Installation Meeting of Unity Council of Thrice Illustrious Masters, 28th July 2022.

The installation meeting of Unity Council of Thrice Illustrious Masters was held on Thursday 28th July at Beaconsfield. Twenty-nine Companions attended the meeting to witness V.Ill.Comp. Graham Seeman install V.Ill.Comp. Peter Hughes as his successor in the Chair of the Council. V.Ill.Comp. Peter then appointed and invested his officers, including Ill. Comp. Malcolm Summers as Deputy Master and Ill.Comp. Tim Weller as PCW. As is traditional in this Past Masters’ Council, the three Principals were representatives of the three provinces of the District: Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.


The newly-installed Principals.


(L to R:  Ill.Comp. Malcolm Summers, V.Ill.Comp. Peter Hughes, Ill.Comp. Tim Weller)


The Council was delighted to welcome four new joining members; Ill.Comps. Mark Ball, James Payen, Huw Hopkin and Eugene Gratwohl.


Preceding the installation, the Council conducted the Silver Trowel ceremony, when Ill.Comps. James Hilditch of Oxford Council and Andrew Stephens of Bekenesfelde Council were honoured with the degree in what all agreed was a fine ceremony, worked by a newly constituted team.


The new recipients of the Silver Trowel degree.


(Ill.Comp. Andrew Stephens (L) and Ill.Comp. James Hilditch)




Installation Meeting of Bekenesfelde Council, 13th May 2022.

In a most impressive ceremony, Companion Spencer Swanson was promoted to the rank of  ‘Illustrious Companion’ when he was installed as TIM of Bekenesfelde Council by his predecessor, Ill.Comp. Paul Savage.


The Council was honoured by the presence of the District Grand Master, R.Ill.Comp. Timothy Hancock (also a member of the Council), escorted by the District Grand DC, Ill.Comp. Timothy Weller. A total of ten Grand Officers were present at the meeting.


Ill.Comp. Spencer was congratulated by the District Grand Master, R.Ill.Comp. Tim Hancock.


The Companions enjoyed an excellent Festive Board of Breaded Camembert, Lamb Shanks and Eton Mess, chosen by the new TIM, producing a very full and satisfied group of diners!


Ill.Comp. Paul proposed the toast to Ill.Comp. Spencer…

(L to R:  R.Ill.Comp. Tim Hancock, Ill.Comp. Spencer Swanson, Ill.Comp. Tim Weller, Ill.Comp. Paul Savage and Ill.Comp. Peter Harborne)


…and Ill.Comp. Spencer replied appropriately.

(something seems to have amused the DGM!)





50th Anniversary Meeting of Oxford Council, 26th February 2022.

On Saturday 26th February Oxford Council No. 105 of Royal and Select Masters held their 50th Anniversary Meeting.  The Council was consecrated on Wednesday 27th October 1971 by Most Illustrious Companion Dr. Arthur S. Hollins, the Grand Master of the Order, at Freemasons’ Hall, Oxford.

The meeting was opened by the Thrice Illustrious Master, Illustrious Companion Andrew Trueman, assisted by the Deputy Master, Companion Barry Prior, and the Principal Conductor of the Work, Companion Graham Ellis.  Barry is the Deputy Provincial Grand Master in Oxfordshire Mark, and Graham is the Deputy Provincial Grand Master in Oxfordshire Craft.

The District Grand Master, Right Illustrious Companion Tim Hancock, then entered the Council with a Team of a dozen District Officers.  The District Grand Master took the Chair, gave a few introductory remarks and signed the minutes.  The Council then embarked on a full agenda.

The ceremony of Most Excellent Master was worked with Very Illustrious Companion Phillip Purves, Deputy District Grand Master and the Council Director of Ceremonies, acting as Right Worshipful Master.  Companions Bernd Wegerhoff and Paul Buck were Received and Acknowledged as Most Excellent Masters and the History was delivered by Very Illustrious Companion Phillip Purves.

The Council resumed in the degree of Select Master and Brother Mark Boullé was Chosen as a Select Master in a ceremony conducted by the Thrice Illustrious Master, Illustrious Companion Andrew Trueman.  The History was delivered by Very Illustrious Companion Phillip Purves and Companion Mark was welcomed to the Council, the District, and the Order.

The companions were then treated to a brief history of Oxford Council given by Very Illustrious Companion Phillip Purves.  Phillip was warmly thanked for his splendid work in researching the history of the Council and delivering a fascinating talk.  Copies of the full printed history were then distributed to the companions.



Phillip thanked three of the senior members of the Council for their invaluable help in researching and preparing the history.  These were Right Illustrious Companion Charles Woodward, Past Grand Principal Conductor of the Work, Past District Grand Master, who was the sole remaining Founder of the Council; Right Illustrious Companion Hillier Wise, the long serving Council Chaplain; and Right Illustrious Companion Bob Morrow, the IPM and formerly Treasurer for 40 years.  These companions between them have 138 years of service to the Oxford Council.

The District Grand Master informed the Council that the Grand Master had approved the issue of a Jubilee Warrant.  The Warrant was read by the District Grand Recorder.  The District Grand Master then congratulated Right Illustrious Companion Charles Woodward on his 50 years as a member and requested him to present the Jubilee Warrant to the Thrice Illustrious Master of Oxford Council.


R.Ill.Comp. Charles Woodward presenting the Jubilee Warrant to the Thrice Illustrious Master, Ill. Comp. Andrew Trueman.

(L to R:  Comp. Barry Prior, Deputy Master; R.Ill.Comp. Tim Hancock, District Grand Master; Ill. Comp. Andrew Trueman, Thrice Illustrious Master; R.Ill.Comp. Charles Woodward, Founder; Comp. Graham Ellis, Principal Conductor of the Work.)


Following the remainder of the business the Council was closed and the companions retired to enjoy a convivial lunch together.


The R.Ill. District Grand Master responding to his toast.

(L to R: Ill.Comp. Paul Ackland-Snow, Dist.G.P.C.W.; R.Ill.Comp. Tim Hancock, Dist.G.M.; Ill.Comp. Paul Savage, acting as Dist.G.D.C.; Comp. Mark Boulle, the newly admitted Companion; Ill. Comp. Andrew Trueman, TIM.)



Comp. Mark Boulle, the newly admitted Companion, responding to his toast.

(L to R: Ill.Comp. Paul Ackland-Snow, Dist.G.P.C.W.; V.Ill.Comp. Phillip Purves, Dep. Dist.G.M.; R.Ill.Comp. Tim Hancock, Dist.G.M.; Comp. Mark Boulle; Ill.Comp. Paul Savage, acting as Dist.G.D.C.; Ill. Comp. Andrew Trueman, TIM.)


The Companions at lunch.





Meeting of Eliot Council, 1st March 2022.

Eliot Council No. 286, meeting at Winslow in Buckinghamshire, held a regular meeting on Tuesday 1st March 2022.  The Thrice Illustrious Master, Ill.Comp. Ian Bailey, opened the meeting assisted by his Deputy Master, Comp. John Bellamy, and the Principal Conductor of Work, Comp. Terry Foley.  The Council was honoured with the presence of Ill. Comp. Paul Ackland-Snow, District Grand PCW, escorted by Ill. Comp. Mark Ball, Deputy District Grand DC.  In addition the Council was pleased to welcome Comp. Raymond Head, District Grand Treasurer; Ill. Comp. Bill Hall, TIM of Terra Sancta Council; and Ill. Comp. John Palmer, TIM of Bearwood Council.

Companions Ian Bamsey and Tim Kirby were Received and Acknowledged as Super-Excellent Masters in a splendid ceremony performed by the TIM, Ill. Comp. Ian Bailey, assisted by his officers.  The TIM presented them with their aprons, and the District PCW congratulated them on behalf of the District and presented them with Cryptic lapel pins.

The District Grand Master, who is a member, pointed out that for the first time in the Council’s history there were present the Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of Buckinghamshire, the Provincial Grand Master of the Mark Province of Buckinghamshire, and the District Grand Prefect of the Thames Valley District in the Order of the Allied Masonic Degrees.  They being respectively Ill. Comps. Graham Dearing, David Tremaine, and Ian Bailey.  The District Grand Master commented on how pleasing it was to see the different orders of freemasonry working together.

The District Grand PCW invested Ill. Comp. David Tremaine with his collarette as District Grand Lecturer.  David was appointed to this office in July 2020 but due to the pandemic the last two District Meetings had been online.

After the Council was closed the companions repaired to the Bell Hotel in the Market Square and there enjoyed the traditional carvery and each other’s company.






Meeting of the District Grand Council of Derbyshire on 5th February 2022.

The District of Derbyshire held their Annual District Meeting on Saturday 5th February at Freemasons’ Hall at Littleover, just outside Derby.  The premises were previously owned by Rolls Royce and development work on the Merlin engine was conducted there.

The meeting in 2021 had been a virtual District Meeting, and there was a spirit of ecstasy that the companions could now again meet in person.  The meeting proceeded like a smooth-running engine and the business included the obligating and investing of a new District Grand Principal Conductor of the Work, and an interesting report from R.Ill.Comp. Ryan Williams, the Grand Recorder.  He reminded the companions that despite the difficulties of the past two years that there is much to look forward to, and in particular that plans are being developed to celebrate in 2023 the 150th Anniversary of the formation of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters.

Oxon, Berks & Bucks were represented at the Derbyshire Meeting by R.Ill.Comp. Tim Hancock, V.Ill.Comp. Phillip Purves, and Ill. Comp. Paul Ackland-Snow, and all three found it to be a very worthwhile trip.




Meetings of Wantage and Unity Councils on 11th January 2022.

Wantage Council enjoyed an excellent meeting on 11th January, at which Comp. Kevin Dodd was Received and Acknowledged as a Most Excellent Master in a fine ceremony conducted by the TIM,  Ill. Comp. Terry Speight. The meeting was preceded by a meeting of Unity Council of Thrice Illustrious Masters, at which three Past Masters received the Degree of the Silver Trowel. Both Councils dined together in a most convivial atmosphere.

The Councils were honoured by the presence of R. Ill. Comp. Tim Hancock, Dist.G.M.,  V. Ill. Comp. Graham Seeman, Pres.E.C., Ill. Comp. Paul Ackland-Snow, Dist.G.P.C.W., V. Ill. Comp. Peter Hughes, P.Dist.G.P.C.W. and many other distinguished Companions.




L to R: Paul Ackland-Snow (Dist.G.P.C.W.); Peter Hughes (King David in the ST degree); Terry Speight (Wantage TIM), Tim Hancock (Dist.G.M.)



Bekenesfelde Council Installation 9th December 2021.

Bekenesfelde Council celebrated its first meeting since 2019 on the 9th December, when Ill. Comp. Paul Savage was installed as TIM by R. Ill. Comp. David Hunt in a very fine ceremony.

The Council was honoured by the presence of the District Grand Master, accompanied by the Deputy District Grand Master, the District Grand PCW and many officers of the District Team.

Prior to the business of the Council, the R. Ill. District Grand Master occupied the Chair to formally invest Ill. Comp. Paul Ackland-Snow as District Grand PCW – a ceremony that had, by necessity, been delayed for many months because of the Covid suspensions. The DGM was ably supported by the District Deputy Grand DC, Ill. Comp. Mark Ball, and the rest of the District Team throughout the investiture.




(face coverings were worn throughout the meeting, but briefly removed for the photo)



Thame Council Installation 21st August 2021.

Thame Council celebrated the installation of Ill. Comp. Eugene Gratwohl on Saturday 21st August. Eugene was elected back in 2019, but his installation was delayed due to the Covid-19 suspensions. The Council was also delighted to Choose two new companions; Comp. Steve Adamek and Comp. John Sear, who were immediately promoted to Manciples! The ceremonies were shared between several Companions in what was a most pleasant return to the ritual after a two-year hiatus.

The Council was honoured by the presence of the Deputy District Grand Master and the District Grand Principal Conductor of the Work together with many other distinguished Companions.





Eliot Council Installation 3rd November 2019.

Ill Comp Phillip Kavanagh, PDistGSwdB, installed his successor, Ill Comp David Hance, as TIM of the Council in the presence of the District Grand PCW, V Ill Comp Peter Hughes, PGLect.

Ill Comp David appointed and invested Comp Ian Bailey as Deputy Master and Comp John Bellamy as PCW.




Oxford Council Installation 26th October 2019.

The Council was honoured with an official District Visit to mark the installation of Ill Comp James Hildtich, the Provincial Grand Master of the Craft and Grand Superintendent of the Royal Arch in Oxfordshire, as TIM.