The Enigma of The Royal Arch

The colourful sight beheld by new Companions during Exaltation into the Holy Royal Arch (HRA) is often remembered for the rest of their lives and a number find Chapter banquets more congenial than Craft festive boards. Combined with the story of ‘How that which was lost is discovered’, the HRA gives great pleasure to almost everyone who has taken the ‘Fourth Independent Step in Core Freemasonry’.

There is also a sense of ‘doing the right thing’ in heeding the Pro Grand Master’s call for all Craft Masons to join the HRA before considering additional Masonic Orders. Nevertheless, there is an enigma (Oxford Dictionary: a person, thing or situation that is mysterious and difficult to understand) which most Companions end up accepting but offset it against, what is to them, a most enjoyable part of Freemasonry

There is no shortage of excellent publications about the HRA which are often written for the more serious researchers or learned Companions without examining the enigma in the way Essex Freemason and author, David West, does in his new book ‘The Enigma of The Royal Arch’.

Starting with a background of current membership trends and contrasting English workings with Scottish, Irish and York Rite, the reader is drawn into exploring a combination of facts and fiction found in evaluating early ritual and manuscripts. Followed by an analysis of what was lost and other significant factors, all the content is explained in a way which helps readers clearly understand why the HRA in England is considered to be the completion of ‘pure ancient Masonry’.

Full of lots of interesting information and well-illustrated, with the cover designed by Lawrie Morrisson, the new 66-page book is easy to read and would prove useful to Scribes E, Chapter Mentors, newly elected Principals and RA Representatives. Since my own Exaltation (1978), nobody has ever been able to explain to me the mysterious and difficult-to-understand situations in the HRA, as well as David West has done in ‘The Enigma of The Royal Arch’.


12 Million Steps for Muscular Dystrophy

112 Essex Freemasons stepped up to the plate for the Provincial ‘500 Step Challenge’. In the eight days from 23rd to 30th December 2020, the Brethren recorded a total of 12,378,321 steps, the equivalent of walking 6,189 miles.  St Philip Lodge No 4221 whose four team members, Alan Keith, Andy Cross, Joe Wiggins and Paul Leacock marched into first place with an average of 20,478 steps each day and gave their prize-winning charitable donation to Muscular Dystrophy UK, in memory of the late Spencer Walsh, the brother-in-law of Andy Cross, who sadly passed away on 7th December 2020.

For Andy Cross, the sexagenarian Treasurer of St Philip Lodge, every step was a challenge, suffering with heel pain in his right foot from a ligament inflammation (plantar fascia) he still managed to complete 242,926 steps.  Exactly 100 years ago, the Founders of St Philip Lodge were also taking challenging steps. The Warrant of the Lodge was granted on 13th December 1920 and arrangements for the Consecration were well under way. As the Founders look down from Grand Lodge above, they must be feeling very proud of the current St Philip Lodge members as they begin their Centennial year.

The leading individual was Clive Cheeseman with a total of 275,784 steps from second placed Henry de Gray Lodge No 6627. His team was followed in order by Cornerstone, St Kath’s Turkey Trotters, Spero Lodge, Orsett Lodge, The Beeleigh Abbey Lodge, Round Table Lodge of Essex, Old Parkonians Lodge, The Dragon of St George, Albert Lucking Chubbsters, Sons of Benfleet, Old Easthameian, Essex Quadrant Lodge, Team Wakering, Haven Step Brothers, Prittlewell 3 Amigos, Shenfield Lodge, Saint Cedd, Paul Geadey Gaggle, Alan Keith Quadrant, Lodge of Amity No 5753, Team Higgins and The Dragon of St George.

The widow of Spencer, Mrs Jill Welsh has written “I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Province of Essex Freemasons for the ‘500 Step Challenge’ donation. This been donated to Muscular Dystrophy UK, a cause very close to our hearts having lost our son to this cruel disease at the age of 17. With tributes also from family and friends we have been able to send in excess of £2,000 to this worthy charity. With my deepest gratitude”.


Saxon Hall Vaccination Centre

Police swoop on ‘lockdown rave’ at Saxon Hall ... to find 80+year olds queueing for their Covid jabs!

Southend’s freemasonry centre, Saxon Hall, in Aviation Way, opened its doors last week to NHS front line staff, offering the building for use as a vaccination centre in the battle against Covid19.

On the chilly opening day, the first 80-year-old-plus invitees for a jab turned up for their 8am appointments almost an hour early, and kept coming.

Helping the queues grow even longer was the late arrival of the actual vaccines – and then there wasn’t enough supply to meet demand, which led to further delays, and lengthening queues, while fresh supplies were sourced.

And then police arrived. Chairman of Saxon Hall Dennis Baum, pressed into willing duty as a car park attendant, said: “They had been notified that there was a rave taking place at Saxon Hall – only to find 80and 90-year-olds with wheelchairs, zimmer frames and walking sticks patiently queueing for their vaccinations.”

Dennis added that although the earlier queues had resulted in a few grumpy old men and women, “as a balancing act, many more very appreciative people couldn’t have been more grateful to receive the vaccine, and thanked Saxon Hall and Essex freemasons for providing the venue”.

In the days following, local voluntary organisations, including the Leigh Lions, Community Police and OneLove Soup Kitchen Southend, made queueing a lot more comfortable for those awaiting the vaccine by providing gazebo shelters, hot drinks, blankets and wheelchairs, as well as helping with steward duties and providing refreshments for the hardworking NHS staff.


Companions Helping Companions

Every Essex Freemason has contributed one way or another to the Covid-19 Project of the United Grand Lodge of England and the Masonic Charitable Foundation. Phase 2 began this December with over £840,000 released to target homelessness and rough sleeping.

Fifteen individual Emmaus organisations are among the 39 Charities to have received grants. Although each Emmaus unit is allowed to operate in varying ways according to local needs the concept is similar. A Community ‘programme’ is established to provide accommodation and a reason to get out of bed each day. Those in the programme are called ‘Companions’.


'Companions’ of Emmaus are given emotional and practical support to help them provide an income of their own by working in the Emmaus shops to build up their self-esteem. It is a Community giving much needed support to their ‘Companions’, all of whom are 18 years or older and who typically stay for nine months to one year in the programme.

The support of Freemasonry means a lot to Emmaus in what has been a devasting year since the first lockdown. This support is also special to all Holy Royal Arch Masons as it is a unique example of ‘Companions helping Companions’.



Discoveries from the treasures of English Freemasonry

Discoveries from the treasures of English Freemasonry

The Grand Master’s throne with a carved framework of gilt lime wood, flanked by a pair of Doric columns. The throne’s arms and supports are formed from a double scroll of acanthus leaves with a lion’s mask and paw at the tip of each arm and the base of each support. The seat rails are carved with rosettes and incorporate on the front a rectangular plaque, carved with a Volume of the Sacred Law between the points of a pair of Compasses. The throne is surmounted by a carved wood ducal coronet, partially gilded and partially painted red, with a painted ermine trim; this is flanked below by two gilt cradles, on which are mounted a terrestrial globe and a celestial globe.

Soon after George Augustus, Prince of Wales (later George IV) became the first Royal Grand Master of the Moderns Grand Lodge in 1790, a ceremonial throne and two Warden’s chairs, replete with Masonic symbolism, were commissioned for use in the new Freemasons’ Hall in London. The London cabinet maker Robert Kennett, based at 67 New Bond Street, charged £157. 10s. (£17,000 itm) and took three months to complete the set in gilded lime wood.
Please click here to view the Treasures here

A Province in Mourning

A Province in Mourning

Companions, as we are currently a Province in Mourning, we thought that we would share this tribute with you, when we all showed our respect and joined in a 'nine o’clock toast' to "Absent Companions and Departed Merit".

These are the screenshots taken across the Province, at the Zoom Meeting to Respect Departed Merit for our Most Excellent Grand Superintendent - Rodney Lister Bass on 29.07.2020.


The Late W Bro Alan John Everard PSGD, PAPGM

Worshipful Brother Alan died peacefully in the morning of 23 September 2020 after a period of not being well, with his family by his side. Born on 23 July 1944 he had not long celebrated his 76th birthday. As an Essex Freemason he was one of our very best.

Having started his Essex Masonic career in July 1971 with Undine Lodge it was only natural with his outgoing personality and generosity to others that Alan was destined to enjoy Freemasonry to the full himself whilst encouraging many others to do the same.

He became a Joining member of Saint Cedd Lodge in 1977, Essex Masters in 1985, Bear and Ragged Staff in 2005 and North Essex Masters’ in 2017, as well as being a Founder member of two specialist lodges, the Lodge of Enlightenment in 1994, a lodge for Secretaries and Treasurers and the Lodge of Daily Advancement in 2019, a demonstration and research lodge. He served as Worshipful Master six times and held many senior offices in these Lodges.

Excellent Companion Alan was also very active in Holy Royal Arch Masonry since being exalted in June 1988 in Undine Chapter and becoming MEZ in 1996. He joined Essex First Principals in 1999 and became Treasurer in 2003. He was also a Founder member of both Upminster Daylight Chapter and Chapter of Enlightenment and in November 2011 was installed as MEZ in both.

In 1990 Alan was first honoured with active Provincial Rank as Provincial Senior Grand Deacon and following a further two Provincial promotions became an Assistant Provincial Grand Master in 2005, an Office in which he served until March 2014. Alan was honoured with Grand Rank in 2003 as Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies and promoted to Past Senior Grand Deacon in 2006.

One aspect of Freemasonry Alan particularly enjoyed was his membership of Le Touquet Loge No 89 in the Province of Flanders under the Grande Loge Nationale Francaise (GLNF) from 2000-2012, in which he was installed as Master in 2004. Whilst presiding over the 40th Anniversary celebrations of the Loge, the GLNF Provincial Grand Master surprised him by announcing his appointment to Past Provincial Grand Deacon at the Festive Board.

Another not quite so enjoyable aspect was his sadness at the coming to an end after 110 years of Undine Lodge but Alan ensured that that the name would live by arranging for the Lodge of Daily Advancement to acquire much of the Undine Lodge equipment and regalia. Alan dearly appreciated the 10 Lodges which made him an Honorary member, West Essex Meridian, Holland on Sea, Faircross, Waltham Abbey, Tudor, Cromwell, Upminster Hall, Round Table of Essex, Stanstead Mountfitchet and Corinthian Centenary.

At heart Alan was modest man who much preferred to see credit given to others who had also made a valuable contribution to Freemasonry. Throughout his 49 years in the Craft, Alan earned considerable respect from all those who knew him and will forever be held in high esteem in their thoughts and memories.

Alan’s Ranks in Craft and Holy Royal Arch Freemasonry in Essex

Date Lodge/Chapter Age
14 July 1971 Initiated - Undine Lodge No 3394 26
28 November 1981 Master - Saint Cedd Lodge No 6519 37
10 October 1984 Master - Undine Lodge 40
25 June 1988 Exalted - Undine Chapter No 3394 43
22 March 1990 Provincial Senior Grand Deacon 45
21 March 1991 Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon 46
20 September 1994 Founder - Lodge of Enlightenment No 9550 50
09 March 1996 MEZ - Undine Chapter, 51
20 March 1997 Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer 52
29 June 2000 Provincial Grand Treasurer, HRA 55
30 April 2003 Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies 58
08 October 2003 Master - Undine Lodge 59
01 September 2005 Assistant Provincial Grand Master 61
26 April 2006 Past Senior Grand Deacon 61
03 July 2006 Founder - Upminster Daylight Chapter 9788 61
04 September 2008 Provincial Grand Scribe N 64
29 April 2010 Past Grand Standard Bearer, HRA 65
22 October 2010 Master - Bear and Ragged Staff Lodge No 8527 66
16 November 2010 Founder - Chapter of Enlightenment No 9550 66
02 November 2011 MEZ - Upminster Daylight Chapter No 9788 67
16 November 2011 MEZ - Chapter of Enlightenment No 9550 67
22 November 2014 Master – Saint Cedd Lodge No 6519 70
16 July 2019 Founder and Primus Master - Lodge of Daily Advancement No 9979 75
Provincial Grand Chapter

Provincial Grand Chapter

For the first time, the Provincial Grand Chapter of Essex was held at Chingford Masonic Hall on Friday, the 2nd of October. A tribute video to the late Most Excellent Grand Superintendent Rodney Lister Bass OBE, was played at the meeting.


Combined Chapters of Central Essex give to the Festival 2022 Appeal

Combined Chapters of Central Essex give to the Festival 2022 Appeal

The Deputy Grand Superintendent In Charge, E.Comp. Nick Franklin, was recently presented with a cheque for £1000 on behalf of the Combined Chapters of Central Essex for the Festival 2022 Appeal by E. Comp. Trevor Lucky of the Thomas Paycocke Chapter No 8200.

The presentation took place on Friday 2nd October at the Howard Hall in Braintree under socially distanced conditions. E. Comp. Barry Broyd who is Scribe E of the Combined Chapters of Central Essex was also present.

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