History of The District

The District of Dorset, Hampshire and Isle of Wight of the Order of Royal and Select Masters in Masonic terms is very new, being formed in 1997. It is, however already showing promise as it co-ordinates seven very active councils.

There was no Divisional / District structure until about 1980, up until this date all promotions were to Grand Rank.

In 1980 a Divisional structure was formed, and the first Divisional Inspector of the Southern Division was Ill. Comp. Major Geoffrey Payne of the King Alfred Council No.71. His Warrant of Appointment is dated 3rd February, 1980, and it hangs in the entrance to the Botley Masonic Centre. He appointed a Divisional Recorder, Ill. Comp. Sydney Gillespie of the Carnarvon Council No.5.

Ill. Comp. Payne was succeeded by Ill. Comp. Major Donald J. Olleson of the Carnarvon Council No.5. He appointed Ill. Comp. Graeme Crew as his Divisional Recorder. Later on Ill. Comp. "Bill" Box was appointed as Divisional Recorder, and when R. Ill. Comp. Olleson became ill with Alzheimers Disease, Ill. Comp. Box continued to run the Division. Eventually Ill. Comp. Box was promoted to PGLect.. He was made an Honorary Member of the Carnarvon Council and King Alfred councils.

The Southern District covered a vast area and in 1995 it was divided into the Divisions of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire; Dorset Hampshire and Isle of Wight; Devon & Cornwall and Somerset & Wiltshire.

At a special Meeting of the Carnarvon Council, Ill. Comp. Brian John Barfoot was "Installed"? as the first Divisional Inspector for the District of Dorset, Hampshire and Isle of Wight, which consisted of three Councils, Carnarvon No.5, King Alfred No.71 and the Insula Vecta Council No.175. There was no Council in Dorset at that time. Ill. Comp. John Brayford was appointed Divisional Recorder.

There was a move to change the structure of the Order into a District organisation, and new Districts were being formed. At the Annual Meeting of the Grand Council on 15th April 1997, all the remaining Divisional Inspectors were appointed as District Grand Masters of their respective Divisions. They were enabled to appoint a full team of District Officers, the Constitutions were changed and the number of appointments that each District could have were defined therein. The Districts with a larger number of Councils could have more District Officers.

The District prides itself on being a friendly District which actively encourages inter-council visiting, both within and outside of the District.

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