A REMARKABLE OCTOGENARIAN CELEBRATING SIXTY MASONIC YEARS
Newton Keene Grant was born on 25th June 1931 and therefore is a remarkable Octogenarian in his 88th year. He was eight years of age when War broke out and at that time lived in Pinner, Middlesex, where his father commuted to the City. His Father had been convinced that War was coming and foresaw the bombing. In early August, therefore, he gave Newton’s mother forty-eight hours to close down the house and to take him and their Airedale dog to her widowed close friend, Mrs Williams, in North Wales.
Mrs Williams disliked Newton from the moment she set eyes on him and the feeling was reciprocal. He was sent to the local Primary School, the only Englishman amongst the Welsh. They had learned of how the English had pushed them back into the mountains and taken all of their arable land and there followed the most miserable seven weeks of his life, before moving again to Four Marks, Hampshire. He left Eggars Grammar School with Five Credits in the Oxford school Certificate; sadly, missing out on Maths with only a Pass.
In 1948 he was introduced to a Firm of Chartered Accountants in Alton, Hampshire and as a result he had the best grounding possible as an articled Clerk in incomplete records, small company tax and income tax. There was a slip up by him and the Senior Partner in as far as they both read the Institute’s rules incorrectly and thought that he was not exempt the Entrance Exam. To obtain deferment, he sat the Examinations of the Chartered Institute of Certified Accountants, qualifying in 1954.
He served in the Royal Army Pay Corps for ten months, but received a compassionate discharge in March 1957; being an only child, his mother was being shuttled from nursing home to nursing home, dying six months later of cancer.
On leaving the Army he was appointed a Manager by Tansley Witt, an accountancy firm of around six or seven partners and was put in charge of the Audit of Triplex Safety Glass. Professor Sewell Bray was kind enough to give him Articles to the Institute of Chartered Accountants and he took the examinations and passed. Subsequent to that he joined Pridie Brewster and became an Equity Partner. He was the major “work-getter” of the firm and handled Expert Witness work and Taxation. The Firm, founded in 1913, had three partners in 1960 when he joined and were justly proud of having reached a turnover of £100,000. When he left in 2000, the turnover was seven million, with two branch offices and three hundred and fifty staff.
For relaxation Newton played the saxophone, the violin as a teenager for seven years and the piano.
On the occasional weekend he played with amateur musicians led by a professional Jazz Trumpeter. Sadly, arthritis stops him from playing now.
The great event in his life was in October 1957, when at a Nurse’s dance, he met a newly qualified State Registered Nurse of the North Middlesex Hospital, Mary Elisabeth Romagny, who was French, having been born in Soissons. Newton proposed to her on St Valentine’s Day, February1958 and they were married on 30th August 1958 in St Etheldredas Church. Ely Place, Holborn. They honeymooned in Cornwall, which was Mary’s first introduction to Cornwall and she fell in love with the Duchy. Newton had previously been in 1942, when he holidayed with his Mother’s friends in Cowlands Creek, Feock. In 1985 they bought Treworlas House, Ruanhighlanes, for £75,000 and spent as much again bringing this grade two listed Queen Anne Farmhouse back to its original state; all supervised by Mary. The Farmhouse is a monument to her. Sadly, Mary died on 30th December 2014 and I know that Newton misses her greatly. Mary produced three lovely daughters, Nicole Mary, Carolyn Gillian and Marie-Anne Helene, all of whom are married and as a result Newton has a granddaughter Sophie Amelia.
AN EXCEPTIONAL CAREER
In addition to being a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a Justice of the Peace, he was also: –
A member of the Council of Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, serving as Chairman of the Investigations Committee for nearly five years.
Chairman of the Technical and Research Committee for three years.
A member of the Professional Standards the Education and International Affairs Committees.
He also served as President of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants for the year 1983/84.
He served on the Consultative Committee of Accounting Bodies including the Auditing Practices Committee.
He regularly lectured on behalf of the Certified Accountants Education Trust.
In 1984 he was a Founder Member of the Certified Association of Arab Accountants.
In 1985/86 he was a member of the Goulding Working Party om Fraud and Irregularities and the Duties of Auditors.
In 1985 he was appointed Chairman of the Hearing Aid Council and served until 1991.
In 1990 he was honoured with the Order of the British Empire.
In 1993 he was appointed to the FIMBRA Arbitration Panel.
In 2003 he became a Mediator (Accredited Dispute Resolver) through the Academy of Experts.
NEWTON THE EXCEPTIONAL FREEMASON
Moving now to Newton’s Masonic Career, on 8 November 1958 he was initiated into the Liberal Arts Lodge No: 6659. They held four Meetings a year and at that time they met in the Kensington Palace Hotel, London.
OTHER EVENTS THAT HAPPENED DURING 1958:
Tragically, the airplane carrying Manchester Utd Football Club members crashed on take off at Munich Airport in Germany. Tragically, 23 of the 44 people on board died.
Bertrand Russell launches the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Sir Vivian Fuchs heads the first team to cross the Antarctic. The task took 99 days using only Sno-Cat Caterpillar tractors and dogsleds.
The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, opens the first planetarium in Britain called, The London Planetarium.
Work on Britain’s first motorway begins, the M1.
The first march in support of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament takes place from Hyde Park in London to Berkshire.
The first episode of Hancock’s Half Hour “Sunday Afternoon at Home” is broadcast.
BOAC’s De-Havilland Comet 4 makes its maiden flight.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award is presented at Buckingham palace for the first time.
The Queen officially re-opens Gatwick Airport after its re-expansion plans are complete. The alterations cost a staggering £7,000,000 in 1958.
Parking meters were installed for the first time in the United Kingdom.
The Queen gives her son Prince Charles the customary title of “Prince of Wales”
The first Carry On film is released called “Carry On Sergeant”
The first Cod War between the Uk and Iceland breaks out.
BBC Grandstand is broadcast for the first time.
BBC Blue Peter is broadcast for the first time.
Donald Campbell sets the world water speed record of 248.62mph.
In 1961, a member left £12,000 to the Lodge in his Will for charitable purposes. In April 1962, Newton initiated the foundation of a registered charity, the Liberal Arts Lodge Benevolent Fund. As the founder, he was appointed the lead Trustee, with two others and served in that office until December 2015. Income was distributed in total annually to the Masonic Charities and a Cancer Hospice, with the occasional payments to distressed Members for medical fees. By 2015 the Fund had grown to around £250,000.
Newton attended the weekly L.O.I. when professional commitments permitted and he served in all offices up to Senior Warden before being installed as Worshipful Master in 1967. As Master, he carried out all three degrees and was not permitted to “farm out” any part, not even the Traditional History. He was appointed Treasurer in the 1970s and served in that office for twenty-three years.
He was awarded London Grand Rank and in 1986 he was made a Grand Officer, with the appointment of Past Grand Standard Bearer. He was promoted to Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 1994.
He is a Past Master of a City Livery Company, The Worshipful Company of Horners, being now the Senior Past Master. In 1973 Worshipful Brother Leslie Wheeler, the then Treasurer of the City of London Lodge of Installed Masters No 8220, proposed him as a member of that Lodge. Membership is only open to those who are Past Masters of a Craft Lodge and who are members of a City Livery Company. Newton became Assistant Secretary 1987 and then became Treasurer from 1989 to 1996. In 1996 he was honoured to become Master of that Lodge.
In 1984 he joined the Certified Accountants Lodge No: 7582. By a quirk of fate, he had become both a Chartered Accountant and a Chartered Certified Accountant, each by examination. When he was President of the latter body, he was invited to join the Certified Accountants Lodge. However. he declined as he sensed a slightly anti-masonic trend on Council against those members of Council who were members of the Certified Accountants Lodge. He did however accept the invitation to join when he came out of office in 1984. He became Master of that Lodge in 1994, after serving as Secretary from 1985 to 1994. He was made an Honorary Member in 2005 and is now the Chaplain for the current Master.
He joined the Raymond Thrupp Lodge No: 2024 in Middlesex in the 1984, served as Charity Steward for three years and became Worshipful Master in 1993. The Middlesex Province honoured him with PPGReg in 1995, but resigned from that Lodge in 1998, through his move to Cornwall.
He joined the Trinity Lodge No: 5179 in 1994, also resigning in 1998.
Newton is greatly indebted to Worshipful Brother Jim Woodman of Tewington Lodge for introducing him to Cornish Freemasonry. As a customer at his shop, Newton realised after a period of time that Jim was phishing to see if he was a Freemason. After letting him phish for a bit, Newton was then invited by Jim, as his guest, to Tewington Lodge No: 5698, when he proposed him as a joining member in 1998. He was honoured with becoming Master in the year 2000. The Installation remains one of Newton’s happiest Masonic memories, particularly making the acquaintance of the late Past Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother Nicholas Barrington, with whom he shared a wee dram until two o’clock in the morning.
In 2002, in response to an appeal by Right Worshipful Brother Nicholas Barrington, he joined the Fowey Lodge No: 977 and became Treasurer in 2015, an office he still holds. In the same year he also joined the Cornish Masters Lodge No: 3324.
In 2004 he was appointed Visiting Grand Officer to the Cornish Acacia Lodge No: 8302, meeting in Hayle. The Lodge subsequently made him an Honorary Member and he still attends when he is able.
Having gone through the Chair the Liberal Arts Lodge, Newton was exalted into Vane Royal Arch Chapter No: 3781 in October 1975 and he became First Principal in 1995. Around 2003, he was appointed Treasurer and this is an office that he still holds. He joined the Woodhall Park Chapter No: 7128 in Essex in 1994 and resigned some three years later through his move to Cornwall. He joined Mt Edgcumbe Chapter No: 496 in 2001 and Fowey Chapter in 2016 and is still a member of both of these.
He joined the Mark Degree in the City of London Mark Masons Lodge in the early nineties and resigned in 1998, again due to his move to Cornwall. He then joined the St Austell Mark Lodge, becoming Master in 2011 and subsequently received the Provincial rank of PPGIG in 2014.
He joined the Rose Croix in London and was perfected in the Garrick Chapter No: 630 on 22nd June 1993. He resigned in 1998, due to his main residence being in Cornwall. He then joined the Duchy Chapter No: 289 in Liskeard and became Most Wise Sovereign in November 2012. He attained his thirtieth degree in October 2014 and joined the Laurie Francis Chapter of Rose Croix No: 1137 in 2015.
He joined the Knights Templar Faith and Fidelity Preceptory No: 26 on 6th April 1995, but resigned in 1997 as dates clashed with the Rose Croix Meetings.
He is also a member of the Red Cross of Constantine in the Joseph Arimathea Conclave No: 253 and the Order of the Allied Masonic Degrees in Restormel Castle Council No: 85.
During 2018, Cornish Freemasonry has witnessed many remarkable milestones but this was a very special evening enjoyed by all those Brethren lucky enough to attend. Those in attendance clearly witnessed a very sincere evening for an extra special and popular man. Like many other Lodges in the Province of Cornwall, Tewington Lodge are extremely lucky to have such an active and loyal member within their ranks.
Worshipful Brother Newton, without any question of doubt you richly deserve your 60 year certificate and evening of celebrations. Like several of those other remarkable men who have recently celebrated 60 years of service to Freemasonry, you are an inspiration for all Freemasons throughout Cornwall and beyond. The Brethren of Tewington Lodge together with the members of the Province of Cornwall are honoured to have you amongst their ranks.
Here’s to you receiving your next 70th certificate in ten years time 👍