Founder & Director, MASONIC FORUM Magazine
Canonbury Masonic Research Centre in London was a true Masonic Academy, established by Sir Spencer, Marquess of Northampton, Past Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England. Canonbury Tower, built in 1509, which from 1610 became the property of the Northampton family, was symbolic for the conference venue. Do you realise what it means to be aware of your family’s ownership for over 400 years?
Canonbury was, successively, the residence of William Bolton (Master of Works at Westminster Abbey), Admiral John Dudley, Sir Francis Bacon etc.
The world’s leading Masonic scholars have been invited, over the years, to Canonbury, both freemasons and non-masons – leaders in their fields of academic endeavour (from Sorbonne, Oxford, Cambridge or Heidelberg to leading universities in the USA or Canada), to deliver research papers at Canonbury.
Here I met leaders of world Freemasonry, concerned with research, specialists in the matters of the Craft or the Rites of Perfection, special people who have helped to polish world history in the field. I had the chance to meet, among many others, Prof. Dr. Andrew Prescott, Dr. David Stevenson, Dr. Susan Mitchell Sommers, Prof. Dr. John Wade, Dr. Andreas Önnerfors, Prof. Dr. Jan Snoek, Dr. Robert Gilbert, Revd. Neville Barker Cryer, Dr. Trevor Stewart, Prof. Dr. Roger Dachez, Dr. Cécile Révauger, Prof. Dr. Margaret Jacob, Yasha Beresiner etc.
I had the extraordinary opportunity to talk to the Earl of Elgin, Past Grand Master of Grand Lodge of Scotland and Past Head of the Royal Order of Scotland, whose ancestor donated the Parthenon frieze from Athens to the British Museum in London.
Obviously, I met the Marquis of Northampton several times, about which Thomas Jackson said he is one of the most initiated Masons he had ever met in his life. Fantastic!
The dedicated organisers of these extraordinary conferences were Carole McGilvery and then Matthew Scanlan. All my respect and many thanks.
Among the topics of the annual conferences I recall: Freemasonry and Religion, Anti-Masonry, Freemasonry in music and literature, Freemasonry and the sciences – natural & supernatural, The social impact of Freemasonry, Knowledge of the Heart etc.