ISSUE 11, October 2004
Elias Ashmole: Masonic Icon
Travel: The magical beauty of Scotland
Honoured: By the Glovers' livery company
The Theatre: Strong links between Craft and stage
Quarterly Communication: Address of the Pro Grand Master and, Report of the Board of General Purposes
Mauritius: Fascinating Masonic history
Rochester Cathedral: Kent Masons' magnificent fresco
Clerkenwell: 25 years of Masonry
  Bravery award: One Mason's heroism is honoured
Christmas shopping: What to buy in London's West End
High flight: Helping terminally ill children
Jewels of the Craft: An essential part of Masonry
Library & Museum: John Pine exhibition and Library & Museum Trust report
Masonic education: Events for Masons; Quatuor Coronati Lodge; Mentors for new Masons
Charities: Masons provide emergency aid for flood victims; Charity news; Demelza gives voice
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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The Editor welcomes letters, but reserves the right to edit them where necessary. Letters can be sent by email to or addressed to:
The Editor, MQ, Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ.

Star Letter

Oh why has it taken so long for Ray Hollins and his common sense writing to surface? As the Craft has wallowed in the modern ailment of failing to attract and/or retain recruits, here was a breath of fresh air undoubtedly a great strength to his own Lodges and Province, but unheard in the wider field (MQ, Issue No. 10).
    Almost all the traditional methods of retaining Initiates have gone. There are even Grand Officers to whom the original William Preston system of lectures is unknown.
    Of the original 242 First Degree questions, only 12 remain. The 145 Second Degree questions are reduced to nine, and the Third Degree to none. Then there was the weekly Lodge of Instruction, now too frequently reduced to monthly if at all.
    Then there was the toast to Officers and Past Masters, giving the young Mason the opportunity to become involved, and the practice of presenting the Ladies gift on Ladies night. Even this seems to be disappearing.
    Ray Hollins shows the need for Masonic Education, the excitement it can produce from its very pursuit and the value to which it can be put when obtained.
    His set of five booklets A daily Advancement, could help Lodges to introduce a 5-10 minute education slot or have Lodges of Rehearsal return to Lodges of Instruction, with the ultimate aim that the junior Brethren, before reaching office, read a “daily advancement” for the “education slot.”
    Finally, what a clear illustration this is of the value of MQ. Excellent though the other Masonic publications are, they do not have the universal circulation that is so vital, thereby giving “new” correspondents complete and immediate recognition and most importantly, the whole Craft the benefit of their experience and wisdom.

R.W. Fountaine, Rickmansworth, Herts.

Boer War VCs
I have read the various letters regarding brethren awarded the Victoria Cross is different campaigns and would like to add some more names, for VCs awarded in the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902.
    Lt the Hon Frederick Roberts, son of Field Marshal Lord Roberts PSGW (himself a VC holder), died of wounds received at Colenso. I have been unable to ascertain if the younger Roberts was a Mason.
    Bro Lt John Norwood, 5th Dragoon Guards, received his VC for conspicuous bravery during the Ladysmith campaign. He was initiated into Apollo Lodge No. 357 in Oxford, and later joined Anchor Lodge No. 1704 and Beckenham Lodge No. 2047, both in London.
    Another gallant brother was Captain Touse, a member of St Mary’s Chapel Lodge No. 1 in Edinburgh, awarded the VC at Maggersfontein. In April 1900 he lost his sight in another action. Queen Victoria is said to have shed tears when investing him with his medal.

Alan Simpson, Gosport, Hampshire

Premier Grand Lodge seal
As a keen student of Masonic heraldry, I was particularly intrigued with the depiction of the coat of arms used by the Premier Grand Lodge of England, as shown on its second seal which was adopted at an unknown date, but apparently some time after 1738, which appears on the Chinese export porcelain bowl (MQ, Issue No. 10, page 49).
    The only difference is in the colours of the chevron and the pair of extended compasses charged on it which are blue and white on the bowl, whereas they were originally probably white and in their natural colours [proper], but since July 1919, in the arms of the United Grand Lodge of England, gold.
    As Mrs Diane Clements, Director of The Library and Museum of Freemasonry, was good enough to indicate to me: “What is not entirely clear in the photograph, but can be seen on the bowl itself, is that the colours used in the coat of arms are reflected in the same colouring used in the border pattern, which adds to the attractiveness of the piece. “Secondly, the act of firing this clay material, glaze and enamel paints changes the colour of the enamels from that originally painted. “Sometimes this change of colour was known and the decorators could take this into account, but the act of firing was never entirely predictable. Also, the chemicals were not necessarily available to create all colours.”
    Apart from the change of colours in those two objects, the remainder of the complete coat of arms is a faithful reproduction of the original version on the seal.
    Other examples of the Chinese porcelain makers’ art can be found in collections of sets of ceramic ware in many stately homes and elsewhere, with similar faithfully reproduced armorial bearings – although occasionally including minor errors – a tribute to the considerable expertise and skill of the decorators working in an unfamiliar medium.

Bruce Hogg, Middlesbrough

Music in Lodges
Further to George Holden’s letter and his thoughts on ‘modern’ music, he is not alone. Having been a Lodge organist for over 50 years, I usually greet a brother who arrives late to a meeting with Who Were You With Last Night or, if he is small in stature, Little Man You’ve Had A Busy Day, as he presents his apologies to the Master.
    For many years I was organist to the Household Brigade Lodge No. 2614 and the members, all officers in the Brigade of Guards, loved to hear their own particular regimental marches being played in the background whilst carrying out their Lodge duties.
    The dignity of the ritual can be enhanced by playing solemn music at the appropriate moments. I play a large number of hymn tunes during the ceremonies. Lead Kindly Light sets the atmosphere of the 1st degree, while Abide With Me is used in the 3rd, and Now Thank We All Our God is one of many following an Installation.
    At the closing of the Lodge there is a choice of Now Is The Hour, Who’s Taking You Home Tonight and sometimes the Last Post. As the Brethren march out they get Show Me The Way To Go Home, Goodbye, Auld Lang Syne or, being in Eastbourne, Sussex By The Sea.
    I get a great deal of pleasure in searching for specific tunes applicable to members, and my choice of music must work down here, as my services are in great demand.

Jimmy Howe, Eastbourne