Ravensworth Chapter Rose Croix No. 183 1914 - 2014
Laurence Curry 31o
During our 100 years of meetings Ravensworth has perfected over 350 members, amongst which were 37 Engineers, 34 Schoolmasters/Lecturers, 22 Doctors, 19 Accountants, 8 Policemen , 7 solicitors, 1 Ship-owner, 2 yeast importers and even an Olympic runner.
Our foundation in 1914 was the result of cooperation with existing Rose Croix members. Principally the Hon Gerald Liddell, (Later Lord Ravensworth and the PGM of Durham), Col Napier Clavering, the PGM of Northumberland, John C Moor, The Provincial Grand Secretary of Durham , a past Sovereign of St Cuthbert Chapter No 96, Peter Phorson the Provincial Treasurer, and Walter T Allen and J W Wood, both past Sovereigns of Royal Kent Chapter No 8.
The decision to found a new chapter had been made shortly after the Supreme Council had decided to split the north east of England, which had been in the charge of C J Banister since 1874. He had expressed a concern that the district was very large. On 11th December the Supreme Council decided to constitute a new District consisting of Northumberland and Durham thus subdividing the region and to offer the position of Inspector General to Ill∴ Bro. C.W. Napier-Clavering 32°
He accepted and was elected to 33º at the meeting of the Council on 18th December. The warrant for the chapter was applied for and was issued on 5 February 1914 and the arrangements were made for the Consecration at a meeting held at the Provincial Office in John Street on the 28 February.
Members of the Supreme Council came to Newcastle for the meeting and were met at the station by V∴Ill∴Bro. Clavering Inspector General for Northumberland and Durham and Hon∴Bro. Liddell the MWS Elect. The Principal Officers proceeded to Ravensworth Castle with Bro Liddell and the rest of the members of Supreme Council went to Axwell Park, the home of the Inspector General.
On the 28th March the day of consecration 7 members (the Original members) were perfected.
They were :-
Cecil Fenwick de Pledge , who became Deputy PGM in 1919,
Maj William Joseph Moor the Asst P G Sec ,Deputy PGM in 1937 and founding MWS of Bernard Gilpin Chapter No 301.
John C Finlayson.
Lt Col Jas Woodbury Thompson Asst PGM 1931.
Hugh Boyd Cunningham.
Thomas Henry Gass and William Anderson.
The Chapter was consecrated with Hon Gerald Liddell as the first MWS, after which the brethren retired to Tilleys Restaurant in Blackett Street for Dinner.
The First Regular Convocation was held on the 25th May, 1914, in the Masonic Hall, Park Terrace, Sunderland, at 6 o’clock when Bro. Thomas Grieve was elected and obligated as a serving Brother. and the proposal for our first candidate Bro Richard Stephenson Middleton, Solicitor, was received. The bye laws were submitted and approved. It was noted that Bro. Liddell, MWS, had generously presented to the Chapter a handsomely worked Altar Cloth.
In January 1932 the chapter was informed of the death of Ill∴ Bro Clavering Inspector General and as result of this it was suggested that Durham should have its own Inspector General, and the MWS ( W H Eyes) was authorised to take the necessary steps.
As a result of this Durham became a separate District. Ill.\.Bro. Liddell, now The Lord Ravensworth, was appointed as first Inspector General. Unfortunately he was not installed due to his death in a motor accident in June. Also at this time the Chapter moved from Park Place to the new building in Burdon Road.
Following the death of Lord Ravensworth Ill.\Bro. R W E Dixon was appointed as Inspector General for Durham, he had been perfected on 23 January 1918.and was enthroned as MWS in 1926 and again in 1928.
Bro Dixon had become Prov G Sec for Durham in 1919 following Bro. Cecil de Pledge, who himself had followed the 18 year stint of J C Moor, our first recorder.
Bro Dixon will be familiar to many of the brethren here as not only did he become the Provincial Secretary for the Craft in 1919. He served until 1935 when he became Deputy PGM and became Provincial Grand Master in the Craft in 1937 , and in the Mark in 1938 and continued in those offices until 1959. His portrait hung until very recently in the foyer of Burdon Road Temple.
In September 1943 we were visited by the Sovereign Grand Commander for the Consecration of St Lawrence Chapter However due to a delay on the railway the meeting was late in starting, the meeting was truncated and the Sovereign Grand Commander ordered it to be recorded as a TOKEN Convocation.
In May 1965, during the year A R Riley was MWS, the Chapter was visited by the members of Supreme Council for the installation of J MacMurray as Inspector General by V∴P∴Bro. Sir Eric Studd OBE, 33º Lieutenant Grand Commander. V∴Ill∴Bro. MacMurray served until 1975, and he was also Asst PGM from 1959, and Deputy PGM from 1969 to 1980.
On 24 June 1975 we were once again visited by members of the Supreme Council for the installation of Bro Andrew Robertson Riley as Inspector General by the Grand Chancellor M∴Ill∴Bro Lt. John Leigton Byone Leister-Warren TD, VL 33º, who was acting due to the Death of Sir Eric Studd the Sovereign Grand Commander.
Other prominent members of Ravensworth Chapter include :-
Cuthbert Wilkinson who was perfected in May 1916 and became PGM in 1935 until his death in the following year
D I Griss who was MWS in 1967, was Provincial Secretary for both Craft and Mark from 1966 to 1978 and was Asst PGM Craft from 1978, and Deputy PGM Mark from 1978 to 1985.
F Westwick who was MWS in 1980 became Asst PGM in 1989. D K Wilson who became MWS in 1999 and was Prelate from 2002 to this year, became Deputy PGM in the Mark in 1998—2006, Asst PGM (Craft) in 2006, Deputy PGM 2008 - 20012, and is currently Deputy PGM in the Mark and District Grand Master for the Royal and Select Masters.
In January 2006 it was decided to leave Burdon Road and to move to our present hall at North Road, Seaham.
At our consecration in 1914 we became the second Chapter meeting in Durham and we hope to continue from strength to strength together with the other 20 Chapters in the District.