ISSUE 13, April 2005

Editorial
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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Monmouthshire re-enactment Group in period costume

After reading a paper on Russian Freemasonry which had been presented to Patea Kilwinning Lodge No 18 in New Zealand in 1987, Graham Carey and W. Brewer of Nioba Lodge No 5264, based at Newport, formed the Monmouthshire Masonic Study Group.
    They were helped by Constant Grunweld, a Past Grand Master of Russia in exile, meeting in Paris, and formed a demonstration team, with ceremonies conducted in authentic period costume and reconstructed regalia circa 1810.
    They were professionally advised by a theatrical costumier, and their first performance of a Russian initiation ceremony as worked at Lodge of Apollo, St. Petersburg, in 1810 was given at Newport Masonic Hall in 1989.
    Since then, they have appeared in 18 Provinces, as well as Freemasonsí Hall, London and Scotland. Many repeat visits have been made, and an average of six to eight demonstrations are given annually.
    On one occasion in London, their audience of 255 came from 85 Lodges, and it is not unusual for more than 20 Lodges to be represented in the audience.
    The group is totally self-funded, and its costumes have been valued at over £10,000. The purpose is to raise funds for various charities and to make Masons aware of their Masonic history.
    There are 30 members in the Study Group, which enables a number of understudies to be provided, so that cover can be arranged in the event of unavoidable or unexpected absences.
    One such occasion occurred some four years ago, when the group was travelling to Somerset and the brakes on their coach failed whilst crossing the Severn Bridge. The coach collided with a buttress on the bridge, and resulted in two brethren being seriously injured, one of whom lost the sight of one eye. These brethren, plus several others, were transported to hospital by ambulance, but in true show business style, the show still went on for 150 brethren at Nailsea.
    Further researches have enabled the group to extend their repertoire to include a demonstration of an 18th century ceremony of the Fourth Degree of the Antients (Royal Arch).
    Currently, the Group is investigating a ritual worked by French prisoners-of-war who were held at Abergavenny in Monmouthshire in 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars. It is hoped that this study will soon be concluded so that it can be similarly presented, and work has also started on an early Mark ritual.
    The group are indebted to a number of sources for considerable assistance and authentication during their investigations, including the Library and Museum at Grand Lodge, Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research, Victoria Lodge of Research (New South Wales), the library of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, the Institute of Slavonic Studies at Oxford, and many brethren too numerous to list.
    The procedure for presentation of these demonstrations ensures that the Lodge or Chapter is called off or closed and properly tyled with only Freemasons present who are at least Master Masons or Companions. Among the special venues that have been visited by the group are the Provincial Grand Stewards' Lodge of Warwickshire and the Commonwealth Association of Lodges Biannual Festival at Great Queen Street, Cornish First Principals Chapter at Saltash, Tennant Chapter No 1754 in South Wales Eastern Division and Lodge of Eastern Bon Accord at Freemasonsí Hall. The individual members of the Demonstration Team are also very active within their own Lodges and Chapters and there has to be certain flexibility in managing the group as brethren progress to certain offices within their Lodges which make a greater demand upon their time. It is generally acknowledged by them that their experience within the group has enabled them to perform their Lodge or Chapter duties with greater confidence and precision than they might otherwise have done and so, at the end of the day, Monmouthshire Province is the greatest beneficiary from their work as well as being very well advertised throughout the land by these ambassadors.

The author, RW Bro Donald Powell, a Past Provincial Grand Master of Monmouthshire, died last October


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