Our Court & Officials  

The Court controls the activities of the Masons’ Company under the guidance of a Master, Upper Warden and Renter Warden (The Officers).  Other members of the Court include several Past Masters plus Court Assistants who have not passed the chair. 

We have a number of committees covering Finance, Craft & Training, Awards, Communications, Membership, Development Fundraising and Sponsorship and Social matters all of which report to the Court. We also run two independent charities the trustees of which are members of the Company.

The Master and Wardens are elected annually in June.

Officers for 2017-18

Peter Clark Andrew Bowles Christopher Radmore
Master Upper Warden Renter Warden

                                

Photographs by Michael O'Sullivan.

The full range of photos taken by Micharl O`Sullivan at Common Hall on 13th June 2017 can be seen by clicking on icon below (opens in new window) then selecting "Livery Companies" from the list (quite easy)

Message from The Master Peter Clark

"Members of The Livery,

My earliest recollection of our Company was on a cold day in December 1996 when I was asked to meet with our then Clerk in his offices in North London. Little did I realize where such a meeting might lead in the next 20 years.

I am deeply honored to be elected as your Master for the ensuing year and will do everything in my power to uphold the traditions that our Company has established since inception in the fourteenth century.

The Company as a whole is increasing in size with the growing number of Liverymen, a rising number of Freemen as well as the establishment of Yeoman Masons. Our support for the City is developing and our new office is firmly established at the heart of our efforts.

Our volunteers who work so hard within our committees are firmly committed to the development of our company in line with the Strategic Review. The work of our charities is enormous and members will now know of the vast range of donations which are given to supporting the training of stonemasons and the various bodies, which underpin their training. None of this can be achieved without the generosity of individual members and I do earnestly encourage each member of the company who does not make a charitable donation to one of our two charities to do so now. In doing so you help the trustees to support our ancient craft.

One of my initiatives during the year ahead is to foster fellowship amongst all members of the Company. Various events, some old and some new, have been arranged and they will allow time for friendships to be developed even further. For those members who are unable to attend on a regular basis contact will be made so as to ensure that everybody feels that they belong to a caring organsation.

I look forward to meeting all of you in the year ahead and serving you and the company to the best of my ability."

Peter Clark                                                                                                    June 2017

"Deputy Master, Warden, City Marshall, Liverymen and Freeman,

Past Master Barry may I thank you for your very kind remarks.

I should like to welcome new members of the Company admitted at this morning’s Court meeting. May I ask each of them to stand when mentioned:

Liveryman Gordon Verhoef is the owner of a number of stone companies under the Szerelmey umbrella as well as a couple of vineyards.  Gordon joins a seasoned veteran of the Company in Liveryman Bernard Burns, also here this day, and Mark Walden admitted at our last Court.

Freeman Peter Oweh joins us through his involvement with ACF South West where have a strong interest and they form ‘carpet guards’ at our Livery Dinner and Master’s Banquet.

You are both most welcome.

The Deputy Master informed me that I would be busy representing the Company and that has proved very true. Ten events in twenty working days and our Clerk is keeping you informed of my activities through the e-bulletins and those on ‘twitter’ will see regular postings. My first event was the Heritage Skills Event in Lincoln this being particularly successful and I was grateful to those in the livery who came to Lincoln, which included the Deputy Master.

During the past year the Deputy Master quietly but firmly managed our affairs with efficiency, good humour whilst being fully committed to representing our Company within the City of London and elsewhere.

Remaining with the Lincoln connection it is traditional to present the outgoing Master, now Deputy Master, with a memento of his year. This year the memento is a Lincoln Imp carved in Carrara marble with the lettering in 24 carat gold and has been created by Yeoman Catherine James.

May I remind liverymen that there is the visit to Terlingham on Saturday to sample the wines and the visit to St Alban’s Abbey is in mid-September and will be advised by e-bulletin.

As some of you will know I have a passion for cricket as a player and a fully qualified umpire. I managed two days at the recent Test match at Lords. I was accompanied by a Past Master on each occasion just in case I became so in incensed with the umpire’s decision that I would invade the pitch. Incensed I did become with one umpire on more than one occasion but decorum was maintained, as you would expect.

In this connection there is an inter-livery cricket tournament on 5 September at HAC and I have volunteered to umpire. Perhaps the aforementioned umpire might wish to view my performance from the boundary?

The bi-annual Duke of Gloucester Awards will be held on 4th October at St Bartholomew’s’ the Great church in Smithfield. His Royal Highness has agreed once again to attend and present the prizes. Please do note this date in your dairies to attend and celebrate the stonemasons who will have been successful in gaining awards.

Our guests at Court lunch this year will reflect the Company mission and strategy. At this particular Court we welcome guests from the City of London.

Initially may I thank the Lords Mayor’s Chaplain, Reverend Roger Royal, for saying grace in the unavoidable absence of my personal chaplain. Welcome again Roger and our chance meeting at Freeman’s last Thursday was welcome.

Our principal guest is The City Marshall, Philip Jordan. Prior to his appointment Philip had a highly distinguished career in the Metropolitan Police retiring as a Detective Chief Superintendent in Specialist Operations with experience with Special Branch, International Intelligence and involved in counter-terrorism and counter-espionage as well as managing the security operation for the 2012 Olympic and Paraolympic Games. He was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in 2014 before joining the Lord Mayors Office in the mayoralty of Dame Fiona Woolf. We look forward to hearing from you about your most recent career.

May I ask members of the Company to rise and drink a toast to our guests."

The Masters` speech on the occasion of The October Court Luncheon

"Deputy Master, Wardens, Visiting Masters, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Past Master Barry may I thank you for your very kind remarks.

In front of me today are two pieces of the Company Silver. The Castle Cups. These are Sterling Silver and were made by William Hattersley in 1872. One was presented 1873 by George Wales, Master in 1872 and his Wardens Russell Freeman and Henry Robertson. The other was presented in 1875 by various members of the Court at that time some of whom had been or would be Masters.  Neither of these two Loving Cups had lids and the Masons Company, by tradition, uses Loving Cups with lids. Our Deputy Master has arranged for lids to be made and we are displaying them proudly today and will use them at the approaching Livery Dinner. We are most grateful to the Deputy Master for his generosity.

I should like to welcome Mark Macdonald as a new member of the livery admitted at this morning’s Court meeting. May I ask you to stand and be recognised.

Mark is a Chartered Certified Accountant and is the company accountant for a mechanical engineering company, Brookshaw Stuart Ltd. in Chelmsford.

You are most welcome.

It is our practise to invite members of the livery to join us on these occasions and we welcome seven of them today.

The Company continue to develop our links with the Royal Engineers. Each year we award a prize to the winning student on the Concreting  & Bricklaying Course at Royal School of Military Engineering at Chatham. Accompanying the winner is Lt Colonel Will Robinson of 1 RSME and may I ask Lance Corporal Nathan Cowley who is presently serving with 77 squadron of 35 Engineer Regiment to step forward to receive his award.

Later this month I shall be visiting RE at Chatham for Corps Guest Night. On that night I shall be presenting the first award for Innovation by an Officer from the Royal Engineers. The Award is for £500 together with Freedom of the Company.

Several years ago we established a connection with 15 Company South West London Army Cadet Force. At that time we visited their HQ and also one of their local Cadet Forces where I was given a display of skills that the cadets were being taught. ACF is run primarily by volunteers and we decided to reward the volunteers with an annual prize for the best instructor showing selfless commitment and inspiration to the cadets. Accompanying the winner is Major Daved Kirby and this year’s award goes to Sergeant Marco Vitelli. Perhaps he would step forward.

At the end of next week the Clerk and I will be visiting the ACF Annual Camp in Folkestone where I shall present a further prize for the winning detachment.

May I now welcome our guests from the City of London.

The Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers form part of the Construction Livery group and they have a new Master, Mr Roger Poulton, who is accompanied by his Clerk Mrs Amanda Jackson.  Roger qualified as a Quantity Surveyor, a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors since 1983 and has been a director of a number of major construction companies. Roger was elected as Master in July and installed on 15 August.

We welcome the Master of the Worshipful Company of Educators, Susan Fey accompanied by her Clerk Dr Misha Hebel. A ‘modern’ Company who gained full livery status in 2013. Their Master has had an intense professional career in education, training, and economic development and was rewarded in 1998 with an OBE for services to business support in London. Their Master was elected in April and installed at the end of June. Your company share offices with ourselves in our relatively new City location and I believe that this is the first occasion that we have entertained your Company at Court lunch. You and your Clerk are most welcome. I hope you will come again.

We also welcome Brian Comer of The Comer Group together with his stonemason, Freeman Jack O’Brien. Comer Group is an international construction company based in Frien Barnet. The early life of this business originated in Galway and was run by two brothers Brian and Luke Comer. From successes in Ireland came the leap across the Irish Sea in 1984 where they worked on the basics of construction whilst gaining knowledge of the UK market. Over 30 years later they have a thriving expanding business in the UK and Europe where their residential business is being developed. A chance meeting with Jack who wanted to join our company as a Freeman prompted my interest in the company and we do hope that some common interests might be developed.

The bi-annual Duke of Gloucester Awards were held last week at St Bartholomew’s’ the Great in Smithfield. We had a higher level of entrants than previously and awarded two joint top awards to young stonemasons, one in Sussex and one in York. His Royal Highness presented the Awards and those winners who were unable to be present will receive their certificates from me when I visit Salisbury and Exeter Cathedrals next month.

Our principal guest today is Sarah Harrison from the Lettering and Commemorative Arts Trust.  Like many small business concerns this trust struggled in its early years but our Charitable Trust continued to support them with small annual grants. More recently the Trust recommended that we might like to support a promising letter carver with a short apprenticeship with an experienced stonemason in Cumbria. This proved successful and the apprentice now runs his own business in Manchester.

More recently the trust moved to new premises in Snape, which I visited about two years ago and met with its present director who is with us here today. I persuaded her to make an application for a grant under the Associated Companies Joint Venture Scheme and last year we awarded the trust a grant of £3,000 towards the training of a letter carver. Sarah is here today and will talk to us shortly about the Trust and the work, which they do with the help of benefactors such as ourselves.

To conclude may I ask members of the Company to rise and drink a toast to our guests."

The Masters` speech on the occasion of The Company Livery Dinner with The Associated Companies - Nov 2018

"Wardens, Mr. Aldermen, My Lord, Masters, Ladies and Gentlemen,

May I thank the Master World Trader for replying on behalf of the guests and also proposing the health of the Company. The Master and I first met when he was Mercers’ School Memorial Professor of Commerce at Gresham College. He spent several years giving a very interesting series of lectures which were most enjoyable. These continue today but with another professor in post.

I attended his Installation Dinner last week and I fully support the philosophy of his Company over the next 12 months and beyond. Without a doubt World Trade is one of the key economic strategies of the UK in the next 5 years. The members of his emerging and influential livery company are a fundamental part of the economic future of the UK and I believe that the members of his company will have an increasingly important role to play as this country emerges from the umbrella of the European Union.

I wish him well in the years ahead particularly the next 12 months with managing a livery company on top of all his other interests.

This dinner marks our ‘association’ with the Mercers, the Cooks and the Broderers where the connection dates back over 400 years. The truth is that none of us really knows the precise year when this connection was formed as on reading the literature which each of us produces it is clear that there are four different versions of the same tale, of woe. However the ‘association’ remains strong and with the Masons producing a new History of the Company within the next two years then perhaps now is the time to compare notes as it is an ideal opportunity to get the story right!

In more recent times our association continues to work well with our joint venture charity and all of us are due to meet very shortly to consider where our joint annual donation will be directed.

The number of Masters present this evening are greater than normal and all, bar one, are accompanied by their Clerks. In fact there are more Clerks in the room than Masters with the Master Cook and the Upper Warden holding that office for over 25 years each. A marathon by any standard. I managed only 10 years.

Each Master relies upon his Clerk. They are the continuity and where would we be without them. Certainly the success of this evening is down to my Clerk and I should like to thank him publically for all he has done and also what he is about to do in the coming months.

However well prepared a Master is for his term in office there is always the unexpected. I did think that my past experiences would see me in good stead for my time as Master but nothing can be guaranteed. Our present Lord Mayor decided that he could raise more funds for his charity by abseiling down the Cheesegrater. In response to the Clerk’s enquiry about my participation I commented that it sounded adventurous and that I would happily follow him down. Prudence prevailed. We did not do it!

Equally in my first week various Masters were being ‘jailed and bailed’. I am unsure why I was not considered. Maybe the Clerk thought that once jailed I might not be able to raise the bail to set me free and then what would the company do?  Deputy Master how about another year!!! Equally maybe the Clerk is saving my nomination for 2018 when if I was jailed then the Court may not wish to pay the bail? We shall see.

In June of this year the Lord Mayor, accompanied by 18 ‘craft’ livery companies, travelled to Lincoln for the Heritage Skills Festival. Plumbers, Turners, Glaziers, Painter Stainers, Hackney Carriage Drivers, the Broderers with four stands, together with financial support from the Mercers to name but a few. All endeavoured to miss the shower of stone chippings from our 30 stonemasons who came from across England to demonstrate the craft. The pieces of stone that they carved were auctioned raising over £20,000 towards cathedral funds. One piece even made it to the Sheriffs Ball where it raised £400 for the Lord Mayor’s charity. A memorable weekend.

The stonemason’s craft remains very important to the Company where we now support six apprentices at cathedrals, a further eight are graduating at Gloucester University next week and a dozen students are under training. Much has been done but there is still much to do and our targets and ambitions are far reaching.

In 2000 the Company assisted a young student, Nina Bilbey, to qualify as a stonemason at the Building Crafts College from where she honed her skills over the years. Recently she carved two statues for Canterbury Cathedral, one of the Queen and one of the Duke of Edinburgh. Following that, to add to a number of other credits, she was recently awarded the Duke of Edinburg’s Gold Medal at City & Guilds Institute of London. At our last Court her achievements were recognised by the Company when she was elevated to ‘Liveryman Honoris Causa’, in my experience of the Masons Company a rare honour. She is with us this evening and may I ask her to stand and for you to acknowledge her achievements.

The livery movement as a whole has a high level of financial clout and a great deal of influence. The Lord Mayor is to the fore ‘batting for England’, really the UK, across the world and our role is to support him here at home doing a similar role but mainly domestically. The activities of each individual company are aimed towards helping many parts of our society whether it is education, training, welfare, the environment, the Church or making a tremendous number of charitable donations. The livery as a whole forms an important part of the charitable giving of this nation. However we need to do more to further our aims by informing those outside the livery of our contribution to society.

I am aware of a recent initiative to coordinate our charitable activities. This is a possible way forward and I look forward to further discussions next month.  Whatever is decided it will be essential that a coordinated approach in the area of public relations will be needed as part of any plans.

I leave these thoughts with the Masters and Clerks present and also to the President of the Fellowship of Clerks, one of my personal guests this evening, to convey to other Clerks.

On a less serious note one of the pleasures of this role is travelling to other cities. The Master Mercer is travelling to York later this week for the Venison Feast in Merchant Adventurers Hall. He will not be alone as the Clerk and I will also be present.  I was advised several years ago that this event was not like a London Livery Dinner, and they were right especially if the River Fosse is high and likely to breach its banks when flooding may occur. So we might have to sail home.

I wish to share my experiences in Glasgow in early September. Historically Master Masons have been dispatched to the Choosing Dinner of the Incorporation of Masons of Glasgow. More recently the Master Mason has been asked to go a day early to attend a Pear Eating Dinner.  In the 19th century pears were considered a real luxury especially in Glasgow at that time. If the Deacon had been able to with us tonight a smile would have crossed his face as on that evening his role was to provide the pears for Dinner in the hope that the membership would be so inclined as to vote for him the following day. In doing so all supporters wore a sprig of heather. Hence the sprig behind my poppy this evening.

Well, they did choose the right man in September and the Choosing Dinner the following night was a truly memorable and very happy occasion. A bonus for me, and four previous Master Masons, is that we also became members of the Incorporation and Burgesses’ of Glasgow.

So to conclude I should like to thank the Master Mercer for allowing us to use the Hall once again. It is looking really superb with its newly refurbished dĂ©cor and drapes. I do hope that you Master, my guests and all of you have enjoyed the evening and, so as to not deny you all a taste of ‘bonnie’ Scotland, there are wee drams for you to enjoy in the stirrup cup.  The whiskey comes from the Isle of Skye and is called ‘Black Bottle’.

Thereafter I wish you all a safe journey home."

Officials of the Company

The overall running of the Company is the responsibility of the Clerk.  This he achieves with the assistance of the Administrator in the office and the Beadle at formal Company functions.

 

 
Giles Clapp   Ted Prior
Clerk   Beadle & Toastmaster

 

 

   

The Masons Company office administrator works in support of The Clerk