An historic Masonic ceremony last performed in the “West Riding” more than a century ago was revived on Sunday (24 September 2017) in one of Yorkshire’s oldest churches this Sunday.
The laying of a commemorative flagstone within Ripon Cathedral – to mark the Tercentenary of the first United Grand Lodge of England and financial support given by Freemasons towards the building’s ongoing restoration work – it formed an integral part of the Freemasons Province of Yorkshire West Riding’s annual Service of Thanksgiving.
More than 500 Freemasons and their partners joined on the day by the Assistant Grand Master, Sir David Wootton, the Lord Lieutenants of North, South and West Yorkshire, together with Civic Dignitaries from throughout the Province.
The flagstone – was laid in the North Transept by the Provincial Grand Master, assisted by his Deputy and the Provincial Wardens, in accordance with ancient Masonic ceremony – has been engraved with the legend “The Province of Yorkshire West Riding and the Masonic Charitable Foundation supported restoration work in the Cathedral to mark 300 years of Freemasonry 1717-2017”.
The carving and engraving has been carried out by Colin Rickard and Wayne Denny, in the stonemasons’ yard adjacent to the cathedral.
The pair have spent the last year repairing and replacing worn out and damaged flagstones within the cathedral paid for by two grants totalling £12,500 – £7,500 from West Riding Masonic Charities Ltd, and a second, of £5,000, from the Masonic Charitable Foundation.
Rt W Bro David S Pratt, The Provincial Grandmaster of the Province of Yorkshire West Riding, said:
This was a significant event in the history of the Province, as it is the first time in 127 years that such a ceremony has taken place.
“On that occasion, the Provincial Grand Master laid the foundation stone of the North Aisle of Mexborough Church on 24 July 1890.
What was once a common practice during the construction of many buildings is now rarely performed. It is wonderful that Ripon Cathedral is affording us the honour of conducting what will be a once-in-a-life-time ceremony.
We are also delighted that Sir David Wooton and dignitaries from across our Province will be joining us on the day for this multi-faith service.
Further information about the Province of Yorkshire West Riding is available from its website, http://wrprovince.net/