Your article on Oscar Wilde (MQ Issue 4) was most interesting. Of particular note was the comment that Wilde's name had been struck out of the Rose Croix membership list by a Philip Colville Smith.
My wife and I read the article one morning, and that afternoon, by coincidence, drove into Brookwood Cemetery near Woking in Surrey. We had stopped to look at an interesting grave marker, and noticed the Colville Smith name on a nearby gravestone.
He is noted on the stone as being Grand Secretary for 20 years. The grave is in the southern section of the cemetery, close to the east side of Cyprians Avenue in Plot 74. It is close to the Orthodox Church and small monastery of St Edward.
Brookwood Cemetery is huge, and was built to contain plots devoted to the 19th Century London parishes that were running out of graveyard space, or were being closed.
There are many gravestones with Masonic references and/or working tools engraved on them. The Brookwood Cemetery Society - www.tbcs.org.uk - has some details.
Leonard Greenwood Guildford, Surrey
Royal Arch problems
I agree entirely with Frank Kelly (MQ No. 4, Letters) that information and explanation of the existence and origins of the Royal Arch should be given to a brother after he has been Raised.
Part of the problem of falling Royal Arch numbers especially in London, is the ratio of Lodges to Chapters.
A Chapter needs at least three good, successful Lodges "feeding" it for general continuity. But this is not the whole reason. Most Lodge secretaries are aware that most of their candidates for Initiation are found by their newer brethren. So it is in the Royal Arch.
The pressure of falling Chapter numbers have led many young brethren to be persuaded to join it too early in their Masonic careers.
As such, they do not benefit fully from their Exaltation and do not recommend it, especially to their younger Masonic circle.
Geoff Belson Ealing, London
I have been asked by members of the Lodge of United Companions 6895, meeting at Shaw Masonic Hall, East Lancashire, to inform you that the Manchester City player, Johnny Hart, was indeed a Mason.
He was initiated on 18 March, 1965, passed on 18 November 1965 and raised on 21 April 1966. He became Master in 1978. It was shortly after his year as Master that he resigned due to ill health.
I always thought it was strange that he joined a lodge founded by Manchester United supporters, who were all members of the same Royal Arch Chapter - hence the name.
Although we have not heard of him for some time, if any of your readers knows of his whereabouts and let me know, we would be only too glad to invite him to one of our meetings.
Mike McAiney 15 Harewood Drive, Royton, Oldham, Lancashire, OL2 5UA, mike @ mmcainey.freeserve.co.uk
I read with interest (MQ, Issue No. 4) the proposal by the RMBI to form a new National Association of Masonic Widows' Friendship Clubs.
In 1975, at Farnworth Masonic Hall, Bolton, in the Province of East Lancashire, an organisation called the Farnworth Masonic Fellowship was formed.
Help is provided to all who needed companionship and to pass on information to help them with their finances, social security and Masonic interests.
In addition, they have two days each month to meet and enjoy themselves. The Fellowship has proved a great success, and at present there are 43 Fellowships around the country.
K. Tyler, Bolton, Lancashire
Stop `tipping' chairs
I would like to draw attention to an unwelcome ritual, apparently spreading throughout Freemasonry, of 'tipping the chairs'.
On arriving at the venue for the festive board, the first immediate action of many brethren is to dash into the dining room and 'reserve' a place or places by tipping a chair forward.
It is not necessary - wherever one sits one will end up with a brother on either side. The sight of almost every chair 'tipped' is a most unwelcome sight, particularly to a visitor or new Lodge member.
It suggests a Lodge of cliques, who value their small, exclusive number over the wider friendship of the Lodge. I know of no other fraternal group where this behaviour is the norm.
G D Housam, Llandrindod Wells, Powys
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