Banner Dedication Ceremony
At the Chapter Convocation held on 12th September 1997, the MEZ invited E. Comp. Rev. Dr. Michael Morgan Most Excellent Grand Superintendent in and over the Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight to dedicate the Chapter Banner, to address the Companions on the Banner and the reasons for its presentation and to make the Patriarchal Benediction,
E. Comp. Mike Wilks, G.St.B and founding MEZ gave the following explanation of the design and symbolic significance of the Banner.
To be involved in the founding of a Royal Arch Chapter is a great honour bearing a heavy responsibility. To be involved at the very outset when the Chapter is but a vision is a privilege, which few experience. When the vision is that of the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent the privilege and honour are without parallel.
Starting with a blank sheet of paper the founders have countless decisions to make. They have to decide on a name - and in the case of this Chapter one may think Hampshire & Isle Of Wight Provincial Grand Stewards Chapter was not necessarily the most imaginative though the most apt and descriptive. Having decided upon a name it is important that those creating the Chapter personalise it with a mark or device by which it can forever be recognized - a crest or in modern commercial terms, a logo.
The design of this Chapter's crest is based on the Provincial Crest, which is quite simply the triple tau within two concentric circles over a triangle with the words of the Province in the borders created between the two circles. Substitute the map of Hampshire for the triple tau; the name of the Chapter for the name of the Province, and insert in the centre the horn of cornucopia and you have the Chapter's crest. The design works well in red on white.
Banners form an integral part of the furnishing of the Chapter room. There are the four principal banners; and the ensigns which are themselves a form of standard or banner. It is therefore natural for members of this order more than any other, to have a banner unique to their Chapter.
Accordingly the founders of this Chapter decided that a banner should be produced as soon as possible after consecration. The banner effectively is the Chapter crest brought to life in colour - the pale blue, garter blue, and crimson are the principal colours of the order and there has been added the triple tau and the date of consecration.
Those involved in the design of the crest and the banner could not have believed that the embroiderer's art could have had such a dramatic effect on the Steward's emblem, the horn of cornucopia. The fruit appears literally to pour forth from the horn which most of you will know was a magical horn, having conferred upon it "the marvellous property of re - filling itself inexhaustibly with whatever food or drink was wished for". How appropriate that this should be the emblem of a Provincial Grand Stewards Chapter, whose membership comprises those specially selected by the Province for appointment as Provincial Grand Steward in either the Craft or Royal Arch - a plentiful supply of fruit in abundance to ensure that the Chapter progresses and remains true to the aspirations of the founders and the original vision of our Most Excellent Grand Superintendent.
The banner was designed by a companion who is not here this evening but who was also responsible for the design of the Chapter crest - Companion Denis Bundy, who is a member of Daintree Chapter and whom I thanked in open Chapter at our last Convocation. The design of the banner was brought to life by Mrs Ann Bertram-Howard who has been a gold wire embroidress for over 50 years and who has carried out work for Her Majesty The Queen and United Grand Lodge, and who was commissioned to produce the Chapter Banner by E. Comp. Tony Haines.
As founding first principal my fervent hope is that the banner will act as an inspiration to this Chapter and its members and remind all those who join us in the ensuing years of the dedication and commitment of their forebears, the founders of the Chapter.
It is not for me in this address to thank the MEGS for his work this evening. I do, however, thank him for the Consecration and the enormous encouragement given to the Chapter and its Founders both before and after the Consecration. Whenever I look at the banner I shall be reminded of the wonderfully moving consecration ceremony which bought this Chapter into being; the great kindness shown by the MEGS in inviting the Past PGM to play such an important part; and the mixture of emotions which I felt on that very special day. And so to me, and all the Founders, the banner is in the nature of a tribute to our MEGS and the Province which he leads, which brought this Chapter into being. May he continue to be a shining example for us all to follow?