© 2008 Provincial Grand Court of Wessex
MALMESBURY COURT No.100: Meeting at The Masonic Hall, Silver Street, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 9BU. Regular meetings of the Court are held on the 2nd Tuesday of January, September and 2nd. Wednesday in May (Installation) CONTACT SECRETARY: RW. Bro. Brian.G. Wright, KCSM, PJGW     e-mail: briangwright@sky.com  "Pine Cottage", 51 Fforrd Tan Rallt, Abergele. LL22 7DQ Phone: 01745 61 2625  Mob: 07973 87 1226
ORATION : MALMESBURY COURT No.100, 31st May 2008 by R.W.& Em.Bro. Ralph J. Wheeler, Eminent Grand Prior I   make   no   apology   that   some   of   the   thoughts   expressed   in   this   oration   have   been   uttered   by   me   before.   The   sentiments   are   still   valid   and   I think essential to the Order. Consider   this   room   on   a   Saturday   morning.   It   would   probably   not   look   particularly   exciting.   Similar   to   a   pub   bar   out   of   hours.   Furnish   it   with   a group   of   masons   and   it   becomes   Lodge A.   Put   in   a   different   group   of   masons   and   it   becomes   Lodge   B.   People   make   the   room   come   alive. In   similar   vein   with   some   more   furniture   and   props   it   can   be   turned   into   a   chapter,   a   council,   a   conclave,   a   preceptory   or   a   chapel.   Today   by re-arranging   the   furniture   and   introducing   a   few   extra   items   we   have   turned   it   into   a   Court,   a   court   of   the   Order   of   Athelstan.   Almost   all religions   and   Masonic   organisations   make   use   of   myths   and   legends   to   put   their   message   across.   This   is   not   to   say   that   the   myths   are always   taken   as   literal   truth   but   they   all   serve   the   purpose   of   illustrating   deeper   truths.   Humans   love   stories.   Children   love   to   hear   their favourite stories over and again and are quick to point out inaccuracies in the delivery. This observation is also true of lodges! The   originators   of   this   interesting   order,   in   seeking   answers   to   their   many   questions   about   Freemasonry,   re-visited   many   old   neglected traditions   and   legends   which   were   probably   better   known   to   our   forebears.   In   particular   they   focussed   on   the   story   of   King Athelstan   who   is acknowledged   to   have   been   the   first   king   of   all   the   English.   Our American   brethren   still   retain   the   legend   that   the   first   English   Grand   Lodge was   formed   at   York   during   the   reign   of   King Athelstan.   The Americans   have   all   their   degrees   organised   into   two   great   rites,   one   of   which   is entitled the York Rite. It encompasses everything not included in the 33 degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Rite.    Our   Masonic   forebears   would   appear   to   have   had   a   more   diverse   palette   of   symbols   to   work   with.   Perhaps   they   had   more   time   to   sit   and listen.   One   comes   across   records   of   mammoth   meetings   lasting   all   day   and   encompassing   several   degrees.   Where   have   the   beehive, hourglass and scythe hidden themselves? The Order of Athelstan seeks to draw attention to these and other neglected aspects of the Craft. Apart   from   resurrecting   these   old   emblems   of   Freemasonry   the   Order   of Athelstan   has   introduced   an   item   which   I   do   not   believe   has   been used   before   in   Masonry   viz   The   Rosetta   Stone.   You   will   see   it   over   there   where   it   is   regarded   in   the   same   way   as   the   tracing   board   in   the Craft.   It   is   uncovered   and   recovered   at   the   beginning   and   end   of   a   court   meeting.   In   the   revised   version   of   the   ritual   it   is   given   more prominence.   Its   discovery   gave   rise   to   one   of   those   Eureka   moments   when   it   was   realised   by   the   Frenchman   Champollion   that   the   stone held   the   key   to   the   deciphering   of   the   Ancient   Egyptian   hieroglyphics.   The   stone   was   originally   set   up   as   a   proclamation   in   Ancient   Egypt and   was   re-discovered   by   Napoleon's   troops.   It   is   inscribed   in   three   languages   and   characters.   The   classical   Egyptian   hieroglyphics probably   only   known   to   the   priests.   The   demotic   or   common   language   of   the   time,   and   Greek.   Champollion   was   able   to   decipher   the hieroglyphics by comparison with the other scripts. The   founders   of   Malmesbury   Court   are   lucky   to   have   a   powerful   legend   to   build   their   court   upon. This   is   centred   on   the   nearby Abbey   of   that name   wherein   rest   the   mortal   remains   of   that   great   king,   Athelstan.   Our   ritual   tells   us   that   Athelstan   was   a   great   collector   of   artworks   and religious   relics   and   that   he   gave   many   of   these   away   to   his   followers   and   to   churches.   Malmesbury   Abbey   was   particularly   favoured   by Athelstan   and   it   was   therefore   fitting   that   he   was   buried   there.   Alas   his   bones   were   removed   at   the   Dissolution   of   the   Monasteries   in   1539 and   their   whereabouts   are   not   now   known.   Malmesbury   Court   has   been   particularly   honoured   by   Grand   Court   with   the   allocation   of   the number   100   to   signify   that   Athelstan   was   at   the   height   of   his   powers   when   he   died   in   939.   The   number   100   also   represents   the   maximum number   of   courts   for   England   and   Wales   if   we   remember   that   there   are   10   provinces   and   each   is   permitted   up   to   10   courts.   There   are   2 other   special   numbers   on   the   list.   No.1   has   been   given   to   the   court   at   York,   meeting   place   of   the   first   Grand   Lodge.   No.50   is   being   held   in reserve   so   that   should   a   court   be   formed   at   Kingston-upon-Thames,   where   Athelstan   was   crowned,   that   number   can   be   allocated.   Finally Brethren   I   exhort   you   to   work   diligently   to   built   and   strengthen   your   court.   We   all   like   to   be   part   of   a   successful   organisation   and   thereby   gain pleasure   and   satisfaction.   Remember,   the   Craft   and   Royal   Arch   are   necessary   qualifications   for   Athelstan;   therefore   if   you   are   enjoying Court Masonry you are less likely to give up the lodge and chapter.
                   © 2008 Provincial Grand Court of Wessex
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Theocsbury Court No. 57  Meeting at The Masonic Hall, Trinity Walk, Off Oldbury Road, Tewkesbury. GL20 5NB Regular meetings of the Court are held on the 2nd Wednesday in January and June (Installatio) and the 1st. Thursday in November. CONTACT SECRETARY: W.Bro. J. Paul Deakin, KSM, PPrGSwdB e-mail: pauldeakin58@aol.com  10 Crown Meadow, Lower Broadheath, WR2 6QJ Tel 01905 640358    Mob 07850 538801