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New Banner Dedication at Rowland Burdon Royal Arch Chapter


June 2017

New Banner Dedications are rare events in Masonry and to mark this special evening in the Rowland Burdon Chapter, the Third Provincial Grand Principal EComp Michael Stuart Shaw, accompanied by his Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, Bill Crutchley, joined the Rowland Burdon companions in Castle Eden on a rainy evening, in late June.

The symbolism of banners isn’t lost in Masonry, in particular in the Royal Arch, as banners were used as far back as the Old Testament during the time of Moses (1300BC). Banners helped keep order among the people as they travelled across the desert to the Promised Land.  Although some were made of heavily adorned materials, others were simply long wooden poles topped with ornaments.  The term Banner is derived from the French “bannière”.

Once the Chapter had been opened, the first business of the evening was to Invest and Install Brian Mottram as the Chapter Second Principal. The next business of the evening was to Exalt Colin Hoyland.  The ceremony was carried out in an excellent manner and enjoyed by the Second Grand Principal Gordon Brewis and Andrew Moule, the Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals who were visiting in an unofficial capacity, as well as the many visiting Companions present that evening.

The Chapter was then called off and Susan Blackett and Cheryl Reardon were warmly welcomed into the Chapter Room to witness the Banners they had produced. The sisters are better known as The Crafty Freemason in Langley Park Durham, took their seat at the front and Michael then dedicated the five Chapter Principal Banners. Describing the historical meaning of each and offering an invaluable insight to their symbolism, to companions old and new.

The new Banners were a legacy from Benjamin Patterson who was First Principal of the Chapter in 1977. He sadly died 4 years ago and left the Chapter a sum of money to replace the old Banners.  Douglass Lister the Chapter Scribe (E) then set about the difficult task of finding suitable quality Banners.

To mark this special evening Benjamin’s son-in-law Brian Cook, a Carlisle Mason and (Z) of his Chapter Wigton St John No. 327 in Cumberland & Westmorland made the journey to Castle Eden to witness the ceremony and celebrate Benjamin’s legacy to the Chapter.

Susan and Cheryl retired to the festive board as guests of honor and the Chapter was resumed.

At the Festive board in the reply to his toast, Michael thanked Brian for making the trip over from Carlisle for the evening and joining the numerous companions present on the evening. He then praised Susan and Cheryl’s magnificent quality workmanship and Doug for the work he had put into the project praising the quality of the fantastic banners that had been produced.

That drew to a close an evening that honored Benjamin Patterson and one that everyone present on the evening will long remember.

Both the Rowland Burdon Lodge No. 3960 and Chapter are named after Roland Burdon who represented the County of Durham in the House of Commons from 1790 to 1806.  He was the Mayor of Stockton for two successive years (1793-1794) and it was Burdon who was the main subscriber to the cost of building the first Wearmouth Bridge in Sunderland, having contributed £30,000 to the total cost of £34,000.  The foundation stone of the bridge was laid on the 24th September 1793 in the presence of William Henry Lambton, Esq., M.P., P.G.M., with a respectable circle of the Brethren of the Society of Free and Accepted Masons.


The bridge was opened on 9th August 1796. On that day the Freemasons, volunteers, magistrates, the principal gentlemen of the county led a vast crowd across the structure. The Duke of Gloucester assisted at the opening and it was estimated that 80,000 spectators witnessed the masonic ceremony which took place.


Burdon died on 17th September 1838 when he was 82. In that year work commenced on constructing a cut through Building Hill in order to provide access from Ryhope Road to Fawcett Street and Wearmouth Bridge. When completed the new road was named Burdon Road in honor of Rowland Burdon.


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