ISSUE 20, January 2007
Historic: Dr Thomas Barnardo - children's saviour
Travel: South African journey
London Gala Evening: Royal Masonic Variety Show
Centenary Celebrations: Scouting's milestone
Quarterly Communication: Speech by the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Supreme Grand Chapter: Speech by the Pro 1st Grand Principal and Report of the Cttee of General Purposes
Library and Museum: Facets of Fraternity
   Specialist Lodge: Internet Lodge - Masonry on the Web
Special Events: Spamalot and the Alternative Hair Show at Grand Lodge
Freemasons' Hall: ADelphi System - A computer revolution
Mark Master Masons: Duke of Kent at 150th anniversary
Breeches Bible: A Lodge locker's secret
Masonic Arboretum: Planting an idea
Education: Events and The hoodwink
Masonic Charities: RMTGB and Grand Charity and Legacy appeal and RMBI and NMSF
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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In his letter (MQ, Issue No. 19), Chris Field mentions the importance of social events. In the years immediately following my initiation in Apollo University Lodge No. 357 in January 1946, two months after my 18th birthday, there were no social events.
    However, the Lodge was flourishing and for much of the time there were more than two candidates for any Degree, and almost always two Degrees held on one Lodge evening, except for the installation meeting. Regular practices were held on a Sunday morning to ensure that we worked with military precision, though we took care that we were not too formal and did not square corners.
    The greatest number of candidates that I can remember for a ceremony was nine, which we took through the Third Degree in one batch. We were a well-polished team with seven stewards to assist the two deacons for the detailed raising.
    All nine stood in one long line from north to south, with one deacon at each end and the stewards in between, one behind each candidate, to ensure a fast, safe and involuntary ‘fall’. This might perhaps qualify for a Masonic Guinness Book of Records today.
    James Stubbs, then Assistant to Sydney White, the Grand Secretary, was a regular attendant. We held two meetings a term, and in addition, one meeting of each of several additional Degrees on Saturday nights in term time.
    I was Initiated in the New Room at Magdalen College, Passed in some assembly rooms in Cowley, and Raised in the Randolph Hotel Ballroom.
    Then we reverted to the Masonic temple, the Forum in the High opposite the Schools building.
    For installation night, and on some other occasions, we dined in a college hall, often St John’s or Worcester – W C Costin, Senior Tutor, and Bobby Milburn, Senior Chaplain respectively, were very active Apollo members.
    Many candidates for initiation were introduced by the former. This is a very important point for the new University Scheme.
    Good luck to the University Scheme, and the encouragement of young undergraduates into Freemasonry!

Charles Wickham-Jones

Another Archbishop Mason

I found the article about Geoffrey Fisher (MQ, Issue No. 19) extremely interesting, but I take issue with the claim that he was the first Archbishop of Canterbury to be a Freemason.
    In The Origins of Royal Arch Masonry by Dr G Oliver there is reference to an article in the Freemasons’ Review of June 1844 regarding a speech by Rev J Osmond Dakeyne at the Masonic Festival of the Oliver Testimonial at Lincoln on 9 May 1844.
    In this article he criticizes the claims of a Professor Robison of Edinburgh, who states that Freemasons were “disloyal, irreligious and conspiring to overturn all sacred and settled institutions.”
    Dakeyne then mentions the heads of “our Order, the Earl of Moira, George, Prince of Wales, Edward, Duke of Kent. Was not George IV our Grand Master?… are we irreligious? The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primate of All England, is a Freemason, and was once Master of a Bristol Lodge.”
    As a Bristol Mason this intrigued me to establish to whom he was referring. The cleric was a Dr William Howley, born in 1766. This led me to Freemasonry in Bristol by Powell & Littlejohn, which states: “William Howley was initiated in the Royal York Lodge at Bristol on 21st December 1791.
    It was also reported in Freemasons’ Quarterly Review of 1835. Sadly, no records of this Lodge remain in Bristol.
    Howley was a private tutor in Somerset at this time, subsequently becoming a tutor and Fellow of New College, Oxford. He was Bishop of London 1813–1828, and finally Archbishop of Canterbury in 1828.
    Like Geoffrey Fisher, he also officiated at a coronation – that of Queen Victoria.
    Research shows that he never pursued a Masonic career after leaving Bristol. He died in 1848 and is buried at Addington, Surrey. I am currently compiling an article on his life and career.

Barry Leat
Chepstow, Gwent

Fisher’s wider role

The Rev. Philip Swindells takes Yasha Beresiner to task for what he perceives as certain inaccuracies in his article on Archbishop Fisher (MQ, Issue No. 19).
    Most of his points are rather trivial, but more serious is what Bro Swindells describes as ‘questionable judgment’ which ‘many would question’ – namely Yasha’s statement that none of Fisher’s successors ‘made as much impact on the Church and society in general’ as he did.
    Having lived throughout all the relevant reigns I would say Yasha’s judgment was spot on.
    Archbishop Ramsey was certainly twice the theologian that Fisher was, but was a less well-known public figure, as is true of his successors. I would refer to Canon Revor Beeson’s masterly volume The Bishops (SCM Press, London 2002), page 131: Fisher was the last archbishop to assume that his position entitled him to speak directly to the Prime Minister and other senior politicians about the morality of their decision-making and he was the last archbishop to whom politicians conceded that right.
    This is very much the point that Yasha was making.

John Hart
Librarian & Curator, Worcestershire Masonic Library & Museum Trust

Recruitment and retention

The Pro Grand Master, Lord Northampton, in his address to Grand Lodge (MQ, Issue No. 18), mentions recruiting and retaining young men into the Craft.
    Perhaps a significant deterrent is the way we operate Lodge proceedings, resulting in late finishes, thereby creating disharmony at home. What is the view of his wife and his friends, both Masonic and non-Masonic, when it transpires that he left home early in the morning to go to work and arrived home after 11 pm.
    First, there is the length of the ceremonies, which are in the hands of preceptors.
    If the Lodge is to open at 6pm, then brethren should enter the Lodge before that time. Then there is the increasing amount of reading by the secretary. During the after proceedings, Provincial Officers responding to that toast will often spend an inordinate amount of time in so doing.
    Then there is the image we present. How archaic is morning attire? No longer the dress of the City or business – or solicitors, accountants and bank managers – they disappeared with Captain Mainwaring after the last war. There only remain funeral directors.

Terence Waters
Coleshill, Warwickshire

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