© 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: W.Bro. BGeoffrey J. Hobbs e-mail: gjhobbs-elmbridge@talktalk.net "Elmbridge”, Studley Hill, Studley, Caln, Wiltshire. SN11 9NL Phone: 01249 81 4051
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.