Cyningston 10-90: All Saints Church Heritage Scheme

The Masonic Order of Athelstan will celebrate its 10th Anniversary in 2015. These ten years have seen our Order grow to over 100 Courts in 15 Provinces situated in England, Wales, India, Australia and the United States of America.

 

Courts have been established in several locations relevant to the historical figure of Athelstan. These include Court of Eoforwic No 1 at York, which was the location of the first Grand Assembly, Malmesbury Court No 100 at Malmesbury, which was the location of Athelstan's interment, and most recently the Coronation Stone Court No 50 at Kingston, which was the place of Athelstan's Coronation.

 

coronation stoneAll Saints Church in Kingston has been undergoing major refurbishment and restoration in recent years. Part of the planned restoration includes the relocation of the ancient Coronation Stone to a significant position within the grounds of the church.

 

This Stone is widely believed to have been used in the coronation of seven Anglo-Saxon kings, including our own King Athelstan. When it was relocated on 19th September 1850, its historical importance was recognised with a public holiday. Its Masonic significance was endorsed with full Masonic honours and celebrations by the Freemasons of Surrey.

 

It was during this great ceremony that the stone was set on a special base, surrounded by ornamental railings and placed to the south of the Market Place. The names of the seven kings were enscribed around the base: Edward the Elder, Athelstan, Edmund, Edred, Edwy, Edward the Martyr, and Ethelred. It was moved to its present position after the build- ing of Kingston Guildhall in 1935.

 

plaqueMade of Greywether sandstone or sarsen (the same stone that was used to create some of the uprights at Stonehenge) the Stone now stands to the right of the Kingston Guildhall (in High Street) as you face the building. It is hard to believe that such a national treasure was used for over 300 years as a mounting block for horsemen in the Market Place until is relocation in the 19th Century!

 

The Stone would have originally been kept in the Saxon Chapel of St Mary, which used to abut All Saints Parish Church on the Market Place side. That Chapel collapsed in 1730 after being severely undermined by grave-digging.

 

Indeed traces of the Saxon church and chapel of St Mary can been seen outside the south door of the present build- ing and it was at this spot on the 4th September 925 that King Athelstan was crowned.

 

churchThere has been an ecclesiastical presence on the site of All Saints Church from at least the ninth century. It is recorded that in 838 a Great Council called by King Egbert of Wessex was held in Kingston where the Bishops (Church) and the Monarchy (Crown) laid out their constitutional relationship, a relationship that forms the core of our current constitution. It is true to say that this historic site is clearly where England began!

 

Given the direct historical relevance to our Order and with our 10th Anniversary being coincident with the 1090th Anniversary of King Athelstan's coronation, the Most Worshipful Grand Master, supported by Grand Council, wishes to ensure that the Masonic Order of Athelstan leaves a lasting mark upon the historic fabric of King Athelstan's Cyningstun.

 

To this end, our Most Worshipful Grand Master wishes our Order to support the restoration project of All Saints Church. The first stage has just been completed at a cost of £3.5million and stage two will include the relocation of the Coronation Stone, coupled with the erection of a two storey building for community projects, both within the existing church grounds. Funding has been provided from many different sources for these projects, but there is currently a shortfall and several appeals are currently underway to ensure the overall success of this historic restoration.

 

Stage two is where we hope that the Masonic Order of Athelstan can assist. The Church is to launch a Heritage Scheme; a specialist educational programme based upon the jewel-in-their-crown and ours, namely King Athelstan. The educational programme has many dimensions and will be aimed at their local community such as school children and also importantly at the many visitors to All Saints Church. This will include bringing back to life the Anglo-Saxon heritage of Kingston, indeed England, based around the life and times of King Athelstan. Importantly it will allow us to directly assist in the restoration and relocation of the Coronation Stone as did our masonic forebears in the 19th Century.

 

angelAt the Annual Assembly 2014, the Most Worshipful Grand Master outlined how we as an Order can assist with the launch of Cyningstun '10-90' . This will be an initiative to assist the All Saints Church Heritage Scheme and will culminate in a service of re- dedication of the Masonic Order of Athelstan and the blessing of the Grand Banner. This is to be held at All Saints Church on Saturday 7th November 2015 and will be followed by a commemoration banquet.

 

Our Order, since its Inauguration, has recognised that Brethren grant relief mainly through their Craft Lodges and Royal Arch Chapters and has openly encouraged this. It is hoped that your support of our Grand Master at this special period in the history of our Order, which coincides with the moving of the Coronation Stone, will lead you to grant relief through our Order. In supporting our Grand Masters' initiative we will help to preserve the Coronation Stone upon which Athelstan was crowned King.

 

Let us all join together in building a special bond between All Saints Church and our Order. It is a most fitting way to celebrate our 10th Anniversary and at the same time support our Grand Master and All Saints Church. Together with our wives, children, relations and friends let us unite in the goal of having a happy and spectacular 10th Anniversary.

 

A number of options have been proposed to allow your voluntary support, at both Court and personal levels. These were outlined at the Annual Assembly and full details will be forwarded to all members via email and a full guide of events will be made available here on our website.