© David Peabody
The Pro Grand Master, the Marquess of Northampton.
Brethren, I welcome you all to Grand Lodge
today at the start of another Masonic season
and thank you for attending. I hope you
have all had a good summer even though,
like me, you may be feeling that Shakespeare
was right when he said that ‘summer’s lease
hath all too short a date’.
Towards the end of August it was
England’s turn to host the Tripartite meeting
with Ireland and Scotland. It was, once again,
a harmonious and productive meeting as
we discussed our relations with other Grand
Lodges around the world.
A week later, accompanied by the Grand
Secretary, I attended the Installation of the
new Grand Master of Denmark, MW Bro
Hans Martin Jepsen, in their magnificent
Masonic building in Copenhagen. It was
a most impressive and happy meeting.
At the end of this month I will be
travelling to Skopje with a large delegation
of Grand Officers to constitute the new
Grand Lodge of Macedonia. The Assistant
Grand Master and his wife, Margaret, have
been visiting Lodges in our two Districts
in New Zealand and are now in Fiji. The
Deputy Grand Master is unable to be with
us as he is on other business, but it is good to
see RW Bro Iain Bryce filling the Deputy’s
chair once again.
Brethren, I am sure you will have been as
saddened as I was when the Grand Secretary
read out the reasons why 11 of our brethren
have been expelled from the Craft. While
we are reminded by the ritual to drop a tear
of sympathy over the failings of a brother,
nevertheless we must be determined in our
resolve to rid the Order of those who fail to
live up to our high standards. They bring the
whole of Freemasonry and all its members
Freemasonry is not some antiquated
organisation frozen in time: it is a way of
life which is as relevant today as it has always
been. As Grand Officers, one of our duties
should be to encourage brethren to practice
out of the Lodge what they are taught in it.
In that way, the moral and spiritual values
in our rituals can guide us in the ‘paths of
rectitude’. Making a daily advancement in
Masonic knowledge is not just a matter of
learning something new about Masonry,
it is as much about discovering something
new about yourself. By following its
precepts we become better people and,
therefore, are able to play a more responsible
role for the good of society as a whole.
Maybe we have to accept that there will
always be rotten apples in our membership
but, thankfully, they are few in number.
We must strive to ensure that only quality
candidates are admitted into the Order.
Our aim should always be to make good
men better through the practice of our
Grand Principles – Brotherly Love, Relief
Brethren I am pleased to tell you that the
Grand Charity 20th annual festival was held
by the Province of Wiltshire on 18 June and
raised just under £1 million. I’m sure you
will join me in congratulating the Province
on the great success of this festival and
in particular those Masons who were
instrumental in helping to make so much
money for the Grand Charity.
The MW The Grand Master has appointed
Bro John Edgcumbe as Grand Superintendent
of Works from 1 September in succession to
RW Bro Jonathan Winpenny, who was
recently appointed Provincial Grand Master
for West Kent. W Bro Michael Beare
succeeds Bro Edgcumbe as Deputy Grand
Superintendent of Works from 1 September.