seventy holders of the Victoria Cross who have been identified as freemasons, representing more than 13% of the total recipients.

Tercentenary of Grand Lodge

In this, the Tercentenary year of Grand Lodge, it is fitting that an additional memorial to those recipients of the Victoria Cross in the First World War has been added, to those sixty-three men of valour.

Province of Surrey Tercentenary Events

On 24th June 1717 four Freemasons’ lodges in London came together at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in St Paul’s churchyard declared themselves a Grand Lodge and elected Anthony Sayer as their Grand Master. This was the first Freemasons’ Grand Lodge in the world.

In 2017, three hundred years after the formation of the first Grand Lodge, Freemasons will be celebrating its tercentenary.

As Freemasonry in England and across the world gears up to celebrate the Tercentenary of the Premier Grand Lodge in 2017, Surrey Freemasons will be holding a series of events across the Province

Tercentenary

Travelling Exhibitions:

A special exhibition celebrating the History of Freemasonry will be touring the Province over the course of the Tercentenary. The exhibition will focus on the history of Freemasonry in the Province with a unique display at each site dedicated to Masonry in the local area.

  •   Saturday 24th Launch at the Lightbox Museum. Invitation only
  •   Monday 26th June for 2 weeks at the Lightbox Museum
  •   Monday 3rd July (2 weeks) Croydon Clocktower
  •   Monday 3rd July (2 weeks) Haslemere Museum
  •   Monday 10th July (2 weeks) Egham Library
  •   Monday 31st July (2 weeks) Spelthorne Museum
  •   Monday 7th August (2 weeks) Honeywood Museum
  •   Monday 7th August (2 weeks) Shere Museum
  •   Monday 14th August (2 weeks) Bourne Hall Museum
  •   Monday 4th September (2 weeks) Farnham Museum
  •   Monday 4th September (8 Days) Godalming Museum
  •   Monday 11th September (2 weeks) Surrey Heath Museum
  •   Saturday 23rd September (1 Day) Surbiton Masonic Centre

Teddy Bears Picnic and Masonic Parade:

 Warlingham Fair Saturday 17th June 2017 (11 am -4 pm).
The fair is now 26 years old and with a footfall of 4,000 people on the day. Freemasons will parade (in full regalia) through the streets of Warlingham behind the Mayor who leads the procession. The Teddy Bears Picnic will occupy a prime place within the fair where we have straw bales for the children to sit on whilst watching the entertainer and enjoying a picnic with their new teddy bears.

Surbiton Widows Association:

Lunch Sunday 25th June
The Surbiton Widows Association will host a “Tea Party” the ladies of the community not necessarily involved in Freemasonry. It is hoped that other Widows Association Groups will follow suit.

Summer Extravaganza:

 Saturday 15th July 2017. A popular music concert at Bromley Masonic Hall by the choirs of West Kent, East Kent and Surrey. Organised by West Kent.

The three choirs will sing a medley of songs some popular and some historic to mark our anniversary.

Farnham Tercentenary Ball:

Scheduled during August
Details to be announced, but another splendid way for this area of the Province to encapsulate all and celebrate 300 years.

Godalming Heritage/Tercentenary weekend:

 9th-10th September
A weekend to celebrate the occasion. With open tours of the Lodge rooms, various stalls and a teddy bears Picnic all in a “Village Green atmosphere.

Surbiton Parade and Crescent Green:

 Saturday, September 30th
A full parade in Dress Regalia, and Banners. The Masonic Centre will also host guided tours throughout the building for the public. Afterwards, on the green outside of Surbiton Masonic Centre, there will be a Teddy Bears Picnic and various other activities likewise emulating a village green atmosphere. There will also be one of the Tercentenary travelling exhibitions on display.

25th December 2017, Christmas Lunch for the lonely:

Croydon and District Masonic Hall & Nutfield Masonic Centre

29th December 2017 Christmas Lunch for the Lonely Surbiton Masonic Centre

All three centres will host Christmas luncheons at no cost for people who perhaps are a little less fortunate than most of us. This is mainly seen as seniors with no family, single parent families and people on their own on Christmas Day. Volunteers are already pledging their time at all venues and the catering suppliers in a gesture of good will and to mark our anniversary will give all the food. This event not only is a first for Surrey but a milestone for Freemasonry in general, showing we care about those less fortunate than us in our community.

Canterbury Cathedral Service – a Celebration of 300 years

Saturday 18 February saw Masons from across Surrey, Sussex, and East and West Kent attend a Canterbury Cathedral Service. The event was held to mark the Tercentenary of United Grand Lodge.

R.W. Bro. Ian Chandler Provincial Grand Master of Surrey spoke after the event

It was a delight to join with so many of our Surrey Brethren attending today’s service in Canterbury Cathedral marking three hundred years since the founding of the first ever Grand Lodge.

Canterbury Cathedral Service
Canterbury Cathedral

Surrey Masons raised over £50,000, together with similar donations from East and West Kent and Sussex Masonic Provinces, to help finance the restoration of the North-West transept, which was a magnificent effort.

Canterbury Cathedral Service
Cathedral Windows

My sincere thanks to all those Brethren who raised funds and contributed – over and above our other charity work which continues at full steam.

The service made me proud not only of our Province but of what Freemasonry itself has become since those four lodges met at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern and elected Anthony Sayer as the first ever Grand Master in June 1717.

From those relatively humble beginnings, what became the United Grand Lodge of England now has over 200,000 members from all walks of life, all parts of the globe and a wide variety of backgrounds.

  • Sitting with so many colleagues and friends in Canterbury Cathedral, looking back at how we’ve grown and the incredible things we’ve achieved together made me very proud.

It’s important to celebrate our heritage, and of course we’re doing this by running numerous celebratory events during 2017, all of which can be found on our Provincial website.

2017 Tercentenary of United Grand Lodge of England

Freemasonry in England is gearing up for the 2017 Tercentenary of Grand Lodge of England. For all Masons, under the UGLE it will certainly be a year to remember!

2017 Tercentenary of Grand Lodge Logo

Origins of Freemasonry

The question of when and where Freemasonry originated are still the subject of intense speculation. Freemasonry is understood to descend from the operative stonemasons who built the great cathedrals and castles of the middle ages.

The first evidence of the initiation of an English speculative Mason was of Elias Ashmole in 1646. From the 1660’s more evidence exists of gentlemen being made Masons in non-operative Lodges.

Tercentenary Goose & Grid Iron
The Goose and Gridiron Tavern.

On 24 June 1717, four London Lodges, came together at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in St Paul’s Cathedral Churchyard. They declared themselves a Grand Lodge, and elected their first Grand Master. This was the first Grand Lodge in the world.

In 1751 a rival Grand Lodge appeared in London. They dubbed the first Grand Lodge the Moderns and called themselves the Antients. The two existed side-by-side both at home and abroad for over 60 years, refusing to recognise each other.

After four years of negotiation, the two Grand Lodges united in 1813 to form the United Grand Lodge of England.

20th Century

By the turn of the 20th Century, over 2,800 Lodges had been established.

The two World Wars both had a massive effect on English Freemasonry. In the years following the First World War, over 350 new Lodges were established. 600 Lodges were then founded in just three years after the Second World War. In many cases, they were former servicemen who wanted to continue the camaraderie they had built up during the war.

The 250th anniversary of Grand Lodge in 1967, culminated in the installation of The Duke of Kent as Grand Master. An office he has held ever since.

1992 saw over 12,500 Freemasons celebrate the 275th anniversary of Grand Lodge. For the first time, media were present at a meeting and the event was featured on television across the world.

Preparations are uderway the celebration of the Tercentenary of Grand Lodge in 2017, and like Masons across England and Wales. Members of Crescamus Lodge will join in with the celebratory events which are happening both locally and nationally. The highlight will be a  meeting of Grand Lodge at the Royal Albert Hall.