With the Headquarters of Sussex Freemasonry, a Grade II listed building in Brighton, in need of restoration and repair, Provincial Grand Master RW Bro Chris Moore put the wheels in motion for a fundraising initiative
The end result was making plans to undertake a sponsored parachute jump on the day of his birthday, 25th July 2017!
RW Bro Chris Moore completed the feat by leaping 12,000 feet above the ground from an aircraft at Skydive Headcorn in Kent – an achievement that has helped him to raise £20,000 to go towards the renovation project for the Sussex Freemasonry Headquarters.
RW Bro Chris Moore commented: ‘With our Headquarters in urgent need of some TLC, I knew I had to stir myself from my natural indolence and be sponsored to do something. Thankfully, the jump was successful, not only from the survival standpoint but also from the money raised for our Provincial Headquarters.
‘The generosity of Sussex Freemasons never ceases to amaze me. Having just completed our 2017 Festival with over £3.6 million for the erstwhile Grand Charity, one could be forgiven for thinking that they had nothing left to give and yet they have somehow found another £20,000 to sponsor their Provincial Grand Master. I am very grateful to them for that tremendous support and making my leap into the unknown such a resounding success.’
You can see RW Bro Chris Moore leap from the skies by watching a video of the parachute jump here.
You can also contribute to the fundraising initiative here.
The Charmandean Centre, the home of Freemasonry in Worthing, West Sussex, recently held a very successful and well attended open day
They also had a surprise visitor with Sir Peter Bottomley, Member of Parliament for West Worthing, amongst the attendees.
Sir Peter noted that he was particularly interested in looking around the Centre and finding out more about Freemasonry in general and how they supported communities both locally and nationally.
Canterbury Cathedral hosted a Tercentenary Thanksgiving service in recognition of its long-standing relationship with Freemasonry
More than 1,500 masons and their families came from across the Provinces of East Kent, West Kent, Surrey and Sussex to attend a service in celebration of 300 years of the United Grand Lodge of England.
The event was held on 18 February in the presence of the Grand Master HRH The Duke of Kent, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Kent and the Lord Mayor of Canterbury, and was led by the Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, the Very Reverend Dr Robert Willis.
During his sermon, Dr Willis thanked the Duke of Kent for his long-standing support of the cathedral. He recalled how the Royal Family helped when the cathedral was damaged by bombing during World War II. He also paid tribute to the generous support of the masonic community, whose relationship with the cathedral dates back more than 100 years.
Canterbury Cathedral is currently undergoing the largest restoration project in its history. The interior and exterior are covered in scaffolding to allow the ancient building to be restored to as close to its original condition as possible. A donation of £300,000 from the Freemasons of Kent, Surrey and Sussex has funded repairs to the North West Transept, including new tower pinnacles and a spiral stone staircase.
East Kent Provincial Grand Master Geoffrey Dearing said: ‘The existence of Freemasonry for over 300 years bears witness to the fact that the idea of men from all walks of life coming together to make society a better place is one that has stood the test of time and inspired successive generations.’
Leslie Penhye, of Temple Lodge, No. 4962, in Sussex, has received the Chevalier de L’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur for his service on HMS Quorn at Gold Beach on D-Day
The ceremony was attended by PGM Chris Moore and the Deputy Lieutenant for East Sussex, Juliet Smith, as well as family, friends and lodge members. The French Honorary Consul Captain François Jean presented Leslie with his award.
Leslie, 91, served on the destroyer HMS Quorn from 1943 until it was torpedoed and sank off Le Havre in the early hours of 3 August 1944, killing 130 men.
Cash donation to help fire-stricken hospice
In the early hours of Saturday morning, twenty three residents of St Michael’s Hospice in St Leonards-On-Sea, Sussex, were evacuated following an explosion and fire. Three patients have since died following the evacuation, two of which were being treated for smoke inhalation.
The Freemasons’ Grand Charity has donated £5,000 to support the Hospice during this difficult time. Since 1987, St Michael’s has been part of the Grand Charity Hospice Scheme and has received over £84,000 in total.
The emergency grant will help the Hospice’s recovery needs by funding emergency supplies such as blankets and food, the relocation of patients and repairs.
The Province of Sussex, a long-time supporter of St Michael’s Hospice, has also indicated that it will be making an emergency grant to the cause.
The nave of Canterbury Cathedral welcomed around 1,000 masons, their families and friends for a service to celebrate the bicentenary of Royal Arch Masonry
On Saturday 21 September, a unique event was held at Canterbury Cathedral that not only marked a special milestone in masonic history but also demonstrated a great affinity between Freemasonry and the cathedral’s stonemasons. Freemasonry has its roots in the lodges of medieval stonemasons and to this day supports the training of apprentice stonemasons at the cathedral.
The occasion was a combined celebration for the Provinces of East Kent, West Kent, Sussex and Surrey, each led by their respective Grand Superintendents, Geoffrey Dearing, Jonathan Winpenny, Kenneth Thomas and Eric Stuart-Bamford. The significance of the event was acknowledged by the presence of the Second and Third Grand Principals, George Francis and David Williamson, respectively. Russell Race, the Metropolitan Grand Superintendent, and David Boswell, the Grand Superintendent of Suffolk, were also in attendance, as was the Sheriff of Canterbury, Cllr Ann Taylor, who represented the city and people of Canterbury.
The Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Venerable Sheila Watson, conducted the service, with the grand setting and the superb King’s School Crypt Choir adding to the memorable ambience. The Archdeacon referred to the long connection between the cathedral and Freemasons, in particular the gifts of the Chapter House east window and the Coronation window. She paid tribute to the masonic principles of unity, fellowship and service to the community, and spoke of ‘service beyond ourselves’, a virtue embraced by the Church and Freemasonry alike.
On the 19th May 2013, W Bro Stephen Gurr, accompanied by his wife Janet and W Bro Ryan Smith of Manor Royal Lodge No. 8296, visited Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice, in Sussex, to present them with a cheque to the value of nearly £2,300.
The was money raised by the brethren of Manor Royal Lodge, during W Bro Stephen’s year as Master, and at his ladies' night in March. Chestnut Tree House provide care and support to children with life limiting and ending illness and require approximately £3 million per annum to continue with this work.
On presenting the cheque to Jayne Todd from CTH, Janet passed on the best wishes from all at Manor Royal Lodge and promised to continue supporting them wherever possible in the future. It was very emotional to walk through the memorial gardens but also hugely rewarding to contribute to such a vital and good local cause.
Lodge of Union, No. 38, celebrated its bicentenary at Goodwood House. The country estate, near Chichester in Sussex, is the seat of the Duke of Richmond, many of whom have been masons over the centuries. Lodge officers wear gold on their collars to commemorate the close connection between Chichester Freemasonry and the ducal family, whose colour it is.
The event was attended by Pro Grand Master Peter Lowndes, Grand Secretary Nigel Brown, Grand Director of Ceremonies Oliver Lodge and Sussex Provincial Grand Master Kenneth Thomas.
Sixteen members of the Heal family from Sussex are in the same lodge, including former RAF pilot Marc, who won the DFC in Afghanistan for evacuating 29 casualties in his Chinook helicopter while under fire. Marc, 31, flew eight combat missions in as many days. On one occasion his helicopter’s landing site was mortared by insurgents and some of the missions took place without an Apache escort.
Somerset mason James Heal began the family connection with South Down Lodge, No. 1797, in 1963 when he moved to Brighton, followed by his five sons – all of whom went through the chair – as well as three brothers-in-law and seven grandsons.
Four of the five sons were Directors of Ceremonies, while three of the family are Grand Officers and one, Keith Schofield, is the Provincial Grand Mentor for Sussex. His uncle John was Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies and later an Assistant Provincial Grand Master, while his uncle Victor was Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, both of whom – with his father – have been his mentors.
Yasha Beresiner visits the Sussex Masonic Centre
Standing at the entrance to the Sussex Masonic Centre in the heart of Brighton, you can catch the smell of the sea just a few hundred yards away. This centre, containing both masonic temples and administrative offices, was established in 1898 and must be one of the most convenient in England; it is only a two-minute walk from Brighton Station.
The museum is under the capable administration of the curator and librarian, Reginald Barrow, who takes great pride in the artefacts that are displayed in the various rooms on three floors of interconnected buildings.
Among the numerous important items in the museum’s extensive collection is an eighteenth century Meissen porcelain figurine representing Augustus II of Poland and Elector of Saxony (1670-1733). He is wearing a simple masonic apron and holding a scroll of the masonic constitutions in his right hand, indicating his authority. By his left arm, on a pedestal, stands a mops (pug dog). This dog represents symbolically how Freemasonry survived in Germany, Prussia and elsewhere in Europe under the adverse conditions following the Papal Bull of April 1738 forbidding Roman Catholics from joining the fraternity.
The secret Order of the Mopses was founded in 1740 by German Roman Catholics with the support of Augustus II, who became its Grand Master. Because his favourite animal was the mops, this became the symbol of the Order and gave it its name; the Order worked an elaborate, if somewhat outlandish, ritual which imitated Freemasonry. This rare and attractive figurine was made in the Meissen factory around 1740 and is attributed to the German sculptor Johann Joachim Kaendle (1706-1750), who sculpted exclusively for the Meissen factory and was known for his representations of animals.
The museum also preserves a folder containing the original proofs and completed drawings by the famous John Harris, whose tracing boards continue to decorate many lodge rooms throughout the country. John Harris, a painter of miniatures and an architectural draughtsman, came on the scene in 1815, two years after the union of the two Grand Lodges. He was initiated in 1818 and from the beginning was fascinated by the symbolic portrayals on tracing boards. He soon revolutionised the concept of the designs, which ultimately led to the standardisation of tracing boards throughout the constitution.
In 1823, somewhat business minded, Harris dedicated a set of his miniature tracing boards to the Duke of Sussex, the first Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England. This act naturally popularised his designs and his tracing boards soon became fashionable and in demand by the majority of lodges. A true breakthrough, however, came in 1845 when an invitation by the Emulation Lodge of Improvement was made for artists to submit designs for tracing boards. John Harris’ designs won hands down and he never looked back.
In the same folder are several pages of printer’s proofs and hand-coloured manuscript designs of Harris’ efforts. Among the most striking images are two third degree miniature boards with evocative mortal emblems. These printed boards indicate on their margin that they won the third prize and were published in 1849.
The realistic rendering of the skull and bones within the coffin is decorated by a multicoloured ribbon brim which is further enhanced by the dark black shadow of the coffin. A scroll on the lower half depicts an intricate setting of the innermost shrine of the tabernacle, the Sanctum Sanctorum. Seven branched Menorahs decorate the aisles, whilst three figures – Hiram King of Tyre, Hiram Abiff and King Solomon – stand in front of the Ark of the Covenant on the chequered floor of the Temple. The reversed ciphers and Hebrew letters are characteristic of third degree tracing board. The question as to why Harris depicted the ciphers ‘3000’ in reverse has never been satisfactorily explained; he may have misunderstood the Hebrew tradition of writing from right to left. In any case, these tracing boards were never formally adopted.
One object in the museum that brings to mind the widespread nature of Freemasonry is a scrimshaw drinking horn. The word immediately creates the vision of ancient mariners intent on painstaking and delicate etching on ivory or bone. The genre covers an enormous range of themes and it is only natural the symbolism of Freemasonry should also be represented. This excellent example of a horn, from around 1845, is in pristine condition with its intricate masonic emblems clearly visible.
Central to the design is an arch which appears supported by the square and compasses and headed by the all-seeing eye. In the centre the three masonic candlesticks are placed on the chequered floor and below are representations of the third degree coffin and the pentagram. Along the sides, emblems of various orders beyond the craft are identifiable; they have been carefully and clearly engraved. The detail of the carving is enhanced by crossed lines and deeper etching which creates shadows and contrasts further beautifying this rare object.
A prominent piece we saw on display is the apron worn by HRH the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) whilst attending meetings in Brighton. It is mounted in a lavish and heavy oak frame and above it is the unusual twisted Tyler’s sword, popularly referred to as ‘the flaming sword’, in allusion to the weapons carried by the cherubs guarding the entrance to Eden.
For those who may be interested in visiting the museum, the curator and librarian Reginald Barrow can be contacted at the centre on 01273 737404