1. SANCTUARY MARK LODGE, No. 1370, meeting at the Masonic Hall, Buckfastleigh (Double Keystone Lodge) – Date of Warrant – 22nd April 1970.
  2. ROYAL ARK MARINERS UNITY LODGE, No. 783, meeting at the Masonic Hall, Crediton (Keystone Lodge) – Date of Warrant – 4th May 1972.
  3. BENEVOLENT LODGE OF ROYAL ARK MARINERS, No. 316, meeting at the Masonic Hall, Teignmouth (Triple Keystone Lodge) – Date of Warrant – 14th June 1973.
  4. ROYAL ARK MARINERS TRUE LOVE AND UNITY, No. 1159, meeting at the Masonic Lodge, Brixham (Triple Keystone Lodge) – Date of Charter – 6th September 1973.

 

On the 6th February 1967, W Bro Col Frederick Wynford Dewhurst, RM, Past Grand Sword Bearer, was installed as the Provincial Grand Master in a ceremony at Plymouth Guildhall.

He appointed R W Bro Dr Charles Wroth as his Deputy. Among those present was R W Bro Col Charles Beechy Spencer, this was to be his last public appearance, he passed to the Grand Lodge above three months later.

During his eight years as the Provincial Grand Master, R W Bro F W Dewhurst, consecrated Sanctuary Lodge of MMM’s No. 1370 and four RAM Lodges, namely Unity Lodge RAM No. 783, Crediton; Benevolent Lodge RAM No. 316, Teignmouth; True Love & Unity Lodge RAM No. 1159, Brixham and Hawton Lodge RAM No. 100, Ivybridge.

R W Bro Dewhurst presided over his first Provincial Meeting under the banner of Devon Lodge No. 215 at Torquay in September 1967.

V W Bro Souhamy, who had been the Provincial Grand Secretary for the last 21 years, resigned early in 1968 along with R W Bro Dr Charles Wroth who had been Deputy Provincial Grand Master for 14 years and V W Bro C D Nickels, PGO, who had been the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies for 24 years.

On the 28th September 1968, Provincial Grand Lodge was held under the banner of Hawton Lodge No. 100, at Devonport, Plymouth.

At this meeting, W Bro Henry Edgar Eland Holladay, BSc (Eng) was appointed as the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W Bro C O Holland as Provincial Grand Secretary and W Bro E V Dunn as the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies.

There were now more than fifty Mark and Royal Ark Mariner Lodges in the Province which entitled it to an Assistant Provincial Grand Master and to this end, on 27th January 1970, the Provincial Grand Master chose and appointed R W Bro Lt Comd C J R Souhamy, MBE, to fill the Office.

In his address to the brethren the Provincial Grand Master, in referring to the recent severe floods that had overwhelmed some villages in South Devon, made particular mention of W Bro G W Williams, the Secretary of Perseverance Lodge No. 822, who was instrumental in finding out what could be done to help those brethren who had suffered loss, each of whom received grants of £100. This was followed up by sending a report to London, a total of £800 for flood disaster was disbursed in the Sidmouth area alone.

The PGM then took the opportunity to make reference to his Personal Fund that made money available for immediate use as and when required. When people were in need of help they needed it at once, not in two or three months time.

At the Provincial Meeting held at Exeter on 27th September 1969, under the banner of the Athelstan Mark Lodge No. 958, it was reported that St. Aubyn No. 64 and St. George No. 383, Royal Ark Mariner Lodges had become Keystone Lodges, they received warm congratulations along with their Collarettes and Jewels.

The Provincial Grand Master was delighted to report that the Bishop Surtees Memorial Fund, set up to provide new Choir Stalls in Exeter Cathedral, had reached its target, the Stalls had been installed and dedicated in June.

It was also reported that a number of exploratory meetings had been held with a view to building a Residential Masonic Home in the West Country. The aim to house 25 to 30 Masons, with Warden, for those who had lost their families. W Bro W A Kneel, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master in the Craft, expressed to the meeting his ardent support for the idea, stating that it was something that would have to be considered in due course as it was obviously a needful project.

The year had been one of progress for the Province in a number of ways, early in the year our Provincial Grand Master received the distinction of being empowered to appoint an Assistant Provincial Grand Master, and the 43rd Lodge, the first for six years, was to be consecrated in the near future.

On 17th September 1970, the Sanctuary Lodge No. 1370, originally at Mortenhampstead, but later to transfer to Buckfastleigh, was consecrated.

In 1971, W Bro H E E Holladay, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, was promoted to Past Grand Junior Overseer, thus making him a Very Worshipful Brother.

Provincial Grand Lodge met under the banner of Manadon Mark Lodge No. 1076 in 1971, it was their 25th Jubilee Year.

During this meeting, Keystone Collarettes and Jewels were presented to the Commander of St. George RAM Lodge No. 15, to mark the completion of the quota of that Lodge on the occasion of its 50th Anniversary, individual Jewels were presented to six members of that Lodge.

He decorated W Bro W C Holman, Past Assistant Grand Sword Bearer, with a Mark Benevolent Fund Patrons’ Jewel and Collarette.

On the 1st July 1972, the number of Royal Ark Mariner Lodges rose to ten with the consecration of the Unity Lodge RAM No. 783 to meet at Crediton.

Strode RAM Lodge No. 696 and Unity No. 783, both became Keystone Lodges and received their Keystone Collarettes and Jewels, along with eight individual Collarettes.

By 1973 all forty three Mark Lodges in the Province were Keystone Lodges and the Royal Ark Mariner Lodges were pressing to equal this fine record, Sincerity RAM Lodge No. 35 became the eighth of it’s kind to celebrate a hundred years of continuous working and to mark this special occasion they qualified as a Keystone Lodge.

Within a month of the Provincial Meeting, two further Royal Ark Mariner Lodges were consecrated ... Benevolent No. 316 meeting at Teignmouth and True Love and Unity No. 1159 meeting at Brixham, both made their Keystone resolution at their first meeting, which was instantly implemented.

In 1974, Brunswick Mark Lodge No. 48, passed the Double Keystone resolution.

At the meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge this year it was announced that all forty three Mark Lodges and twelve Royal Ark Mariner Lodges were Keystone Lodges, two of the RAM Lodges having passed the Double Keystone Resolution.

By 1975 the health of the Provincial Grand Master had been causing concern; he opened Provincial Grand Lodge but, after the salutation, vacated the Chair to his Deputy to conduct the further business of the Province.

W Bro N V Abrahams, Grand Steward, offered the Deputy Provincial Grand Master the gift of a gavel and block for the use of the Provincial Grand Master, this had been subscribed for by the Brethren honoured with Grand Rank in 1975. A further gift of gavels and blocks was offered by W Bro R L Welsh and W Bro A W Hicks, the Provincial Grand Wardens, subscribed for by the brethren honoured with Provincial Grand Rank, for the use of the Deputy and Assistant Provincial Grand Masters.

The R W Provincial Grand Master, R W Bro Col F W Dewhurst then rose and addressed the assembly for the last time as the Provincial Grand Master. He announced that, on medical advice, he was tendering his resignation. He expressed his regret that there was one item which he had not seen accomplished, namely the provision of a Home for Aged Masons. He earnestly hoped that this requirement was met as soon as possible.

He began to say farewell, but his voice trailed away. He was escorted slowly from the crowded hall. The Brethren rose as one and accorded him a standing ovation ... the Deputy Provincial Grand Master then addressed the Brethren, completed the business of the day and closed Provincial Lodge.