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

 Previous Page 
PLEASE USE THE LINKS ABOVE - OR ON THIS LINE - TO MOVE BETWEEN PAGES
 Next Page 





    Masonry in Antigua
    Your article on Nelson’s association with Freemasonry (MQ, Issue No. 15) stirred a memory. As a family we used to holiday in Antigua. Nelson spent a great deal of time on that island although the records show he was not overly fond of it.
    There is still Nelson’s dockyard in English Harbour on the South side and it is a very interesting place to visit. The Admiral’s Inn there, in the days when we visited, used to serve an excellent pumpkin soup.
    As a result of the naval interests in the area, Antigua’s main harbours were well defended by a series of forts. In those days many of these ancient forts were left undisturbed and falling gently into decay.
    Visitors could scramble over them without any supervision – the more remote sites had no attendants and access was not restricted. It was a paradise for our sons.
    One expedition found us examining the ruins of Fort James, which once guarded the north side of the entrance to the harbour at St John’s, the capital. It is not – or at least, was not – a tourist spot.
    At the base of the front wall I discovered the foundation stone. Although most of the fort was unrestored, this stone was exposed, clean and seemed to have been painted. The attached photograph shows the inscription: This first stone was laid by William Isaac Matthew, The Provincial Grand Master with his Grand Officers and The Right Worshipful the Masters and The Wardens and Brothers of The Three Lodges of Free and Accepted Masons of Antigua, November 15th 1730.
    If genuine, this predates the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England and is interesting in its own right, showing an active Masonic interest in the building of the island’s defences. I would welcome further information on ancient Freemasonry in this area.
    Chris Spurrier

Goose and Gridiron
    I read with great interest the article by Bernard Williamson on the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the Goose and Gridiron (MQ Issue 14). The discovery of the photograph by Bernard led me to consult some of the Transactions of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge which have been written about this famous inn.
    It was there that I saw not only a line drawing of the Goose and Gridiron – which is very similar to the photograph – but also a line drawing of the sign of the Goose and Gridiron taken from the Daily Graphic of 28 August 1894.
    I wondered what had become of this particular inn sign. I noted, from a look at “British Inn Signs and Their Stories”, that London had hundreds of old inn signs and that 24 of them had been rescued and were in the Guildhall Museum. The catalogue mentions two items of interest: “The Goose and Gridiron (St Paul’s)” and “The Goose and Gridiron (1786)”.
    I phoned the Guildhall (in 1994) to discover that both objects had been transferred to the Museum of London. Having received a call from Jane Zeuner of the Museum that the sign had been found, I discovered that both had been wrapped and put away for years.
    I was truly amazed when I saw the sign. I was determined to have it photographed, and it was only through Jane’s valuable assistance that I achieved what I thought would be impossible. The photograph was taken officially by the Museum and it appeared on the front cover of the Masonic Square magazine in June 1994.
    Around 1713, one Ned Ward, who had kept a tavern in Moorfields, published a book titled A Vade Mecum for Malt Worms. In it, the attractions of the Goose and Gridiron are celebrated in verse. It then goes on to state that “The rarities of the Goose and Gridiron are: 1: The odd sign. 2: The pillar which supports the chimney. 3: The skittle ground on top of the house. 4: The watercourse running through the chimney. 5: The handsome maid, Hannah.
    The fact that an actual part of the Goose and Gridiron – the sign which is the “soul” of a pub – has survived after all these years is little short of miraculous, given the many thousands that existed since those times. I think it would be wonderful if permission could be sought to exhibit this relic in the vestibule of Freemasons’ Hall.
    Michael Plaskow, Netanya, Israel

Will fees be reduced?
    It was with great interest that I read the article based on the Pro Grand Master’s speech (MQ, Issue No. 15), particularly that part relating to the diminishing number of Freemasons.
    There can be many reasons for this which can be discussed at length elsewhere. However, one element which may hasten the demise of some Lodges is the increase in the Grand Lodge Fees.
    I fully understand that essential work must be carried out at Great Queen Street. However, surely the proposed increase should have been levied at a slightly higher rate on each member, not at the current rate on each member of an Order.
    Thus, if a committed member of the Craft is also a member of other Lodges, Chapters and side Orders, he will pay the same as a member of one Lodge.
    Does the person who is a multiple member use Great Queen Street that much more than anyone else? Does my brother in the north use Great Queen Street at all or does he see it as being another Millennium Dome, paid for, but which he may never visit?
    Are London Masons being subsidised by my brother in the north? I am fortunate in that I have attended Great Queen Street, but being in two Craft Lodges and one Chapter, I am not visiting three times more than when I was only in one Craft Lodge.
    Once the work has been completed, will the increase in fees be removed? With fees now reaching £200 could we see brethren only being members of one Lodge; will non-dining/country members see it as not being viable? These questions will only be answered in the fullness of time. Once the work has been completed, will the fees reduce back to the current level? I doubt it.
    Is this the time to review whether Great Queen Street is still viable? Could the unspoken be uttered, that of the Masonic HQ being moved into a central location for all English Masons? With a diminishing Masonic population, increasing maintenance fees, more burden will be put on less people.
    David Wilson, Great Wakering, Essex

 Previous Page 
PLEASE USE THE LINKS ABOVE - OR ON THIS LINE - TO MOVE BETWEEN PAGES
 Next Page