Anfield Lodge No 2215 was honoured to play host to the “Timeline Pageant’ played by Masons from the St. Helens and Prescot Group. The WM Douglas Holgate opened the lodge and offered the gavel to Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton who returned it with alacrity. The secretary then read out a dispensation from the Provincial Grand Master stating that Freemasons, on this occasion, would be permitted to wear their regalia in the presence of non-Masons. The minutes of the last regular meeting were confirmed, alms were collected and the lodge was then closed in due form.
This was the cue for the DC to call the ladies and guests into the lodge room which had been prepared by Tommy Lunt who had worked tirelessly to make changes to the lodge room so that extra chairs could be brought in to accommodate the 100 plus people wishing to watch the ‘Pageant’.
The pageant took the form of a ‘timeline’ depicting the evolution of the United Grand Lodge of England, showing the turbulent time between 1646 and 1813. The Woolton Group had arranged for the pageant to be staged at Anfield Lodge as part the the group’s tercentenary celebrations, having already had a weekend in London and this event was shortly to be followed by a ‘Black Tie’ dinner where again in excess of 100 people are due to attend. On this occasion, the group was also extremely pleased to welcome a group of lady Freemasons from Liverpool to witness the pageant.
There were several grand officers in attendance, including Kevin Poynton, Sam Robinson, Dave Anderton, Peter Connolly and Andy Whittle.
The pageant project started out some years ago as an idea for something to do at a meeting, when the oldest lodge in the Province, the Lodge of Loyalty No 686 had nothing to do. After some initial thoughts, the idea of the pageant was formed. Frank Davies, the most senior member of the team mentioned what he had in mind and so the pageant as we see it today was formed. At its conception, the players never expected to be invited to so many venues during the Tercentenary Year. To date, they have performed the pageant over 25 times.
The layout of the room having been adapted for the pageant and all the guests having taken their seats, it was announced that the Herald, played by Dave Burgess, was about to enter the room. The Herald read the story line from a pedestal whilst the members of the team introduced themselves as the characters being portrayed, often with much humour and audience participation.
Here is a chronological listing of how the ‘storyline’ was presented by the team.
1646 – Elias Ashmole becomes the first recorded speculative Freemason.
1717 – the first Grand Lodge was formed and Anthony Sayer becomes the first Master of the New Grand Lodge.
1723 – James Anderson has his second draft of Constitutions accepted and printed, by Grand Lodge.
1730 – Samuel Pritchard sells his copies of ‘Masonry Dissected’ all across Britain and into Europe.
1746 – Grand Lodge issues an edict banning all public processions of Masons in regalia, unless approved by the Grand Master.
1748 – Laurence Dermott arrives from Ireland.
1751 – Irish Lodges form the ‘Most Ancient Fraternity of Free and Accepted Freemasons’, according to the Old Institutions (The Antients Grand Lodge).
1752 – Laurence Dermott is appointed Secretary of the Antients Grand Lodge.
1753 – Lodge of Loyalty No 86 receives its Deputation to constitute a lodge in Prescot and so becomes the oldest lodge in our Province. Prescot and Hesketh were named after Masons!
1789 – William Preston, after being expelled from Grand Lodge twelve years earlier, was re-admitted. He sets up a legacy in his will and we know this today as the Prestonian Lectures. There are three each year, one in London and two in the Provinces.
1790 – Duke of Sussex attends Grand Lodge and demands an end to the “wretched squabbling”.
1809 – Sussex receives an update on unification
1811 – Sussex forms Lodge of Promulgation ready for unification.
1813 – The Dukes of Sussex and Kent declare that “Pure Antient Masonry consists of three degrees and no more, namely; The Entered Apprentice, the Fellowcraft and the Master Mason including the Holy Royal Arch” and they shake hands across the altar and Sussex takes his seat as the first Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England.
This concluded the presentation which had been received exceedingly well by the audience who had at times, joined in! After the players had posed for photos with the master of Anfield Lodge, grand officers and the lady Freemasons, everyone retired to the dining room to enjoy what has become a favourite at the Golf Club, a Chinese Banquet. During the evening brethren sold raffle tickets, the proceeds of which were split; half to the Pageant team and half to the Woolton Group towards their contribution to the MCF 2021 Festival. The raffle raised the magnificent sum of £475.
Story and photographs by Colin Roberts.