AN INTRODUCTION TO THE FIRST PRINCIPALS CHAPTERS
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE FIRST PRINCIPALS’ CHAPTERS
E Comp David Pugsley LGCR and E Comp Rod Glyn-Thomas review these important Chapters.
Are you an installed First Principal? If you are, do you know about the five First Principals’ Chapters in London? or Are you still finding your feet in the Royal Arch and the broader Metropolitan Grand Chapter and are not aware of their existence?
These Chapters play a special role in the life of London Masonry. They give the more experienced members from individual Chapters an
opportunity to extend their knowledge of the Order while, at the same time, building a stronger community amongst them. In addition to learning
from speakers and presentations (there are no Exaltations) these Convocations also provide an opportunity to share experience and advice amongst
a peer group — all of whom are opinion formers in their own Chapters. Due to the inter-visiting amongst our five London Chapters, as well as
with their equivalents in nearby Provinces, this sharing spreads much further than just the members of the host Chapter.
This article gives information about the First Principals Chapters that meet in different parts of London. If you are qualified, I hope it will encourage you to visit and then join one of them.
E Comp Chris Frankland PGSN
Sitting in a Chapter in the First Principal’s Chair is undoubtedly one of the pleasures of any Masonic career and we both feel that we have been extraordinarily lucky to have enjoyed so much fun and friendship over the combined fifty years we have been in both Lodges and Chapters in London.
It was through our mother Lodge that both of us were introduced to an Installed Masters Lodge and as a consequence of this we started to get to know many brethren who were members and office holders in Installed First Principals Chapters. In due course Comp David joined Euclid Chapter of First Principals No 7464 and Comp Rod joined London First Principals Chapter No 2712.
Through this article and with the help of the resources available in the Metropolitan Grand Chapter (principally Rosetta), we hope we can right that wrong for all of you First Principals out there who, like us, for our early masonic careers had no idea that these fine Chapters existed.
As you would expect from a Masonic community as rich and as varied as ours, the Chapters which I will attempt to describe and whet your appetite for a visit are equally rich and varied and each offers something special to consider.
So where to start? Conveniently we have a geographical helping hand so we will start out in the West.
West London Chapter of First Principals No 9627 meets at the West London Masonic Centre at Ealing twice a year and was consecrated in 2013 by Excellent Companion Russell Race (Now Most Excellent Second Grand Principal) and forty Companions who have a Masonic connection with West London. An Installation in May and a lecture or demonstration in September are the mainstays of their work but like so many other Chapters, it is the companionship that gives the energy to the work and enjoyment of the festive board. The Scribe E is E Comp John Buckingham and the ritual worked is Complete.
As we travel from the West we stop at Southgate, home of North London Chapter of First Principals No 9784 which claims an older lineage, as it arose from Wanderers Chapter No 1604 which was consecrated in 1878. E Comp Stephen Miller is the Scribe E and is a mine of information on the history and delightful details like the Companions enjoying a cup of tea before each meeting, which you will be intrigued to hear are on the First Fifth Thursday of certain months which completely throws any online calendar which can t cope with such deviation.
Their work is equally well blessed with regular talks by distinguished Companions on the Royal Arch and related themes. Interestingly, the North London Installed Master s Lodge was the first Lodge under Metropolitan Grand Lodge to be consecrated in the Grand Temple and so E Comp Stephen Miller who was the consecrating Secretary sat for what he described as the first and last time at the Grand Secretary’s table.
It was whilst he was the Immediate Past Master at North London Installed Masters Lodge No 9784 that he was charged with getting the Chapter up and running. He tells me that a little bit of ritual was written to mark the change over from Wanderers’ to North London First Principals as it was the first time the ceremony had taken place in Metropolitan.
And so we end with the three Chapters which meet at Freemason s Hall.
Euclid Chapter of First Principals No 7464, founded in 1980, meets three times a year and is known for its policy of education linked with entertainment which has yielded some interesting talks covering diverse subjects relating to the Royal Arch, even cuckoo clocks and musicals was once such a topic. The Chapter was formed principally to allow those to attend a Chapter who were not able to attend the Friday meetings of London First Principals
No 2712. E Comp Andrew Farleigh is Scribe E.
London First Principals No 2712 is the oldest Chapter on our tour and celebrated their fiftieth year in 2007.
The Scribe E is E Comp Ian Forbes and the Chapter describes the main objectives for its formation as the opportunity for First Principals and Past First Principals to associate and exchange views on Royal Arch teachings, as it appealed to them individually and, more importantly, the ability to pass on to their respective chapters the knowledge they had gained by virtue of their Membership .
As you might expect from such a distinguished Chapter the Concentrating Petition of Founding Companions consisted of 72, representing the number in the Grand Sanhedrin.
Last but by no means least, is Clerkenwell Chapter of First Principals No 9628 which since the closure of The Masonic centre at Clerkenwell has taken up residence at Freemason s Hall.
The Scribe E is E Comp David Ellis and this Chapter is in fine shape as one of the newest Chapters. They have a modern approach and encourage all to participate in their proceedings irrespective of age or Masonic Rank.
So If you are a First Principal don t forget that there is an opportunity out there, now or in the future, for you to continue to advance your Masonic knowledge by visiting or joining one of these fine Chapters.
We would urge you to do so and experience something special. Rosetta has the details.
Enjoy your Companionship and broaden your knowledge of this our wonderful order.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 43 January 2021 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 43.