ISSUE 16, January 2006
Editorial
Historic: Sherlock Holmes incarnate
Travel: In the Footsteps of the Incas
Sport: Batting for England
Grand Lodge: Pro Grand Master's speech and Quarterly Communication
Supreme Grand Chapter: First Grand Principal's speech and Committee of General Purposes
Royal Masonic Girls' School: Stories in windows
Specialist Lodges: Brotherhood of the Angle
    Napoleonic Wars: A Mason's Word
International: Macedonia: New Grand Lodge consecrated and Enthusiasm unbound
Grand Lodge: Development of Freemasons' Hall
Masonic Rebels: Rise and fall
Bristol Museum: A Phoenix from the Ashes
Freemasonry and Religion: United in diversity
Library and Museum: Most glorious of them all
First Aid: Masons learn to shock
Education: The Third Degree and Forthcoming events
Masonic Charities, Letters, Book Reviews, Gardening

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STAR LETTER

MASONS ABOARD VICTORY

Regarding Admiral Lord Nelson (MQ, Issue No. 15), having been a regular summer visitor to Norfolk for many years, I have absorbed a few snippets of local information connected with this commanding figure.
    I had previously read of the block of marble at the Lodge of Friendship, Yarmouth, but the other artefacts and associations described in the article added up to a compelling probability that Lord Nelson was a Freemason. Some two years ago my Mother Lodge, the Knights of Malta Lodge No. 50 in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland, celebrated its Bi-Centenary and I was part of the editorial team charged with updating our Lodge history.
    In that History is an interesting anecdote concerning one of our early members, Bro. William Hands, who was born in 1777 at Burbage, a village about one and a half miles from Hinckley. He enlisted into the army when quite young and was initiated in a Lodge in Ireland attached to the 90th Foot in 1799. He served in this regiment for some years as a Private. The regiment then moved to Gibraltar, where another Lodge, No. 8 on the roll of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Gibraltar, was warranted and Bro. Hands became a member of this Lodge.
    In 1805 he was stationed in the West Indies, being at that time a General’s orderly. On 4 June that year he was drafted as a bombardier in the artillery on board the Victory and returned on that ship to Europe, subsequently taking part in the battle at Trafalgar on board that vessel.
    Bro. Hands died on 16 April 1860 at the age of 83. It is recorded that until the last few years of his life he retained a distinct recollection of his early experiences, and delighted to recount how, on going on board the Victory, Nelson singled him out from his companions, all of whom were Masons, and addressed a few questions to him as to his military knowledge and experience.
    These details were compiled by RW Bro. William Kelly, a former Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland in the middle to late 19th century and included in the original History by W.Bro. J T Thorp, the wellknown Masonic historian.
    From this account we can see that there were several Freemasons serving on Victory and Lord Nelson may have known of their presence on board. It would also be interesting to search the records of Lodge No. 8 at Gibraltar to determine if there were any visitors from the Navy. I wish Brother Hamill every success in his continued research.
    Don Peacock, Hinckley, Leicestershire


    Nelson medal – Masonic or navigation?
    In MQ (Issue 15), John Hamill describes the medal issued by the Nelsonian Crimson Oaks, and the photograph of the reverse side of this medal shows various symbols which are said to be Masonic.
    The sun, moon and stars may be references to navigation, as they were used for navigation at that time. The implement in the middle may be dividing compasses as they have a semi-circular scale attached. In short, the symbols depicted could be maritime rather than Masonic.
    Benjamin Wiles, Hull


Thanks, cabbie!
    I would like to take the opportunity through your columns to pass on the most grateful thanks of a party of brethren up from East Kent to attend the centenary meeting of Aquarius Lodge No. 3113 at Mark Masons’ Hall on Friday, 30 September.
    Having elected to walk from Victoria Station, a debate ensued as to the best route to proceed from the junction of Grosvenor Place and Lower Grosvenor Place, when a taxi drew up with a greeting from the driver ‘Brethren you appear to be lost’.
    We had strayed off the shortest route a tad and gratefully accepted his invitation to climb aboard. Shortly after, we were safely deposited outside Mark Masons’ Hall and were informed that the trip was on him.
    Although we did not find out his name, we did learn that he belonged to National Westminster Lodge No. 3647, that he was 76 and still thoroughly enjoyed driving cabs.
    Thank you Brother for your most friendly and fraternal act. It set the tone for a most pleasant and enjoyable evening.
    Tony Elliott, Sittingbourne, Kent

Learning is important
    I was interested to read in Issue No. 15 Mr Salisbury’s suggestion of reading the Royal Arch Principals’ Obligations, and whilst I concur with the preference to have a seamless ceremony wherever possible, perhaps the reading of the Obligations is not the solution, nor ‘imperfect’ ceremonies the problem.
    We hear (not read) in the recommendation to the Master-Elect in the Craft Installation ceremony that such a person should be “well skilled in the noble science”, and that he should be “able and willing to undertake the management of the work”.
    What more proficiency as to his preparation for such responsibilities could he demonstrate than having learned the Obligation and rehearsed and repeated it from the heart, a notion which we make much of in the progression from Initiation onwards?
    Such an expectation to work from the heart continues throughout the Royal Arch, right up to the First Principal’s charge, wherein he is rewarded for “zeal” and “continued exertion on behalf of the cause”, presumably the fruits of many a “daily advancement”.
    The striving for such perfection in our ceremonies in no way undermines the efforts of those who genuinely struggle with the work – and who does not? It is my experience that those who attempt their Obligations and other pieces of ritual to the best of their ability often receive quite rightly a greater part of the brethren’s esteem, even if they falter in the attempt.
    Perfection is not demanded of us – integrity is. If there is zeal to see the work firmly committed to one’s head, then it has a chance of finding its place in the Mason’s heart. Delivery is extra!
    It is acknowledged that there is a lot to learn. Perhaps the issue is again the phenomenon of too rapid a ‘progression’, arising primarily from the necessity to fill gaps in the offices rather than preferment as the real reward of merit, leaving those inexperienced too far behind and below the demands of the roles expected of them.
    Rev Graham Halsall, Bamber Bridge, Preston

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