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A message from the PGM

PROVINCIAL GRAND LODGE
OF DEVONSHIRE

22 April 2020


Brethren all,


We are now over thirty days into lockdown and complying with the sensible guidance from Government and United Grand Lodge of England. We know this will save lives and together we can defeat this terrible virus.

My Executive and I want you to know we are so proud of you and your families for your compliance and patience in following these new and temporary rules.

But I want to go further, and praise you all for the ways I learn you have been helping others in the community. I have had so many examples of the good works that are currently being undertaken by our members.

Above all to those of you who are in the front line, risking your lives to care for others, we salute you and thank you for making us all proud to have you as Brothers. We thank you and your families for quietly putting into action the principles by which we live and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

At the beginning of the confinement to our homes, I suggested that lodges ensure every member has the contact list of other Brethren and that in conjunction with the Almoners – all members are contacted personally. This identifies those who need help and also encourages us to chat and keep in touch. I hear this has been much appreciated and I hope it becomes a regular activity as the lockdown weeks go by and before we can meet again.

I know many of you are communicating electronically and I too have been holding meetings on Zoom, which does enable me to see which of my Executive are getting tea in bed!

As your Provincial Grand Master I love to hear of the many acts of kindness which are constantly being undertaken. Here are just two examples:

  • Over the Easter weekend Benevolent Lodge 303, Teignmouth, allowed a non-Mason and his son to cook Sunday roast dinners in their kitchen at for nearly 150 people and which were delivered free into the community. Well done Benevolent.
  • WBro. Mark Bowes-Cavanagh of Courtland Lodge 6706, donated 7000 hand sanitizers from his company to NHS care homes, schools and surgeries. Thank you Mark.

It does not go unnoticed that many more of you are working so hard to serve your community and I know it will continue – thankyou.

The UGLE Covid19 Response Group shares all our initiatives via our PGM’s Regional groups and in conjunction with the MCF, it is fully supportive of all we are doing. Meetings are held on a frequent basis via WhatsApp and they are keen to share ideas to enable best practice throughout our order.

The support and advice and sensible guidance we have received from UGLE since the beginning of this situation cannot be praised enough, we must all be grateful.

I expect most of you are aware of the Covid 19 Relief Chest that has been opened, by the MCF, and is ready to receive donations. I want to make it clear that if you choose to donate to this fund your contribution will be counted towards the total of the 2023 Devonshire Festival. Your contributions to this Covid19 relief chest will also count towards a Steward’s Festival Jewel.

I know we are all sorely disappointed that we were not able to hold our annual Provincial Grand Lodge Meeting at Torquay. Those newly appointed and promoted officers will be entitled to wear the collar for that office from the 20 April 2020. It upsets me, as much as you, at not being able to make that presentation on the stage. I am truly sorry Brethren and I congratulate all those promoted for what you have done so far in Masonry to deserve this recognition. Well done!

Let’s just hope that after we get through this dreadful situation we may be able to enjoy the rest of this year together.

I would also take this opportunity to thank my two Provincial Wardens: WBro. Rob Summers and WBro. Antony Eldred for their dedication and support. This of course came with heading up another year of dedicated active Provincial Officers.

I thank them for the incredible amount of £2,202 raised for our MCF Festival.

Those of you that are alone in your homes be reassured that you are part of a very caring organization that will help you through these difficult times. VWBro. Simon Rowe, WBro. Peter
Balsom and I are united in our endeavours to help you if we can.

Indeed we appeal to you all to join with us and the other leaders of the Provinces of Cornwall and Somerset for the 9 o’clock toast each day.

This dreaded virus has brought normal life to a standstill but given us a period of time to spend in quiet reflection on life. All the material things that we may crave for pale into insignificance and makes you realise it is the love and care we show for each other that is the most important.

You are all very precious and special people please keep safe and well.


Ian


RWBro Ian Kingsbury JP
Provincial Grand Master of Devonshire

Categories
About History

Freemasonry through the Ages.

When, where, how, why Freemasonry originated are questions which are still the subject of intense speculation. The consensus amongst most Masonic scholars is that it descends directly or indirectly from the organisation of operative stonemasons who built the great cathedrals and castles of the middle ages.

Here we bring you a brief round up of the most important historic milestones.

July 31, 1599

The Oldest Masonic Lodge Minutes in existence are from the Lodge of Edinburgh No. 1 which has records to prove its continual existence as the world’s oldest Masonic Lodge.

1646
Elias Ashmole
Elias Ashmole

Elias Ashmole (The founder of the Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford) recorded his initiation into Freemasonry with these words…

“October 16, 4.30pm – I was made a freemason at Warrington in Lancashire with Colonel Henry Mainwaring (a Roundhead parliamentarian friend related to his father-in-law) of Karincham in Cheshire. The names of those that were then at the Lodge, Mr Richard Penket Worden, Mr James Collier, Mr Richard Sankey, Henry Littler, John Ellam, Richard Ellam and Hugh Brewer.”

Diary of Elias Ashmole

This is the first evidence of the initiation of an English speculative mason – notwithstanding the fact that those present and listed would have certainly been initiated at an earlier date.

24 June 1717
Goose and Gridiron
Plaque near the site of the Goose and Gridiron

Four London Lodges, which had existed for some time, came together at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in St Paul’s Churchyard in London, declared themselves a Grand Lodge and elected Anthony Sayer as their Grand Master. This was
the first Grand Lodge in the world.

1723

By this time the new Grand Lodge had published its first rule book – The Book of Constitutions of Masonry – and was meeting quarterly and recording its meetings. It had extended its authority outside London.

1725

The Grand Lodge of Ireland was established.

1736

The Grand Lodge of Scotland was established. The three Home Grand Lodges began to take Freemasonry overseas and the development of Freemasonry abroad mirrors the 18th and 19th century development of the British Empire.

1751

A rival Grand Lodge appeared in London. Its original members were Irish Masons who claimed that the original Grand Lodge had made innovations. 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 nearly 63 years, neither recognising each other as regular.

1813

After four years of negotiation, the two Grand Lodges in England united on 27 December 1813 to form the
United Grand Lodge of England.
This union led to a great deal of standardisation of ritual, procedures and regalia.

1814

Some 647 Lodges were in existence. The 19th century saw a great expansion of Freemasonry – both at home and abroad.

1900

2,800 Lodges had been established despite losses when independent Grand Lodges were formed in Canada and Australia in the later part of the century.

1933
Freemasons Hall
Freemasons Hall, London

Freemasons Hall in Great Queen Street in London was opened as The Masonic Peace Memorial

1914 -1945

The two World Wars both had a great effect on English Freemasonry.

In the three years after the First World War over 350 new Lodges were set up, and in the three years after the Second World War nearly 600 new Lodges came into being.

In many cases the founders were servicemen who wanted to continue the camaraderie they had built up during their war service, and were looking for a calm centre in a
greatly changed and changing world.

1967

On 14 June 1967 the 250th anniversary of Grand Lodge was celebrated at the Royal Albert Hall. Centrepiece of the celebrations was the installation as Grand Master of
HRH The Duke of Kent,
who still holds that office today.

1992

On 10 June 1992 over 12,500 Freemasons and guests gathered at Earls Court in West London to celebrate the 275th anniversary of Grand Lodge.

For the first time press and television were present at a meeting of Grand Lodge and the event featured on television newscasts around the world.

2017

Freemasons from around the world celebrated the 300th Anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England..

Some famous Freemasons…

  • At least five Kings of England (more recently Edward VII, Edward VIII and George VI)
  • The present Duke of Kent
  • Statesmen Winston Churchill and Lord Kitchener
  • Military genius the Duke of Wellington
  • Authors Rudyard Kipling and Arthur Conan Doyle
  • World Cup winning England manager, Sir Alf Ramsey
  • The explorer Ernest Shackleton
  • The scientist who discovered penicillin, Alexander Fleming
  • Painter William Hogarth
  • 18th Century Poet Alexander Pope
  • Flamboyant playwright Oscar Wilde
  • Famous actors David Garrick, Richard Todd and Peter Sellers
  • Musicians: Arthur Sullivan of Gilbert and Sullivan fame and Nat King Cole
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