It is with very great sadness that I record the death of Very Wor Bro the Reverend Neville Barker Cryer Past Grand Chaplin of The United Grand Lodge of England, a Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Surrey, Past Master and Past Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No 2076 E.C., and all round good egg. Neville was a great supporter of Irish Freemasonry and used to come across at the invitation of the late Rt Wor Bro George Powers to address the Irish Lodge of Research,the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim, where he was the Richard Robinson Memorial Lecturer on a couple of occasions and of course to speak for George at the annual NI branch meetings of Quatuor Coronati Lodge to help boost attendances at their annual meetings.
One of the great highlights for Irish Researchers was the Centenary Celebrations of Quatuor Coronati Lodge in 1984 when the late Very Wor Bro Will Read and Neville acted as joint hosts to the Irish contingent consisting of the late Rt Wor Bro George Powers, Rt Wor Bro Keith Cochrane, Very Wor Bro Allen Megarry, the late Wor Bro Russell Currie and myself. As the evening progressed, we were joined by other prominent QC members including Chris Haffner, who eventually left the Craft to pursue a calling in the Church. This was an exceptional night, going on into the wee hours, at which point Will Read and his driver set off to return to York.
Neville Barker Cryer was one of those rare larger than life figures, who bring so much to gatherings everywhere. He knew everybody, kept in touch with quite a few of the people that he knew and made time to speak with and meet as many new people as he could. He was a man who inspired others and who was known worldwide for his many and varied works on behalf of the Masonic Order. However, he was also very active and well known in Church Circles where he served as Director General of the British and Foreign Bible Society from 1970. Indeed his service to the Anglican Church generally has taken him all over the world over the last forty years.
Neville was also a prolific author with some forty books on Masonic topics to his name. These works range from the Craft, Royal Arch Chapter, The Knight Templars and the Higher Degrees. One of his best known works is York Mysteries Revealed, an excellent work on the origins and history of Freemasonry in the city of York. And of course, he was the originator and author of that other seminal set of four books on The Masonic Halls of England.
I’m sure that you will all want to be included, when I say that, we as an Order and as a Constitution, will be so much the poorer for the loss of Very Wor Bro Neville Barker Cryer. Sadly we are unlikely to meet his like again, and our prayers and thoughts go out to his wife Marjorie and the rest of the family cirle, at this difficult and trying time.
I’m not the greatest fan of the writings of Knight and Lomas, but there is one description in their book Uriel’s Machine, which has always reminded me of Neville – The proper business of a Mason is astronomical, chemical, geological and moral science and more particularly that of the ancients, with all the mysteries and fables founded upon it. Let us endeavor to turn the stream, to go from priest-craft to science, from mystery to knowledge and from allegory to real history. It can be said that these lines illustrate so much of the driving force that was the Reverend Neville Barker Cryer, as he tried to shine Light into the Darkness all around, and bring clarity and understanding to us all.
Brethren, I’m very grateful to Very Wor Bro John Wade, Past Prestonian Lecturer 2009, a Past Master and Past Secretary of Quatuor Coronati for giving us a brief report on Nevilles funeral, which was held earlier today. There was a good turnout of some 200 mourners with some 40 to 50 Masons being present. The Interrment service was held in Haxby church this morning and lasted about an hour. Afterwards, Neville remains were taken to Allstree cemetary in Darby.