Masonic honours are to revert to the
previous system based on the number of
Lodges in a Province or District, the Board
of General Purposes said in a report to the
Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge.
A committee under the chairmanship of
the Deputy Grand Master, RW Bro Peter
Lowndes, is reviewing the operation of the
quotas of appointments to, and promotions
in, Provincial and District Grand Ranks,
which came into effect on 1 January 2005.
Although the report of the committee
has yet to be finalised, it will in due course
recommend a return to the principle of
basing such appointments on the number
of Lodges, rather than the number of
Masons, in a Province or District and the
removal of any formal restriction on the
number of promotions that may be made.
Appointments to Metropolitan and
Overseas Grand Ranks will be based on
the same principle.
In order that the new quotas may come
into force at the beginning of 2008, a notice
of motion was tabled to amend the Book
of Constitutions accordingly, although
the committee’s report has not yet been
submitted to Lord Northampton, the
Pro Grand Master.
Visitors to UGLE Lodges
The Board has again pointed out that only
brethren who are members of Lodges under
recognised jurisdictions may visit English
Lodges. They must produce a certificate
(i.e., a Grand Lodge certificate or other
docu-mentary proof of Masonic identity
provided by their Grand Lodge),
acknowledge that a personal belief in
TGAOTU is an essential landmark in
Freemasonry, and produce evidence
of good standing in their Lodges.
It is the Master’s responsibility to
ensure that these requirements are met.
There are Lodges of unrecognised
constitutions meeting in England, and care
must be taken that their members are not
admitted to UGLE meetings.
The continuing growth in overseas travel
brings with it an increase in visits by UGLE
brethren to Lodges of other jurisdictions,
and the Board welcomes this trend. But,
they must not associate masonically with
members of unrecognised constitutions, and
should such a situation occur, they should
tactfully withdraw, even though their visit
may have been formally arranged. Brethren
should not attempt to make any Masonic
contact overseas without having first
checked (preferably in writing) with
the Grand Secretary’s Office.
The Charities Act 2006 has significantly
amended the law relating to charities and the
Board is taking advice on the requirements
of the Act in so far as they may affect
Brethren and Lodges and will issue further
guidance in due course.
A number of points were made by the
Board about the previous Charities Act in
its Report to Grand Lodge in June 1994.
Money from charities may only be used
for charitable purposes as defined by law.
“Christmas boxes” for widows of
deceased brethren – unless that particular
widow is truly in need – and flowers at
funerals, are in the best Masonic tradition.
However, they are not, in law, regarded as
charitable purposes and must not be provided
from any fund which is in law a charity.
Payments for such objects may be made
from the Lodge general funds or from a fund
which is not dedicated to charitable
purposes. Brethren who run charities are
personally responsible for ensuring that they
comply with all the statutory requirements.
Automatic visiting right
The Board has been asked to express
whether any Brother who is in good
standing in the Craft has an inalienable right
to visit any Lodge that he may choose.
Under some Constitutions, the “right
of visitation” is regarded as a landmark, but
it enjoys no such status under the English
Constitution. In particular, it does not
figure in either the document Aims and
Relationships of the Craft, adopted by the
UGLE in September 1949, in common with
the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland, or
in Basic Principles for Grand Lodge Recognition.
The Board deprecates any deliberate
solicitation of an invitation to attend a Lodge
by someone who can claim no more than
acquaintance with the Brother whom he
wishes to adopt as his host, but whom the
making of the approach may place in an
embarrassing position. This applies equally
to the meal which follows, or occasionally
precedes, a Lodge meeting.
Eleven Lodges have surrendered their
Warrants in order to amalgamate with other
Lodges. In addition, nine Lodges have closed
and surrendered their Warrants, while four
new Lodges have been granted Warrants.
Expulsions from the Craft
Twelve brethren have been expelled from
Grand Lodge talk
A talk on the external relations of Grand
Lodge was given by the Grand Chancellor,
RW Bro A.J. Englefield, PProvGM for
Quarterly Communication: 2007: 12
December; 2008: 12 March, 11 June, 10
September, 10 December. Grand Chapter:
2007: 14 November; 2008: 1 May, 12
Library and Museum of Freemasonry:
As at 31 January 2007, the consolidated net
assets of the Library and Museum Charitable
Trust were £2,536,839 (2006: £2,152,458),
with free reserves of £2,307,013 (2006:
£1,938,133). The Library and Museum’s
trading subsidiary, Letchworths, made a
Gift Aid contribution to the Library and
Museum of £60,000 (2006: £63,500).
There was a grant of £13,000 from the
Pilgrim Trust/Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
Cataloguing Grants programme to catalogue
documents relating to Lodges in the West
Indies and the former American colonies
from the 18th and 19th centuries.
There is now an on-site archives store,
which has enabled the consolidation of
document storage in more secure and
One particular acquisition was of a silver
gilt and ivory trowel used by the Grand
Master, the Earl of Zetland, to lay the
foundation stone of the Victorian
Freemasons’ Hall in 1864. Funds for the
purchase were donated by the London
Grand Rank Association to mark their
Increasing use is being made of the
Library and Museum as a research resource,
with 193 new readers registered during the
year. There was a 50% increase in the issue
of books and documents.
In March 2007, the Library and Museum
was awarded a grant of £22,325 by the
Museums, Libraries and Archives Council to
develop the Subject Specialist Network on
Fraternal and Friendly Societies and
Web site created by Mark Griffin