Middlesex Masons on a Walkabout

Tour Leader – W Bro Mike Nevile SLGR

W Bro Leonardo Monno, Media Team member, gives an account of a “masonic” tour of London and introduces W. Bro Mike Neville SLGR, a Metropolitan Mason and also member Ashlar Lodge, No. 236 in the Mark Province of Middlesex where he holds the Office of PGStdB. Mike is also a well known figure on the masonic lecture circuit and conducts walking tours in London of masonic interest.

“W Bro Mike Neville and I met in November 2014 when he gave a talk at the Harrow Masonic Centre, sponsored by the Light Blues Club entitled Crime and the Craft.

So, when I learned about Mike holding his much acclaimed Masonic London Walk last month, I leapt at the chance to participate.

Mike is a Masonic crime historian and a former Scotland Yard DCI, so he knows a great deal about the subject.

He is the author of two interesting books on masonic subjects: ‘Sacred Secrets’ and ‘Crime and The Craft.’

The tour takes place on a Saturday morning and it is open to all.

Indeed, the group I was part of included Brethren from two Lodges, family members and two English tourists.

The slow paced walk covers about four miles and Mike donates part of the tour cost to charity.

MEETING POINT

We met at the Wellington Memorial at Cornhill next to the Bank of England.

He was an Irish Freemason and joined Trim Lodge, No. 494 in the County of Meath.

Due to his hectic military life and subsequent political endeavours he remained an Entered Apprentice Freemason.

From there we strolled to Mason’s Avenue, a narrow alleyway where the site of the Worshipful Company of Masons (1463-1865), not to be confused with freemasons, was based.

The next location visited was the Guildhall, which had been the tax collection point for the medieval citizens of London.

It is also considered to be the heart and soul of the Square Mile since 1128.

The Church of St Lawrence Jewry stands at the corner of the plaza overlooking the Guildhall yard and was rebuilt after the London Fire by Freemason Christopher Wren.

A Roman gladiatorial arena was discovered under its site in 1987.

Here Mike delighted us with an entertaining anecdote, which I will not here reveal, about why the church displays a gridiron on its roof wind-measuring weathervane and the martyr Saint Lawrence becoming the patron of cooks and comedians.

At this point we were all holding on to Mike’s every word and longing to hear more !

A quick walk down Cheapside led us to St Paul’s, the renowned Cathedral.

St Paul’s Church Yard was where The Goose & Gridiron Pub once stood.

It was in 1717 that the first Grand Master was elected and brought into being the first Grand Lodge in the world. The rest is history.

CRIME AND THE CRAFT

Mike Neville continued to entertain us with stories and anecdotes about Crime and the Craft which was particularly apropos as we made our way to the site of the former Newgate Prison.

Then we made our way to the historical Ye Old Cheshire Cheese Pub off Fleet Street, where we imbibed a refreshing drink.

Dr Samuel Johnson and James Boswell often lunched there; Johnson was living in a small square behind the pub.

We walked further down Fleet Street passing the site where the other classic Masonic meeting-place formerly stood: The Mitre Tavern.

Having reached the Royal Courts of Justice the plan had been for us to see the famous Temple Church featured in the film The Da Vinci Code.

Sadly, the area was closed off to visitors due to Covid restrictions.

The tour finally came to an end at Freemasons’ Hall and before we parted company, we celebrated a day of fun and brotherly love with a short lunch at the Hercules Pillars Pub.

Bro Neville is an historian and a brilliant raconteur who will keep you entertained with jokes and anecdotes and show a personal interest in every tour participant answering any questions put to him on the subjects of history and Freemasonry.

He comes highly recommend.”

You will find information on all of Mike’s tours and talks on his personal Facebook page or by sending your questions to: bookings@mike-neville-walks-and-talks.co.uk.

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