While looking through the minutes of the United Masters Lodge, which are available on DVD, I came across this excellent 5 minute talk on a
freemason overseas. This should be held as an example to brethren of all ages why Freemasonry is still relevant and providing benefit to its
brethren. It answers in some part that perennial question -
"What do I get out of becoming a Freemason?"
To those of you who have not made such trips overseas, the same is true to movement in your own country. Do take your apron and
documentation with you on business trips of more than a few days, so you can take the opportunity of meeting fellow brethren in other lodges. The
Grand Lodge will be able to supply contact details of Lodges in the area to which you are going.
All new masons should be automatically schooled on visiting by their sponsors or other senior freemasons in the lodge. It is too often left to what
is imparted in the ceremonnial as being adequate. It is not.
Some Notes of a Wandering N.Z. Freemason
WOR. BRO. MAJOR W. G WRAY, S.W.
In England during the First World War I made as many Masonic contacts as possible. Some of these were very interesting to me, and with the
hope that some of you may also be interested I have embodied some of them in this fiveminute talk.
1. My first visit was naturally to Grand Lodge. Here I met Sir Edward Letchworth, Grand Secretary from 1892 to 1917. I found his courteous,
conservative Victorian, but a thorough gentleman. I was shown his personal jewels; these were exhibited in several glass cases, and I understand
there were 2000 of them. Most were Founder's Jewels, as during his term as Grand Secretary, 25 years, he was usually a Founding Member of
new Lodges. When visiting one of these, he only wore one jewel, the Founder's Jewel of that particular Lodge.
2. I visited the New Era Mark Lodge, London. This was a Jewish Lodge and I noticed a cap was placed on the Candidate's head during his
3. I also visited the Principea R.A. Chapter, London. There were present the Three Principals and Scribe with myself. Two Principals and Scribe
were in uniform on home service. They held their meetings regularly and during the war, at each meeting subscribed £10, which went to their
various members, all officers, in turn, to provide comforts for their respective men. All members of this Chapter were big builders, after the style of
the Fletcher Construction Co.
4. Walking through Bradford on Avon, I passed the local Lodge Room, Friendship and Unity Lodge No.1271, and introduced myself to the Tyler,
who showed me two rather interesting things. On each side of the Master's chair stood a brass vase, about 5ft. high and about 15in. in diameter.
These were acquired, probably loot, in India during the Sikh War, by one of their members and later presented to the Lodge. The other item was a
pair of horn lanterns outside the entrance. Some years ago a brother complained of the dark entrance and bequeathed a sum of money to provide
light. This took the form of the lanterns to be lighted at each meeting for all time. So now the Tyler duly lights the candles and then turns on a
modern electric light!
5. I also inspected in this town the best surviving Tythe Barn in England. This is built of stone with a stone roof. The Barn dates from early in the
14th century. The walls at the ends are 4ft and the side walls 2ft thick. The oak roof beams are curved with the ends let into the stone walls to
minimise the lateral thrust The barn measures 39ft to the apices. Most of the stone in the building still shows the building masons' marks. Every
visitor who is a Mark Mason seems to have put his mark on the wall somewhere, including my own, and the result is a rather startling masonic
Now to come nearer home. It is not generally known that when St. Paul's, Symonds Street, Chancel was built, it was wood, but rebuilt in stone in
1980, that a stone from each of four English Cathedrals was incorporated. They are placed on the stone wall between the Choir and the Nave, two
on each side. Canon Watson, the then vicar, was personally acquainted with the Deans of the Cathedrals mentioned, and through his efforts and
their good offices, the stones were obtained. Each stone has a small brass plate beside it giving particulars and stating that it was presented by
the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral concerned.
The North Stone is from Westminster Abbey, and bears the original 14th century Mason's "Banker Mark”. It is plain oblong, about 12in by 9in high
with the mark on the front. The North Central Stone is a Norman Capitol from Canterbury Cathedral, believed to be from St. Andrew's Chapel. The
top is about l3in. and the bottom 8in and carved. Across the aisle the south central stone is 22in by 7in wide, broken of capitols on top. This came
from the Church of which remains are still to be seen in the Crypt of York Minster, built by Archbishop Roger L'Eveque, 1154 to 1181. The south
stone is a carved Portland Stone from the cornice under the Dome of St. Paul's, London. It is 13in wide and 14in high, with what looks like a Tudor
Rose in the carved centre.
Now Brethren, as an Englishman born in New Zealand, I realise that we in New Zealand have not the traditions and monuments of the Mother
Land. I am therefore very happy to bring to your notice these stones which are the beginning, I hope, of all similar ties between our Churches and
those of England. That is why, and I crave your indulgence for bringing them into this short paper.
SOURCE: UML V8 n14 p12-13