THE connection between Barnard Castle School and the Freemasons who helped pay for its chapel to be built 100 years ago is to be celebrated as part of a commemorative centenary service tomorrow (Friday, November 9).

The Knights Templar of Durham were part of a wider fraternity of Freemasons who funded the chapel and have maintained their links over the last century, supporting various projects including a specially commissioned centenary stained glass window.

Masons held their own dedication of the window at the annual church service of the Provincial Priory of Knights Templar of Durham at the end of last month.

Friday's commemorative service, the school will welcome 200 guests, including many old boys and girls, previous headmasters, representatives from the local community and couples who took their wedding vows at the chapel.

Rev Stephen Ridley, Barnard Castle School chaplain and deputy head, said the non-denominational chapel was at the heart of school life, and every member of the school community could find a reference to themselves in the centenary window.

“This is a window of many parts,” he said. “The Masonic fraternity will recognise the rich symbolism of crosses and stars.

“Others will find in the cross keys not only a reminiscence of the universal Christian church, but also a fond memory of art teacher Suzanne Cuthbertson, whose ability to lose her keys in class became legendary enough to be included in the original design in the days after her tragic death from cancer last year.”

The window was designed by student Erica Lee and constructed by Cumbrian stained glass makers Northern Lights.

Knights Templar of Durham Provincial Prior Alan Hall said members were delighted to be associated with the new window, which not only marked the centenary of the chapel but also the long connection between the school and the county's Freemasons.