Holy Royal Arch of East Lancashire
Holy Royal Arch of East Lancashire

Cana Chapter No. 116 Celebrates 250 years

Monday, June 10th, 2019

On Thursday evening 23rd May, nearly 100 Companions gathered at Burnley Masonic Hall to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Cana Chapter No. 116 ‘The Chapter of the First Miracle’. They were joined by the principal guest The Most Excellent Second Grand Principal, Russell John Race along with The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent Sir David Trippier, The Second Provincial Grand Principal EComp Harvey Basger, The Third Provincial Grand Principal EComp The Rev’d. David J Halford, The Deputy Grand Superintendent EComp Martin Paul Roche, Past Grand Standard Bearer EComp Paul Sandiford as well as a large Provincial deputation and distinguished guests from The Isle of Man and Cumberland and Westmorland.

Following the entry to the Chapter by The Second Grand Principal and the deputation, Cana Lodge was opened in its illustrative and unique manner, following which the Chapter Third Principal EComp Robert Heap gave a short and fascinating history of the Chapter, the full transcript of which can be found HERE.

The Second Principal then read the Chapter Warrant and the First Principal the Chapter Principia.

EComp the Rev’d. Halford then delivered his oration. He spoke about the Nature of God and how his influence has run across Royal Arch Masonry which he illustrated with a number of examples. His presentation was very well received by the Companions.

The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent then had a pleasant duty to perform in the form of a promotion for one of Cana Chapter’s Companions. He selected the Second Principal EComp Paul Roberts, and after hearing his Masonic history, Sir David Trippier bestowed the rank of Past Provincial Grand Sword Bearer. EComp Roberts was then perambulated around the Chapter to the acclaim of the assembled.

EComp Whittaker then had his own pleasant duty in presenting Sir David with two cheques, one for the sum of £500 from a donation by The Royal Lancashire Lodge No. 116 and a second from Cana Lodge No. 116 for the sum of £1769, the year of the Chapter’s consecration.


Following an equally unique Chapter closing, the Companions retired to the Festive board where they enjoyed a delightful four course meal.

In his address, The Most Excellent Second Grand Principal spoke about his delight at being present at such a prestigious event and how his Masonic Knowledge had definitely been advanced with the Cana Chapter 116 ritual. He went on to say how the Chapter are doing the right thing and that it had gone through good and bad times but has remained strong for 250 years. He concluded by paying tribute to Sir David Trippier and his good management in both the Craft and Chapter and that we are now seeing a reversal of the downturn in membership, and that Freemasonry in general is looking to a bright future.

Sir David Trippier thanked The Second Grand Principal for his comments and for his presence, he went on to highlight two events that happened in 1769, the first of which was the first distillation of Gordon’s Gin! And the birth of the Duke of Wellington. He explained how things could have been different if the latter had never happened in his usual very amusing manner. He concluded by thanking Cana Chapter 116 for allowing him to share in their birthday celebration.

The Deputy Grand Superintendent EComp Martin Paul Roche gave his address in which he thanked the Directors of Ceremony for the evening, Ecomp’s David Bristol and Paul Sandiford. He concentrated on looking to the future, and how everyone present can make their own history, he concluded by saying that Cana 116 had represented generations of the people of Colne and the custodians of the current Chapter have a chance to continue to develop that rich history. He then proceeded to propose the formal toast to the Chapter which was honoured with great enthusiasm and sincerity.

The final address was given in a very amusing manner by The First Principal EComp Colin Whittaker. He said it had been an amazing and momentous occasion which had been made even more special by the presence of the principal guests. He presented gifts to the Second Grand Principal and The Most Excellence Grand Superintendent, before proceeding to thank the Companions for the arrangement of the celebration, singling out EComp Bob Heap for the renovation of the Chapter Principia, EComp John Wilkinson for the production of the menus and place cards, EComp Stubbs the Scribe E and EComp John Farrington for his constant advice throughout the planning process.

EComp Whittaker concluded by wishing his brother, his older brother Norman, as he was keen to point out, all the very best on his recent 90thbirthday.

This was a wonderful and memorable occasion fitting for a 250th birthday. The chapter is getting stronger in membership and the future is looking very bright, everyone wishes it well for the next 250 years.