I Claudius

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It is forty-six years since the BBC’s serialisation of the historical novel by Robert Graves, ’I Claudius’ which became one of Time Magazine’s ‘100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME’. Also, in 1976, The Grand Master HRH The Duke of Kent KG opened the Colchester Masonic Centre and Claudius Lodge No. 8700 was Consecrated there by the Provincial Grand Master (PGM) Frederick Leistikow with the Deputy PGM, Colonel ‘Bert’ Kiggins obligating the Primus Master, Ken White.

A framed coin from the reign of the Emperor Claudius is held by the Lodge and passed successionally to each Master at his Installation. With over 45 Brethren at the Installation Meeting on 8th February 2022, Simon Redgen. was heartfeltly Installed by his father-in-law, Gordon Spindler. The Lodge statistician noted that Gordon, with the two other Grand Officers present, Len Wright and Arthur Cooke, totalled 248 years.

A Grand Lodge Certificate was presented to Bro James Rolfe by Arthur Cooke which was very appropriate as Arthur has been a very active Freemason since joining Old Libertians Lodge No 6096 in 1991. He joined Comrades Lodge No. 2976 in 1996, received his first Craft Provincial Honours in 2004 as Past Provincial Grand Junior Deacon (PPGJD), Grand Rank in 2009 as Past Grand Standard Bearer (PGStdB). He joined Claudius Lodge in 2012 and was Installed as Master 2018.

Arthur completed his journey in Pure Antient Freemasonry with Comrades Chapter. He served in every junior office before being Installed as First Principal in 2005. In 2014 he joined Abbeygate Chapter and is now  Scribe E (secretary). In September 2021 he received his third Provincial Royal Arch promotion to Past Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah (PPGSN). In the additional Masonic orders Arthur is a Provincial and/or Grand Officer in Rose Croix, Red Cross of Constantine (in which he is also Secretary of Milvian Bridge Conclave No. 429), the Allied Masonic Degrees and the Order of Athelstan.

Until recently Arthur was the Recorder (secretary) of three Rose Croix Chapters but now only of King Sebbi No.1208 which meets twice a year at Braintree in November and Kirby in June. In 2014 he was a Founding Marshall of King Sebbi, which is the Installed Sovereigns Chapter for North Essex, so named in honour of the Saxon King of Essex from 664 to 694 who became a Saint. Arthur said “New members are always welcome including reigning Sovereigns or Past Sovereigns of any Rose Croix Chapter.”  Arthur’s details are in the Provincial Yearbook so do contact him for more information on joining and completing the Masonic journey from "Roman Emperors to Saintly Saxons in Essex”.

Tony Hales

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Provincial Grand Lodge of Essex