ENCOURAGING YOUNGER MASONS|
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
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
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
Good luck to the University Scheme,
and the encouragement of young
undergraduates into Freemasonry!
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
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
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
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
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
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
This is very much the point that Yasha
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
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
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