Chapter Blog

An archive of earlier Chapter comments and observations may be found in the Old Chapter News Submenu at the bottom of the page. Latest contributions are at the top - scroll down for earlier contributions. The entries on this page (not counting the archive) date from January 2024

Companions of the Chapter of St Michael are encouraged to contribute to the Chapter Blog.

Unlike local Chapters, the Chapter of St Michael 7833 practises Domatic Ritual. This was a decision of the Founders, made when the Chapter was formed in 1992: just as the Lodge "dares to be different" with its ritual, so does the Chapter.


The Chapter of St Michael 7833 meets on the third Thursday of February (Installation), April, May and October, at 6.15 pm at Dagger Lane, Hull.




Welcome to the Chapter of St Michael 7833 from the Three Principals:

(L to R) E Comp John Stanley Broughton PPGScN, H; E Comp Stephen Christopher Prior PPAGSoj, MEZ; E Comp Peter James Stokes, J.

 Here's the Chapter at the Installation on 15th February 2024, along with the Representative of the MEGs and his DC, (except for the Organist, who took the picture.)

1. E Comp Craig Maurier ProvGStwd, DC to the Representative; 2. E Comp Hitendra B Thaker PAGDC, Representative of the MEGS; 3. E Companion David Thomas Whittall PZ, Almoner; 4. Comp Leslie Thornett, Sojourner; 5. John Stanley Broughton* PPGScN, J; 6. E Comp David Broughton PPAGSoj, Treasurer; 7. E Comp Stephen Christopher Prior PPAGSoj, MEZ; 8. E Comp John Irving Burton, IPZ; 9. E Comp Peter James Stokes, J; 10. E Comp Stephen Norman Longthorpe PPGReg, Scribe E; 11. E Comp John Frederick Watkins PZ; 12. E Comp Isaac Jackie Chapman PPGSoj, Preceptor; 13. E Comp Terence William Black* PPGScN, DC; 14. E Comp Peter Henry Barnes* PPGReg, 15. E Comp Peter Wright* PPGScN, Janitor; and 16. Comp Shaun Rennison, Scribe N. [Those Companions with an asterisk are Founder Members of the Chapter of St Michael 7833, consecrated 1992.]



Tuesday 2nd July 2024:

A Life on the Ocean Wave

by Eddie Wildman

This month again at Technical Chapter on Beverley Road I gave greetings from the Chapter of St Michael; the Chapter Organist, Comp Bill Turner-Bone has recently undergone surgery. He emailed me, telling me that the Hull Sea Cadets would be giving a presentation about their history prior to receiving a donation at the Festive Board. "You might have a few nautical tunes you could play," he suggested. Meanwhile the Scribe E, the indomitable Steve Berry PPDepGDC asked if I'd present a Chapter certificate to Comp Kieran R Newton. "I'd be happy to," I said, "in fact, I presented Kieran with his Grand Lodge certificate." 

There was little other business in the Chapter; E Comps Malcolm Brocklesby, Ian Parkinson and Rob Atkinson took the triumvirate Chairs, and after a succesful ballot for an new exaltee in October, the DC, E Comp Hiten Thaker PGADC escorted Kieran to the centre for his presentation. Several Companions have asked for a copy of my presentation of the Supreme Grand Chapter Certificate, but the official account is available online, and as it is not cast in stone, might be adapted for individual deliveries just as I have done.

The Charity Steward, E Comp Atkinson gave his report, speaking of initiatives for the festival but reminding the Companions that local charities were also in need of help. He himself has recently walked the length of Hadrian's Wall in a charitable enterprise. This 73 mile-long Roman-built border calls to mind the famous motto "I came, I saw, I concreted."

E Comp Parkinson (Haggai) gave a Craft report. Saturday's BBQ was mentioned in AOB and the Chapter was closed in due form.

The festive board (a splendid buffet by Luke) was preceded by a presentation by Comp Kieran who gave a brief history of the Hull Sea Cadets, after which two cadets, LC Lydia Moynihan and Cpl Jessica Case from TS Iron Duke (formerly TS Revenge) spoke persuasively about their involvement, developing skills, and confidence in involvement with different exercises and events. Kieran has kindly agreed to provide a short article which I shall append to this blog. 

There were two toasts only, under the directorship of E Comp Hiten Thaker. The raffle raised £125 which will be donated to the Hull and East Riding Breast Friends, the local breast cancer charity..

It was still light when we took our leave, having enjoyed a pleasant evening.

[Photos:Kieran & Eddie (snapshot by Malcolm Brocklesby); Jessica & Lydia at the Festive Board (photo by Eddie)]

Eddie Wildman, nautical organist.



Tuesday 4th June 2024:

Exaltation at Technical Royal Arch Chapter 5666

by Eddie Wildman

I attended the Technical Chapter meeting as a representative of Kingston Chapter 1010 and was delighted to see the Chapter Room well filled. Admittedly, some were visitors: the Humber Lodge was out in force with The C57 MEZ David Terry accompanied by four others. As soon as I went through the door I was approached by the Most Excellent Zerubbabel of the Technical Chapter, E Comp Malcolm Brocklesby. "Our organist is finding his back trouble very trying at the moment," he told me. "Would you mind playing this evening?" "As long as Companion Bill Turner-Bone has no objections," I said. "I'll go and have a word."

Bill was at the organ and readily relinquished his seat. The organ stool has no back, and sitting at it for any length of time quickly becomes uncomfortable (been there, done that, got the tee shirt) and as Bill's much taller than I am, it's more of a strain. "Please leave your music, though," I said (and enjoyed sightreading some of it during the ceremony.) There's not a lot of playing needed, but gentle music during the perambulations (e.g. the lighting of the candles at the opening, the signing of the minutes, etc.) helps to keep the reflective mood. I noticed as Bill sat down and rested his back on the upholstered furniture the slight frown he wore disappeared. Bill's not only the Chapter Organist but also the Almoner.

The three Principals entered, E Companions Malcolm Brocklesby, MEZ; Ian Parkinson, H; and Frank Lovely standing in for J. The joining of the triumvirate is an invocation; the Holy Royal Arch Chapter is a spiritual degree, and the Principals moved from west to east in the time-honoured manner begun at the consecration of C5666 in 1946. Having opened, the MEZ advised us all that the 6th June would be the eightieth anniversary of D Day: we stood in respectful silence for a moment.

The business of the evening was to exalt Bro Edward Thompson, a worthy member of the Technical Craft Lodge. He was conducted into the Lodge as a Master Mason and examined in the Q&As in which he'd been instructed when taking his 3°. He was word perfect in his answers, and was conducted out of the room for further preparation.

Scribe E, E Comp Steve Berry then set the scene for the Companions outlining the historical political situation leading to the return of the exiles to Jerusalem before Bro Thompson re-entered. Having confirmed his commitment to advancing his Masonic knowledge and to aid his fellow creatures, Bro Thompson was led round the Chapter and symbolically advanced to the discovery which characterises the Royal Arch degree, and took his obligation led by the MEZ, thereby becoming a Companion of the Order.

The next part of the ceremony was the backstory leading to the discovery, again introduced by E Comp Berry and enacted by the Sojourners. The Principal Sojourner Comp Mark Cusack was supported by Comps Danny Laughton and David Green, as they gave an account of their discovery, established their credentials with the presiding authority, and were subsequently rewarded, invested and acknowledges as recipients of the office once held by their ancesters, grand and royal Companions of the Order.

Other explanations followed: Comp Green explained the symbolism of the journey and the Working Tools; the five signs of the Order were demonstrated by E Comp Jonathan Sykes. Three of the more recent members gave the mystical lecture and the explanation of the esoteric features of this colourful and spiritual degree. The Janitor, E Comp Keith Challis delivered the Charge.

The exaltation of Companion Thompson being complete (the word means an elevation in rank or power) reports followed. AOB included a proposition for another Candidate - the Technical Chapter is flourishing. Greetings were given. "Eddie, you can give greetings from Supreme Grand Chapter," said E Comp Hitendra Thaker, PAGDC. "Why me and not you?" I asked. Hiten smiled. "Because I outrank you by nearly three minutes," he said.

As always it was a lovely meal. Diners at Beverley Road are privileged to eat so well, thanks to the skill and commitment of Luke Pyrah. "It's a while since we had meat pie here," remarked Mark Cusack at the end of the table, "but Luke does it better than anyone else."

As ADC that evening, Hiten laid down the law at the Festive Board. "Companions, let me explain the signs you are making, when honouring the toasts," he announced, deftly demonstrating the geometric outlines used in some Chapters. So I provided the music accompanying the honours, which slows the process but adds precision. "That's better," Hiten said approvingly. 

E Comp Ian Parkinson gave the toast to the Candidate with brevity and humour, and Comp Thompson gave a short, impromptu and sincere response.

E Comp David Terry, responding to the toast to the visitors, invited the Companions to the forthcoming Humber Chapter exaltation.  It had been a super evening, and I'd been happy to provide the music.

[Photo L to R: Ian Parkinson, H; Ed Thompson, Comp; Malcolm Brocklesby, MEZ; and Frank Lovely, stand-in J.]

Eddie Wildman, stand-in organist.



Thursday 16th May 2024:

Masonic Creatures

by Eddie Wildman

"Only twelve dining?" I said to Roy, the Cook, looking at the menu by the serving hatch. (Garlic Chicken followed by Cheesecake.)

"It's not really worth my while," said Roy. "When I've been and bought the food, and spent the time preparing it, with such low numbers I hardly make any profit."

I sympathised. The tables, put together into a rectangle in the middle of the room, looked  folorn.

"It's happening almost everywhere," observed Steve, the Scribe E, when I joined him upstairs. "We rely on the Craft for Chapter members." He looked thoughtfully at the attendance register. "Mind you, there are some Candidates coming into the Lodge of St Michael."

"Any visitors?" I asked.

"I sent out nineteen invitations to sister Chapters and had no replies," said Steve.

I'd arrived early to check that the Chapter Room was set up as my talk that evening referred to certain features of the room and the placement of the Chapter artifacts within it. Two banners had been inadvertently transposed, and I adjusted them. Setting up the Chapter is not a small task, and I appreciated the time Peter W must have taken to get everything ready.

The Chapter of St Michael is a friendly convocation of gents, and the happy dozen of us (thirteen, actually, John W wasn't dining) were ready by six o' clock. Alex collected money for the meals while some of the other Companions ordered their drinks at the bar for afterwards. "That'll be eleven pounds," he said to me, "and would you like a lift home afterwards?"

"Yes please," I answered, paying up.

Upstairs the DC, E Comp Terry was chomping at the bit. "Upstanding, Companions," he ordered, "for the entry of the Most Excellent and his Co-Principals."

The triumvirate made a dignified procession (to the strains of Cwm Rhondda) and E Comps Chris, John and Peter opened the Chapter magnificently.

The minutes were signed.

My brief lecture on Masonic Creatures in Masonry followed, pointing out those references to animals in both Craft and Chapter, noting those on the walls, on the artifacts and the ceiling. It was nice to hear senior members remark that some of the information was new to them; it meant my preparation work had not been wasted.

Brief reports and a notice of motion were submitted, with a reminder regarding the change of venue for the Provincial Chapter Convocation, greetings were given from Kingston Chapter 1010 and on behalf of all the St Michael Chapter members by the Stand-in Principal Sojourner, E Comp John Burton. The Chapter was closed in due form and the valedictory address was given by E Comp John Broughton.

We were downstairs before 7:30 and so some toasts were submitted before the meal commenced: to the King, and to the Grand Originals (this latter given with the Companions seated, and with their left hands.)

I relished the Chicken and the Cheesecake. Lecturing makes me hungry.

As ever, the evening concluded with the singing of Auld Lang Syne, and I enjoyed the lift back with Alex, arriving home in time to write this blog before bed. Goodnight all!

[Photograph of Eddie W by E Comp John Burton.]

Eddie Wildman, Lecturer



Friday 26th April 2024:

WMC and Luke's Delicious Buffet


I was invited to attend the Installation meeting of the Wyke Millennium Chapter 9696 as a guest of the MEZ, E Comp Craig Maurier, and spent a delightful morning away from the chores of washing and ironing. A daytime Chapter, it was particularly well attended as the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent was accompanied by a team of Active Provincial Grand Officers, amongst whom the Banner Bearer, E Comp Malvin Sharpless was looking remarkably fit after his recent operation. I took a snapshot as he rehearsed carrying the flag for the Province.

At eleven o' clock, Craig opened the Chapter and the MEGS' DC, E Comp Jimmy Kerr reported that the leader of the Province was outside demanding admission. I played as the splendid procession assembled as an escort (my playing was improving now my injured thumb was healing) and Most Excellent Companion Doctor David Chambers entered, greeted everyone warmly and remarked how he and his Team were looking forward to the ceremony being followed by one of Luke Pyrah's famous buffet lunches.

The minutes were confirmed and signed, and the MEZ appointed E Comp Andrew Hoggard as Installing DC. The Zed Elect, E Comp Stephen Graham Ives relinquished the robes he was wearing (Haggai) to E Comp Tim Dillon and was obligated in the presence of all the Companions by MEZ Craig Maurier. All Offices were declared vacant, those below the rank of Installed Principals briefly retired while E Comp Iveson was again presented by the DC and smartly Installed by E Comp Maurier. He was presented with the robe and sceptre of Zerubbabel, after which he appointed E Comp Maurier as IPZ and then closed the conclave under the direction of the DC.

Others were admitted by degrees: E Comps Malcolm John Forbes and Alex Hoggard were inducted as Haggai and Joshua respectively.

The new MEZ appointed and invested his officers, and the IPZ presented him with the Charter, Book of Constitutions and the Bylaws.

E Comp Bazza Longstaff gave a sterling account of the Principles' Robes and Sceptres and their symbolism in his distinctive Geordie accent.

Next there was a presentation of a Grand Chapter Certificate to Comp Robert Gwatkins, with a difference. Topped and tailed by the Grand Superintendent, an account was given by four Companions from the Provincial Team showing the development of the Chapter and its certificate from the intervention of Lawrence Dermott in 1751, Lord Blaney in 1766 and later notables, and the symbolism of the features appearing on the certificate.

The newly-appointed Mentor, E Comp Longstaff, then spoke learnedly about his specialist subject, tracing boards, telling the Chapter that he had commissioned a special design to be painted for the WMC. See his blog below.

A candidate was proposed; he will be balloted for at the next meeting.

E Comp Iveson closed the Chapter, and the MEGS and his team retired. "Thank you for a brilliant day," said the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent. All returned for a swift photograph.

I was pleased to be one of the three Kingston Chapter members there; Tony Burke and Mike Price and I stood for greetings. While part of the Provincial Team, E Comps David Terry and Malvin Sharpless could not give greetings on behalf of Humber Chapter 57, and as a member of C 9696 Malcolm Forbes couldn't either. I gave greetings from the Chapter of St Michael.

The Festive Board lived up to expectations. The beautiful dispay of delicious food was soon demolished, and Companions patted their tummies contentedly during the toasts. In response to the fourth toast, the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent spoke of Change in the world of Freemasonry, the vanishing barrier between the Craft and the Royal Arch, the convocation in May with a new inclusive format for families, and the Festival 2029. E Comp David Terry sang the Principals song following the toast to the Principals and Officers of the Wyke Millennium Chapter, and the MEZ responded suitably before submitting the Parting Toast.

A delightful day. Well done all!

Eddie Wildman, Guest Organist.

Bazza's Blog

Wyke Millennium Chapter Tracing Board

Chapter 9696 is now the proud owner of a Tracing Board based on design dated c1810, which has disappeared from its originating home, Cyrus Chapter 21 in London. There was, alas, no trace of the original in the museum, but the Librarian, Martin Cherry kindly took me to view an apron believed to have belonged the Antients, which was very similar to the original tracing board. 


I was delighted when E Comp Ron Baker PPAGDC (Bucks) agreed to paint a Tracing Board for the Wyke Millennium Chapter 9696 incorporating some of the original unusual inclusions and details along with the five Platonic solids which feature in the C9696 layout. There will be a lecture on the new TB in due course.

Barry Andrew Longstaff PGStwd, Principal Sojourner.


Thursday 18th April 2024:

The Chapter of St Michael 7833 met at Dagger Lane and opened whereupon a snippet was read regarding the descent of the Sojourners into a hitherto hidden vault - there are different versions of the story to be found. Eddie Wildman suggested that there were questions arising from this, and after brief discussion the Chapter was closed.


Wednesday 10th April 2024:

Good Companions

by Eddie Wildman

"Despite his youthful appearance and lively manner, Companion Driver is older than he looks," said Excellent Companion Chris Brown in the toast to the Candidate at the Festive Board. Indeed, one wouldn't have considered Companion Paul Frank Driver to be much above forty, and I was surprised to find him ten years in advance of that. It was a genuine pleasure to attend the Minerva Chapter meeting at Dagger Lane; I'd agreed to present a handful of Grand Chapter Certificates and other than that, simply to enjoy the ceremony.  E Comp Graham Miles was playing the organ. E Comp Richard Theaker acted as DC. The three Principals, E Comps Mark Hartley (MEZ), Ben Kelly (H) and Kevin Marshall (J) were in good form. (See the October report on the Minerva Chapter Installation Ceremony.)

For those unfamiliar with the Chapter set-up, it is different to the Craft  as it is based around a story of events following the destruction of King Solomon's Temple and the discoveries made by those returning from exile. The Candidate, once he has been obligated by the Most Excellent Zerubbabel (and E Comp Mark Hartley did this very well) enacts the part of one of the journeyman sojourners, while his team mates (E Comp Danny Betts, Comp Tom Cawkwell and Comp Antonio Ramirez) interact as supplicants, labourers and discoverers as the story unfolds, and are rewarded by the triumvirate leaders representing KIng Zerubbabel, the prophet Haggai and the High Priest Joshua. E Companion Miles explained what each section of the story entailed before its enactment; the signs and symbolism shared between Companions were eloquently given by E Comp Brown.

The word "Companion" (not "Brother" as in the Craft - the bond is closer in the Chapter) has its roots in the Latin com, meaning with, and panis, meaning bread, and describes someone with whom a meal is shared. The ceremony of the Royal Arch is about a shared experience and of greatness deriving from humble beginnings. In a more spiritual sense, for the tale has deeper levels of meaning, it is about truth in the light of eternity.

Companion Driver took his seat amongst Companions of the Order - there were two dozen there, including me as the only visitor.

I was privileged to be able to present Supreme Grand Chapter Certificates to Companions Simon Tomkins, Tom Cawkwell and Jeremy Stevens. Several of the E Comps and Comps present had never heard a presentation of this sort before. The Chapter Room at Dagger Lane is an ideal venue for the explanation of the Certificate, with its links to the Craft and displays symbols which feature in the Royal Arch. I extend grateful thanks to the Minerva Chapter for the courtesy extended in allowing me to formally certificate the three exaltees.

[Photo L to R: E Comps Ben Kelly, H; Mark Hartley, MEZ; Kevin Marshall, J and Comp Rich Driver by Comp James Ashby-Kelly.]

Eddie Wildman PAGDC



Thursday 4th April 2024:

Humber Chapter visit

by John Burton


I made my third visit as Chapter IPZ to Humber 57 Chapter. My wife Angela acted as chauffeur for the night so I arrived in good time; made the short walk to the Masonic Hall at Dagger Lane, rang the bell and went in. I paid for my meal and mingled with the rest of the visitors all of whom I knew from the various visits I did when I was MEZ last year.

It was soon time to get changed and sign in. Being a private opening we visitors had to wait outside before being allowed to enter, it was a bit like waiting outside the headmaster's study waiting for the cane.

The Chapter was opened in due and ancient form by MEZ E Comp Malcolm Forbes, H E Comp Richard Smedley and J E Comp Charles Alexander. As this was an installation meeting there was a REP waiting outside to come in.The Representative's DC, E Comp Richard East entered and announced "At the door of the Chapter stands E Comp Hitendra Thaker representing the MEGS and he seeks admission." E Comp Thaker was the REP at our installation in February and I had met him on my visits last year. He was escorted in, exchanged a few word with the Z and took his seat.

The minutes were then confirmed and reports were given by the Almoner and the Charity Steward. The three Principals Elect were then installed: E Comp David Terry as Zerubbabel, E Comp Charles Alexander as Haggai and E Comp Stephen Hastings as Joshua. The MEZ then proceeded to appoint and invest his officers for his year in the Chair.

Once that had been done two ballots where held; one for two joining members and the other for two honorary members, both of which were declared in favour. There was then a proposition for a member of Humber Lodge 57 be exalted as a new companion at the next meeting.

I gave greetings on behalf of the Chapter of St Michael 783, supported by E Comp Wildman who was playing the organ, after which the Chapter was closed in due and ancient form by the three new Principals, and an excellent job they made of it.

We all went downstairs to the festive board. Not having to drive there was no need to order two cans of full fat coke so I ordered two pints of Dark Fruit Cider instead and they went down a treat. The meal was pleasant the conversation was great and, as I had already experienced on my previous visits to this Chapter. a great time was had by all the visitors. We were served by the sea cadets, and the proceeds of the raffle went to that worthy cause. Speeches were made, various songs sung and all too soon it was all over.

I called on my good wife to come and pick me up and on the way home reflected on what a great time I had had as usual, and I was already planning to go back in June for the next time they meet.

[Photo: Richard East, DC for the Rep; Hiten Thaker, Representative of the MEGS; Charles Alexander, H; Favid Terry, Z; Stephen Hastings, J.]

John Burton IPZ


Thursday 7th March 2024:


by John Burton, IPZ

I made my second visit to the Hull Old Grammarians' Chapter 5129. I received an email a few weeks before as did a lot of other Chapter Masons asking for people to attend their installation meeting as it had been very poorly attended last year, due to Technical Chapter 5666 being two days before. The call went out and the Chapter St Michael 7833 rose to the challenge as four of our companions attended, more than any other Chapter. I arrived early hoping to get my car parked nearby, but no such luck: I had to park it  near the Guildhall and walk the medium distance to Dagger Lane Masonic Hall. This took about ten minutes. I was pleasantly surprised to see three other members St Michael Chapter 7833 there, they were E Comps  Eddie Wildman, Steve Longthorp and Peter Stokes, who was making his first visit as the Chapter J.

I paid for my meal, got changed and went upstairs where I signed in and took up a seat in the Temple. I won't say alot about the ceremony as that has already been said in Peter Stokes' blog below: suffice to say their outgoing Z, E Comp Nigel Collier lived up to his reputation by doing his word perfect ritual immaculately. 

On the various visits I have done in the last year I have seen more and more ritual being read, which I think takes something away from the ceremony, I know not everybody has a memory like E Comp Collier but surly some effort to do some of the ritual from memory is not asking to much. Maybe this puts me in a minority but I think it is worth putting in the effort to show you care; anybody can read it, it takes no effort.

Before the ceremony was closed E Comp Peter Stokes gave greetings on behalf of the Chapter of St Michael. The Chapter was closed in due and ancient form by the new team of three Principals and we all retired downstairs to the festive board, which consisted of Broccoli & Stilton soup which was very nice, Steak and Onion pie with cauliflower cheese, roasted carrots and spuds, with Cheese and biscuits for me for dessert. I had of course ordered my usual brace of full fat cokes which went down very nicely.

E Comp Malcolm Brocklesby, MEZ of the Technical Chapter 5666, having been reinstalled two days before replied to the visitors' toast on behalf of us all. It is always nice to have a volunteer so I can sit back and gloat and watch.

All too soon it was all over. I gave E Comp Eddie Wildman a lift home. I was very tired as I had already been out three nights that week with one more night out to go. I must stop going out so much the spirit is willing but at my age the body is too knackered to go on. I must slow down and take life more easily.

[Photo, L to R: E Comps Howard Newton (Rep), Mark Luscomb (H), Steven Pickard, (MEZ), Duncan Taylor (J) and Martin Clark (Rep's DC) by Eddie.]

John Burton




Thursday 7th March 2024:

New J first Visit.

As Third Principal I thought I would start as I mean to go on; a visit to Hull Old Grammarians' Chapter 5219 Installation was a good place to begin.

It was a 6:00 start so I gave myself plenty of time to get there. Upon arrival I was greeted by E Comp  Nigel Collier, the outgoing Z, and E Comp Mark Luscombe, H Elect. The Chapter of St Michael was well represented with E Comps Eddie Wildman, Stephen Longthorpe and IPZ John Burton as well as myself.

The DC called for us to sign and assemble so we made our way up to the Chapter. After taking our seats the opening ceremony comenced, a very different opening to our ritual which made it more interesting to observe.Then Scribe N announced there was a report. "Who seeks admission?" was Z's reply. E Comp Martin Clark of the Grand Stewards Chapter 9586 was admitted and announced "At the door of your Chapter is E Comp Howard Newton PAGSoj representing the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent and he seeks admission" He was admitted along with an escort of Provincial Officers.

E Comp Collier appointed E Comp Stephen Jordon as Installing DC, E Comp James Mackman as Installing Chaplain and E Comp John Plater as Installing Scribe N. Then he declared all offices vacant.

On with the Installation, J Elect Comp Duncan Taylor was called for and Obligated, next was E Comp Mark Luscombe (H elect) closely followed by E Comp Steve Pickard (Z  Elect) This complete, the Chapter was cleared of all below Installed Z so I left! Soon we were called back in and picked up the ceremony with the Installation of E Comp Duncan Taylor to the 3rd Principal's chair.

After the investment of officers The Robes were recited and the Warrant presented, and this bought the Installation to an end. Any other Chapter business was quickly concluded and after photographs we retired to the bar in preparation for the Festive Board.

We were served Broccoli and Stilton Soup, Followed by Steak Pie Veg and Potatoes, then Treacle Sponge Pudding or Cheese and Biscuits. After Grace was returned we set about the toasts: 1) King and Craft and RAM. 2) ME The First Grand Principal 3) The ME the Pro First Grand Principal, 2nd and 3rd and Grand Officers. 4) The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent 5) The Second Grand Superintendent and 2nd and 3rd Provincial Grand Principals and Provincial Officers, to which the Representative responded. Toast 6 was proposed by E Comp  J Mackman to the 3 Principals and their Officers, E Comp Eddie Wildman sang the Principals Song accompanied by E Comp Dave Nicoll from De la Pole Chapter 1605.

Toast 7) The  Retiring Z was proposed by E Comp J Plater and responded to by E Comp N Collier.

Toast 8) The Visitors was Proposed by the Principal Sojourner and responded to by E Comp Malcolm Brocklesby, Z of Technical Chapter 5666.

It was getting late when E Comp J Mackman proppsed the Parting Toast; wishing everyone goodnight we all departed for home: Happy meet again.                                                                       

 Photograph - Newly Installed Principals with Rep and DC

 Peter Stokes J

Tuesday 5th March 2024:

Technical Excellence

report by John Burton

I made my first visit as IPZ to the Technical Chapter 5666. I have got the writing bug so this will be the first report of many, but not as many as I did last year when I was MEZ.

I arrived at Beverley Rd Masonic Hall with not a lot of time to spare so I went inside, registered my car, paid for my meal, got changed, went upstairs where I found a good seat and settled in to watch the show.

The Chapter was opened in due and ancient form by the three Principals E Comps Malcolm Brocklesby in the Chair of Zerubabbel . There was a knock on the door and E Comp James Kerr ProvGDC came in and announced that at the door of the Chapter was E Comp Dr David Chambers MEGS with his team and he demanded entrance. This was granted and he came in along with his team which was quite a sight, a lot of colour and gold braid.

The minutes of the last meeting were confirmed by a show of hands, after which there was an election for E Comp Malcolm Brocklesby to be elected for another year as Z. (Unfortunate circumstances had precluded the regular succession.) This was also done on a show of hands, after which the ceremony continued.

E Comp Malcolm Brocklesby was installed again as Z, E Comp Ian Parkinson was installed as, but there was a short delay as when he took off his robes it was found he had no apron or sash on underneath, so a Companion was sent away to get them. Once he was correctly dressed the ceremony continued.

Comp Robert John Atkinson was installed as J. The officers for the coming year were then installed.

The MEGS then presented a Solomon Certificate of Merit: Companion Module to Comp Steve Walker and his DC likewise presenteda Grand Chapter Certificate.

There where then received Almoner, Charity Steward and Lodge reports. I gave greetings on behalf of the Chapter St Michael 7833 along with other Chapter greeting received.

The Chapter was then closed in due and ancient form and we all stayed behind for a group photograph. We then went downstairs, changed and proceeded to the festive board. The meal was as usual up to the high standard I had come to expect when visiting Beverley Rd.: Vegetable Soup, Braised Beef with Yorkshire Pudding and Seasonal Vegetables, with Cheese Board for dessert for me.

After the meal Toasts and speeches were made. The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent in his speech emphasised his mantra for change and Festival 2025-2029.

All too soon it was all over. The parting toast was given and we all parted as friends and went our separate ways. On my way home I kept thinking about what a splendid night I had had; good food and great conversation and fellowship, and also that it was about time the St Michael Chapter 7833 had a visit form the MEGS and his team.

For the Kingston report of this event, see this date on the Kingston blog page.

John Burton IPZ



Thursday 15th February 2024:

Past Zed, & . . .

report by John Burton

Boy, has this year gone quickly.

It only seems like yesterday I was being installed as Z now I've been kicked out, and retired to the back benches, where at least I'll have the privilege of being able to sit and tut.

This was the end of my year - the end of the alphabet. Past Zed.

I did not change my usual routine leading up to Chapter night. I went through my lines while walking my dog in the morning. This time it went very well, I even got a WOOF of him so I must be improving. I'd made up my mind that I was going to do the entire ceremony without a piece of paper in sight - not even the summons. 

I arrived at the Dagger Lane Masonic Hall early, dropped of E Comp John Watkins and then parked my car not too far away. I walked back, rang the door bell and was allowed in. I went round and greeted everyone present, there were quite a few visitors whom I had met on my previous visits. Then the Rep and his DC turned up and they were both warmly greeted, as again I had met both several times on my visits during my year as Z.

It was soon time to make my way up the stairs sign in for the last time as 1st Principal of the Chapter and to put on my robes.

I opened the Chapter in due and ancient form along with E Comps Steve Prior and John Broughton.

Scribe N, Comp Shaun Rennison declared that at the door of the Chapter was E Comp Craig Maurier who was the Rep's DC for the night. I gave permission for him to enter. He announced that outside the door of the Chapter stood E Comp Hitendra Thaker representing the MEGS and he requested admittance, which was of course granted. An escort was formed, and E Comp Thaker entered, exchanged pleasantries with me and sat down.

I then stood and took the opportunity of welcoming him and all the visitors and hoped they would have a great evening. The minutes of the previous meeting were approved, whereupon I duly signed them. We then had a ballot for a rejoining member, E Comp Paul Michael Henderson and the vote was unanimous so E Comp P M Hendersdon stayed in the Chapter and watched the show. Welcome back. Paul!

Others have blogged below about what happened next; suffice to say I came out of the Chair and as I sat down on what felt like the sidelines, but satisfied that the ritual had flowed. The dog would have been happy if it had been there. Nonetheless, I felt deflated: I had put all that effort into my year in the Chair and suddenly it was all over. I felt relief that the night had gone as well as I could make it but now there was something missing: I would have to get used to sitting back and let others sit in the Chair and do the ritual and have all the fun.

There was some confusion when I was presented with my Past Z jewel as I had to borrow one which I gave back at the end of the ceremony, but more about that later.

The Chapter was closed in due and ancient form and we all made our way downstairs to the festive board. I ordered my usual high-calorie tipple and took my place on the top table for the first time in my new role as IPZ (not that I had anything to do.) Toasts were made and speeches given. When it came for the Rep to speak there was a surprise in store for me. E Comp Steve Longthorp had quietly located my IPZ jewel which the E Comp Thaker now presented to me. I received it with great pride and I will wear it with immense satisfaction for the rest of my Masonic career. I couldn't help smiling, and for a moment my reputation as Grumpy Santa was at risk: I thanked Hiten and all the Companions feeling surprisingly emotional.

All too soon the evening was over and as I drove home with John Watkins I reflected on what a year I had had in the Chair (and how I will miss it.) When I took the Chair as Z in the Chapter of St Michael, apart from doing my very best at the ritual during our own meetings I set myself the task of visiting as often as I could, to get the name of St Michael out there and let people know that we were still open for business and still warmly welcome other Chapters to visit us. I will let others judge if I was successful or not.

I read somewhare that pre-Victorian grammar schools included the ampersand sign as the last letter of the alphabet - it can be seen on some cross-stitch samplers. Children would learn the alphabet by reciting it together (some of us recall learning the times tables like that when young) and finish off with the words "X, Y, Z and, per se, And" which gradually blurred into the word "ampersand". It is, of course, the sign used to represent the word "and." 

I would like to think that my time as Z might be followed by &.

Finally I want to say a very big thank you to everybody in the Chapter of St Michael 7833 and elsewhere who have made my year so memorable, It is something I will never forget.


John Burton, PZ



Thursday 15th February 2024:

There is a pleasing rhythm to the opening of the Royal Arch Chapter ceremony: on behalf of all present, the Principals of the Chapter state their intention to keep the peace and unity of the convocation, paying respects to the Most High in a threefold repetition formula while the Companions stand to order.

Excellent Companion John Irving Burton (members of the Chapter recognise each other as Companions, those who have taken Principals' Chairs are designated Excellent Companions) opened the Chapter of St Michael fluently and authoritatively; this was his last night in Office, and he took his place in the East with dignity. Scribe Nehemia, Comp Shaun Rennison, answered the knock at the door to admit E Comp Craig Maurier, Director of Ceremonies to the Representative of the Most Excellent the Grand Superintendent, E Comp Hitendra B Thaker PAGDC. An escort was formed for this worthy Grand Chapter Officer, who on entering and greeting the triumvirate, took his seat in the Chapter after which the opening was completed and the minutes of the last meeting confirmed.

It was a pleasure to welcome back E Comp Henderson as a joining member; Paul has had severe health issues for the past handful of years and the MEZ spoke for us all when he greeted him. One other item of business took place; a Notice of Motion from the Scribe E, E Comp Stephen Norman Longthorpe PPGReg proposing the reduction of numbers of Committee members.

Despite two of the Principals being recycled (Peter Stokes is the new boy on the block) it was quite a long ceremony, though there was no sense of wasted time. The Principals Elect were obligated respectively, those ineligible to see the Installations into the Chairs of Joshua, Haggai and Zerubbabel retiring at the appropriate junctures under the direction of the Installing DC, founder member Terence William Black PPGScN, and readmitted when the Chairs were occupied by the new Principals. (The Chapter was convened as a Conclave of Installed Principals, unsuprisingly, for the Inner Working.) The DC proclaimed the Installed Principals: Excellent Companions Stephen Christopher Prior as Most Excellent Zerubbabel, John Stanley Broughton as Haggai and Peter James Stokes as Joshua.

The robes were then explained (the colours have particular meanings, as do the emblems at the top of the staffs carried by the Principals) - the crimson robe of the MEZ by Comp David Whittall, the purple robe of H by E Comp Jackie Chapman, and the blue robe by E Comp David Broughton.

John Burton, (now Past Zed - a delightful term implying that the bearer has reached the end of the alphabet) presented the Warrant or Charter. Impressively, John had delivered all his ritual entirely from memory, and continued thusly.

The DC, E Comp Terry Black  presented the MEZ with the Book of Constitutions, the Provincial bylaws and the bylaws of the Chapter of St Michael. E Comp Prior then appointed and invested his Officers for the ensuing year,

"That concludes the ceremony of your installation," said Terry, smiling at the new First Principal. "You may now continue with the regular business of the Chapter."

The closing of the Chapter reiterated the threefold repetition, and E Comps Prior, Broughton and Stokes were splendid. The Companions retired, though getting them back for a photoshot was troublesome as some were already removing regalia and heading for the bar, but I managed eventually to take a snapshot. The focus isn't as sharp as I would have liked, but this is probably not a bad thing. 

The Festive Board was happy; a tasty chicken meal in convivial company. It was quite late, however when the coffee cups were filled, and the DC moved the toasts along with alacrity. Most toasts were brief, as were most responses. E Companion Hiten Thaker stood in response to Toast Five, and complimented the Chapter on the behaviour of the members both upstairs and down: "This is how gentlemen should meet." Sadly deploring the declension of Chapters throughout the country, he had positive words regarding the efforts of C7833 in overcoming these difficulties. He mentioned the Provincial initiatives in this area, recommending the Companions to the Archway Scheme and forwarning of the upcoming Festival 2029 Enterprise, saying there was a planned Indian Jamboree Night in the pipeline. He spoke of his own introduction to Chapter Freemasonry in Zambia, and the flight back in the dark; his wife and the other wives, realising that the landing strip was not illuminated, came out with lights so that the plane could touchdown safely. He concluded his speech by presenting E Comp Burton with his PZ jewel while the Companions applauded.

E Comp Terry Black gave a brief toast to Stephen Prior and his team, but for all its brevity, it was sincere. Stephen responded similarly.

The Chapter Preceptor, E Comp Chapman in his toast to John Burton and his officers, spoke of the year flying by, of John's immaculate ritual ("Tonight he was excellent," he said, unnecessarily) and his increasing skills in producing website reports, reflecting the forty visits he'd undertaken during the year. John responded suitably, for the most part reiterating the comments he'd put on this website on 14th February.

David Whittall toasted the visitors (six, from four Sister Chapters) in his usual amusing and welcoming manner, and E Comp Collier, MEZ of C5129 responded, with congratulations to the new team, and in particular to E Comp Stokes.

At some stage (perhaps before the ceremony began) the MEZ had lost one arm of his reading glasses but this didn't stop him drawing the raffle, wherein I continued my losing streak. The raffle raised a hundred pounds.

The Almoner's Toast in the Chapter of St Michael is uniquely honoured by the Craft points. An "Absent Brethren" hymn, especially composed for the Chapter by two Founder members (see the Music page) is followed in both Craft and Chapter by "Auld Lang Syne", the Brethren/Companions joining hands before taking their leave of each other.

Altogether a splendid evening.

Eddie Wildman, Organist



Wednesday 14th February 2024:

Valentine's Day Thank You from John Burton

As this is my last full day as Z in the Chapter of St Michael 7833 I thought I would take time out to write a thank you blog.

The team in my year in office have done brilliantly. We have done one Installation, one Exaltation, one Business Night and one Chapter meeting where there was no ceremony but we very much enjoyed ourselves.

To all who have been in my team this year I thank each and every one of you. You have all in some way  made my year in the chair memorable.

However I must name four for special mention. The first  is E Comp Steve Longthorp, our Scribe E. He does a lot of work behind the scenes that goes unnoticed but is important in the smooth running of the Chapter. Whenever I had a problem or a query to do with rules or procedure he was always there, ready to put me right or answer any question I might have. A big thank you, Steve, for all you have done for me and the Chapter in my year in office.

The next person I have to thank is my Steward E Comp Alex McAlister. A good Steward is worth his weight in gold and can make or break a year as the festive board is an important part of any Chapter meeting. Alex did a faultless job in my year. Having been Steward twice myself, I know the last thing the Master in the Lodge, or in my case the Z of the Chapter wants is to be bothered with details about the meals. Once I had appointed Alex to the job of Steward I did not interfere and left him to get on with the job, and not once did he let me down. Well done Alex, and thank you.

Number three in my list is our Preceptor, E Comp Jack Chapman. The job of Preceptor is a thankless task but a very important one. When you are doing ritual it is

important that you are confident that, should you need a prompt, the Preceptor will know exactly where you are and assist accordingly. Equally you have to know that a pause to draw breath will not have the Preceptor jumping in when you don't need it. It is a difficult balancing act which Jack does very well. He is there when you need him and stays away in the background and keeps quiet when you don't. Thanks Jack: having you in the background as the Preceptor has made my year in the Chair a lot easier and a lot less stressful.

Last but not least a special thank you to E Comp Eddie Wildman. Not only is he a brilliant organ player (and the Chapter with no music is never the same) in my year in

the Chair he has acted as my editor and adviser when it came to writing about my visits for the Chapter Blog. Those of you who know me know that writing on a computer is not my strong point. Eddie gave me suggestions and edited my blogs, smoothed off the rough edges and added or took away words to make the finished articles flow more and make sense. He also smoothed over the more blunt and controversial pieces I sent in. A big thank you Eddie for all your work, I learnt a lot and I hope I improved towards the end.

Finally, a Chapter is only as good as the people in it and all the hard work and dedication you all put in, if this year is anything to go by, the Chapter of St Michael is in in good hands and can only go from strength to strength. I conclude as I began my year - in capital letters:



John Burton, MEZ (for a few hours.)



Thursday 1st February 2024:


Hull Old Grammarians' - Certainly rates in the top three Chapters

report by John Burton

I made my 40th and final visit in my year as MEZ of the Chapter of St Michael 7833 at the Old Grammarians' Chapter 5129 at Dagger Lane. The traffic was heavy and I parked my car in the council car park opposite the Guildhall and walked to Dagger Lane, about fifteen minutes stroll away. The roads were full of cars heading homewards, headlights on as it was already dark. Grim-faced pedestrians were also leaving work.

I arrived with time to spare, and hung up my coat and scarf. Armed with a soft drink (I'd have loved a beer but I don't drink and drive) I mingled with the Grammarian Companions present. I was the only visitor that night, which has been an all too familiar occurrence during my visits.

The Senior Deacon's Chair (had it been a Craft Lodge) was available - my favourite seat. I settled down for an enjoyable evening.

The Chapter was opened in due and ancient form by the Principals, E Comps Nigel A Collier, Steve J Pickard and Mark K Luscomb. The minutes of the previous meeting were confirmed and the Z signed them off. There was then a ballot for the Three Principals for the ensuing year. E Comp Steve J Pickard was elected as Z. E Comp Mark K Luscomb was elected as H and Companion Duncan S Taylor was elected to take the Office of J. The Treasurer's job went to E Comp Geoff W Branton.There then followed the swift election of Auditors and members of the Chapter Committee.

The main business of the evening was the exaltation of Bro Matthew James Ferron. Successfully ballotted for that evening, he was downstairs at the time. He was informed, escorted to the Chapter, and the exaltation began.

The ceremony went well; the ritual performed was as smooth as a baby's bottom. A lot of work had gone into its preparation and execution. The Humber Chapter working differs from that of C7833 (which uses the Domatic ritual) but the story of the Sojourners' discovery and their subsequent promotion came across powerfully. After the exaltation Comp Ferron, now with the distinctive apron and sash of a Companion of the Order took his place with the rest of the Companions  and the business of the evening continued.

Reports from the Almoner and Charity Stewards were very short and to the point and other business, correspondence and communications was dealt with swiftly. I gave greetings on behalf of the Chapter of St Michael and the HOG's Chapter was closed in due and ancient form.

The festive board consisted of Soup, Beef Bourguignon with Mashed Potatoes and Sponge Pudding and Custard. The atmosphere and conversation at the table was absolutely brilliant. The Hull Old Grammarians' Chapter certainly rates in my top three Chapters amongst all those I have visited in my year as Z. The usual toasts were given, and all too soon it was the end of the evening, the Parting Toast. I put on my coat reflecting on what a brilliant night it had been. If all nights were like that visitors would be queuing up outside the door to get in.

As I made my way back to the council car park, the streets of Hull were trodden by a different clientele. Despite the chill in the air, young people were enjoying the bars and each other. There were not many cars on the roads and most of them appeared to be taxis. I was glad I had my scarf to keep me warm.

I reflected as I strode along. This was my last visit. During my year on the visiting circuit as Z I have had a lot of memorable visits and only one I would care to forget. (And even that was salutary - for it enables one better to appreciate the others.) I have met many very interesting and committed Companions on my travels. I have also seen the dire straits that some of the Chapters I have visited are in.

My conclusion is that things cannot carry on as they are. Chapter Masonry in Hull and Beverley will look very different in five year's time. There are too many Chapters chasing too few Candidates. Doing nothing is not an option, Chapters merging have a good chance of surviving well into the future; those that refuse to see the light and refuse to change will probably go out of business and have to hand in their warrants. I have seen too many people with what I call the lemming syndrome, they will do nothing nor contemplate change until it is to late and they go over the cliff edge. But I have written about this in previous blogs. Watch this space.

I hope I am wrong but from what I have seen and heard it would be a brave man who would bet against what I have outlined.

I clambered into my car, slid the key into the ignition and set off for home.

John Burton MEZ





Friday 26th January 2024:

Ridings Tablers' Chapter Installation

report by John Burton


My 39th visit was to the Ridings Tablers Chapter 9586 in Beverley. I parked  in the station car park and walked the short distance to the Masonic Hall in Trinity Lane. It was a cold evening but I was well wrapped up. I joined the other Companions present for a good chin wag; after being on the visiting circuit for almost a year I was surprised how many Companions present I knew from previous visits, so there were a lot of greetings exchanged and hands shaken.

Upstairs in the Temple I commandeered a good seat seat where I could see everything. The Chapter was opened in due and ancient form by E Comp John D Bridges (Z), E Comp John W L Ellwood (H) and a last minute stand in for John Watson (J), who was unable to attend through illness.

The next business was to receive the Provincial DC E Comp Richard M East. He announced that outside the door of the Chapter was the Representative of the MEGS, E Comp Hitendra Thaker and he requested admittance. This was duly granted whereupon he came in, shook hands with the Z and sat down.

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved and the Z signed the minute book. Next was a ballot for a joining member, E Comp James Edward Gordon Steele which was successful: he was admitted and took his seat in the Chapter. Reports and propositions were received; there was no AOB. 

The highlight of the night was the Installation of the Principals under the direction of the Installing DC, E Comp Andrew Pittaway. E Comp John W L Ellwood was installed as Z, H was not installed as he had had to call off at the last minute due to illness, (he will be installed at the next meeting) and E Comp Martin Clark was installed as J.

The rest of the officers for the year were appointed and installed. The IPZ was presented with the Past Zerubbabel Jewel by the Representative of the MEGS, E Comp Hitendra Thaker who incidentally will be the Representative of the MEGS at our Installation of the three Principals of the Chapter St Michael 7833 on Thursday February 15th when I will come out of the Chair of Z. (Sigh.)

I gave greetings on behalf of the Chapter St Michael 7833. The Ridings Tablers' Chapter was closed in due form and we all made our way downstairs to the festive board: Tomato and Pepper Soup, Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding with Seasonal Vegetables, Cheese and Biscuits for dessert. The meal as usual was up to the high standard I had come to expect when visiting Chapters in Beverley. Toasts were given, speeches made and songs sung.

I replied in response to the visitors toast. The parting toast was given by E Comp Howard B Newton.

After the warmth inside I was glad I'd brought my long woolly scarf as  I walked the 150 yards to my car. What a brilliant way to spend a Friday night, I thought, turning up the heating. I always enjoy myself when I visit Ridings Tablers Chapter; I will definitely be going back on a regular visit.

[Photo L to R: Richard East, Howard Newton, Hiten Thaker, John Ellwood, Jonathan Smith, John Bridges, Martin Clark.]

John Burton MEZ



Wednesday 24th January 2024:

Seventy-five Years and still going Strong

report by John Burton

My 38th visit was to the Chapter of St Andrew 4683 which meets at the Masonic Hall Beverley Rd. I arrived with time to spare, booked my car in and went to the bar for a coke. E Comp Black from the Chapter of St Michael was also there so we had a good chinwag along with several other Companions.

It was the Chapter's 75th anniversary meeting and also installation: the MEGS, E Comp Dr David Chambers and his team of Active Provincial Officers was there for this auspicious occasion.

I found a comfortable seat in the Temple and waited for the ceremony to start. The Chapter was opened in due and ancient form by the three Principals, E Comps Paul Bull, Danny Betts (standing in for Roy Newton) and Jason Garland. The MEGS's DC announced that Dr David Chambers was outside the door of the Chapter and he demanded admission. Agreement was of course promptly forthcoming and the Grand Superintendent entered along with his team of officers, including the Provincial Grand Standard Bearer and the Provincial Grand Sword Bearer.

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved and signed. The new Principals were installed, E Comp Michael Graham taking the office of Z, E Comp Jason Garland H. Companion Edward A Brook was installed as J.

The officers for the ensuing year were then appointed and received their respective collars.

There was then a presentation of Supreme Grand Chapter Certificates to Comp Philip John Beadle and Craig Ashley David Eastburn by the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent but in a new way: the explanation was spread around the visiting team of Provincial Officers, some taking on the roles of influential Freemasons in the past who have contributed to shaping the Chapter through history. I believe this is the first time this has been done and very well done it was, it made an interesting departure from the usual solo explanation which focusses on the symbology of the document rather than its history.

Apologies were read from those unable to attend and correspondence was swiftly dealt with. I gave greetings on behalf of the Chapter of St Michael 7833. The St Andrew Chapter was then closed in due and ancient form by the Three new Principals and after photographs were taken, we all made our way down stairs, where I again stocked up on full-fat coke.


The meal was as usual up to the excellent standards I had come to expect when visiting Beverley Rd; Smoked Salmon and Lemon Creme Fraiche, Chicken and Leak Pie with various vegetables,  and Chef's Panna Cotta which I'd had to look up on the internet to find out what it was before ordering it. (It's an Italian dessert with sweetened cream.)

After the meal speeches were made, the main one by the MEGS whose theme was "change". He explained to the Companions that it was what one did, not how long one had been a member of a Chapter that was important when it came to getting Provincial Honours. After the parting toast was given we took our leave of each other as friends and went our separate ways. I gave a lift home to Eddie Wildman and after dropping him off I thought what a great way to spend a Wednesday evening. Especially the panna cotta.

John Burton


Tuesday 23rd January 2024:

Brough Chapter

report by John Burton

I made my 37th visit to the Brough Chapter 5464 in Sutton. It is only a few minutes drive away from where I live so I arrived with time to spare, parking my car a short distance away and walking to the Masonic Temple on College Street where I received a very warm welcome. I paid for my meal, ordered a full fat coke at the bar and mingled with the Companions present.

Time went quickly and it was soon the order of the day to change, climb the stairs, sign in and enter the Temple and make myself comfortable.

The Royal Arch Chapter was opened in due and ancient form by the Principals, Excellent Companions John Derek Wilson, Michael Thomas Shakesby and Andrew Chan. The minutes were confirmed with no amendments (Well done Scribe Ezra! - E Comp Peter Wright is also a member of the Chapter of St Michael, so one is not surprised at his efficiency.) The Scribe E said all correspondence had been circulated. The Almoner's report was given and Alms collected. The Charity Steward's report was given. There then was a ballot for E Comp Peter Moore to become an Honorary Member, which was passed.

The Chapter then received a talk by E Comp Douglas Alan Hatfield entitled Chapter Publications wherafter he posed questions to the Companions. The talk progressed into the area of the future of Chapter Masonry in Hull to which I was asked to give my views (which I did in my usual blunt forthright way - see my comments on 5th January below.)

The Chapter was closed in due and ancient form; I gave greetings on behalf of the Chapter St Michael 7833.

At the festive board  the food was up to the usual high standard I have come to expect. The customary toasts were given and all too soon it was time to leave.

On the short journey home I reflected that the future of Chapter Masonry in Hull and elsewhere was becoming a distressingly regular topic for discussion in Chapter meetings.  I wonder what the future has in store for us.

John Burton MEZ


Thursday 18th January 2024:

Constitutional Chapter Installation

by John Burton

As the Constitutional Chapter 294 start time was 5:30pm I could not go home to change and reach the Chapter on schedule so for the first time I had to change at work and go straight to Beverley. Having got changed in the office when my colleagues had left I made my way to Beverley, parked up on the nearby car park and walked the short distance to the Masonic Hall in Trinity Lane.

Again it was very cold. I wore my Doctor Who Tom Baker kind of scarf which, like his, is very long but warm. I arrived in good time, paid for my meal, and drank a full fat coke while mingling with the Companions present. The conversation was flowing and as usual I was made to feel very welcome.

I was joined by E Comp Malcolm Forbes, MEZ of the Humber Chapter 57  whom I had met the night before at the Kingston Chapter 1010. It would seem we are on the same visiting circuit. We put on our regalia and made our way up the stairs to the  temple. I sat in my usual seat from which I had a very good view of the ceremony.

The Chapter was opened in due and ancient form by E Comp Mark James Green,  Z; E Comp David Lee Turner, H; and E Comp John Chrystal, J. The Chapter then received the representative of the MEGS, E Comp David Saunders under the direction of his DC, E Comp Geoffrey Toulmin. The minutes of the last meeting were confirmed. The Almoner's and Charity Steward's reports were delivered. The correspondence, propositions and any other Masonic business were dealt with very quickly and then it was onto the main event of the evening, the installation of the three Principals for the coming Year. 

E Comp David Lee Turner was installed as the new Z, E Comp John Chrystal was installed as the new H and E Comp Keith Charlesworth was installed as the new J. The new officers for the upcoming year were then invested by E Comp Turner. It all went like clockwork; you could see that the Companions had put alot of work and effort into the ceremony of installation. The new Z gave a small speech about what he wanted to do and achieve during his year in office.

I gave greetings on behalf of the Chapter of St Michael 7833. The Constitutional Chapter was then closed in due and ancient form in the  unique way practised by this ancient Chapter which dates back to 1794. I like the way that almost everything is done sitting down - very convenient and sensible.

We got changed and made our way down to the festive board. E Comp Malcolm Forbes bought me a full fat coke (142 calories) and we sat down for the meal, which was Pate, Salmon Wellington with Veg and Vanilla Cheesecake (2,000 calories); as usual the food was excellent which is what I have come to expect when visiting Beverley Masonic Hall. Toasts were given and E Comp Malcolm Forbes replied on behalf of the five visitors. (His observations may be found on the Humber Chapter blog.)

Then all too soon it was over. Wrapping myself up warmly (I love that scarf) I made my way back to my car and drove home thinking what an excellent night it had been and what a great way to spend an evening. I will definitely be going back.

John Burton MEZ




Wednesday 17th January 2024:

Last Legs?

 by John Burton

I made my 35th visit to Kingston Chapter 1010. I arrived at Beverley Rd Masonic Hall with time to spare, made my way in and registered my car for parking. The weather that night was freezing so I am glad I wore my big coat; luckily the atmosphere inside was very warm and I was quickly made to feel welcome.

I paid for my meal, changed into my regalia and made my way upstairs where I found a good spot to sit down and watch the ceremony. I settled in for the night. The Chapter was opened in due and ancient form by the three Principals; E Comps N Armstrong, R F Bate and  E R Wildman (who is also a member of the Chapter of St Michael.)

The minutes of the previous meeting (which I'd attended) were confirmed. There then followed a short presentation by the Scribe E on the inclusive aspects of Royal Arch Masonry in the Eighteenth Century which was well received. Propositions, correspondence was read and any other business was done.

A Notice of Motion was given that the current and future Principals and Scribe Ezras be authorised to discuss with other interested Chapters in Hull a way forward to ensure that a healthy Royal Arch Masonry can continue in the city, and to report back in three months.

I was talking to the Treasurer and he told me that the Kingston Chapter has 47 members. It is a sad state of affairs when only eight members of them turned up that night. There were two visitors, myself and E Comp Malcolm Forbes from the Humber Chapter 57, so there was a total of ten people at that convocation.

It just goes to show it is not the number of members a Chapter has that is important: the number who actually turn up and support the Chapter is crucial. I think if the current level of support is maintained in the future then the outlook for the Kingston Chapter is not very bright.

I gave greetings on behalf St Michael Chapter 7833. The Chapter was then closed in due and ancient form and we came downstairs, changed and made our way to the festive board.

The meal was Soup, Steak Pie and Eton Mess for dessert, and it was the superb standard I have come to expect when dining at Beverley Rd. Two Toasts were given and all too soon the evening came to an end. I gave Eddie Wildman a lift home and after dropping him off, as I drove away I wondered what the future of the Kingston Chapter might be, if any.

John Burton MEZ


Thursday 5th January 2024:

Humber Chapter 57

report by John Burton

I made my first visit of the year and my 34th overall since I became Z of the Chapter of St Michael 7833. I set off very early to try and get a parking space for my car and to my surprise I was able to find a place on South Churchside straight away. I whiled away some time listening to music in my car.

I made my way to the Masonic Hall at Dagger Lane and went in. As usual I was warmly greeted by all present, paid for my meal then continued with the discussions we were having on a variety of subjects. It was then time to change and climb up the staircase which seems to be getting longer (or I am getting older) to the temple. I signed in and waited with the other four visitors until the private Chapter opening had been completed. We were then allowed in. I took my seat and settled down for an interesting evening's  Masonic business night under the leadership of  the three Principals, Malcolm Forbes, Z; Richard Smedley, H and Charles Alexander, J. (Pictured: E Comps Smedley, Forbes and Alexander in the traditional format.)

The three Principals for the next year were elected along with the treasurer. Account examiners and committee members were decided upon: all was chugging along smoothly.

There then followed a discussion about the future of the Chapter and possible scenarios for change. There were various thoughts put forward. My own opinion, having been to various Chapters where this discussion is taking place, is that some members are burying their heads in the sand or acting like lemmings: nothing will be done until the Chapter is on the edge of a figurative cliff and it is too late. Change in Chapters takes a long time and cannot be done quickly so the process has to start now if the Chapters want to be in control of their futures.

I gave greetings on behalf of the Chapter St Michael 7833. The Chapter was then closed in due and ancient form and we retired to the festive board; chips, peas, gammon and pineapple with fruit salad panna cotta for dessert. The discussions from upstairs still continued between Companions at the table. We are in difficult times. Two toasts were given and the parting toast at the end was submitted.

I left in good spirits with Eddie Wildman, gave him a lift home, and thought long and hard on what I had heard that evening. There is much to consider, and the problem, as Eddie remarked, is endemic. (See the Humber Chapter blog and the Kingston blog for this date.)

John Burton MEZ