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Bicentenary Celebration


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A Provincial Chapter Deputation lead by the Deputy Grand Superintendent, Michael Stewart Shaw, attended Chapter De Lambton No 94 for a very special meeting at Queen Street Masonic Hall, to mark their Bicentenary. Accompanying Michael was Paul Anthony Lee Hopper the Second Provincial Grand Principal, Dr Rakesh Bhalla the Third Provincial Grand Principal and representing the Craft the Assistant Grand Master Gordon Brewis.


The Deputation paraded in under the new guidelines from United Grand Lodge of England wearing masks. After Michael, Paul and Rakesh had taken their respective chairs, Chapter de Lambton was then placed back in the capable arms of Martin Rutter to conduct the rest of the evenings business. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the, celebration of Chapter De Lambton’s 200th Anniversary, was taking place some considerable time after the correct Anniversary date of the 20th May 2020. Although this may appear to be a unique disruption to Regular Meetings, it is not the first time a special event has been disturbed in the history of this Chapter. During WWII and as a result of the bombing raids on the town of Sunderland resulting in damage to the hall, the 125th Anniversary was re-arranged and held on the 18th September 1945.


Andrew Knapper, Raine Gregson and Robert Hardman then gave an in-depth presentation of the history of Chapter De Lambton, covering key moments throughout their 200 years. Notably it was shortly after the Napoleonic Wars, brethren of Pheonix Lodge decided to resuscitate Royal Arch Masonry in their beloved Hall at Queen Street East. The name – Chapter de Lambton chosen to honour the memory of John George Lambton, M.P. who was the Grand Superintendent for the Province of Durham. The Chapter, original Number of 146, is known to have held its meetings at the Pheonix Hall from 1797. It was not until nine years later that the Chapter was awarded a Warrant and eventually Constituted on the 20th May 1820.


After the Chapter was closed everyone retired to the festive board where every place setting had a copy of a booklet accompanying the history lecture which had been received in the lodge room. After a hearty meal, Michael Shaw replied to his own toast thanking the companions for their excellent celebratory evening and allowing himself and the Deputation to be a part of the occasion.

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