The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is led by the Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, who was elected more than 50 years ago and is now UGLE’s longest-serving Grand Master.
The Pro Grand Master, who acts for him when his Royal duties supervene, is Jonathan Spence. The Deputy Grand Master is Sir David Wootton and the Assistant Grand Master are David Medlock and Steven Varley. Michael Ward is the President of the Board of General Purposes and Adrian Marsh is the Grand Secretary of UGLE.
Here you can find out more about the leaders of UGLE and their journey in Freemasonry.
The Duke of Kent was born in 1935, and educated at Eton and Le Rosey, Switzerland.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Kent were first cousins through their fathers, King George VI, and Prince George, Duke of Kent. His father, who was Grand Master from 1939 until 1942, was the fourth son of King George V. His mother Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark was also a first cousin of the Queen's husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, making him both a second cousin and first cousin once removed to King Charles III. He is currently 40th in the line of succession to the throne.
The Duke of Kent was initiated as a Freemason in Royal Alpha Lodge No. 16 in London on 16 December 1963. He completed his Second Degree on 30 January 1964 and his Third Degree on 5 June that same year, and served as Master of the Lodge in 1965.
His Royal Highness was appointed Senior Grand Warden by the United Grand Lodge of England in 1966 and was promoted to Grand Master in 1967 during UGLE's 250th anniversary celebrations at the Royal Albert Hall. He has been re-elected every year since and is now UGLE's longest serving Grand Master.
As the Grand Master is a member of the Royal Family, he may appoint a Pro Grand Master to be his principal adviser and to act for him on occasions when, due to Royal engagements, he is unable to be present.
Pro Grand Master
Jonathan Spence was born in 1960, and educated at the Mathematical School, Rochester and Trinity College, Oxford.
After a career in banking, from which he retired in 2006 as Chief Executive of a London bank, he is now a College Bursar but maintains his interest in business with a number of non-executive director appointments.
Jonathan became a Freemason in October 1982 when he was initiated into Sir Joseph Williamson No. 4605, in the Province of East Kent.
Jonathan was appointed Grand Director of Ceremonies in 2003 and served in that office until his appointment as Deputy Grand Master on 11 March 2009. Jonathan was appointed as Pro Grand Master in 2022.
When the Grand Master is a member of the Royal Family, he may appoint a Pro Grand Master to be his principal adviser and to act for him on occasions when, due to Royal engagements, he is unable to be present.
Mumbai, a fascinating city.
Proclaiming the Grand Master in Grand Lodge as Grand Director of Ceremonies.
Thought-provoking, sociable, fun.
Deputy Grand Master
Sir David Wootton was born in 1950 and educated at Bradford Grammar School and Jesus College, Cambridge.
He became a partner in an international law firm in 1979, specialising in corporate transactions and corporate governance.
Having a strong interest in the governance of the City of London, he was elected to Common Council in 2002 as Member for the Ward of Farringdon Within, and subsequently elected as Alderman for the Ward of Langbourn in 2005. Sir David served as Lord Mayor of London for 2011-12.
Sir David became a Freemason in 1975 when he was initiated into Argonauts Lodge No. 2243, a rowing Lodge that meets in London.
He served as Metropolitan Senior Grand Warden in 2007, and was promoted to Past Grand Sword Bearer in 2012, before his appointment as Assistant Grand Master on 12 March 2014. Sir David was appointed as Deputy Grand Master in 2022.
Sir David is also President of UGLE’s Universities Scheme.
Fellowship, community and fun.
Where I am sitting now, clearly Assistant Grand Master! Lots of harmony, common purpose, meeting people I wouldn't otherwise meet and lots of fun too.
I like opera, so Maria Callas, possibly the greatest soprano of all time; I like old films so John Ford, director of The Searchers; and I like sport so Abebe Bikila – the first man to win the Olympic men’s marathon twice!
Assistant Grand Master
David was born in Bath and attended King Edwards School before going to Salford University to study Environmental Health.
Upon graduating he worked for Tameside Borough Council of Greater Manchester as an Environmental Health Officer.
In 1979 he joined the family engineering firm in Bath, the H&M Group which became Sitec Ltd, an engineering design business.
The family charitable trusts have contributed over £45 million to various charities throughout the country; especially those connected with social deprivation and educational organisations.
In 2007 David served as The High Sheriff of Somerset, which represents the Sovereign in the County of Somerset. He has been Deputy Lieutenant of the county since 2008 and has also served as Vice Lord Lieutenant for six years.
David was Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Bath for 11 years and served on its Council for a total of 14 years.
He has also followed the Medlock family tradition of being an active member of The Provincial Grand Lodge of Somerset Freemasons.
Assistant Grand Master
Steven Varley was born in Derby in 1953 and educated at Denstone College and Liverpool University where he read Law.
He married in 1988 and has two grown-up children.
On graduating, and qualifying as a solicitor, he practiced in Derby and Nottingham, initially in all aspects of criminal law including legal aid then specialising in professional misconduct, regulatory and disciplinary work eventually becoming senior partner of his firm. He retired in 2018.
Steven was a Governor and Chair of Governors for the Denstone College Preparatory School for many years and is a Fellow of the Woodard Corporation. In his spare time, he rowed and played senior rugby for Derby, New Brighton, Nottingham, and the combined county sides of Notts, Lincs and Derbys (Three Counties). He still retains a keen interest in rugby, is a Vice President of Derby Rugby Club and heavily involved with the Derby Bucks Mixed Ability Rugby Squad.
He was initiated into the St Werburga Lodge No 4147 in Derby on 30th December 1983 by his father who had also been initiated into the Lodge by his father. Steven’s grandfather was the fourth initiate into St Werburga Lodge in the first year of its existence. In 2021, Steven had the great privilege of presiding over the Lodge’s delayed Centenary.
In 2015 Steven was appointed Provincial Grand Master for Derbyshire. He was appointed to the Board of General Purposes by the Grand Master in September 2020 and is also a member of the Membership Working Party, the GMCCC Working Party and chairs the Pathway Working Party.
Both before and during his tenure as PGM, he has been an active supporter and advocate for the needs of disadvantaged and disabled children, men and women and carers. This is an interest and commitment close to his heart.
He was appointed as an Assistant Grand Master in 2023.
On the night of my initiation hearing my father’s voice and then, when I was able to look around, realising how many members of the rugby club, my old school and the rowing club were present.
Fun, friendship, stability.
Tina Turner – I love her singing and at 70+, she is still going strong; Lord Denning, who I have always admired as a lawyer since my university days and finally, Colin ‘Pinetree’ Meads who was just a great New Zealand rugby player.
President of the Board of General Purposes
Worshipful Brother Adrian Marsh PJGD was appointed Grand Secretary in 2022.
Adrian recently announced his intention to retire from the Board of the FTSE 100 paper and packaging company, DS Smith, where he has been the Group Finance Director for the last 10 years.
He is also a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee of John Wood PLC.
Adrian has previously held senior positions including Head of Corporate Finance at Tesco PLC and European Financial Director at Astra Zeneca PLC.
Adrian was initiated into Strong Man Lodge No. 45 on 21 December 1989 and was Master of the Lodge in 1996. He was exalted into the Royal Arch in 1992 in Strong Man Chapter No. 45.
Adrian joined the UGLE Audit Committee in 2017 and has chaired the Committee since 2020. He has also been on the Board of General Purposes since 2019 and the Risk Committee since 2020. Adrian was particularly helpful in all we needed to consider during the pandemic.