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Shropshire celebrates of the 300th Anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England

The Shropshire celebration of Choral Evensong to commemorate the Tercentenary of the Grand Lodge of England took place in Shrewsbury Abbey on Sunday, 1st October, 2017 in the presence of the RW Provincial Grand Master Peter Allan Taylor, his Deputy Roger Brentnall Pemberton and many Distinguished Guests including the Grand Chaplain, Rev Canon Michael Wilson.

With the music still ringing in our ears from the magnificent Abbey organ, played by WBro Jeremy Lund, here is a pictorial and video record of  the day, which was enjoyed by around 300 Masons, their wives, partners and families.

The day began with an ascent of Lord Hill’s Column at the top of Abbey Foregate by some 25 intrepid climbers, who were given a short digest of the amazing history of this monument, erected to celebrate Viscount Rowland Hill, Wellington’s second-in-command through the Peninsular campaign.

The foundation stone was laid with Masonic ceremony on St John the Evangelist’s Day, 27th December 1814, by members of Salopian Lodge 262 who included at that time the architect and Hill’s nephew. The column, the tallest Doric column in the UK (and at one time in the world), measures 133.5 feet, and the statue (of Coade stone) stands 17 feet high.

After a wonderful meal at the Lord Hill hotel nearby, a Choral Evensong service in Shrewsbury Abbey began with a Procession of the banners of the Shropshire lodges.

Many Brethren were in regalia for the service –  the first time Freemasons have worn regalia in public in the county within living memory – which lent the occasion a sense of pageantry and colour. The service included a sermon by the Rev Canon Michael Wilson, Grand Chaplain of the United Grand Lodge of England.

A Procession of Banners from the Lodges of the Province of Shropshire began proceedings with a pageant of colour and ceremony, with the Provincial Sword, Banner and Standard holding pride of place before the High Altar.

Provincial Grand Chaplain WBro Phil Niblock led the service.

Lessons were read by the Deputy and the Provincial Grand Master. Sitting with the Pr G Chaplain is the Vicar of Shrewsbury Abbey, Rev Paul Firmin.

A most distinguished array of guests took over the South side of the Choir for the afternoon.

The Sermon was preached by the Grand Chaplain, W Bro the Rev. Canon  Michael Wilson. At the end of the service, all agreed that it had been a great success and a fitting and memorable way tio mark 300 years of Freemasonry under the English Grand Lodge.

Pictures: our particular thanks to Geoff Glover, photographer for the day, from whose many images of the day we have chosen just a few.

 

The Provincial Team

 

The Banner parade

 

View a selection of images form the day here:

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