The New Bonds of Friendship

The New Bonds of Friendship Created
with Northumberland and Durham District

More Pictures in Gallery Here….

In anticipation of attending the Order’s Centenary celebrations,  Knights Priests from District 43 assembled in Newcastle a few a days before the event with the intent of enjoying a little sight seeing and visiting other local Tabernacles.  With planning and coordination having been made through Kevin Stannard, the District Recorder for Northumberland and Durham we were set for two excellent meetings.  One North of the Tyne in Morpeth (Brinkburn T.28), the other, in Sunderland, Finchale T.3 … yes it is No.3!

On the Thursday, Knights Priests were still travelling in from Germany and London.  The later having attended the meeting of the Great Priory of England the day before. With a nine seater VW Transporter on hand, those already mustered in the North set off for an excursion to a masonic regalia shop in ancient city of Durham.  Being owned by a female Freemason (Susan Blackett), the Crafty Freemason shop proved to be a real winner.  With outstanding customer care, much was bought and Susan left with a healthier bank balance. This was also an opportunity for E Kt P Ian Harper to pick up several consignments destined for those in Pilgrims No.120 as well as a set of newly made Malta banners.

The full team assembled late afternoon all dressed and ready to depart for Sunderland. With a small detour into the centre of Newcastle, at rush hour to pick up one member, proved mildly interesting !  Our reception at the Masonic Hall by members of Finchale No.3 was simply amazing being personal and very warm.  Once changed, we assembled in the Temple to be treated to a sublime example of a Proclamation of a High Priest by VII Kt P Garry Taylor.   Following the ceremony we all assembled expectantly for what would be a typical full bodied but incredibly delicious meal with our newly found friends and Brother Knights Priests.  With speeches having been made, it was time to trot off back to the hotel for a well earned schlafen.

Assembling on Friday morning in a brisk cool breeze, the team set off into the interior and more remote parts of Northumberland to visit the historic site of a Roman cavalry fort called Vanderlande (White Fields), situated just south of Hadrian’s wall.   Approach was made from the south and being high on a hill side gave us a unique view of the size and scale of the site. We all agreed … awe inspiring.  With the terrain being very steep, we started the visit by attending the caffe to contemplate the day.  Drinks finished, we all trooped off to the onsite museum to be astounded by the range, number and quality of artifacts on display.  Roman craftsmanship in leather, metal and glass left us all stunned.  The big event was now calling and we all set off to admire and be immersed in the history and complexity of the site, walking amongst the ruins of the fort built in AD 85.  Pausing for photos, we also had chance to talk to the head of the archaeological dig, a PhD student from the USA who gave a deep insight to the complexity of life at the fort two millennia ago.

Friday was fast closing and the call to attend the KTP meeting in Morpeth beckoned.  Following a short hop up the Great North Road we all arrived at Morpeth Masonic Lodge, the home to Brinkburn Tabernacle No.28.  The night was of great interest as the candidate, the Ruling Provincial Grandmaster, Ian Graigs was to be admitted to the Order.  It was suggested in conversation, the reason he had eventually acceded to join the Order was due the numbers of Knights Priests visiting from Germany. 

The ceremony from the outset, was conducted in great style with ritual being delivered by rote with great elegance. With the candidate invested with his mantle and the symbolism of the degree explained, the meeting,  came to wonderful close.  Moving to the banquet hall, we were all treated to a white cloth three course festive board followed by cheese.  The quality of the food was excellent and companionship even better. All too soon, the evening was over.  However, the lively and vibrant conversation in the bus on the way back to hotel all pointed one way, we must do this again.  The District Superintendent was moved to say, “These have been some of the best Masonic meetings I have ever been to.  I have not been made to feel so welcome as I have in Northumberland for many, many years.  I would like us to set this in our diary to revisit next year.  These last few days with such enjoyable meetings have been truly inspiring and delightful”.