The Divisional Grand Conclave of Cheshire was constituted under the authority of the Grand Sovereign, Most Illustrious Knight the Right Honourable the Earl of Euston, by Very Eminent Knight Major James D Murray, Past Grand High Chancellor, Deputy Intendant-General for Lancashire on 3rd September 1897 at the Masonic Chambers, 9 Hamilton Street, Birkenhead when Very Illustrious Knight the Honourable Alan de Tatton Egerton MP was enthroned as Intendant-General.
In 1926 the name of the Division was amended to North Western Division and the division was expanded to incorporate Cheshire, Lancashire and the Masonic Province of North Wales.
On 19th October 1970 further changes to the North Western Division were enacted by the formation of the Division of Lancashire and, on the following day the formation of the Division of Cheshire and North Wales.. The ceremonies for the formation of the new Divisions was undertaken by the Most Illustrious Grand Sovereign, Brigadier C B S Morley, CBE, TD, DL, GCC who appointed and enthroned Very Illustrious Knight Arnold Moreton, Grand Senior General, as the first Intendant-General for Lancashire and Illustrious Knight Dr Owain Merfyn Pritchard, KCC as the first Intendant-General for Cheshire and North Wales, the ceremony for that enthronement being held in the Grosvenor Hotel, Chester.
At the time of the formation of the Division of Cheshire and North Wales the following Conclaves were operating:
- Cestrian No 154 – Wallasey
- Wythenshawe No 163 – Sale
- Chester (previously known as Birkenhead) No 174 – Chester
- Gwynedd No 214 – Colwyn Bay
- Macclesfield No 245 – Macclesfield
- Deeside No 256 – Connah’s Quay
The Order of the Red Cross of Constantine proved to be popular with Christian Freemasons in the Division and in the first 20 years of the formation of the Division 7 new Conclaves were consecrated:
- St Crispin No 268 – Wrexham
- Bangor No 290 – Bangor
- Willaston No 305 – Crewe
- Eusebius No 321 – Connah’s Quay
- Wirral No 337 – Birkenhead
- Neston No 382 – Neston
- Afronwen No 401 – Porthmadog
In 1990 the independent Divisions of Cheshire and North Wales were formed and R Ill Kt John Brian Haslam G.C.C. was enthroned as Intendant-General for Cheshire, a position he held until 2006 when he was succeeded by:
- R Ill Kt Christopher John Macdonald K.C.C. 2006 – 2016
- R Ill Kt James Ian Munro 2016 – 2020
- R Ill Kt Michael Frederick John Baptist – 2021
A new Conclave, Backford Cross No 420 was consecrated in 1992 but since then both it and Wirral Conclave have returned their warrants but Red Cross Masonry continues to flourish throughout the Division.
The Divisions of Cheshire and North Wales maintain a cordial relationship with a reciprocal bi-annual get-together.
The costs of membership, as you would expect, vary from Conclave to Conclave but they compare favourably with other Orders meeting no more than 3 times each year. The regalia costs in the region of £100 for the sash. A divisional Sash is required on appointment to Divisional Office with an embroidered sash being required on promotion to Grand Imperial Conclave.
Progression in the Conclaves is not dissimilar to progress in all Masonic Orders and beyond the Conclave are Divisional and Grand structures to which all Knights can progress.
In common with many other Masonic Orders there is a Divisional Structure headed by the Intendant-General supported by Divisional Officers who are appointed at the Divisional meeting in October each year and are:
In addition the Intendant-General has a contingent of Sepulchre Guards who escort him or the Deputy Intendant-General on visits round the Division in addition to performing ceremonial duties at the annual Divisional Meeting and as Sepulchre Guards during the Knight of the Holy Sepulchre ceremony.. Membership of the Sepulchre Guard is open to all members of the Division although numbers are limited to 12 excluding the Captain and Deputy Captain.
The Intendant-General – R Ill Kt Michael Frederick John Baptist
Rt Ill Kt Mike was born in Cheshire in 1949 and is the eldest of three sons. He grew up in in Crewe only a few miles from where he now lives After attending St. Mary’s RC junior school he furthered his education at the local grammar school before going on to Hartford College to study catering, after which he attended ‘Hollins’ Manchester University, where he gained a degree in Hotel Management and a degree in Business Management.
He has spent the majority of his working life in the catering industry occupying a number of senior roles amongst them being the design and setting up of the catering facility at Leighton Hospital and finally taking on the role of General Catering Manager for the Wellcome Foundation Ltd. for the north of England based at Crewe Hall. When they relocated away from Crewe he moved in a different direction joining Cheshire County Council , Children’s Services where he spent the final 10 years of his working life before taking early retirement at 63.
Sadly he was widowed in 2018, but he derives great pleasure from spending time with his daughter Michelle, together with her husband Scott, and two wonderful granddaughters, Jazmyn and Darsi.
He was initiated into freemasonry in January 1981 and has thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the past 40 years of being a member. He is a member of ten separate orders plus four separate off shoots from those orders. He enjoys active participation in all of the Orders holding office in all his Lodges, Chapters etc. and has had the privilege to serve as an acting Provincial Officer in most of the Orders, and being appointed to Grand Rank in several of them, with the ultimate honour of being appointed as the Intendant-General for the Division of Cheshire.
R Ill Kt Mike was Installed as a Knight of the Red Cross of Constantine in June 2001 and was enthroned as M Puissant Sovereign in 2009. He held a number of Divisional Offices and was appointed the Divisional Eusebius in October 2016. The following year he was appointed Past Grand Warden of Regalia and then he was appointmented as the R Illustrious Intendant-General for the Division with effect from 1st February 2021.
His interests outside Freemasonry have included in his former and fitter years: 20 years of Boy Scouting, whilst at college and university, as a member of the national swimming squad, 40 years of martial arts, golf, horse riding with his daughter. He also always enjoys listening to a wide range of music, classical, jazz, popular, big bands, reading, chess, snooker and most recently playing bridge ‘poorly’.
He looks forward to meeting you all.
The Deputy Intendant-General – III Kt Stefan Roy Williams
Stef was born in Cheshire in 1963, he Grew up in Wistaston, he attended local schools before embarking on a career in the Railway locomotive industry. He started in Crewe Works training school on a British Rail apprenticeship, which lead him to Commercial Engineers managing contracts in France and Spain for the building of the high-speed line.
He moved back into UK engineering and became Depot Manager at Crewe Electric Depot, Major Projects Stef was initiated into Prudence Lodge No 4127 in 1998 and then into Four Cardinal Virtues Chapter No 979 in 2003, both meeting at Willaston Masonic Hall, Nantwich. He progressed to Worshipful Master in his Craft Lodge and Most Excellent Zerubbabel in his Chapter. His first appointment as a Provincial Officer in the Craft was in 2016 being appointed to the acting rank of Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies to be followed in 2022 to the acting rank of Provincial Senior Grand Deacon. His first Provincial appointment in the Royal Arch was in 2017 when he was appointed a Provincial Grand Steward, and subsequently to Past Provincial Assistant Grand Sojourner.
He was installed as a knight of the Red Cross of Constantine in Willaston Conclave No 305, in 2012 and enthroned as Most Puissant Sovereign in 2018 & 2019, He joined the Sepulchre Guards and acted as Deputy Captain for a number of years, assisting at many KHS meetings and AGM’s.
He held acting Divisional appointments in the Order prior to being appointed Deputy Intendant General in 2022 by the current Intendant General, R Ill.Kt Michael Baptist. His interests outside of Freemasonry include visiting his Caravan in Wales most weekends through the summer, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Golf, Swimming and walking.
His Fiancée Julie supports him in everything he does in freemasonry “a big thanks to Julie”