Fortior Chapter No 6172
Our Chapter was consecrated in June 1948 and its founding members were exclusively Bank Managers within the Midland Bank, although in due course other personnel from Midland Bank could join, until in the 1970s it opened up to drawing in membership from all walks of life. Given the shared professional experience of the original Companions, their Chapter meetings were not only for the formal matters in hand, but also for fun, companionship and sociability. This has been maintained over time and we make our meetings both enjoyable and highly sociable to this day. We have a sister Chapter (through the Midland Bank connection) in Manchester and we visit each other for Installation meetings, so giving all interested Companions a chance to visit another Chapter in a different Province.
We meet four times each year in October, December, February and April. At our December meeting, which falls in the run up to Christmas, we take the opportunity to invite our wives, partners and friends along to enjoy a splendidly festive ‘Festive Board’. Masonic and non-masonic friends and their partners are invited to this festive event. On this occasion, we leave our guests with Stewards in the comfort of our excellent Hall bar, quickly conduct the formal part of the meeting to transact any essential business, then get back to our wives and friends before enjoying a wonderful Christmas meal with them all. The catering at our Hall being first class, a truly sumptuous traditional meal is provided, during which we often conduct a fun quiz between courses. Once everyone has tucked away the tasty fare and coffee is served, we end the evening singing several well-known Christmas Carols under the guidance of one of our Companions, Ex Comp Michael Irving, who is an experienced choir master, even having led the Provincial Choir on many an occasion. If you can’t sing a tuneful note, Michael succeeds in getting a very rousing sound of song going and everyone enjoys themselves thoroughly!
At our three other meetings, the October one is taken up with the formal Installation of our Principals and providing lectures clarifying the meaning of some aspects of the Royal Arch. The other two can be dedicated to an Exaltation of a Master Mason, choosing to complete their journey in Freemasonry by becoming a member of Royal Arch or to some illuminating and interesting lectures. During these meetings, lively and interesting as they are, we benefit from the musical accompaniment of our gifted Organist, Ex Comp David Driver, who has also been Provincial Organist. He punctuates the relevant points of the meeting with appropriate musical suggestion, often humorous! All Royal Arch meetings are deeply meaningful and have an intrinsic beauty to them, which the addition of tuneful music can enhance and we are lucky to have such accomplished Organist in our team.
Since the 1980s, we have been meeting at the well-equipped and carefully maintained Masonic Hall in Wretham Rd, Handsworth and this has proved to be a splendid home for our Chapter. The Hall runs an honesty bar, which is always well stocked and prior to meetings Companions and their guests can sit comfortably in the large, warm and welcoming Bar area, to chat and relax before the main event of the evening. The Lodge room is laid out traditionally and well decorated, with several areas for robing up and the Dining Hall is spacious with excellent on site catering provided. As with one or two other meeting places Wretham Road, although in the Province of Staffordshire has many Warwickshire units meeting there as well. Much money has been spent on Wretham Road latterly and it is now a very pleasant set of rooms.
It is often said that The Royal Arch is a prestigious Order and members are proud to have been accepted in it to complete their progress in Masonry, but it is also all about the enjoyment of Freemasonry in a relaxed atmosphere, in which fun and formality mutually prevail. We hope our Chapter will be seen to hold that dear and so we encourage any Master Mason wishing to take the final part of the masonic journey, to join our team. Similarly, anyone moving into the West Midlands from another part of the country and a different Province, looking for a new Chapter into which to transfer, please do join in with us, or if just displaced by circumstances beyond your control, but looking for a new Chapter, please do let us welcome you in.
In the first instance, please contact our Scribe E (our Secretary), Ex Comp Chris Robinson on 01922 417117. He will let you know the administrative steps to be taken and guide you through how to apply to our Chapter.