Our membership comes from all walks of life and backgrounds. We like to think that we take the serious parts on our road to self-discovery through this wonderful Supreme Degree with all due respect. However, we also know that a harmless laugh and good fun are essential to our happiness and contentment along the way.
The Cheerybles Chapter was Consecrated on the 25th February 1913 as recorded in the Register of The Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of England. We have an interesting history.
The Cheerybles Brothers
The Cheerybles Chapter takes its name from two fictional characters in Charles Dickens novel “Nicholas Nickleby”, which was first published in 1848. These were twin brothers, Ned and Charles Cheeryble, referred to more formally by their aged clerk as Mr Edwin and Mr Charles. These two fictitious brothers exemplified all the characteristics of good humour, simplicity, generosity and selflessness that could best contrast with other less worthy characters depicted in the book. It is abundantly clear in reading the novel that they exhibited so many of the virtues which animate Freemasons that it seems only natural that at some stage their name should be chosen by Freemasons as the name for not only a Lodge but this Chapter.
The “Cheerybles Musical Society” had been formed and been in existence for two to three years when a group of Freemasons who were also members of the Musical Society formed a new Masonic Lodge in 1893 called “Cheerybles Lodge” this was numbered No.2466 on the Roll of the United Grand Lodge of England. It is fitting to point out the following form of Grace that was adopted by Cheerybles Lodge at the Festive Board, extracted in part from the Novel;
“For these and all other blessings, brother Charles”
“Lord make us truly thankful brother Ned”
(To which was added by Cheerybles Lodge)
“And remind us of the wants of others”
The real life of the Cheerybles Brothers
Although the Cheerybles twins were two fictional characters, they were drawn from two real life characters, and it is worth quoting from Dickens preface to this novel;
“To turn to a more pleasant subject, it may be right to say that there are two characters in this book that are drawn from life. It is remarkable that what we call the world, which is so very credulous in what it professes to be true, is most incredulous in what it professes to be imaginary; and that while, every day in real life it will allow in one man no blemishes, and in the other no virtues, it will seldom admit a very strong character, either good or bad in a fictitious narrative to be within the limits of probability. But those who take an interest in this tale will be glad to learn that the Bothers Cheeryble live, that their liberal charity, their singleness of the heart, their noble nature, their unbounded benevolence are no creation of the authors brain, but are prompting every day (and often by stealth) some munificent and generous deed in that town of which they are the pride and honour”.
The real life originals were William and Daniel Grant and a few paragraphs about them will complement the novel and our History.
The Grant Brothers
William and Daniel Grant were two of seven children of William and Grace Grant, who came from Strathspey on Speyside in Scotland. Their father was a farmer and cattle dealer, whose family had lived on Speyside for generations. A succession of adverse markets culminating in 1783 with the family having to abandon their farm and move to Lancashire England, the family then consisting of seven children ranging from 6 mths to 15 years of age. Lancashire was a long way from their home town of Speyside, but it held the prospect of employment amongst the Calico Printers and many textile works. As this is not a history of the Grants but merely an account, we can be sure that they reached Lancashire and secured work near Bury establishing them once again in business. In due time William and Daniel built up a flourishing Calico printing business. Although they must have been hard working and keen businessmen, they had an abounding benevolence of character and were renowned for their practical benefactions.
It is recorded that the novelist Charles Dickens met them once at a dinner in Manchester in 1839, but he must have heard of them from their frequent charitable acts. When Dickens wrote Nicholas Nickleby he created two characters, Charles and Ned Cheeryble, these characters were undoubtedly based on the two Grant Brothers, which is confirmed by Dickens` remarks in his preface in the novel
The Cheerybles Musical Society
In the latter part of the nineteenth century around 1880 a group of men used to assemble in a small public house in Peckham South East London staging musical evenings and concerts, they also had an interest in Charles Dickens. Amongst the members of this group were Capt. J.N.Stephens, and E.J.Owens, Founders of both Cheerybles Lodge and Chapter, plus H.J.Vose the 1st Initiate of the Cheerybles Lodge and a Founder of the Chapter. At the suggestion of H.J.Vose the group named themselves the Cheerybles Brothers; this was subsequently changed to the Cheerybles Club then to the Cheerybles Music Society in 1890. By this time the group was holding monthly concerts in the Banqueting Room of St James Hall Restaurant, Regent Street London.
Foundation of Cheerybles Lodge No.2466
In the latter part of 1892 and about two years after the formation of the Musical Society an idea of forming a Masonic Lodge was spoken about between the members of the Society. Two of the members Lt-Col. Tully and Capt. Stephens were members of Centurion Lodge No.1718 who agreed to sponsor the new Lodge. At a regular meeting of Centurion Lodge on Wednesday 23rd November 1892 the Petition was signed by the WM and Wardens on behalf of the Lodge and sent to the Grand Secretary’s Office for approval. The Petition was approved on the 10 February 1893 and three months later on the 19th May 1893 the new Cheerybles Lodge No.2466 was consecrated by the then Grand Secretary V.W.Bro Letchworth, who also consecrated the Cheerybles Chapter some 20 years later. Centurion Lodge No.1718 is still in existence today and continues its association with Cheerybles Chapter No. 2466.