Supreme Order of The Holy Royal Arch

Yenton Chapter No. 3484

A Short History 

Yenton Holy Royal Arch Chapter No. 3484 on the Register of Supreme Grand Chapter of England, sprang into life at its Consecration on the 27th February 1919.

The ceremony was conducted by the M. E. Grand Superintendent for Warwickshire, E. Comp. The Rev. Canon C. W. Barnard, the Second Provincial Grand Principal, E. Comp. B. Hunn and the Third Provincial Grand Principal, E. Comp. C. J. Fowler.

E. Comp. M. H. Clarke was Installed as Zerubbabel, E. Comp. F. G. Whittall as Haggai and E. Comp. F. H. Eaton as Joshua. The Chapter was founded under the sponsorship of Yenton Lodge No. 3484 which itself had been Consecrated on the 24th January 1911.

The 22 Founders who paid six guineas each for the ‘privilege’, were drawn from Yenton Lodge and other Lodges in the area and the Consecration meeting was held at the same venue as the Yenton Lodge meetings – The Church House, High Street, Erdington – and continued to meet there until moving to the Yenton Masonic Hall (now named the Yenton Masonic Centre) in 1923 and where it has met ever since.

The first year proved to be very busy, with an Emergency meeting held on the 26th March 1919, at which the Banner was Dedicated and a ballot was held for the Exaltation of Bro. William Littler to enable him to become the Chapter Janitor!

That busy first year saw the Exaltation of no less than twelve Candidates (would that we could emulate that today!) who paid three guineas each in Exaltation fees. A further £102 10s 6d was collected in donations towards the purchase of regalia and furniture – in all £173 13s 1d was spent on their purchase, some items still being in current use. Those early Exaltation ceremonies established the high standard of ritual adopted by the Chapter, particularly in presenting the Mystical, Symbolical and Historical lectures at each Exaltation ceremony, which continued – except during the war years (1939 – 1945) – until the 1050’s.

In moving to its present venue in 1923, the Chapter invested in the Hall Company with E. Comp. R. E. Boyd being elected as one of the directors of the Company. Both the Lodge and the Chapter have played leading roles in the management of the Company, laying the sound foundations for the current successful Masonic Centre.

The Second World War naturally affected all Masonic meetings and this Chapter was no exception. Meeting times and dates changed to accommodate the Blackout and travelling difficulties and a new ‘non-dining’ membership introduced to reflect food rationing constraints but we did continue to meet – and survive!

The Chapter established a ‘Chapter of Improvement’ which was sanctioned in 1960 and continues to this day, giving help and instruction, not only to Companions of this Chapter, but also to others meeting in these rooms and elsewhere.

The Chapter’s Golden Jubilee was celebrated on the 17th October 1968, which was 50 years since the grant of its Charter, rather than 50 years since its Consecration! However, the timing must have had Provincial approval as the meeting was honoured by the presence of the M. E. Grand Superintendent, E. Comp. J. R. Napier, E. Comp. W. R. Heatley, ProvH and E. Comp. A. W. M. Bates, ProvJ, the three of whom opened the Chapter meeting and they were escorted by E. Comp. E. S. Bennett. E. Comp. R. A. Bates, D. C., delivered a talk on the history of the Chapter and read the Founding Oration – on top of which, an Exaltation Ceremony was performed! 

From its Consecration in 1919, the Installation of the Principals was conducted in February, but at its April meeting in 1972, it was resolved that future Installations be held in April and the meeting dates were regularised so that the Chapter would meet on the third Thursday on April, October, December and February, with the financial year beginning in the 1st April.

The deaths of E. Comp. C. B. E. (Bertie) King in 1991 and E. Comp. W. S. (Steve) Ellson in 2001 led to the presentation of Bertie’s ‘Memorial Collar’, to be worn by the I.P.Z. (the first being in April 1991) and Steve’s R. A. Breast Jewel to be presented to the latest Yenton Companion to be appointed to Provincial Grand Rank (the first recipient being E. Comp. S. W. Fowler in 2001).

The Chapter is proud to record that many of its Companions have served the Province in senior acting Offices – starting with three of our Founders – E. Comp. M. H. Clarke, ProvGDC, E. Comp. E. G. Apps, ProvJ (Worcs.) and Comp. W. H. Phillips, ProvAGDC and many more in our first fifty years. Since that celebration in 1968, the Chapter has been privileged to have had many Companions appointed to the most senior acting Provincial Ranks: E. Comp. W. S. Ellson, PAsstGSoj, as ProvGDC, ProvJ and ProvH; E. Comp. D. C. Hobson, PAsstGSoj, as ProvJ and ProvH; E. Comp. R. D. Siddall as ProvGTreasurer; E. Comp. D. W. Old, PGSwdB, as ProvGDC, ProvJ, ProvH and DepGSupt and E. Comp. S. W. Fowler, PAsstGSoj, as ProvGDC and ProvH. In the past century, the Chapter has Exalted some 232 Companions and admitted 22 Joining members, all of whom, together with a listing of ‘Significant Events’ in the Chapter’s history, have been meticulously recorded by E. Comp. R. W. Wheale and transferred to the memory sticks which have been produced for the members.

This past century has seen Yenton Chapter play a leading role in the development of Holy Royal Arch Masonry in the north of Warwickshire Province, engaged in the management of the Yenton Assembly Rooms Company (now re-named the Yenton Masonic Centre) and continue to lead the Chapter of Improvement. Our membership has declined, as it has generally in this and other Orders/organisations, but we are determined to continue in vibrant existence and identity, pursuing all avenues of increasing our membership and supporting Holy Royal Arch Masonry in the Province of Warwickshire and Supreme Grand Chapter.

E.Comp. D.W. Old, P.G.Swd.B., P.Dep.G.Supt.I.P.Z.
E.Comp. R.W. Wheale, P.Prov.G.S.N. M.E.Z.
E.Comp. S.W. Fowler, P.Asst.G.Soj., P.Prov.G.H.H.
E.Comp. M. F. Noy J.
E.Comp. W.C.W.Kerley, P.Prov.G.Swd.B.  S.E.
E.Comp. R.B. Cook, P.Prov.G.Reg.  S.N.
E.Comp. M.A. Summers, P.Prov.G.Std.B.  Treasurer
E.Comp. D.L. Allen, P.Prov.G.Reg.  D.C.
E.Comp. R.B. Cook, P.Prov.G.Reg.  Charity Steward
Comp. S.R. Townsend  0th Asst.Soj.
E.Comp. R.R. Worth, P.Prov.G.Swd.B.  3rd Asst.Soj.
E.Comp. G.H.Lewis, P.A.G.D.C., P.Prov.G.S.N.  Asst.S.E.
E.Comp. D.R. Powell, P.Prov.G.Swd.B.  Steward