Sunday, September 27, 2009

Taurus Lodge No. 3981

Taurus Lodge and the Worshipful Company of Butchers

One of the seven oldest Companies in the City
For one thousand and thirty years it has dwelt with impunity
At Butchers’ Hall, whence was express the closed shop,
And, on the retail sale of meat by “foreigners” was placed a royal stop.
Edward the Third ordained all craftsmen should choose a “Mystery”,
Like the Mason’s Word, a secret test of history.
No good honest Butcher would e’er be blackballed
Just as his meat would ne’er be forestalled.
Today’s Masonic lodge coincides
With the aims of the Company wherein it abides.

On Tuesday, September 22, I again found myself traveling by train, with WBs Robin Pooley and John Tuckwell, from Norwich to London. The purpose of our trip was to attend the Quarterly Communication of Taurus Lodge No. 3981. Taurus Lodge was chartered by United Smithfield No. 3176 and consists exclusively of members of the Worshipful Company of Butchers, one of the seven oldest livery companies in the City of London. Livery companies are trade associations or guilds which take part in the election of the Lord Mayor of the City of London, the sheriffs, and the other traditional officers of the City. John Tuckwell was Master of the Worshipful Company of Butchers in 2008. In 2010, HRH Princess Anne will be the Company’s Master.

Taurus Lodge was founded in December 1919, and continues to be one of London’s most successful lodges. They meet quarterly in Butchers’ Hall, Bartholomew Close, London. The feature of this particular meeting was the installation of officers for the ensuing term. The officers of Taurus Lodge performed excellent ritual for the opening and closing, as well as the ceremony of installation. W.Bro. M.P.J. Cahill stepped down as Worshipful Master and was replaced by W.Bro. J.M.P. Cooper.

In addition to me, guests included VW Richard Regan, Assistant Metropolitan Grand Master. As with most other English lodges, Taurus practices the Emulation Ritual. This ritual is somewhat different than the Preston-Webb ritual practiced by most US lodges, including Alaska. Some of the differences I noted were the inclusion of Master of Ceremonies and Inner Guard, officers which do not exist in our lodges. Officers and members of the lodge saluted the WM with the sign of the particular degree lodge was opened on. In fact, honors were given to the guests by saluting with the sign of the degree a number of times specified by the rank of the guest being saluted. In Alaska we do not salute the WM.

Upon arriving at the meeting hall, we were greeted with coffee or tea and cookies and of course sausage rolls. After the meeting we adjourned to the Great Hall for the festive board consisting of a three course meal with selected wines and a battery of 10 selected toasts. It’s no wonder Taurus Lodge is regarded as one of the best in London.

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