L to R:: Front Row: David H. Thompson, 2nd Provincial Grand Principal, Keith Swettenham as H, Anthony Freemont as Z, Fraser McCord as J, Donald K. Pryce, 3rd Provincial Grand Principal.

Middle Row: Henri Lyons, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, David S. Bristol (H), Edward W. Barlow (Z), Stephen F. Barritt (J), Terry Bailey as the Candidate.

Back Row: Graham Mangham, John Cavanagh, Narrator and ELRADT Team Leader, Alan Baxendale as Janitor, Denny Stevens as Scribe N,
Michael Williams as 1st Assistant Sojourner, Les Taylor as 2nd Assistant Sojourner, Kevin hall as 3rd Assistant Sojourner

On Monday 3rd December when ELRADT visited Rochdale Masonic Hall to perform the Ceremony of Passing the Veils at the East Lancashire Provincial Grand Steward’s Chapter No 8408.

The basis of the current Royal Arch ceremonies worked in England was established and agreed by Supreme Grand Chapter in 1834. There is some evidence that before the 1834 changes the ceremony of Passing the Veils was practiced as a preliminary to the Exaltation ceremony. This was particularly true in Lodges under the former Antients Grand Lodge which worked the Royal Arch within the Lodge, but there is little evidence of it being worked in Chapters under the original Excellent Grand and Royal Chapter.

Today in England the ceremony is solely authorised for use in Chapters in Bristol, but is still very much part of the Royal Arch system in other countries. The script performed by ELRADT is not the ceremony as practiced in Bristol, or anywhere else, but necessarily includes material which appears in the ceremonies worked in many places. It has been compiled from manuscripts in the Library and Museum of Freemasonry and other published sources.

The performance on 3rd December was watched by a considerable group of members of Provincial Grand Steward’s Chapter as well as by EComp David H Thompson and EComp Rev Donald K Pryce, the 2nd & 3rd Provincial Grand Principals. The team was introduced to the Chapter by EComp Ed Cheadle, the APGP for Rochdale and a Vice President of the East Lancs Royal Arch Presentation Team. After the performance the team were congratulated for providing yet another interesting and stimulating piece of work by EComp David H Thompson, the Second Provincial Grand Principal, who commented that EComp William Porter, the Deputy Grand Superintendent, would have thoroughly enjoyed this piece of work, if only he had been available to attend the meeting.