History of the National Masonic Championships
The National Masonic Championship is now an annual fixture in most masonic Provincial Clay Pigeon Shooting teams' diaries but I was interested to learn of its relatively recent origins when I found myself talking to members of the Province of West Lancashire team at the competition hosted by East Kent in 2013.
I have since trawled the internet and corresponded with W.Bro Mike Casey from the Province of West Lancashire in an effort to collate details of the competitions to date. I would be grateful for any information you may have that would fill any of the gaps (i.e., which Provinces took part, who came 1st, 2nd & 3rd, the individual team scores and the name and score for the masonic high gun).
With thanks to W.Bro Mike I now understand that during 1984 the Provincial Grand Master of Cumberland & Westmorland issued a challenge to the Provinces of West & East Lancashire to compete at Clay Pigeon Shooting. The challenge was taken up and an annual Inter-Provincial Competition has continued since then, although East Lancashire has dropped out, the Province of Cheshire has taken part, and dropped out, and recently the Province of North Yorkshire have entered and hosted the competition.
In 2000 the members of the Province of West Lancashire team decided to host the first National Masonic Championship; which was subsequently arranged for 2001. However, due to an outbreak of foot & mouth disease that year the competition was deferred until 2002.
National Association of Masonic Clay Shooting Societies
In February 2015 representatives from 21 Provincial Clay Shooting Associations / Societies met at Temple 10 at Freemasons' Hall for the inaugral meeting of a proposed National Masonic Clay Shooting Society (NAMCSS). The proposition was unanimously adopted.
The following Officers were elected:
Chairman - W.Bro Brian Saidman (MetGL)
Vice Chairman - W.Bro Mick Casey (West Lancs)
Secretary - W.Bro Roger Wilkes (East Kent)
Treasurer - W.Bro Cliff Jones (Herts)
Going forward Provincial teams will bid to the NAMCSS committee to host the nationals and they will ensure the competition is awarded fairly.
The Nationals have been held as follows:
1st National Masonic Championship (2002)
On Saturday 18/05/2002 the competition, hosted by the Province of West Lancashire, was held at Hoghton Towers, Hoghton, Nr Preston, (the 16th Century country hall where Henry VIII famously knighted a loin of beef - hence 'Sirloin'), with about 10 Provinces being represented; although not all sent a full team. Essex entered a team of seven masonic shooters and one guest and finished 4th, with all seven shooters finishing in the top 25 of the 150 shooters who attended. The winning team were West Lancashire, but I have no record of the scores or who the runners-up were.
2nd National Masonic Championship (2004)
On Sunday 6th June 2004 West Lancashire repeated the exercise, again at Hoghton Towers. The competition, a 75 bird sporting shoot, was won by West Yorkshire (183) followed by West Lancashire (167) and Cambridgeshire (166). The masonic high gun was Bro. Nigel Hurst (West Yorkshire) scoring 66 from 75.
17 Provinces attended, including Essex (our records show we came 5th but I don't have a record of the score), Middlesex (7th on 147/225) and West Yorkshire (score not known).
3rd National Masonic Championship (2006)
On Sunday 18th June 2006 the competition was again hosted by the Province of West Lancashire but the venue moved to Leighton Hall near Carnforth; the home of the Gillows family, famous furniture manufacturers. This was the wettest day imaginable with score cards disintegrating before the shoot had finished; making scoring a challenge.
The day was won by Middlesex (219) followed by West Lancs (214) and Cambridgeshire (203). The masonic high gun was W.Bro Kenneth Ellis from Cambridgeshire with a winning score of 80. Unfortunately the EMCSA were unable to enter a team this year.
4th National Masonic Championship (2007)
On Sunday 26th August 2007 the Province of Surrey took on the mantle and hosted the competition at Bisley Camp, Brookwood, Woking, Surrey, GU24 0NY, where I believe Cornwall won but I do not have a record of the scores or who the runners-up were.
5th National Masonic Championship (2009)
On Saturday 27th June 2009, there being no other volunteers, West Lancashire again hosted the event, this time at the Dolphin Shooting Ground, Marsh, Lane, Longton, Preston, PR4 5JY. Thereafter, the principle of hosting the Championships at an established shooting ground became the favoured format of the competition. The day was won by Sussex but I do not have the scores or details of the runners-up.
6th National Masonic Championship (2010)
On Saturday 26th June 2010 MetGL (London) hosted the Championships at EJ Churchill Shooting Ground, Park Lane, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP14 3NS; which was won by Surrey (256) followed by Cornwall (254) and MetGL (246).
7th National Masonic Championship (2011)
On Saturday 23rd July 2011 the Province of Middlesex hosted the 7th National Masonic Championship, again at Churchill's. It was won by West Lancs (258) followed by Surrey (252) and Cornwall (251).
8th National Masonic Championship (2012)
On Saturday 23rd June 2012 the Province of Cornwall hosted the 8th National Masonic Championship at Cart Ridge Shooting Ground, Landrake, Cornwall, PL12 5AB. The event was won by Sussex (255) followed by Surrey (252) and West Lancs (248).
Essex were amongst the Provinces that supported the event.
9th National Masonic Championship (2013)
On Saturday 22nd June 2013 the competition was hosted by the Province of East Kent at Greenfields Shooting Ground, Sturry, Canterbury, CT2 0NG. It was a very close fought competition which was won by MetGL (251) followed by Cornwall (250) and West Lancs (250).
Essex were amongst the Provinces that supported the event.
10th National Masonic Championship (2014)
On Saturday 21st June 2014 the event was hosted by the Province of Bristol at Westfields Shooting Ground, A436 Stanborough Road, Westfield, Nr Notgrove, Gloucestershire, GL54 3BX. In another very close competition it was won by MetGL (330) followed by West Lancashire (329) and Bristol (328). The masonic high gun was Bro. Cliff Goodwin (Sussex) with a score of 91. The next highest was shared by two brethren on 88.
In addition to Essex the Provinces that supported Bristol were Cornwall (286), Cumberland & West Moreland, Hertfordshire, East Kent (282), West Lancashire, Leicstershire & Rutland, MetGL, Middlesex (270), Monmouthshire, Norfolk, Shropshire, Surrey, Sussex (300), Warwickshire & Wiltshire (233).
11th National Masonic Championship (2015)
On Saturday 1st August 2015 this event was hosted by the Province of Cumberland & West Moreland at The Coniston Hotel & Country Estate, The Shooting Ground, Coniston Cold. Skipton. North Yorkshire. BD23 4EA. Essex was one of the 17 Provinces and 133 individuals taking part.
The masonic team scores were:-
1st - West Lancashire (257)
2nd - Cornwall (255)
3rd - MetGL (251)
4th - East Kent (246)
5th - Essex (234)
6th - North Yorkshire (220)
7th - Bristol (216)
8th - West Yorkshire (214)
9th - Middlesex (213)
10th - Cumberland & Westmorland (185)
11th - Wiltshire (172)
The remaining Provinces didn't have 3 qualifying masonic shooters but were:-
12th - Leicestershire & Rutland (155) (shooters)
13th - Monmouthshire (138) (2 shooters)
14th - Warwickshire (127) (2 shooters)
15th - Hertfordshire (86) (1 shooter)
16th - Surrey (70) (1 shooter)
17th - East Lancashire (65) (1 shooter)
The masonic High Gun, with a score of 93, was W.Bro Neil March of Essex :-) Well done Neil!
12th National Masonic Championship (2016)
On Saturday 18th June 2015 this years event was hosted by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Warwickshire at Wedgnock Clay Shooting Ground, Wedgnock Lane, Warwick, CV35 7PX. The host Province were represented by VW.Bro Michael Morris, DepPGM.
165 shooters took part with teams from 17 Provinces.
The masonic team scores were:-
1st - Surrey (237) Shooters: Nigel Foreman, Glen Boxhall and Kevin Scarlett
2nd - MetGL (231) Shooters: Sam King, John Perrin & Marc Price
3rd - Believed to be Middlesex (223)
Masonic High Gun: Kevin Scarlett (Surrey) (87)
Masonic Runner-Up: Sam King (MetGL) (84)
Masonic Veteran: John Perrin (MetGL) (77)
Guest Team Winners: Cliffe Taliban (232) Shooters: Colin Hales, Tony Jeffery & Dave Beaumont
Ladies Team Winners: Suffolk (143) Shooters: Charlotte Brereton, Lisa Brereton & Sharon Rudd
Guest High Gun: Mervyn Moylan (West Lanc’s) (88)
Guest Runner-Up: Colin Hales (E.Kent Cliffe Taliban) (85)
Junior High Gun: Tom Hemmings (Bristol) (62)
Veteran High Gun: John Perrin (77)
Veteran Runner-Up: Phil Goddard (Buck’s) (72)
Ladies High Gun: Charlotte Brereton (Suffolk) (64)
Ladies Runner Up: Saira Boardman (Warks) (60)
13th National Masonic Championships (2017)
14th National Masonic Championship (2018)
The 2018 Championships will be hosted by the Province of Surrey.