Braintree Royal Arch Masons celebrate 100 years of the Chapter of St Mary

80 members and distinguished guests at Chapter meeting and banquet celebrate significant milestone

At Howard Hall in Bocking End, Braintree Royal Arch Masons held a special meeting and banquet on 25th September 2023 to celebrate 100 years since the Chapter of St Mary No. 1312 was founded. 80 members and guests from across the Province of Essex attended.

There are 100 plus Chapters which meet in Essex.  About 45% of the 7,500 Essex Freemasons are Royal Arch Masons and they wear a red apron at their meetings as opposed to the light or dark blue ones which are more familiar. Many Essex Freemasons do a considerable amount of voluntary work supporting local communities across the County as well as regularly donating around a £1 million a year of much needed funding to good causes and charities.

Nick Franklin, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Essex Freemasons and a former Deputy Provincial Grand Superintendent is a Past First Principal of the Chapter. He and Andrew Cuthbertson, Mark Irving and John Smillie being the Chapter’s current First, Second and Third Principals welcomed all the guests including the Deputy Provincial Grand Superintendent, Elliott Chevin, and the entire Royal Arch Executive Team.

The visitors enjoyed a well performed joining ceremony known as an Exaltation for Peter Williams who was welcomed as a new member into Royal Arch Masonry. This was followed by John Hubbard, the Third Provincial Grand Principal, paying tribute in his oration to all the Chapter members who had worked so hard over the previous 100 years and in particular the father and son combination of Fred and ‘Chubb’ Challis whose combined service totalled 71 years in the same Chapter Office.

Mike Hall, the Scribe (secretary) of the Chapter of St Mary said “It was a magnificent evening accompanied by much enjoyment and happiness.” And as John Hubbard said, when looking to the future, “May this Chapter continue to inspire and operate for many years to come.”


Top: Chapter of St Mary's First Principal, Andrew Cuthbertson, Second Principal, Mark Irving and Third Principal, John Smillie with the Provincial Executive and members of the Chapter

Bottom: A bumper festive board celebrating an amazing milestone for the Chapter