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Tees Chapter visit

21

March 2019

Tees Royal Arch Chapter No. 509 were honoured to welcome an Area Group Visit from Officers of the Provincial Grand Chapter of Durham on Thursday 14th March 2019, led by The Third Provincial Grand Principal, Paul Anthony Lee Hopper. Tees Chapter which meets at the Freemasons Hall, Wellington Street, Stockton-on-Tees is one of the oldest Royal Arch Chapters in the Province of Durham having its Warrant Granted on 1st January 1857 and was Consecrated of the 16th July 1858. In 1967 the Chapter was honoured to receive the presentation of a Centenary Warrant.

The three Principals of the Chapter opened the Chapter and after a successful ballot, Master Mason Gary Garner a member of the Lodge of Fraternity No. 1418, was Exalted into Royal Arch Masonry. The ceremony was carried out in an exemplary manner, a credit to all of the Officers who took part and an example to all who witnessed the proceedings. In the risings, good news was proclaimed with a proposal form one joining member and two Brothers for Exaltation.

Records tell us that local Freemasonry was first held in the Queens Head Tavern, Portrack, Stockton-on-Tees, and from then 113 years of recorded history inform us that Lodges were not named or numbered but known by the name of the coffee houses or inns where they met. In 1756 Masonic furnishings and paraphernalia were brought up from the Swann and Rummer Inn, London via the river Tees to the Queens Head Tavern. The total cost of these furnishings was 10 guineas. In 1773 the Lodge moved to the Black Lion being known as number 19 or 20. In 1794 another move to the Masons Court then in 1824 to the Vane Arms. It was in 1864 that the first purpose-built Masonic Hall was built in Wellington Street Stockton. This building was used by local Freemasons until 1873 when it was sold to the Borough Council and used as the towns Free Library from 1877 until 1970 when the building was demolished. In 1875 the present site in Wellington Street was purchased at a cost of £1,060 and the Masonic Hall was erected at a cost of £4,400

A fine evening was enjoyed by all present where an excellent meal was ably served by Companions of the Chapter after which the Third Provincial Grand Principal Paul Hopper in his reply thanked the hosts,  Tees Royal Arch Chapter for their hospitality, and relayed all of the relevant Provincial communications.

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