Perseverance Council No 42 is one of the oldest in our district and recently celebrated its centenary.
The next meeting on was the installation when Allan Shields was installed as Master in fine style by Steve Barritt.
In attendance was the District Grand Prefect Mervyn Wilson who presented Allan to the Master for Installation. All this under the guidance of his Deputy , Grahan Newton who acted as DC.
Its always worth persevering with things: This council was low on numbers 12 months ago but has been boosted by many joining members including another three at this meeting and there is a candidate to induct at the November meeting.
Friday, 31st March 2023 was the Date of the Michael Edward Herbert Council (MEH) No. 160 meeting, on this occasion at Middleton Masonic Hall. The MEH Council meets under the jurisdiction of the District of East Lancashire, but, as you may be aware, this is a Council for Grand Officers from both the East and West Lancashire Districts. As an aside, this mirrors the Timothy John Lewis Council No. 190 for District Officers of both East and West Lancashire, which meets under the jurisdiction of the District of West Lancashire. I think that this arrangement demonstrates the close working relationship between the two Districts.
For those with a geographical inclination, Middleton, although now part of the Greater Manchester conurbation, is historically a Lancashire Township, its name being derived from being the centre of a number of early settlements. It was originally an ecclesiastical parish of the Salford Hundred – also known as Salfordshire. Salford being one of the sub divisions of the historic County of Lancashire.
And so, I made my way to Middleton MH, which was a first for me, having never attended any meetings at this location. Lighter evenings made the journey reasonably pleasant, if you can ever think of driving up the M6 and M62 etc at workers going home time pleasant! No hold ups however, (but see comments below about my return journey) meant that I arrived at Middleton MH in good time. Good car parking meant that there was no driving around to look for a suitable parking spot.
The Hall is a relatively modern and attractive facility, with an upstairs Lodge Room and downstairs dining room. A very comfortable, roomy premises for a Masonic meeting and for meeting up with old and new friends.
RW Bro Mervyn Frank Wilson, DGP for East Lancashire, has given an extra purpose to this particular meeting of MEH Council in the annual calendar, by arranging for Grand Officer members to perform the ceremony of Knights of the Red Cross of Babylon; and on this occasion there was the excellent number of 13 Candidates attending to receive the accolade.
The WM, Very Worshipful Brother Geoffrey Catterall, opened the Council, and then welcomed Right Worshipful Brother Wilson, and offered him the gavel. The DGP, thanked the WM for the honour, but then paused to consider the amount of work to be undertaken later in the evening, and, deciding that discretion is the better form of valour, tactfully returned the gavel to the WM.
Salutations were then given, first to the DGP for East Lancashire and then to the DGP of West Lancashire.
The preliminary business being concluded, the WM adjourned the Degree of St Lawrence the Martyr, and the Candidates were asked to leave the Council for a short time. The DC for the evening, W. Bro. Shaun Higson, then busied himself, setting up the Council for the Red Cross of Babylon Ceremony. It is fair to say that the Candidates were well and truly invested into the Degree, the whole of the team playing its part in the ceremony, but it is worth recording that W. Bro Fraser McCord, as Thrice Illustrious Sovereign, gave an excellent and very animated performance in the Persian Court, in a true lilting Scottish accent (pity the candidates couldn’t understand his brogue – I jest Fraser!!!!). However, the candidates fully understood his next gesture when, on completion of the ceremony, he offered each of them a miniature bottle of the Highlands’ finest, each miniature being edged with a purple ribbon. What a wonderful gesture from an excellent Mason.
The WM then resumed the Council in the Degree of St Lawrence the Martyr. Important items of business remained to be conducted, including to elect a WM and Treasurer for the ensuing year. Unfortunately, the current Senior Warden, W. Bro Trevor Jewitt, is unwell and unable to be Installed as Master at the next meeting; but cometh the hour and cometh the man, as English cricketer Cliff Gladwin once uttered, and RW Brother Mervyn stepped up to the crease and agreed to be nominated. There being no other nominations (would anyone dare?) he was declared Master for the ensuing year to great acclamation. W. Bro Jeff Huddart was then nominated and subsequently declared Treasurer, again to acclamation.
The Council being closed, the WM and both DGP’s retired, and Brethren made their way to the dining hall to enjoy a social drink and dinner. A goodly crowd of Mason’s delighted in exchanging pleasantries and honouring the formal toasts. It is true to say that Mervyn should be proud of the efforts of his team in ensuring that the Candidates were well and truly invested on this occasion, and we look forward to a similar occasion next year when the Brethren of MEH can again strut their stuff.
To close, I said earlier in the piece that I had a pleasant journey to Middleton MH, but the same cannot be said of my return home. Unfortunately, a large section of the M6 had been closed at 9pm and this caused me to get home somewhat later than intended. The upside is that I visited many areas of Greater Manchester and its surrounds that I hadn’t seen for some time – always look on the bright side of life I say!
PS, one of the Brethren present at the meeting played in a professional rugby league match in the 1980’s between Wigan and Huddersfield, which entered into folk lore as ‘The Battle of Fartown’. No kidding, and you can view it on YouTube if you’re interested (other social media outlets available etc. etc.). You need to be warned of scenes of violence if you are of a sensitive disposition, and you might need subtitles to understand the Lancashire and Yorkshire dialects. The Brother concerned acted as a Persian Guard on the occasion of the afore mentioned ceremony, and you can be sure he had no problem with his prisoner!!!
One of our oldest councils is Goulburn having been consecrated in 1915 and continues to meet to this day now based at Radcliffe near Bolton.
The March meeting had two very important items of business, the first being to admit Bro Andrew Booth as the latest member to join the district. Shaun Higson took the chair to induct Andrew as a Brother of St Lawrence in fine style and assisted by council officers and visiting brethren which included our Deputy Graham Newton.
The next item on the summons was to install Ivan Millington as the Master for the ensuing year and this was again a fantastic ceremony this time performed by Adrian Hunter.
Welcome to our order Andrew was the cry as he received his collar of office from Ivan!
Craig Wood had a very busy Saturday morning at Salford Masonic Hall as his year as Master of HBS Council No. 234 was coming to a close, he still had some work to do.
Opening up for the last time and welcoming Mervyn Wilson, the head of our order in East Lancashire, the District Grand Prefect, he started work on a very busy agenda.
A knock on the door came which announced that there was a candidate to admit. Under the watchful eye of Acting DC and newly appointed Deputy District Grand Prefect, Graham Newton, Philip Moore was admitted by Craig and the council officers as the latest recruit into East Lancashire District.
The lecture was delivered with sincerity by Barry Smethurst from Saddleworth Council No. 281 following which Mervyn presented Phil with a gridiron lapel badge and the ritual book of the degree.
Craig barely had time to draw breath before he commenced with the installation of the council’s new Master – Nigel Bramley- Haworth.
We witnessed another fine ceremony very well delivered by Craig as Nigel was installed in fine style and congratulated by Mervyn on its conclusion.
With Nigel now at the helm the rest of the officers for the year were invested and the council business concluded.
Craig could now relax and enjoy the festive board and a glass of Brown Ale!
Perseverance council No.42 celebrated a milestone of 100 years of service at its November meeting held at Mill House Masonic Hall, Clayton- Le- Moors, Blackburn.
These events are very rare in The Allied Degrees as the Most Worthy Grand Master, Tom Jackson was quick to point out that. It will not be until 2034 that another council will celebrate such an achievement. He was joined at the meeting by the head of our order in East Lancashire District Grand Prefect Mervyn Wilson along with his West Lancashire counterpart Paul Snape and Joseph McCollum from the West Midlands.
Mervyn was well supported with his team of Acting Officers as well as a good delegation from neighbouring West Lancashire. In total over 50 brethren were in attendance which is the highest attendance in the Council’s 100 years of existence comprising of a total of 390 meetings and 748 ceremonies.
The council was opened by the current Master, Stephen Barritt who was very pleased to receive Tom Jackson accompanied by the Grand Director of Ceremonies and did not hesitate to offer the gavel to our Grand Master.
Of course Tom eagerly accepted it and was warmly welcomed with the customary salutations. He congratulated the members on this achievement and gave his best wishes for the future.
He then invited the council Secretary Stephen White to present a history of the council. On 29 November 1921, 13 Brethren petitioned the then Grand Master, Col Charles Warren Napier-Clavering, and as a consequence the Lodge of Perseverance was consecrated at 4pm on 27 May 1922 at Richmond Terrace, Blackburn. The ceremony was conducted by FW Broadbent, Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Lancashire, Eastern Division assisted by R Verney Clayton Provincial Grand Secretary.
Just to put things in perspective at that time there were no mobile phones, no tablets, and no computers and of course no internet. There was no Soviet Union which was formed in December of that year. There was political unrest and at the date of the petition we were just three and a half years from the end of the First World War. The country was emerging from a depression.
Of the 13, several were solicitors two were ex Majors both of whom worked in a cotton mill. Eight of them served as Master of Perseverance Lodge of Mark Master Masons from which Lodge this Allied Council had originated.
The Council started with a flourish. At the second meeting no fewer than nine members had the degree of St Lawrence conferred upon them, there were two more at the third meeting and another at the fourth. At that same 4th meeting 12 became Knights of Constantinople, and the 5th meeting saw 10 become Grand Tilers of Solomon.
On 9 March 1929 12 members became Knights of Constantinople, and the same 12 became Grand Tilers of King Solomon. There was also an Installation, all in 1 hour 15 minutes.
The following meeting in July 1929 was a special meeting and saw the first ceremony of Red Cross of Babylon. 13 members conferred.
In March 1933 there was a visit from the Grand Master, Dr Charles Herbert Perram who took part in the ceremony of the Red Cross of Babylon, as the Illustrious Sovereign in the Court of Darius. He also acted as M E President in the degree of Grand High Priest which followed. Three brethren in the former and five in the latter no doubt had very happy memories of the occasion.
The Grand Master must have enjoyed himself in March 1933 because he returned in May 1935, and acted, as King Solomon in Grand Tilers and President in Grand High Priest. There is reference in the minutes of October 1942 that a dispensation for a change of date was not necessary because of the Emergency regulations issued on 23 September 1939. This is the only reference in the minutes to World War II, and all regular meetings were held as they were scheduled.
At the time of the consecration there was only one District which now has been split into East and West Lancashire in its time the council had moved to Rishton, before settling at Mill House which is close to both Blackburn and Accrington. Membership numbers have gone up and down over the years and recently the future of the council has been steadied with a large influx of joining members and now has a candidate to admit at its next meeting so the future is looking bright, Tom Jackson concluded that the council can now look forward to the next 100 years.
There was another important item of business: District Deputy Grand Prefect, Peter Hegarty had stepped down following his promotion in the Craft to Assistant Provincial Grand Master, it was time to appoint and invest Graham Newton, a member of Perseverance council, as his successor.
Tom invited Mervyn Wilson to take the chair and perform this duty with the help of his Senior and Junior wardens who were like wise placed at their stations. An escort was formed and Graham was duly presented, obligated and invested. Likewise Trevor Parvin was appointed as District Secretary to fill the role previously for filled by Graham.
Graham was warmly applauded and congratulated before Mervyn invited the Master Stephen Barritt to resume his rightful place. The next meeting being the installation the next Master was selected who is to be Allan Shields who will take up the baton from Stephen in May and lead the council into the next 100 years.
With the council closed the brethren retired to the festive board for fine food and good company which sealed a perfect end to this memorable and unique meeting.
Story and photos by AM Shields.
Council History courtesy of Stephen White. Secretary.
This year’s meeting was conducted in the usual exemplary manner by the Grand Master, with all present showing full support of the Grand Team. The Grand Master installed a new Deputy Grand Master R.W.Bro. Ian Bailey, and a new Grand DC, V.W.Bro Glyn Goddard. Not forgetting the other recipients of Grand Rank including those from East Lancs. Photos show Shaun Higson P.G.Std.B. and Fraser McCord G.Stwd. in front of the big chair and together with Stephen Gregory P.G.I.G. and our current Dep.Dist.G.Pref. Peter Hegarty.
The Grand Master, M.W.Bro. Tom Jackson, thanked all those who had made some rather circuitous travel arrangements to get there due to the vagaries of Avanti West Coast trains. He also gave a plug for the Centenary celebration meeting of Perseverance Council on Wed 9th November, saying it would be the last chance to see a Centenary of an Allied Council for some 12 years.