Here are just a few of the London Royal Arch Chapters that met over Spring 2022 within dedicated Masonic Halls and Centres from Chingford to Harrow, Ealing to Croydon, and Southgate to Penge, not just throughout central London.


London’s Royal Arch Chapters and Freemasons have been revelling in being back in each other’s company once again. The general sense of excitement that has been palpable since our return in September 2021, after such a long time apart, remained strong throughout spring, as masonic friends were once again united in their Chapters, with a flurry of installations, inductions, proclamations, 50-year certificates and an exciting number of exaltations taking place. Equally important, London’s Royal Arch masons relaxed and socialised together once more, breaking bread and raising their glasses in each other’s company.


On 12th March, MetGInsp E Comp Rob Chaproniere, PGSoj, paid a visit to Royal Engineers Chapter No 2599 and presented two 50-year long service certificates. E Comp Philip Bennet PAGDC was exalted on 6th of February 1971, and at the following convocation on 1st of May 1971, E Comp John Palmer, PGStB was also exalted. Fifty-one years later, E Comp Rob took pleasure presenting both with their certificates and regaled those present with the professional careers, hobbies, and masonic journeys of both Companions.


On 12th March at Great Queen St, members and guests of Cheerybles Chapter No 2466 gathered for an excellent exaltation ceremony for Bro Haider Mannan and for the election of its principals for the ensuing year.


On 14th March, at Freemasons’ Hall, St John’s Chapter No 167 finally celebrated its postponed 2020 Centenary with a visit from MetGInsp E Comp John Peters PGSoj, E Comp John presented the MEZ with a centenary letter of congratulation and traced the early years of the Chapter, from its consecration in November 1920, through significant worldwide events, leading to the present day. He also presented the consecration summons and festive board menu. The consecration dinner at the CafĂ© Royal on Regent Street featured a menu comprising eight courses accompanied by lively musical entertainment during and after dinner.


On 22nd April, at Freemasons’ Hall, the Companions of Chapter of Perseverance No 1743 met to Elect their principals for the following year and to receive a fascinating lecture – “The 12 Tribes of Israel” – researched, written, and presented by Second Principal, E Comp Graham Moody. The members and visitors also paid tribute to member E Comp Steve Nottage, LGCR, who in September 2021 was invested with the British Empire Medal at Westminster Abbey, awarded for E Comp Steve’s work as chairman of The S.A.M. Fund, a not-for-profit charity raising funds to provide chronically sick or disabled children.


On 14th of April, at Duke Street St James’s, Utilitas Chapter No 5693 conducted the exaltation of Bro Constantin Eschlboeck in the presence of E Comp Tony Shepherd, PAGSoj, MetGInsp. E Comp John Buckingham, SLGCR and Comp Paul Chakravarti of the Metropolitan Grand Chapter Ritual Support Team played very significant roles in the ceremony before E Comp Tony took pleasure in presenting Comp Arron Claydon with his certificate from Supreme Grand Chapter.


At Freemasons’ Hall on 24th March, the members and officers of Royal Crown Chapter No 3133 gathered to receive a wonderfully appropriate lecture, written and presented by senior member E Comp Gerald Nathanson, PAGDC, entitled “The day the Queen was crowned”, which included some of his own personal memories of the time whilst in uniformed public service.


On 16th March at Furniture Makers Hall, the members of First Artificer Chapter No 3774 welcomed the Deputy Metropolitan Grand Superintendent, E Comp the Rev Timothy L’Estrange, PGSN, for the Chapter’s centenary convocation, which was marked by an ‘Explanation of the Royal Arch Tracing Boards’ by the Metropolitan Grand Stewards Chapter Demonstration Team, led by Assistant Metropolitan Grand Superintendent, E Comp Simon White, PGSwB. Following a brief history of the Chapter, E Comp Timothy presented the MEZ with the centenary charter, preceded by, before E Comp John Hughes, PAGChap, MetG Chap concluded proceedings with an oration.


On 25th March, at the Royal National Hotel, Bedford Square, the Companions and guests of Mornington Aedile Chapter No 1672 were joined by MetGInsp E Comp Robert Lakic PGSoj, who was honoured to present E Comp Roger Chapman PAGDC with a certificate to mark his 50 years in the Royal Arch. E Comp Robert recounted the varied life of E Comp Roger from his early working days as a chartered quantity surveyor and his civil service career in the 1970s. In 1967 he achieved the British Empire Medal for ballroom dancing, the highest amateur award achievable. Since his retirement in 1999, he has been actively involved in two local bowling clubs, plays bridge, runs a badminton club, and swims half a mile twice a week! At the festive board, Roger was presented with an inscribed gold pen to mark his 50 years as a Royal Arch Mason and in appreciation of his sterling service to the Chapter over many years.


On 28th March, members of City of Westminster Chapter No 1563 met for the first time in a couple of years to welcome a joining member, E Comp Simon Turner, at Freemasons’ Hall and then celebrated their reunion with a delightful and delicious informal dinner at Ciao Bella, an old-school Italian trattoria in the heart of Bloomsbury.


On 20th May, at Mark Masons’ Hall, the members and guests of Strand Chapter No 1987 were joined by MetGInsp, E Comp Robert Lakic, PGSoj for the exaltation of Bro Andrew Clarke and an enjoyable dinner was enjoyed by all within the Hall.


On 4th April, within the spectacular and atmospheric environs of Barts’ Great Hall, EC1 Cholmeley Chapter No 1731 welcomed E Comp Tony Shepherd, PAGSoj, for his first visit as MetGInsp and then exalted Bro Nick Burrage in a wonderfully theatrical and sincere ceremony, followed by a superb and lively dinner.


On 5th April, at Freemasons’ Hall, Hand of Good Fellowship Chapter No 5249 exalted Bro Ashvinkumar Pathak and celebrated with a wonderful dinner within the elegant Grand Officers Robing Rooms.


A wonderful exaltation ceremony on 14th April at Freemasons’ Hall by All Saints with Benefactum Chapter No. 1716 to exalt Bro Kelly Curtis and W Bro Stephen King of the. The MEZ, E Comp Andrew Symon PGStB presided over an excellent ceremony followed by a convivial festive board at the Thistle Hotel in Holborn, WC2.


At Freemasons’ Hall on 9th April, Cockfosters Chapter No 6883 (formerly Aurea Norma No 4811) exalted Bro Neil Richards and then enjoyed a wonderful early evening dinner at the Grange White Hall Hotel, Bloomsbury.


On 6th April, at Freemasons’ Hall, Cator Chapter No 2266 received a visit from MetGInsp, E Comp Robert Lakic PGSoj, who witnessed the exaltation of Bro Nicholas Cryne and the election of the Chapter principals for the ensuing year.


At Mark Masons Hall, on the 20th April, St Michael’s Chapter No 211, in the presence of MetGInsp E Comp Robert Lakic PGSoj, Installed Comp Gary Hancock into the Third Principal’s chair. First principal, E Comp Darren Knight, LGCR, then presented a lecture, selected from ‘Solomon’, by the Province of Yorkshire West Riding, entitled “Explanations of a Royal Arch Chapter room, some eighteen items”.


At Freemasons’ Hall, on 20th April, In Arduis Fidelis Chapter No 3432 met to advance their centenary celebration plans for later this year. Visiting officer E Comp Ray Adams, SLGCR, thanked the members for their support and friendship over the last five years as he announced his impending retirement as a Royal Arch VO. E Comp Ray was warmly applauded and thanked for his service.


On 6th May at Mark Masons’ Hall Temple Chapter at Jerusalem No 4611 elected their principals for the ensuing year and to support the Second Principal, E Comp James Savory, who was in training for his first UK Ironman competition in Bolton this summer. E Comp James successfully completed the Ironman (2.4-mile swim, followed by a 122-mile bike ride, concluding with a 26.2-mile marathon run), raising nearly £2,000 for the Royal British Legion.


On 4th May, at the West London Mason Centre, Ealing, the Deputy Metropolitan Grand Superintendent, E Comp the Rev Timothy L’Estrange, PGSN visited the West London Chapter of First Principals No 9627 for the covid-delayed induction of MetGInsp, E Comp Sanjiv Gohil, PGStB into the First Principal’s chair. A packed temple witnessed the induction of E Comps Ron Pearson, SLGCR and Peter Jordan, SLGCR, into the Second and Third Principal’s chairs, respectively. The parched gathering retired downstairs to the bar before enjoying a wonderful and delicious festive board within the centre, full of laughter and chat.


On 26th May Barnato Chapter No 2265, welcomed MetGInsp E Comp Ian Burgess, PGSoj for an Exaltation of the highest quality for Bro Oliver Miller of Skelmersdale Lodge No 1658 (UGLE Universities Scheme Lodge) in a packed temple at Freemasons’ Hall. The thirsty throng retired to a harmonious festive board at Trattoria Verdi, filled with bonhomie late into the evening.


At Freemasons’ Hall on 13th May, members and guests of Atheneaum Chapter No 1491 met to Install all three Companions taking their place in their respective chairs for the first time, E Comp Gary Tuck as First Principal, E Comp Tony Kalsi as Second Principal and E Comp Ken Beattie as Third Principal.


On 18th May at the West London Mason Centre, Ealing, Loyalty United Chapter No 4931 exalted Bro John Callangan in the company of their MetGInsp, E Comp Robert Lakic, PGSoj. At Mark Masons’ Hall, also on 18th May, Saint Alfege Chapter No 4637 held a wonderful convocation, crowned by the exaltation of Bro Martin Hall. Both Loyalty United and Saint Alfege Chapters

dined within their respective masonic halls.


On 19th May at Freemasons’ Hall, Assistant Metropolitan Grand Superintendent E Comp Ian Clark, PGSwdB, joined the members and guests of Vane Chapter No 3781 to celebrate the Chapter’s 150th anniversary, witnessing the Installation and Induction of the Principals. Subsequently, a lavish sesquicentenary dinner was thoroughly enjoyed within the opulent and atmospheric Vestibule of Grand Temple.


On 14th May, three Chapters Lewis No 1185, Torch No 7236 and Johann Gutenberg No 5593, met at Freemasons’ Hall, all conducting different business and meeting at different times of the day. Opening at 10.30 am, Lewis Chapter rehearsed the ceremony of exaltation in preparation for a candidate in the autumn before retiring for lunch. At 11 am, Torch Chapter Exalted Bro Richard Winslade and, at 2.30 pm, Johann Gutenberg Chapter performed an outstanding double exaltation of Bros Joe Skinns and Christopher Tilbrook. All three Chapters dined at the DoubleTree by Hilton, on Southampton Row, WC2.

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 49 August 2022 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 49 here.