© 2008 Provincial Grand Court of Wessex
The Deputy Provincial Grand Master in Charge of Wessex, ADDRESS When I first read on the Agenda for this meeting that Item 13 was, “The Provincial Grand Master will address Provincial Grand Court” I briefly thought that as Deputy PGM I could get away with not having to carry out that particular item but the Provincial Secretary soon disabused me of that belief. I then asked him what he thought I should say and was rather taken aback when he replied, “Just give them your usual flannel”. I wasn’t at all certain what he meant by that so I looked up “flannel” in the dictionary and found it was defined as “coarse material”. I didn’t think that was appropriate so eventually I decided to follow the advice of the late R W Brother J R Ewing of Dallas fame who once said, “If you don’t strike oil in the first five minutes, stop boring!” I have already welcomed our distinguished guests from Grand Court and other Provinces in the Order so I would now like to take this opportunity of welcoming Brethren from the Province of Wessex who are present and supporting me here today. Be assured your attendance is greatly appreciated. I should also like to congratulate those Brethren I have appointed or re-appointed to Provincial rank. Perhaps at this point I should explain that before he resigned at the beginning of the year R W Bro Ian Crowe had fixed this meeting for the 18th May. Unfortunately, I did not discover this until the date had been decided and I already have two important meetings in Berkshire on that day (in one of which I am in the chair for part of the work) so to be absent would have caused great difficulty. Consequently when Ian resigned and I was appointed PGM in Charge I took the opportunity of moving it to today. Quite naturally the change of date meant some Officers already had other commitments so are unable to be present. However, I did decide to retain this venue with this lovely temple which I think admirably suits our needs in all respects Whether present or absent, I should like to thank the Provincial Officers of the year for their help and support given not only to R W Bro Ian and, latterly, myself but also to meetings of the Courts in the Province. As we all know Provincial meetings do not just happen and I should especially like to thank W Bro George Paskins, the Provincial Secretary, W Bro Tony Pinnell, the Provincial Treasurer and W Bro Colin Lowther, the Provincial Marshall for their hard work over several weeks in preparing for today. Unfortunately, we are not a large enough Province to merit a Provincial Organist so I should especially like to thank one of our guests, Bro Andrew Murphy for enhancing our proceedings today with his beautiful music. Thank you Andrew. At Grand Court last year three of our members received Grand Rank: W Bro George Brown was appointed Past Grand Junior Deacon W Bro George Paskins was appointed Past Grand Banner Bearer W Bro Roger Hall-Jones was appointed Past Grand Captain of the Guard Unfortunately, because of the greatly reduced size of the Province this year, I understand we are not qualified for further Grand Rank appointments until the Province substantially increases in size although, of course, I am always happy to be corrected on this matter! At the meeting of the Order of the Scarlet Mantle at Leicester last Tuesday the name of that Order was changed to “The Ancient Masonic Order of Alfred the Great.” At that meeting I was to receive a first appointment to “Knight of The Ancient Masonic Order of Alfred the Great”or KAG. Unfortunately, yet again I had a clash as I was at a meeting of another Order in Birmingham where I had proposed five of the six candidates and was carrying out part of the ceremony but I am hopeful of receiving the honour in October. I am delighted to inform you that at that meeting W Bro Mervyn Western received a promotion to “Knight Grand Cross of the Ancient Masonic Order of Alfred the Great” or GCAG which is, as I am sure you will all agree, a very well deserved honour. I mentioned earlier the greatly reduced size of the Province; this reduction is in terms of the number of Courts not in terms of geographical area. The Province of Wessex, as presently constituted, consists of the City and County of Bristol (formerly Avon) and the Craft provinces of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. Presently there are two Courts in the Bristol area, one in Gloucestershire and one in Wiltshire. Three of these Provinces (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire) previously formed part of the Province of Hwicce which was disbanded in 2016. There is obviously considerable potential for expansion but there are also undoubted difficulties. Currently Herefordshire has no Court but it is a county which always reminds me of New Zealand it has a huge population but 99% of them are sheep! In terms of people it is not heavily populated and has no really large towns so the Masonic population is also relatively small. In fact, apart from the Craft where Herefordshire does have its own PGM all other Masonic Orders link Herefordshire with Gloucestershire. Herefordshire is also, in my experience, a good example of another characteristic of rural Provinces brethren are often unwilling to travel to other Masonic centres, even within the same Province. As an example, about three years ago I was a Founder of an Operatives Assemblage in Leominster. Prior to our first meeting three members of the Management Committee arrived to make sure we were happily settled in. They said they would have joined us until they found out you had to be a member of the Mark Degree; there was no Mark Lodge in Leominster and they were not prepared to travel to either Kington or Hereford to join a Mark Lodge there. It is not appropriate for me to mention past events which led to the disbanding of the Province of Hwicce; suffice it to say that establishing a new Court, especially in Berkshire would, at the present time, be very difficult. I have, sometimes, been accused of being a pessimist. Despite what I have just said about the difficulty of establishing new Courts, I do not believe that is true. On the other hand neither am I an eternal optimist; if anything, I consider myself a realist who judges situations as I believe them actually to be and not as others might wish they would be. Having said that, I do not believe that there is no scope for future development in the Province and I put before you a few glimmers of hope: A few years ago the Masonic Centre in Oxford closed and Masonic Orders which met there had to find new homes. About a year ago a new Centre opened at Cardinal House in Newnham Courtenay between Oxford and Henley. It was found that not all the units which had previously met in Oxford wanted to move to the new Centre and I know the Craft PGM of Oxfordshire is keen that there should be an increase in the number of Masonic Orders meeting at Cardinal House. In fact, I am to be a founder of a new Pilgrim Preceptors Tabernacle which is to meet there. So, even if not immediately, there is potential for a Court at that location. One of the senior Provincial officers believes that there is the potential for a new Court in the Stow on the Wold area drawing on Brethren from both Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. I believe sincerely that there is a realistic chance for further development and expansion but I think this is unlikely in the near future and I am not the person to lead it. This is partly because I am half way through my eighth decade and partly because I am not widely known in this part of the Province. To influence Brethren into becoming founders of a unit in a Masonic Order of which they are not even members and may well have not even heard is, to say the least, challenging. Obviously, it can be done and has been done but I believe it needs someone who is much better known within the larger Masonic community and who has much more influence in this area than I have. Having said that, I can assure you all that I will continue to do my best to lead the Province and to support the Courts and Brethren within it until such time as a new Provincial Grand Master is appointed and installed. Thank you for your attendance today. God bless you all. TO THE TOP OF THE PAGE
VIP’s In Atendance R.W.Bro. Roy Leavers, GCh, GCAG, DEPUTY GRAND MASTER R.W.Bro. Ralph M. Apperly, KCAG, Provincial Grand Master (Kent) W.Bro. Ian W. Sewell, Deputy Provincial Grand Master ( Magonsaetan) W.Bro. Wayne Dyer ,KCAG, PGBanB, Prov’ Grand Secretary (Magonsaeton W.Bro. Graham Scott Johnston Dep’ Provincial Grand Master (Mercia) V.W.Bro. Keith Waters, KAG, PGSwdB, Dep’ Provincial Grand Master (Dumnonia) W.Bro. Michael Ellis, KAG, PSGD, Deputy Provincial Grand Master (Sussex) W.Bro. Ron E S Bentley, Provincial Grand Secretary (Sussex) W.Bro Andrew Murphy, Provincial Grand Organist (Magonsaetan)
PHOTO’S PHOTO’S Treasurer & Secretary’s REPORT
© 2008 Provincial Grand Court of Wessex
VIP’s In Atendance R.W.Bro. Roy Leavers, GCh, GCAG, DEPUTY GRAND MASTER R.W.Bro. Ralph M. Apperly, KCAG, Provincial Grand Master (Kent) W.Bro. Ian W. Sewell, Deputy Provincial Grand Master ( Magonsaetan) W.Bro. Wayne Dyer ,KCAG, PGBanB, Prov’ Grand Secretary (Magonsaeton W.Bro. Graham Scott Johnston Dep’ Provincial Grand Master (Mercia) V.W.Bro. Keith Waters, KAG, PGSwdB, Dep’ Provincial Grand Master (Dumnonia) W.Bro. Michael Ellis, KAG, PSGD, Deputy Provincial Grand Master (Sussex) W.Bro. Ron E S Bentley, Provincial Grand Secretary (Sussex) W.Bro Andrew Murphy, Provincial Grand Organist (Magonsaetan)
PHOTO’S PHOTO’S
The Deputy Provincial Grand Master in Charge of Wessex, ADDRESS When I first read on the Agenda for this meeting that Item 13 was, “The Provincial Grand Master will address Provincial Grand Court” I briefly thought that as Deputy PGM I could get away with not having to carry out that particular item but the Provincial Secretary soon disabused me of that belief. I then asked him what he thought I should say and was rather taken aback when he replied, “Just give them your usual flannel”. I wasn’t at all certain what he meant by that so I looked up “flannel” in the dictionary and found it was defined as “coarse material”. I didn’t think that was appropriate so eventually I decided to follow the advice of the late R W Brother J R Ewing of Dallas fame who once said, “If you don’t strike oil in the first five minutes, stop boring!” I have already welcomed our distinguished guests from Grand Court and other Provinces in the Order so I would now like to take this opportunity of welcoming Brethren from the Province of Wessex who are present and supporting me here today. Be assured your attendance is greatly appreciated. I should also like to congratulate those Brethren I have appointed or re-appointed to Provincial rank. Perhaps at this point I should explain that before he resigned at the beginning of the year R W Bro Ian Crowe had fixed this meeting for the 18th May. Unfortunately, I did not discover this until the date had been decided and I already have two important meetings in Berkshire on that day (in one of which I am in the chair for part of the work) so to be absent would have caused great difficulty. Consequently when Ian resigned and I was appointed PGM in Charge I took the opportunity of moving it to today. Quite naturally the change of date meant some Officers already had other commitments so are unable to be present. However, I did decide to retain this venue with this lovely temple which I think admirably suits our needs in all respects Whether present or absent, I should like to thank the Provincial Officers of the year for their help and support given not only to R W Bro Ian and, latterly, myself but also to meetings of the Courts in the Province. As we all know Provincial meetings do not just happen and I should especially like to thank W Bro George Paskins, the Provincial Secretary, W Bro Tony Pinnell, the Provincial Treasurer and W Bro Colin Lowther, the Provincial Marshall for their hard work over several weeks in preparing for today. Unfortunately, we are not a large enough Province to merit a Provincial Organist so I should especially like to thank one of our guests, Bro Andrew Murphy for enhancing our proceedings today with his beautiful music. Thank you Andrew. At Grand Court last year three of our members received Grand Rank: W Bro George Brown was appointed Past Grand Junior Deacon W Bro George Paskins was appointed Past Grand Banner Bearer W Bro Roger Hall-Jones was appointed Past Grand Captain of the Guard Unfortunately, because of the greatly reduced size of the Province this year, I understand we are not qualified for further Grand Rank appointments until the Province substantially increases in size although, of course, I am always happy to be corrected on this matter! At the meeting of the Order of the Scarlet Mantle at Leicester last Tuesday the name of that Order was changed to “The Ancient Masonic Order of Alfred the Great.” At that meeting I was to receive a first appointment to “Knight of The Ancient Masonic Order of Alfred the Great”or KAG. Unfortunately, yet again I had a clash as I was at a meeting of another Order in Birmingham where I had proposed five of the six candidates and was carrying out part of the ceremony but I am hopeful of receiving the honour in October. I am delighted to inform you that at that meeting W Bro Mervyn Western received a promotion to “Knight Grand Cross of the Ancient Masonic Order of Alfred the Great” or GCAG which is, as I am sure you will all agree, a very well deserved honour. I mentioned earlier the greatly reduced size of the Province; this reduction is in terms of the number of Courts not in terms of geographical area. The Province of Wessex, as presently constituted, consists of the City and County of Bristol (formerly Avon) and the Craft provinces of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. Presently there are two Courts in the Bristol area, one in Gloucestershire and one in Wiltshire. Three of these Provinces (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire) previously formed part of the Province of Hwicce which was disbanded in 2016. There is obviously considerable potential for expansion but there are also undoubted difficulties. Currently Herefordshire has no Court but it is a county which always reminds me of New Zealand it has a huge population but 99% of them are sheep! In terms of people it is not heavily populated and has no really large towns so the Masonic population is also relatively small. In fact, apart from the Craft where Herefordshire does have its own PGM all other Masonic Orders link Herefordshire with Gloucestershire. Herefordshire is also, in my experience, a good example of another characteristic of rural Provinces brethren are often unwilling to travel to other Masonic centres, even within the same Province. As an example, about three years ago I was a Founder of an Operatives Assemblage in Leominster. Prior to our first meeting three members of the Management Committee arrived to make sure we were happily settled in. They said they would have joined us until they found out you had to be a member of the Mark Degree; there was no Mark Lodge in Leominster and they were not prepared to travel to either Kington or Hereford to join a Mark Lodge there. It is not appropriate for me to mention past events which led to the disbanding of the Province of Hwicce; suffice it to say that establishing a new Court, especially in Berkshire would, at the present time, be very difficult. I have, sometimes, been accused of being a pessimist. Despite what I have just said about the difficulty of establishing new Courts, I do not believe that is true. On the other hand neither am I an eternal optimist; if anything, I consider myself a realist who judges situations as I believe them actually to be and not as others might wish they would be. Having said that, I do not believe that there is no scope for future development in the Province and I put before you a few glimmers of hope: A few years ago the Masonic Centre in Oxford closed and Masonic Orders which met there had to find new homes. About a year ago a new Centre opened at Cardinal House in Newnham Courtenay between Oxford and Henley. It was found that not all the units which had previously met in Oxford wanted to move to the new Centre and I know the Craft PGM of Oxfordshire is keen that there should be an increase in the number of Masonic Orders meeting at Cardinal House. In fact, I am to be a founder of a new Pilgrim Preceptors Tabernacle which is to meet there. So, even if not immediately, there is potential for a Court at that location. One of the senior Provincial officers believes that there is the potential for a new Court in the Stow on the Wold area drawing on Brethren from both Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. I believe sincerely that there is a realistic chance for further development and expansion but I think this is unlikely in the near future and I am not the person to lead it. This is partly because I am half way through my eighth decade and partly because I am not widely known in this part of the Province. To influence Brethren into becoming founders of a unit in a Masonic Order of which they are not even members and may well have not even heard is, to say the least, challenging. Obviously, it can be done and has been done but I believe it needs someone who is much better known within the larger Masonic community and who has much more influence in this area than I have. Having said that, I can assure you all that I will continue to do my best to lead the Province and to support the Courts and Brethren within it until such time as a new Provincial Grand Master is appointed and installed. Thank you for your attendance today. God bless you all. TO THE TOP OF THE PAGE
Treasurer & Secretary’s REPORT