© 2008 Provincial Grand Court of Wessex
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 (Installation) 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, Worcester. WR2 6QS Phone: 01905 64 0358   Mob: 07850 538801
                   © 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: R.W.Bro. Brian.G. Wright, KCSM, PJGW  e-mail: briangwright@sky.com  "Pine Lodge", 51 Ffordd Tan Rallt, Abergele. LL22 7SQ 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.