ISSUE 13, April 2005

The Campbells are coming: At speed!
Travel: Warming to Iceland
Royal Masonic Family: The Six Masonic Sons of George III, Part II
Quarterly Communication: Address of the Pro Grand Master and: Report of the Board of General Purposes
The flying eye hospital
Beamish Museum: The million pound project
  Wigan Grand Lodge: The Liverpool rebels
Chelsea Lodge: That's entertainment
Re-enactment: The way we were and: The Russian connection
Community Service: Weathering the storm
Faith and Freemasonry: God and the Craft
Education: Researching Freemasonry on the Internet and: Masonic events
Freemasons Hall: Masons at War
Grand Charity: Report and grant list and: Support for Asian tsunami
Masonic Charities: Reports from the Masonic charities
Obituaries, Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex
The Duke of Sussex stands tall over English Freemasonry. He was born in 1773, the ninth child and sixth son of George III. Augustus, who was educated abroad, was supposed to follow his brother William into the navy, but he had severe asthma, so avoided military service altogether.
    His father tried to keep him abroad, firstly for his health and secondly to avoid English women who might lead him astray. George failed and Augustus met Lady Augusta Murray on a trip to Rome in 1792. Against the Royal Marriage Act, they secretly married and later had two children. The eldest child, Augustus Frederick d’Este, would eventually become a Past Junior Grand Warden in the United Grand Lodge of England.
    Augustus was probably the most liberal of the sons. Like his brother Edward, he involved himself in Whig politics, social reform and charity work. He was also interested in languages, art and science. He became a Freemason whilst in Berlin, joining the Lodge Victorious Truth in 1798.
    Once back in England he joined the Prince of Wales’s Lodge in 1800. He really took to Freemasonry, joining the Lodge of Friendship No. 6 in 1806, the Lodge of Antiquity No. 2 in 1808 and Royal Alpha Lodge No. 16 in 1820. By 1820 he was Master of all these Lodges.
    In 1810 he became Grand Principal of the Grand and Royal Chapter, in 1812 Deputy Grand Master and in 1813 succeeded the Prince Regent as the Grand Master of the Premier Grand Lodge of England. For a number of years senior Masons in the two rival Grand Lodges had been negotiating behind the scenes for unification. When the Articles of Union were signed by the two Dukes, Kent and Sussex, Augustus described it as the happiest day of his life. Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex was now Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, a position he would hold to his death in 1843.
    He exercised strong leadership over the newly united Grand Lodge. He took measures to reinforce the Union, such as establishing the Lodge of Reconciliation to regulate the ritual and placing emphasis on the Craft degrees and the Royal Arch rather than allowing expansion of the additional degrees.

Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex – stands tall over English Freemasonry
        His liberal attitude towards religion (he was in favour of Catholic Emancipation and had many Jewish friends), influenced the creation of a more inclusive, less obviously Christian Grand Lodge. He was a dedicated attendee at Grand Lodge, even when his eyesight and health was failing and he saw the United Grand Lodge through its infancy.
    In his public life he continued to back charities and social reform. He built up a huge library, which landed him in debt, a situation he shared with all his brothers with the exception of Ernest. He supported Catholic Emancipation and the Reform Bill despite most of his older brothers’ opposition.
    He illegally married again in 1831 to Celia Underwood and in 1840 he gave away Queen Victoria at her wedding to Prince Albert. He died in 1843 and was widely mourned in both the Masonic and the non-Masonic world. In 1846, a six-ton statue by Edward Hodges Bailey RA was erected in the Grand Temple at Freemasons’ Hall. The statue now dominates the Sussex corridor of the current Freemasons’ Hall in Great Queen Street, a little like the man himself.
    The seventh son of George III was Adolphus Frederick. He was born in 1774 and died in 1850. In 1801 he was given the title Duke of Cambridge, and after a military career, acted as Governor of Hanover until his brother Ernest became King. It is unknown why he did not follow his brothers into the Craft.

Selected reading
Fulford, Roger Royal Dukes: the father and uncles of Queen Victoria (London: 1933) Van der Kiste George III’s Children (Stroud: 1992)
The Library and Museum has a free information sheet giving details of the Masonic careers of all Royal Freemasons which is available on request.

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