The service was conducted by the
Reverend Canon Eric Woods, vicar of
Sherborne, and there was a specially
prepared sermon given by the Reverend
Canon Neil Collings PJGW. He said
Bob Winder, aged 96,
and Robert Blake, 19,
the oldest and youngest
Masons in Dorset who
gave the two readings
This year is special to Dorset Masons in that
they celebrate 225 years of both the Craft and
the Royal Arch. The credit for this unique
Masonic milestone must principally be
accorded to that charismatic and ingenious
18th century Mason, Thomas Dunckerley.
Although Freemasonry in Dorset dates
back to 1736 if not before, it was Thomas
Dunckerley who brought order and
regulation to local Freemasonry, both
Craft and Chapter, in 1780.
Brethren of the Lodge of Amity in Poole,
itself dating back to 1765, also played a vital
role in those early proceedings. A catalyst to
the formal proceedings in those early years,
its members also provided the first base of
formal documentation and record-keeping,
allowing Dorset to formally lay claim to this
RW Bro K. Harry Barnes, Provincial
Grand Master for Dorset, said at the
celebrations at Sherborne Abbey to
commemorate the 225 years: “Throughout
the centuries, Dorset has been proud to
name many great men amongst its members,
principally amongst whom must be the Earl
of Shaftsbury, Provincial Grand Master for
no less than 50 years, and one of the greatest
anthropologists who ever existed.
“We are also proud of Dorset because we
are celebrating 225 years of uncompromising
charitable support within our local
community, as well as nationally, from the
needs of the sick, the young, the elderly, the
infirmed, and those who have suffered at the
hands of adversity and natural disaster”.
Specially invited guests included the Lord
Lieutenant of Dorset, Capt. Michael
Fulford-Dobson and Mrs Fulford-Dobson,
the High Sheriff of Dorset, the Hon.
Charlotte Townsend, the Mayor of
Sherborne Cllr. Peter Rhodes as well as
representatives from Rotary, Round Table
and Lions organisations and the local press.
“Freemasonry emerged in these islands at
the end of the 17th and beginning of the
18th centuries when times were dangerous,
the political situation always precarious,
when moral standards were at an all-time
low and where religious strife flourished.
“Out of all that, a group of like-minded
men assembled to dedicate themselves to the
principles of the Bible, to live morally
worthy lives and to render themselves more
extensively serviceable to their fellow men.
“It was the only place in 18th century
England where men of different persuasions,
religious and political, could sit down
together. I maintain that this is one of the
reasons why this country was saved from the
type of revolution that was witnessed in
France and elsewhere. “It was men of that
quality who formed the Province of Dorset
and made it what it became, having such an
influence for the good of the county in
general and its people in particular.”
Following the service of rededication,
prayers were led by the Provincial Grand
Chaplain, Bro. the Reverend Alan Elwood.
Among the most poignant of the readings
were those taken from a lecture delivered by
Thomas Dunckerley on 28 April 1757.
The first of these were read by W Bro.
Bob Winder aged 96 and a Freemason for 67
years representing the past, followed by 19-year-old Bro. Robert Blake, the youngest
and representing the future.
Ken Howes is Information Officer
for the Province of Dorset
RW Bro K Harry Barnes,
Provincial Grand Master
for Dorset with other
leading Masons at the
Web site created by Mark Griffin