The history behind Chapter of Hope No 2679
The first meeting to consider the formation of a Royal Arch Chapter was held in Barton Road, Patricroft on 1 August, 1917. This was followed by a meeting held on 1 October, 1917 at which several financial matters were agreed:
The exaltation fee would be three guineas (£3.15). The joining fee would be one guinea (£1.05). The annual subscription would be one guinea (£1.30) and there would be a founder’s fee of 10 guineas (£10.50).
It was also agreed that the three principals would be: E J Chambers, W L C Bowden and S Cowan as first, second and third respectively.
At the meeting of Supreme Grand Chapter held on 6 February, 1918, the petition for the Chapter of Hope No 2679 was granted. It was confirmed the chapter would meet at the Masonic rooms, Barton Road, Patricroft on the second Friday in February, April, October and December.
The Lodge of Hope No 2679 approached the new chapter, offering furniture that they may have wished to use in the new chapter. The consecration of the Chapter of Hope No 2679 took place at the Masonic rooms, Barton Road, Patricroft, at 3:30 pm on Saturday 28 September, 1918. The consecrating principal was the Grand Superintendent Hon. Sir Arthur Stanley, GBE, CB, MVO, MP. The founder members came from Victoria Chapter No 1345 and Urmston Chapter No 1730.
The chapter met in a room at the Conservative Club, Barton Road until 8 December 1939, when the 20th installation after the consecration was held at Elm Bank, Half Edge Lane, Eccles and has been held there ever since.
It would be wrong to say the chapter had not passed through troublesome times. There was a period in which there were a large number of resignations but the records do not give any reasons why. During 1964 the chapter suffered a very severe loss of its members due to the deaths of companions, J W Hooley, E W Bromley, T Smith and S Pimblett, all of whom had been very active workers to the benefit of the chapter.
The 50th anniversary meeting of the chapter was held on Friday 11 October 1968 at Elm Bank and was attended by several members of Provincial Grand Chapter.
From this time on, the chapter had a constant supply of candidates for exaltation, indeed many of the convocations were double ceremonies. The first convocation, (apart from installation meetings), which did not have the exaltation of at least one candidate was not until April 1972. During this period, on 9 October 1970 its longest serving companion, Brian Crossley was exalted.
On 26 April 1974, after a short sequence of convocations with no candidates, John Christopher Hutton received his exaltation into the chapter.
During the convocation held on the 9 October 1981, it was proposed and passed that Joe Hall be granted honorary membership of the chapter in recognition of his 50th year in Freemasonry as well as his role as the then group chairman.
The chapter received a dispensation for the April 2006 convocation to be convened on 5 May 2006 for the dedication of the new robes for the three principals. This was carried out by Rev Kenneth Cox accompanied by John C Hutton, Assistant to the Three Provincial Grand Principals and other grand officers.
At the installation convocation on 14 December 2007, along with a ballot for a candidate for exaltation, four members of Andrew Chapter No 3328 joined, following the recent handing-in of its warrant.
The convocation held on 12 April 2013 saw the chapter host representatives of the Royal College of Surgeons who gave an insight into the research work which was being funded largely by grants from The Royal Arch. This convocation was attended by 45 visiting companions.
On 9 October 2015 the chapter gave a demonstration of the enhanced exaltation ceremony, and at the February 2016 convocation, L Heathcote (the father of the chapter’s second principal) became the first candidate to receive this enhanced and explained version of the ceremony. With the increase in numbers of candidates, an emergency meeting was held in November of that year, rather than the practice in the early days of the chapter of performing joint exaltations.
The convocation held on Friday 13 October 2017 dedicated the banner which the chapter had commissioned to mark its centenary. This was attended by Paul Renton, Deputy Grand Superintendent and the dedication carried out by Barry Jameson, Second Provincial Grand Principal.
The convocation held on Friday 8 December 2017 was the installation of Harry Cropper as first principal of the chapter for its centenary year.
Since its dedication, the chapter has had a total of 304 members, including its founders and has a current membership of 23 active members. Over the past 99 years the chapter has had members exalted into the chapter from 60 lodges and had joining members from nine chapters. Six members have been promoted to the rank of grand officer and one became the Second Provincial Grand Principal. There have been 72 Provincial appointments.