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The Neleus Royal Arch Chapter No. 3062

The Neleus Royal Arch Chapter No. 3062 was conceived in the winter of 1914, from members and friends of the Neleus Lodge No. 3062 who were also Royal Arch Freemasons. The Neleus Lodge, the sponsoring lodge, had been formed just ten years earlier in the year 1904, from a small group of Freemasons who were part of a “London Set” social rowing club.

However, to trace the origins of the Neleus Lodge, one must go back still further in time to the year 1850, when a Mr. John Rorke and a few friends who were connected to the Royal Polytechnic Institution, located in London’s Regents Street, formed the “Neleus Rowing Club”, who’s first home was at Searles Boat Yard, Bishop’s Walk, Lambeth. Searles Boat Yard, was shared with a number of rowing clubs including the now famous Henley based Leander Club.

As the year 1904 approached a number of the members of the Neleus Rowing Club who were also members of the Craft concurred in the idea to celebrate the Rowing Club’s first fifty years by forming a new Masonic Lodge which would add to the enjoyment of their rowing activities with meetings to be held in the summer months at the river resort of Datchet. The Secretary of the Club, Bro Herbert Langridge became the first Secretary of the Neleus Lodge and in 1915 was one of the prime movers for the formation of the Neleus Chapter.

The consecration of the Chapter in July 1915 was in the very centre of London with the First World War eleven month old, however, the confidence in the outcome of the war that Great Britain, Ireland and the Empire would triumph was strong.

The Principal Officers were MEZ – E.Comp Rev Charles Edmund Roberts, MA, PGSoj, H – E.Comp H E Langridge, ProvGReg, J – E.Comp P E Mallory, PPGSN, Scribe E – Comp A T Burgess, Scribe N – E.Comp S W Rodgers and Treasurer – Comp J V Hill; there were a further twelve founders. The consecration ceremony was performed by the ME Grand Superintendent of Buckinghamshire, The Very Rev. John Studholme Brownrigg, assisted by E.Comp G H Charsley, ProvGH, E.Comp Col. W H Bull, PGSwdB, ProvGJ, E.Comp J D Carter, ProvGSE,  E.Comp Col. J Ausin Carpenter, PGSwdB, ProvGSN,  E.Comp J Everall, ProvGDC and  E.Comp J J Simcox, PAGDC, ProvGSoj.

The following six brethren were proposed for Exaltation at the first regular convocation of the Chapter: – William H. Smith, a Master Builder of the Mozart Lodge No. 1929 (Surrey), Earnest W. Little, a Naturalist of the Warrant Officers Lodge No. 2346, Rowland J. Mulliss, a Schoolmaster of Cannon Lodge No. 1539 (London), William E. Rich, a Schoolmaster of the Gladsmuir Lodge No. 1385 (Herts), Thomas A. William O’Flynn, a Principal of School for Gymnastics of the Neleus Lodge No. 3062 and Alfred Bailey, a Secretary to a Registered Company also of the Neleus Lodge No. 3062.

The early regular convocation of the Chapter were held at the Anglers’ Rest, Wraysbury, with Installation meetings being held at the Imperial Restaurant, Regent Street, London. From 1917 to 1920 Neleus Lodge and Neleus Chapter held their summer meetings of April, June and July on the same Saturday and then dined together at the Anglers’ Rest Hotel, Wraysbury. In 1923, when the Landlord of the Anglers Rest Hotel had closed the premises against any Masonic meeting being held there, the Chapter moved its convocations to the Masonic Hall, Church Street, Slough.

During these early years each First Principal of the Chapter was presented with gold and enamel PZ Jewel together with an engraved silver loving cup, with a combined total cost of over a thousand pounds in today’s money!

The regular convocation scheduled to be held at Slough on Saturday 7th of September 1939 (4 days after the declaration of war) had to be cancelled owing to the National Crises caused by the war with the Nazi hierarchy.  The Neleus Chapter convocation due to be held in February 1940 was also cancelled. There were insurmountable difficulties, with many Companions on some form of National Service, difficulties in transport and the blackout.

 The question of the desirability to continue to meet during the Great National Crises was left to the judgment of the MEZ and the Scribe E. Due to the difficulties in obtaining metals the custom of presenting a PZ Jewel and silver loving cup to the MEZ on completion of his year in office ceased and it was agreed some token of a different character take its place.

During the period 1940 to 1949 the membership of the Chapter fell from 44 in 1940 to 34 by 1949.

From November 1963 Neleus Chapter held its convocations at the Masonic Hall, Misbourne Restaurant,  Gerrards Cross until that of 3rd April 1982 when it was announced that the Chapter had during March that year, along with other Masonic units meeting at the Misbourne Restaurant, received notice terminating Masonic facilities by the new owners, effective from the 4th April 1982 (the next day!). It was proposed and agreed that E.Comp Barry Pipe take charge of the Chapter box and equipment and to move to a place of safety as it was not then known where the next convocation of the Chapter would be held.

From June 1982 until June 1985 meetings were held by Provincial dispensation at The Masonic Centre, Slough. In March 1984 the Chapter received correspondence from the ‘Steering Committee’ confirming the location of a new venue – the Old School House, Beaconsfield. A 21year lease had been applied for and no huge capital loan was envisaged as the property was not being purchased. However, due to dilapidation of the premises it was found necessary to spend approximately £50,000 over the first three year. Of this sum approximately £30,000 was be required to get the premises usuable with Lodges and Chapters arranging to dine out after meetings.

In June 1985, for the first time in its history, the Chapter held a convocation to dedicate a Banner; which ceremony was most eloquently carried out by the ME Grand Superintendent, Dr Richard Neale.

June 2012 saw the return of a loving cup to the Chapter which had been presented by the Neleus Chapter in 1916 to Rev Charles E Roberts, the first MEZ of the Chapter.

The Neleus Chapter celebrated its first one hundred years at the Beaconsfield Masonic Centre on the Saturday 4th July 2015 with ME Grand Superintended and more than eighty companions in attendance.

The total membership in 2018 is 20.

Neleus Chapter Saturday 4th July 2015