History of Berkshire Rose Croix Chapters
History of Wallingford Castle Chapter, No.1165
The history of this Chapter in the scheme of things is very recent compared to one or two others in the District, one of which has just celebrated its Sesquicentenary!
A new Rose Croix Chapter in the District of Berkshire was the inspiration of the then Inspector General, the late V. Ill. Donald G. Varney, 33° at the turn of the Millennium. It was also his vision that the Chapter should meet in the west of the District in particular with a view to drawing in Brethren from Wallingford, Wantage and Faringdon. This move was triggered by an upturn in the number of Masons seeking Perfection into our Order locally, which resulted in a long 'tail' in progression for new Members to attain Office in a given Chapter.
In 2003 Ill. Bro. Alasdair Milne, 31° (later 32°) became the Organising Founder and took it upon himself to seek out possible Petitioners/Founders. The author of this history was in fact, when attending as a guest at Sinodun Chapter No. 548 in April, 2004, a recipient of a flyer written by Alasdair inviting interested Brethren to take the project forward.
Nineteen Petitioners listed below became committed to the project. They were quite a disparate group of Rose Croix Masons some were Past Sovereigns, some were not, drawn from Berkshire, Oxfordshire, London, Buckinghamshire and Nottinghamshire.
|Ian L. Blundell, 30°||Dr. W. John Foster , 31° †||Alasdair B. Milne, T.D., 31°|
|Roger. D. Chalfont, 31° †||John B. Gale, 31°||Timothy Weller, 30°|
|Anthony F. R. Clark, 30°||Major George E. Hodge, 30°||David S. White, 18°|
|Anthony J. Clarke, A.F.C., 30°||Rev. Roy G. Holmes, 18°||Desmond R. A. Winterbone, 30° †|
|John W. V. Coles, 30°||Allan G. Hopgood, 18°||Dr. Michael K. Woolford, 30°|
|John L. Davies, 18°||John D. Knights, 18° †|
|Donald H. A. Drayton, 30° †||Brian O. Megson, 30° †||† obit|
Wallingford Castle was in private hands and little known. However when the Inspector General heard there was one he chose the name of the new chapter and quipped as he was already 'king' of two castles (Windsor Castle No. 252 and Donnington Castle No. 856 Chapters) in the District, why not make it three?! The crest was created by the wife of Ill. Bro. John W. V. Coles, 30° from a local postcard. The Supreme Council, 33° approved the establishment of the new Chapter and its name in an e-mail dated 5th July, 2004 and sanctioned the Bye-Laws on 12th November in that year.
Behind the scenes prior to Consecration it was necessary to ensure the fledgling Chapter would work efficiently within the confines and configuration of the facilities available at Wallingford Masonic Centre, planning which was excellently undertaken by the late Ill. Bro. Roger D. Chalfont, 31° (later 32°). The Chapter also had to be furnished. The donors of the most notable items were as follows: The Inspector General, V. Ill. Donald G. Varney, 33°, presented the baton and organised for the castellated tasse to be custom made by a blacksmith he knew at West Wycombe. The District Recorder, Ill. Bro. Raymond J. Head, 32°, presented and dedicated the Holy Bible, whilst the silver salt dishes and plates were donated by E. & P. Bro. Rev. Roy G. Holmes, 18° and Ill. Bro. Alasdair B. Milne, 31°, respectively. The rose plates were presented by Bombay Chapter No. 18. The altar and its storage cabinet were fabricated by Ill Bro Ian L. Blundell, 30° and the altar was later converted to have imitation electric candles by Ill Bro. Michael K. Woolford, 30°. The three crucifixes which create a silhouette for the First Point were inspired from those used at Donnington Castle Chapter No. 856 and made by Ill Bro Timothy Weller, 30°.
The Consecration Ceremony took place at Sindlesham on the Tuesday 2nd November, 2004 with the following Members of Supreme Council, 33° present:
M. P. Bro. G. L. Tedder, 33° Sovereign Grand Commander
V. P. Bro. A. L. Englefield, 33° Lieut. Grand Commander
M. Ill. Bro. Rev. Dr. M. Morgan, 33° Grand Prior
M. Ill. Bro. J. L. W. Wright, 33° Grand Marshal
M. Ill. Bro. A. W. Hanbury-Bateman, 33° Grand Captain General
M. Ill. Bro. R. E. Furber, 33° Grand Secretary General
They were supported by the following Inspectors General:
V. Ill. Bro. D. G. Varney, 33° (Berkshire)
V. Ill. Bro. A. W. Brace, 33° (Oxfordshire)
V. Ill. Bro. L. R. Harborne, 33° (Buckinghamshire)
V. Ill. Bro. S. C. Capon, 33° (Middlesex)
V. Ill. Bro. David P. S. Hobbs, 33° (Wiltshire)
Those who officiated were:
V. Ill. Bro. The Hon. A. F. C. Wigram 33°, Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies
V. Ill. Bro. R. W. Cayless, 33° Deputy Grand Organist
Ill. Bro. R. A. Knox-Johnson, 32°, Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies
Ill. Bro. R. W. Helliar, 32° Grand Outer Guard
Ill. Bros. Alasdair B. Milne, 31°, the late Donald H. A. Drayton, 30° (later 31°), the late W. John Foster, 31° and George E. Hodge, 30° (later 32°) were the Foundation M.W.S, Prelate, Recorder and Treasurer, respectively. The First Meeting took place at Wallingford Masonic Centre on the 20th November 2004. The first Perfectees were E. & P. Bros. Trevor W. Greene and David M. D. Rae in a double ceremony at the Second Meeting on the 15th January, 2005. With the approval of Supreme Council 33° Founders' Jewels were sourced and commissioned by Ill. Bro. Michael K. Woolford. 30°. At the 13th Meeting held on the 15th November, 2008 the then Inspector General, the late V. Ill. Bro. Roy J. D'Archambaud, 33°, presented a Founders' Jewel to those who qualified. He, and the then District Recorder, Ill. Bro. Raymond J. Head, 32°, were each presented with an 'honorary' Founders' Jewel by the incumbent M.W.S., E. & P. Bro. Allan G. Hopgood, 18°. Three of the Founders subsequently became M.W.S.'s and received their 30°: Ill. Bros. Roy G. Holmes, John L. Davies and Allan G. Hopgood. Likewise three of our initial Perfectees achieved the same status: Ill. Bros. Trevor W. Greene, Robin E. Raggett and Neville Bird.
The Chapter has been blessed with a long line of Perfectees, dedicated Officers and Joining Members, thus ensuring its future and the faith put in it by the Supreme council 33° as well as the Founders, some who have, unfortunately, passed to The Grand chapter Above.
M. K. Woolford, 31° Founder and Recorder, July, 2013