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Protocol and Etiquette

Which tie should I wear to Masonic meetings?

The common tie that is correct and acceptable for all meetings for both Craft and Chapter is the plain black tie. The Provincial Merchandising team have included in the new range a plain black tie which includes a masonic shadow motif and is shown on the right of the above photograph.

United Grand Lodge Tie

Universities Lodge No. 2352

Spirit of Rugby Lodge No. 9910

Anglers Lodge No. 100049

The Merchandising team have launched a full range of ties and other items which will be available for purchase at the Provincial Meeting. After the Provincial meeting they will then be available via the web shop on the Provincial website. They can be purchased by cash although card is preferred.

The range of extends to polyester, silk and clip on ties with pocket squares, lapel badges (for use when not on official Provincial business) and cufflinks. Further items will become available soon.

It is 24 years since the last tie change happened so why not embrace our new design?

Andrew P.F. Foster

Assistant Provincial Grand Master

June 2024

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Grand Rank Conferred

Brethren Appointed and Invested in Grand Rank

Thursday 25th April saw the turn of of our Durham Companions who were to receive First Appointments to and Promotions in Supreme Grand Chapter congregate within the hallowed halls of Great Queen Street, the day began for most with an early train journey from the Northeast to the capital in support of friends and colleagues to appointed and Invested on this occasion by The Most Excellent Pro First Grand Principal Jonathan Spence, which again was undertaken with the Grand Temple at maximum occupancy.

Following the investitures the Appointees supported by the Provincial Grand Master and members of the Executive retired to enjoy a sumptuous banquet at the historic London Guildhall in the Moorgate area of the City, central to the City’s development since the Romans founded Londinium 2000 years ago. Originally the site of London’s amphitheatre to enjoy (built AD 70), 

Brethren relaxing at the Guildhall Banquet Click Here

Craft Flickr Images to be added soon

We congratulate them on their preferment and wish them the best of health and happiness to enjoy and perform their new duties.

Appointed to Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies

David John Atkinson–Norman Lodge No 1134

To Read more about David click here

Appointed to Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies

Roderick Andrew Scott– Quest Lodge No7102

To Read more about Rod click here

Appointed to Past Grand Standard Bearer

David Dorwood – The Lodge of Concord No6859

To Read more about David click here

Promoted to Senior Grand Deacon

Dr Rakesh Bhalla – Mowbray Lodge No5373

To Read more about Rak click here

Promoted to Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies

Martin Rankin – Eslington Lodge No4623

To Read more about Martin click here

Promoted to Past Grand Sword Bearer

John David Watts – St Aidan Lodge No4080

To read more about John click here

Promoted to Past Grand Junior Deacon

Thomas Fred Gittins – Tees Lodge No 509

To read more about Tom click here

Thursday 25th April saw the turn of our Durham Companions who were to receive First Appointments to and Promotions in Supreme Grand Chapter congregate within the hallowed halls of Great Queen Street, the day began for most with an early train journey from the Northeast to the capital in support of friends and colleagues to appointed and Invested on this occasion by The Most Excellent Pro First Grand Principal Jonathan Spence, which again was undertaken with the Grand Temple at maximum occupancy.

Following the investitures the Appointees supported by The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent and members of the Executive retired to celebrate at the adjacent Grand Connaught Rooms, one of the most unique and prestigious banqueting halls in in the City, named the Connaught Rooms after the Grand Master, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn.

We congratulate them on their preferment and wish them the best of health and happiness to enjoy and perform their new duties.

Find out more about the Royal Arch ⬇️

Chapter Flickr Images to be added soon

Stronger Together

Appointed to Past Grand Standard Bearer

Stewart Kunzmann Bell Willington Chapter No. 4028

To Read more about Stewart click here

Appointed to Past Grand Standard Bearer

Nigel Fallow – Rowland Burdon Chapter No 3960

To Read more about Nigel click here

Appointed to Past Grand Standard Bearer

Peter Garland Wilkie – City Chapter No. 3568

To Read more about Peter click here

Appointed to Past Assistant Grand Grand Soj

Stan Fitches MBE – Lambton Chapter No. 375

To Read more about Stan click here

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Grand Rank Appointments 2024 | Durham Freemasons

The Provincial Grand Master/Grand Superintendent is pleased to announce that the Grand Master/First Grand Principal has been pleased to appoint to and promote in Grand Rank a number of Durham members, These ranks will become effective at the April 2024 meetings of UGLE and the Annual Investitures of Grand Officers to be held on the Wednesday 24th and 25th April, at Freemasons’ Hall in London.

We are extremely proud of all of them all and look forward to seeing them adorned in their new regalia and insignia when they return to our Lodges and Chapters.

Billingham Masonic Hall

Receiving First Appointments

David John ATKINSON         – PAGDC

Roderick Andrew SCOTT     – PAGDC

David DORWARD     – PGStB

Promoted to Past Grand Sword Bearer:

John David WATTS         – PGSwdB

Promoted to Senior Grand Deacon:

Dr Rakesh BHALLA     – SGD

Promoted to Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies

Martin RANKIN     – AGDC

Promoted to Past Junior Grand Deacon:

Thomas Fred GITTINS     – PJGD

Hearl Roger LENTON  (nominated by YWR) – PJGD

Receiving First Appointments:

Stewart Kunzmann BELL      – PGStB

Nigel FALLOW               – PGStB

Peter Garland WILKIE           – PGStB

Promoted to Past Assistant Grand Sojourner:

Stanley FITCHES, MBE        – PAGSoj

We congratulate them all on their respective preferment in recognition of their commitment and dedication to Freemasonry and wish them the best of health and happiness………….to continue to enjoy their Freemasonry.


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Dragons Den – Durham Freemasons in Association with Princes Trust

Provincial Crest

Hundreds of young people looking to build new skills will be given a push in the right direction thanks to a £75,000 grant from Durham Freemasons.

The Norman Jackson Bequest fund has committed a massive £50,000 to support community projects delivered across the region by youngsters taking part in The Prince’s Trust’s Team programme, with a further £25,000 donated to the work of the national charity.

“To commemorate Prince Charles turning 75, in his coronation year, we wanted to give a significant grant to a charity or charities connected to the King,” said John Watts, Deputy Provincial Grand Master with Durham Freemasons.

“When we heard about the projects being carried out locally across our province area by those undertaking The Prince’s Trust Team programme, it seemed the perfect fit.”

The 12-week personal development course offers young people, aged 16 to 25, the chance to develop new skills by taking part in a variety of activities and tasks, including a two-week community project.

By working together, with a focus on helping others, Team members brush up on essential skills such as teamwork, confidence and leadership.

Prince’s Trust Teams are held in 13 locations across the Durham Freemasons’ jurisdiction, three times a year, including Stockton, Darlington and Bishop Auckland Teams, delivered by Education Training Collective (Etc.).  The grant will now fund community projects for all 13 Teams for the next two years. 

Volunteers from the Freemasons also committed their time and expertise to act as “dragons” for the young people as they pitch for funding in “Dragons’ Den” style presentations.

With the first round of projects off the ground, the Etc. Prince’s Trust Stockton Team created a play area in the garden at Thornaby Methodist Church.  Stockton Team leader, Sarah Sherriff, said: “It was a big job as the area was so overgrown, but it made a big difference to the church and the community groups that use it.”

Successfully pitching for £657 from the Durham Freemasons’ fund Sarah said: “The team were nervous at first, but they had done their research and so once they got into it, they relaxed and did really well.

“Raising funds for the community project is a struggle these days, so to have this funding helps massively and for the young people it helps with their confidence and public speaking, which is great experience.”

Team member Tamzin Walder, 23, from Stockton, said: “We were so grateful for the support we received.  To see the finished garden and the amount of work we had put in as a team was breath-taking.”

Other Team projects delivered so far include masonry work carried out on the playground at Timothy Hackworth Primary School in Shildon, a refresh of the sensory room for New Steps Care in the Community in Chester-le-Street, redecorating the Tanfield Football Club changing rooms, and building goat pens and chicken coops at Bill Quay Farm in South Shields.

The Etc’s Head of Department for The Prince’s Trust, Gillian Hutchinson, said: “This funding will make a huge difference to Teams delivered across the wider area.  Having financial backing means our young people can make a real difference to their communities. But, beyond that, to have Durham Freemasons engaging with our Team members, through the Dragons’ Den presentations, listening to their plans and offering advice and support, is invaluable.”

The Freemasons’ Deputy Provincial Grand Master, John, said: “What we have experienced so far in our first round of funding is wonderful.  Not only do we get to support a great charity, but we get to see and engage with the young people involved firsthand, and then the projects they deliver benefit the wider community.

“It has been amazing to see the excitement of the young people as they successfully pitch their community projects to us, and then, coming back to see the projects complete, we can see the change in the young people with the growth of their self-belief and self-confidence.

“Some of our members have come back from the “Dragons’ Den” presentations and said, this is one of the most meaningful things they have been able to do as Freemasons.”

Durham Masonic Charitable Foundation contacted Prince’s Trust delivery staff in the North-East with a desire to support the charity and mark the King’s Coronation year. King Charles III established the Prince’s Trust in 1976 with a desire to support young people from all backgrounds. 2023 also marked the King’s 75th birthday.

During a meeting with members of Durham Benevolence at the Prince’s Trust, Cheryl’s Trust Centre we discussed some very practical funding support which the foundation could provide to Prince’s Trust Teams in their catchment area. – The Dragon’s Den Funding for Community Projects on Team Programme.

The Masonic Charitable Foundation were kind enough to donate a total of £75,000 to the work of the Prince’s Trust in this, the Coronation year! This is comprised of a £25,000 donation to the Prince’s Trust Charity and a further £50,000 to be used over 2 years for the support of community projects that young people across the region will deliver as part of their Team programme.

The members of Durham Freemasons have become our new Dragons – meeting young people, supporting their project plans and funding the delivery of worthwhile projects across the region.

Stronger Together

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A Wonderful Evening Spent Celebrating Denny’s 50 years | Durham Freemasons

The Provincial Grand Master, John Paul Thompson along with the Deputy Provincial Master, Michael Graham, two Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, Andrew Moule and John Watts, along with a Provincial Deputation attended Palatine Lodge at Wearside Masonic Hall in Sunderland.

The reason for this visit was to ‘Mark’ a very special occasion for 50 years of Freemasonry for Denovan “Denny” Keith Wilson.

To help celebrate his achievement, many distinguished brethren, heads of Orders, friends and in addition for the Mark, the Deputy Grand Master, Francis Spencer attented. With 130 in the Lodge room, additional seats were required to accommodate the huge numbers for the evening.

After the Lodge being opened, Denny gave an illustrated talk on Palatines’ Lodge Warrant, which is the first ever issued by Premier Grand Lodge, and by extension the United Grand Lodge of England, being dated 14th January 1757.

It was then the turn for the most important part of the evening, two chairs were sited just in front of the pedestal in a ‘Parkinson’ style layout. John Thompson then discussed Denny’s 50 years of membership with him, after which the Deputy Provincial Secretary, Mike Davies was then called to read out the long service award.

After the Lodge was closed and the Deputation had paraded out, over 100 brethren then retired for to dine. They were greeted by a string quartet playing throughout, an excellent five course meal and a huge raffle to benefit the charity of Denny Wilson’s choice. This was certainly going to be a night to remember.

John Thompson responded to his toast, again by thanking Denny for his 50 years service to this Province and highlighting the importance of the connection between Craft and Mark freemasonry.

A thoughtful and insightful response from Denny in his reply to his toast so typical of him, given in a most eloquent way. ‘’Thank you to all at Palatine Lodge and Province for making the arrangements for what turned out to be a great night for all and one that will linger in our memories’’.

In addition to a unique presentation of the Lodge number in pounds for Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham charity. The Chairman of Durham Benevolence and Durham 2029 MBF Festival, John Watts, was very grateful when each benefited 50% of the over £500 raised by the raffle that evening.

Such a wonderful occasion to celebrate 50 years of service to Craft Freemasonry, for a true and respected gentleman that is “Denny” Keith Wilson.

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New Learning and Development Initiative | Durham Freemasons

The Provincial Grand Master is pleased to announce the launch of a new Learning and Development initiative.

David Hay, the Provincial Learning and Development Officer, together with David Frew, Head of Learning and Development for the Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge, have worked closely to provide a series of masonic “Nuggets”, sometimes known as “Solomon Shorts”. These are short but fascinating pieces of masonic information which can be inserted into a ceremony easily to entertain and inform Brethren, without detriment to the length or quality of ritual.

When delivered properly, they always prove to be a genuine enhancement to a masonic evening. Each “Nugget” is derived from UGLE’s Solomon, can be printed on simple cue-cards, and each takes about a minute to deliver.

For example, have you ever wondered what the four tassels at the corners of a lodge floor or carpet mean? Do you know why a Candidate strikes the shoulder of the Wardens before the Wardens speak during the initiation ceremony?

A team of Provincial Grand Stewards, under the direction of David Frew, has been formed to deliver these “Nuggets” on request by lodges. In due course, it is hoped and intended that new members will wish to deliver them on their own within their own lodges, thereby encouraging their engagement, building their confidence , and enlarging the scope of their masonic knowledge.

If you would like to learn more about this new initiative, or to invite one of the Provincial Stewards to come to your lodge to deliver some “Nuggets”

Please contact: David Frew, Provincial Grand Steward at


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The Ceremony of the Veils | Durham Freemasons

On 8 th March 2023 Norman Royal Arch Chapter hosted a presentation of ‘The Ceremony of the Veils’. The lodge members, along with 51 guests packed the Temple in Durham Masonic Hall to be intrigued and enthralled by the presentation of this ancient ceremony by The Provincial Grand Chapter of Durham and the Companions of Norman Chapter.

Following a review by Supreme Grand Chapter back in 1834, this ancient ceremony was stopped and is seldom seen in English Chapters. Therefore consequently, it is no longer regularly practiced outside the Province of Bristol. The Ceremony of the Veils used to be a preliminary to the Exaltation and an integral part of the Royal Arch ceremony but can now only be practiced annually by a Province.

Michael Shaw and David Hanson led the evening and were accompanied by The Deputy Grand Superintendent of Yorkshire North and East Ridings Patrick Gambage.

The ceremony performed on the evening is very much part of the Royal Arch system in Ireland, the United States of America and in Scotland where it is known as the Excellent Master Degree. Early descriptions state that the ceremony took place in a room adjacent to the Chapter Room to seek admission.

At the time that the passing the Veils ceremony was in use in England the qualification for admission to the Royal Arch was that of being an Installed Master in the Craft. At the beginning of the ceremony the 4 veils are closed, and the candidate is challenged, between veils, before the opening of the next veil for a masonic sign and password. If successful, the candidate progresses through the first 3 Veils with the Principal Sojourner and is shown various artifacts on the way. During the progression, portions of holy scripture are read aloud by the Chapter Reader. In this ceremony, the final white veil is drawn back to reveal to the success full candidate the Chapter room as we would expect it to be today.

At the festive board Michael Shaw informed those present that he hopes The Province of Durham will be able to perform this interesting Ceremony again soon.

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Durham Commemorating The 1723 Constitutions | Durham Freemasons

Durham Freemasons enjoy  fantastic day at the United Grand Lodge of England  Especial meeting to commemorate the Tercentenary of the ‘Andersons Constitutions,’  published in 1723.

The 1723 Constitutions are a radical statement of Enlightenment-era beliefs.

At the meeting, a video was shown to the 1600 attendees, depicting a re-enactment of the events 300 years a leading to the publication of our  1723 Constitutions.

Watch the video on the UGLE YouTube channel here:

Dr Ric Berman then gave a presentation on the importance of the 1723 constitutions, followed by as a quite inspirational oration from W Bro Akram R. Elias  Provincial Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, and Prestonian Lecturer 2023 whose paper is entitled:

‘The 1723 Constitutions: The Indispensable Trowel; Cementing America’s Foundations’.

To Learn more about the 1723 Constitutions go to the dedicated Webpage here:

#InventingTheFuture #Freemasons #18thCentury #BritishHistory #FreeMuseumLondon #Freedom #Durhamfreemasons #Strongertogether

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University Scheme in Full Swing | Durham Freemasons

The Assistant Provincial Grand Master Clinton Leeks paid a visit to Porta Episcopi Lodge in Freemasons Hall, Great Queen Street, London just before Christmas last year to witness an incredibly special event, 3” alumni” of Universities Lodge in the province of Durham were installed/invested as the 3 principal officers of the Lodge.

Louis Richardson who was initiated into Universities Lodge in 2013 was installed as the Master. Louis then invested Andrew Lloyd, initiated in 2014 as his Senior Warden and George Jackson, initiated in 2017 as his Junior Warden. All 3 were former University of Durham students and are a testament to the success of the scheme, set up by the United Grand Lodge of England.

This is a terrific example of how University students who participate in the scheme can continue their masonic journey in the future and at a new location, retaining interest and the connections made during their studies.

The photos show Louis, Andrew, and George in one, and Louis with his grandfather in the other.

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The Ugle Strategy 2022 and Beyond. | Durham Freemasons

The Quarterly Communication in December was the launch of the UGLE strategy 2022 and beyond. The Pro Grand Master Jonathan Spence pleased explained it has been something of a journey for the Strategy Working Group in formulating and designing the Strategy for Freemasonry, 2022 and beyond. Its purpose is clear: to ensure that Freemasonry under the United Grand Lodge of England continues to thrive and to strengthen it for the future.

This journey has not been one undertaken by the Strategy Working Group in isolation. There have been presentations to all Metropolitan, District and Provincial Grand Masters and Grand Superintendents and we have benefitted from their advice and recommendations, many of which have been incorporated into the strategy being launched today.

Our Very own ProvGM John Thompson was invited to take part in a panel discussion and his comments and that of the fellow contributors can been see Here:

John Commented “ We all want our organisation to thrive especially here in Durham, our Executive will be launching our regional strategy in the coming weeks”.

The pro Grand Master full address is here

Pro Grand Master’s address – Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge – December 2022 | United Grand Lodge of England (

Photo left to right: Adrian March ( Grand Secretary ) Henry Cunnington,  Ben Gait, Brody Swain, John Paul Thompson.

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