The Royal Arch Masonic Province of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire is led by the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, E Comp Jim Boughton. His authority derives from a Patent issued by the First Grand Principal, HRH the Duke of Kent. The Most Excellent Grand Superintendent appoints his Deputy, Second and Third Provincial Grand Principals.

Below are pen-portraits of our Provincial Executive. Click each picture to view it full-size.

Most Excellent Grand Superintendent - E Comp Jim Boughton

18 06 28 MEGSMy journey into Freemasonry began in 1985 when I was Initiated into Heigham Lodge No 8486.

Mastership of my Mother Lodge came in 1992 followed by a fascinating journey through Craft Masonry culminating in the appointment in 2012 as Assistant Provincial Grand Master.

During the 37-years to-date I have also enjoyed exploring many other Orders in Freemasonry but surely nothing can be so important as the culmination and completion of Pure Ancient Freemasonry.

This particular journey began in 1987 with Exultation into Pemberton Chapter No. 3039, followed in 1990 by becoming a joining member of the newly formed Whytewell Chapter No. 8400, passing through the Chairs of both Chapters from 1993 to 1997.

In 1998 I began a career as Assistant Director of Ceremonies and then Director of Ceremonies for both Chapters until 2012 when a certain Craft appointment occupied most of my time.

My term as Assistant Provincial Grand Master ended in 2016 and after a short rest came the call to act as Second Provincial Grand Principal being appointed in 2017.

In February 2018, I was delighted and honoured to be appointed as Most Excellent Grand Superintendent and look forward to encouraging others to join us in experiencing the joys of the Supreme Degree of The Royal Arch, the culmination of Pure Antient Freemasonry.

Deputy Grand Superintendent - E Comp Neil Handley PGSwB

19 11 16 neil handleyI was Initiated in Pax Magna Lodge No. 3916 in my home town of Nottingham in 1980, but in 1982, my job in banking took me to Norwich. I joined the Lodge of Perseverance No 213 in 1983 and although the bank moved me to Brighton in 1987, I was Installed as WM in 1990. I remained in Brighton for 5-years before moving to Peterborough in 1992.

Now a member of Petriburg Lodge No. 8767 in Peterborough, I am due to be invested as SW in September 2019. God willing and subject to the normal formalities, I hope to be Installed as WM in September 2020.

Moving around the country so much was not conducive to putting down roots and joining other Masonic Orders, but I felt the need to complete my journey in Pure Antient Masonry and was Exalted in the Chapter of Perseverance No 213 in Norwich in 1993, becoming First Principal in 1997.

I joined Dr Oliver Chapter in Peterborough in 2002 and was invested as Scribe E in 2003. I was Installed as First Principal in October 2013 and had two wonderful years in that role before taking office as Scribe E again.

My Provincial Grand Chapter appointments include Provincial Grand Treasurer for the Province of Norfolk (1999) and Provincial Grand Registrar in this Province (2014). In this Craft Province, I was honoured to be appointed as Past Grand Superintendent of Works and a Group Officer for Peterborough in 2016.

It was an honour beyond my wildest dreams to become 2nd Provincial Grand Principal in February 2018 and I was further honoured with appointment to Supreme Grand Chapter rank as PGStB in April 2019. I thought that, at that point, I had reached the pinnacle of my Masonic career, so it was an unexpected and wonderful surprise to be asked by our Most Excellent Grand Superintendent to become his Deputy in June 2019. This was followed by promotion to PGSwdB in 2020.

I shall continue to work hard to support our Most Excellent Grand Superintendent, E Comp Jim Boughton and the other members of the Provincial Executive, in our quest to encourage all Master Masons to complete their journey into Pure Antient Masonry so that they may enjoy the Companionship of The Royal Arch.

2nd Provincial Grand Principal - E Comp Mike Binsted PGStB

19 11 20 mike binsted I am reminded of the Beatles’ song “The Long and Winding Road” when I think of my Masonic journey.

I was initiated in to Kynaston Studd Lodge 5416 in 1996. I found myself through my 3 degrees on consecutive meetings and Inner Guard at the next Installation. One of the things that struck me right from the start was the camaraderie and ethos of Masonry. The focus on helping others less fortunate than ourselves and the sense of giving something back in to society. As a Royal Air Force VR officer, this resonated with me.

I have always enjoyed my ritual and having ceremonies to take part in during the progression and a full programme whilst WM as great. I was then appointed Secretary. An office I held for 10 years. It was the first of several secretary/scribes roles I would find myself in. I seem to attract them! I do, however, enjoy being a key part of a unit’s management and assisting in the focus, forward planning and direction we all need if our Masonic units are to be successful.

Appointment to LGR (2007), MetGD (2009) and SLGR (2010). I was invited to become a VO (2010) and I also became responsible for the official visits of one third of all London “chains”, having one third of all MetGL active officers of MetGD and below as escorts.

I was appointed PAGDC in 2013. This was followed by a SVO appointment. I was soon appointed as “Adjutant” to my MetGInsp and his de-facto deputy. He had line responsibility for 93 Lodges! I am now the deputy project lead for the MetGL Unsponsored Candidate programme which is tasked with managing some 1,300 approaches from people who have an interest in Freemasonry.

But what of the Royal Arch?

I took the decision not to join the Royal Arch until I had progressed through the Craft Chair. In hindsight, I wish I had joined earlier – but hey ho. By then I was living in Milton Keynes and working in Northampton, having transitioned through IT and Response Management in to business consultancy. So, of course I contacted the Provincial office and identified St John’s 3972 as the Chapter that fitted my spec. I was Exalted in 2003 Installed as MEZ in 2013. I have always enjoyed my ritual and the Royal Arch allows its “players” to bring that ritual to life – none more so than our current MEGS suggestions as to how can we do just that. I had joined the Royal Air Force Chapter 7335 in 2009 and managed to hold the same offices in each of my Chapters in the same year. That certainly made life easier for me, although one was Domatic and the other Aldersgate. I became Scribe E of both my Chapters on leaving MEZ. I had also joined the First Principals’ Chapters both in Northampton and London. Having been a member of Installed Masters I already understood the value of these “senior” units and always recommend WMs and MEZs to join them.

Christmas 2015 brought a surprise call from MEGS, E Comp Wayne Williams. Would I like to be ProvAGSE? He explained what the job involved and, sure enough, I was invested in 2016. I have visited every Chapter in the Province and represented the Province at many other Provincial meetings. Wherever I have been in the Royal Arch, I am always welcomed and am privileged to meet interesting and friendly Companions. We are blest with so many in our Province. Appointed Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra (ProvGSE) in 2019, I have been in Office during two unique events. First, the COVID-19 shutdown when it was critical to ensure strong communication our Chapters and Companions. Secondly, the implementation of Hermes. Whilst both were challenging times, they were equally rewarding. We have weathered both events and are moving forward in to what I hope and believe will be a period of increased growth.

I was fortunate to receive my first appointment to Grand Rank in 2020, when I was made PGStB.

Having served this Province as ProvGSE for four years, I was promoted to Second Provincial Grand Principal in 2023 (2ndProvGPrin). Apart from by more general responsibilities on the Provincial Executive, I will also be responsible for the Membership Challenge initiative, helping Chapters to retain current members and grow their memberships by introducing Master Masons to the fourth stage in their Membership Pathway and completion of their journey in Pure Antient Freemasonry with Exaltation in to our beautiful order.

3rd Provincial Grand Principal - E Comp Steve Seward

23 07 20 Steve SewardI was initiated into Ferraria Lodge 8489 based in Corby in 1999 and reached the chair of King Solomon in 2007. This was followed by The Active rank of Prov Grand Assistant Director of Ceremonies in 2012.

I was exulted into Thistle & Rose 6644 Chapter, also based in Corby in 2001, reaching the First Principals Chair in 2011. In 2014 I was again honoured with the active rank of Prov Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, followed by promotion to Deputy and then in 2018 appointed The Prov Grand Director of Ceremonies for the Province, an office I feel proud to have held and thoroughly enjoyed my time in the role.

I was honoured to receive The Supreme Grand Rank of PGStB in 2021 and invited to become The 3rd Provincial Grand Principal in 2023 both of which I am extremely proud.

At time of writing, I am Scribe E of Thistle & Rose 6644 which keeps me busy but fits nicely with my other duties, additionally I am member of First Principals and several side degrees including Mercia 658 Rose Croix where I hold 30-degree rank.

I am immensely grateful for the support I have received during my Masonic career, especially in the early days when I sometimes found it hard going, but must mention the late E Comp Lyndon Price, my proposer into Royal Arch who acted as my personal mentor, he promised me that all would eventually come good, how right he was.

The Royal Arch is an enjoyable and colourful order, where I once remember someone telling me, smiling is not an option, it is compulsory !!

Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra - E Comp John Ford

24-02-13 John Ford

EComp John Ford was initiated into Thomas a Becket Lodge No. 2754 in October 1994, and then exalted into Emulation Chapter in West Kent in 1995. EComp John is a member of two London Craft Lodge and three Provincial Craft Lodges. His Royal Arch membership consists of two London Chapters as well as Pemberton and Wellingborough Chapters in our Province.

John was appointed to London Grand Rank in 2019, a Visiting Officer in 2022, the Met Retrieval Team in the same year, active MetGStB in 2023 and an Active Provincial Grand Steward for Northants & Hunts also in 2023.

EComp John, is currently Scribe E of Pemberton Chapter, a Principal in Wellingborough Chapter and DC in three Craft Lodges as well as the founding Secretary of the Lodge of United Services in this Province. EComp John also serves as Secretary to the Mill Road House Committee and likewise for Palmer Court in Wellingborough.

He is absolutely delighted to be appointed as Provincial Scribe E, and thoroughly looking forward to getting out and about within the Province to visit our fantastic Chapters and meeting the Companions.

ProvGDC - E Comp Mick Smith

23 07 20 Mick SmithI was initiated into St Peter's Lodge, No. 442 in March 1992 having been proposed by the late, great Fred Dunk. I reached the Master's Chair in 2006 and was fortunate to remain in that seat for two years. I am currently the Lodge Secretary - again following Fred.

Fred Dunk was also instrumental in my Royal Arch career. He had chosen Socrates Chapter No 373 for me. I remember my response, "But Fred I don't know anybody at Huntingdon". His response was, "That's why you are going there". My Exaltation took place in March 1998. After serving 3 years as the Chapter ADC, I was promoted to DC in January 2018, an office which I hold to date.

My first Provincial Royal Arch appointment came in 2015 as Provincial Grand Standard Bearer, which lead to Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 2018, Deputy Grand Director Ceremonies in 2020 and in 2023 I was honoured to receive promotion to Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies.

I am also a member of the Norman Rolfe Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 1643, the Powys Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners No. 477 and the Peterborough Council of Royal and Select Masters No. 243

Those Provincial Royal Arch honours have enabled me to travel the Province and meet many Companions in this wonderful, colourful Degree. Fred Dunk was right!

The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is the home of Freemasonry in England, Wales, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and a number of Districts overseas.

There are many resources available to help you decide whether Freemasonry is for you.

Click the title to find out more.

The Northants & Hunts New and Young Masons Club (NHNYMC) helps new Masons meet, enjoy social events, share ideas, and contribute towards the future of Freemasonry.