History of Wakefield Circle

History of Wakefield West Riding (82) Circle 1925 – 2013

The Circle was inaugurated on 12 January 1925 as the 82nd Circle of the Catenian Association in the presence of 42 members. Its Founder President was Bro. Tom Tate of Leeds (3) Circle who, later, was to be instrumental in the formation of Doncaster and Wetherby Circles. Wakefield was the 7th Circle within Province 3 which, at that time, covered the East and West Ridings of Yorkshire.

Initially, Wakefield Circle met on the 4th Wednesday of each month in the Strafford Arms Hotel in the Bull Ring, Walefeld, where Council meetings were also held. In the early 1960s, the meeting venue was changed to Holmfield House (now the Holmfield Arms), Denby Dale Road and, some 30 years later, to Painthorpe Country Club, Crigglestone and in April 2006, to the Hotel St. Pierre on Barnsley Road, Newmillardam.
The Circle membership has always represented a broad cross-section of professions and businesses some of which with the passage of time no longer figure so prominently in the local community e.g. collieries, asylums etc…. The medical profession provided 12 of the original 42 members and, ever since, has been much in evidence, no doubt augmented by the presence of large hospitals at Pinderfields, Clayton and Pontefract. One founder member was the proprietor of the Grand Theatre upon the site of which now stands the Argos superstore.

In 1927, on 20 October, Wakefield Circle supported the inauguration of a Circle at Doncaster, the 97th Circle in the Association.

400th MEETING : 1961
On 8 March 1961, the 400th meeting of the Circle was followed by a celebration dinner at York House, Drury Lane – now re-named as the “Billy Budd Hotel”. This was to be the last meeting presided over by Bro. “Gin” Westwood before relinquishing the Circle Presidency, the following month, to Bro. Matt Kielty, a Founder Member. Among the speakers was Bro. Albert Rayner, another Founder Member who, at that time, had been Circle Secretary for 21 years and who, when he died in March 1979, had been a member of Wakefield Circle for 54 years. Bro. Grand President F. McMurray and 31 visitors attended the meeting and dinner.

In the following year, on 11 February 1962, Wakefield Circle supported the formation of Barnsley (205) Circle with which it has since maintained a special relationship.
In the early 1970s, Province 3 was split into two parts, 10 Circles being allocated to Province 3 North, Wakefield and the 6 remaining Circles forming Province 3 South. With the inauguration of the City of Lincoln Circle in 1978, the number of Circles in Province 3 South was increased to 8.

In 1975, Bro. Jim Hetherington presided over the 50th Anniversary meeting and charter dinner at the Unity Hall, Wakefield, on 8 January, in the presence of Grand President Dennis Mather (left of photo) and a large number of visitors.
President Jim Hetherington was a Captain in the R.A.S.C. during the 1939-45 war against Germany and was shot and wounded by renegade German soldiers on VE Day – after the Ceasefire.

In 1982, Bro. Harry Clark received the Bene Merenti medal for his services at English Martyrs’ Church, Flanshaw, where, prior to is death, he had served at Mass for 60 years, at that time being the longest-serving altar ‘boy’ in Britain. Similarly, in 1985, Bro. Dennis Carey received the Bene Merenti medal for his services as organist to St. John the Baptist Church, Normanton. Appointed at the age of 12, Dennis was to hold this position for 52 years until his death in December 1963.

70 brothers were present including Grand President Harry Yates, Grand Director Terry McManus, Provincial President Frank Neal and 23 other visiting brothers. Following the meeting, the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt. Rev. William Gordon Wheeler, celebrated Mass at English Martyrs’ Church. The celebrations concluded with dinner at the Post House Hotel.

800th MEETING : 1994
The next major event was the 800th meeting and celebration dinner held at Painthorpe Country Club on Wednesday, 10 August 1994. The occasion was presided over by Bro. President Michael Bowman in the presence of Bro. Grand President Philip Barnes, 76 visitors from 21 Circles and 35 Wakefield brothers.
The Loving Cup for the visitor who had travelled the furthest distance to attend the meeting was awarded to Bro. Michael Quin-Conroy of Liwara Circle, Western Australia. Grand Director Peter Laing  of Province 16 and Aberdeen Circle was presented with a large frying pan, ostensibly for having travelled the furthest distance of any U.K.-based brother; it was, in fact, a gift to be handed over to the Aberdeen Scout Troop.

In June 1997, 3 members of the Circle received papal honours.
John Gallagher – already a KHS – was installed as a Knight of St. Gregory for services to the medical profession; Ray Travis was installed as a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre for his work with local charities; and Hubert Barber was awarded the Bene Merenti medal for supervising the extensive renovation work to St. Austin’s church, presbytery and parish rooms as well as being the church’s choirmaster for 35 years.

The 18th May, 1998, was a most memorable occasion for 3 reasons. Firstly, Dennis Macaulay received from Grand President John Barrie an illuminated scroll to commemorate his 40 years membership of both the Association and Wakefield Circle.
Secondly, Dennis and his wife, Frances, were warmly congratulated on their recent Golden Wedding Anniversary.
To mark the occasion, Holy Mass was offered by Fr. Harry Townend, the Circle’s honorary chaplain, who was also celebrating the Golden Jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood.

April 1999 saw the installation as President of Barnsley (205) Circle of Bro. Ray Travis, a Past President of Wakefield and a joint member of both Circles.

On Wednesday, 12 January 2000, Wakefield Circle celebrated the 75th Anniversary of its inauguration in 1925 in the presence of Grand President Arthur McKivett, Provincial Director John Clarke and Provincial President Joe McNally. Also present were members of every Circle in Province 3 South and several Circles from Province 3 North.
After the meeting and despite a considerable number of cancellations due to the ‘flu outbreak, 100 brothers and wives sat down to an excellent dinner at Painthorpe Country Club.
Bro. Tom Patterson proposed the health of the guests, Grand President responded and Bro. John Gallagher recalled many incidents from almost half a century as a member of Wakefield Circle.

900th MEETING : 2002
On Wednesday, 11 December 2002. President Tom Holley presided over the 900th meeting and celebratory dinner at the Painthorpe Country Club in the presence of Grand President Robin Oakley-Smith and his wife, Betty with visitors from Circles in all adjoining Provinces and from Bolton, Wigan and Solihull on the Lancashire side of the Pennines. The occasion was a Ladies’ Night and they were present in large numbers.
During the meeting, the ladies were entertained by local historian, photographer and raconteur, Dave Carney, who gave them a most amusing and illustrated talk entitled ‘Memories’, covering the changes which had taken place in social conditions over the past half century.
112 diners sat down to a sumptious meal of Christmas fare. The guests were welcomed by Brother John Gallagher, the 2nd longest-servng member of the Circle, having enrolled in 1955. Grand President Robin Oakley-Smith responded and toasted the health of Wakefield Circle.
Circle President Tom Holley presented gifts to Grand President Robin Oakly-Smith and his wife, Betty, respectively a glass decanter and a glass vase, each inscribed with the Circle logo and commemorating the 900th meeting.

In June 2003, Pope John Paul II appointed Hubert Barber as a Knight of St. Gregory to mark his 40 years of service as Director of Music at St. Austin’s Church, Wakefield.
In June 1997, Hubert was awarded the Bene Merenti medal for his services to the Church including acting as Parish Councillor, Covenant Officer & Resident Engineer during restoration work to the church and presbytery buildings.
Hubert will be installed as a Knight of St. Gregory in a ceremony in September this year.

Dame Margaret, D.H.S.
Margaret, wife of John Gallagher, also of Wakefield Circle, has been appointed as a Dame of the Holy Sepulchre in recognition of her charitable work.Her husband, John, already a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre, was installed as a Knight of St. Gregory, also in June 1997.

On Thursday, 16 March 2006,the Circle held its last meeting at Painthorpe. The Country Club, the Circle’s venue for many years, is to close at the end of March after which it will be demolished, the site being developed for housing.
In April, the Circle will move to its new venue, the Hotel St. Pierre on the Barnsley road.

Shelagh Travis & Joe McNally and now, Dame Shelagh…
Featured in the December, 2006, issue of Catena was Shelagh Travis, was greeted at Lincolns Inn by Joe McNally, (Sheffield Hallamshire Circle and Director of Province 3) following her investiture as a Dame of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
Shelagh’s husband, Ray, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre, is a Joint Member and Past President of both Barnsley and Wakefield Circles.

On Thursday, 13 March , the Hotel St. Pierre was the venue for a major celebration – a 3 in 1 party. Prior to the meeting, Wakefield’s newest member, Malcolm Kyle, was enrolled into the Association. The meeting, which was attended by Grand President Philip Gidman, was followed by a meal where members were accompanied by their ladies. An address by the Grand President culminated with a series of presentations, the first being when Tom Disken received his 40-year scroll. Admittedly, this was 6 years late as Tom had joined Wakefield Circle in 1962. Then followed the presentation of a 60-year scroll to Dennis Macaulay who had been enrolled in 1948 and who is, currently, the longest serving member of the Circle. Bouquets of flowers were presented also to Mrs Frances Macaulay and to Mrs Arlene Gidman.
All present enjoyed not only an excellent meal but also some amusing speeches by the Grand President, Tom Disken and Dennis Macaulay, tinged with a note of sadness when we learned that Dennis & Frances would soon be leaving Wakefield to live near their daughter in the Birmingham area.

Led by Circle President Chris & Margaret Rayner, a large contingent of Wakefield members and wives, headed for York Minster where they joined many thousands from the Northern Provinces who gathered at York Minster on Saturday, 18 October 2008, the Feast of St. Luke. The occasion was the celebrating of Mass in the Minster to mark the Centenary of the Catenian Association. Principal Celebrant was the Right Reverend Terence Dainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough who was accompanied by large numbers of clergy and civic dignitaries.
The event was organized by York Circle and included a civic banquet and carnival ball in the evening.

1000th MEETING : 2011
The 1000th meeting of Wakefield Circle took place on 9th June 2011 at the Kings Croft Hotel, Pontefract.  The meeting was attended by 40 visitors including Grand President Bro Tony Godden and Past Grand President Joe McNally. Tony Godden was presented with 2 framed Ashley Jackson prints to commemorate the event.

It was followed by a banquet and celebration at the Kings Croft attended by 130 guests and dignitaries. President of Wakefield Circle – Bro Colin Croxall welcomed the guests in his usual avuncular manner!

Photos: https://wakefieldcatenians.com/5photos-of-1000th-meeting/



In May 2012 Bro Terry Mulready was conferred the Papal Medal – Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice at St Ignatius, Ossett.

In June 2012 Bro Colin Croxall was enrolled in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.



In June 2013 Bro Terry Mulready was enrolled in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.