Somerset Provincial Grand Chapter

On Thursday 20th May several cars set off from the Devonshire Province to make an early morning trip to the Webbington Country Club and Spa at Loxton in Somerset.  This is the venue for the Annual Convocation of the Royal Arch in Somerset.  I was collected just before 8.00am by Chris and Jeff before we made our way along the coast to collect Chris Pengelly.  We then set off towards Exeter where we joined the M5 and the stream of vehicles heading North East.  Why such an early start, you might ask, well, due to the unfortunate demise of Barry Woodside in the previous year a new Grand Superintendent had to be Invested for the Province.  It had been decided that the work for the day would be split into two separate parts with a lunch taken in the middle.  It had been requested that all attending should be in their seats or processionary places by 10.30am.

We arrived with time to spare and found that most of the contingent from Devon were there too.  Having taken our cases to the appropriate areas and downed welcoming coffee and biscuits most of us gathered on the large patio for this pre meeting picture, I’m sure most of those interested in reading this article will be able to put names to faces.

After the previous couple of year’s meetings had been severely restricted by Covid it was a joy to find something of a back to normal atmosphere with many familiar faces to say hello to amongst the hundreds who were arriving.

All too soon, it was time to don regalia and find one’s place for the morning session.  This was to be the Installation of E Comp Raymond Guthrie as Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of Somerset.  The Ceremony was performed by the Third Grand Principal, E Comp Gareth Jones with Acting Second Principal E Comp David Pascoe, MEGS of Cornwall, and Acting Third Principal E Comp Graham Glazier, MEGS of Dorset.  They were supported by a London team which was led by Acting Grand Director of Ceremonies E Comp Paul Grier.  For those who’d like to read a fuller account of the day’s ceremonial perhaps you’d like to go to the Somerset RA website at www.somersetroyalarch.org and look under News.

The Installation was completed very smoothly and the new MEGS then “called off” the meeting.  There was then plenty of time before lunch to congratulate those appointed, obtain some liquid refreshment and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air on the various patios.  I was able to obtain a fuller picture of the Devonshire Team on the small patio.

By 1.00pm everyone dining was at table and the meal was served.  There was plenty of opportunity for relaxed conversation and quite a few photographs were taken.  At the end of the meal, toasts were taken and a few short speeches made.  Again, there was time to spare before those attending the second part of the meeting donned regalia and returned to their places in the main room.  E Comp Guthrie then “called on” the Provincial Chapter and business resumed.  The main item was the confirmation and appointment of the Provincial Officers for the 2022/23 season.  This all proceeded quite smoothly in a warm and well attended “Temple”.  When business was duly completed the Executive, escorted by their new team, processed out and the assembled company rapidly dispersed.

With the four of us back in Chris’s car we were soon on our way down to Exmouth to return Chris Pengelly home.  Having delivered him safely back to Bunty we then headed on to the Masonic Hall in Sidmouth.  There, Perseverance Chapter was holding a meeting where an Exaltation was performed and then some photographs were taken for use in connection with an upcoming Extraordinary meeting.  Enough for now, there’ll be a separate report on that later.

I close this report with a selection of further pictures taken on our day out to Somerset.

Arthur W Rowe PAGDC

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