Book Review – Soldier and Mason

Soldier and Mason: The Life of Charles Warren Napier-Clavering

by Ian W. Brown

Paperback, 340 pp, b/w illustrated

£12 – see below to order

WBro Ian Brown has written a book chronicling the Life and Times of Colonel Charles Warren Napier-Clavering who was Provincial Grand Master from 1909-1931.

Charles Napier-Clavering was an active career soldier, serving in the Burma Campaign of 1887, and also the Boer War in 1899, serving in the Somerset Light Infantry.

Masonically, he was heavily involved in virtually every Order and held high Office in many.

He was also Grand Master of the Allied Masonic Degrees and Grand Supreme Ruler of the Order of the Secret Monitor. 

The book is illustrated with many family photographs and it can also be read as a social history of the late Victorian Age. 

This book is the biography – or more accurately, a biography which is concerned mainly with the life and times of a remarkable man, who was a career soldier in the Army, serving with the Somerset Light Infantry and attaining the rank of Colonel.

His military experiences spanned the latter half of the Victorian Age, in the sunset of Empire; seeing action in Burma, South Africa, and then retired as an Officer on the Reserve List, and was recalled to assist in the training of recruits during the First World War.

That man was Charles Warren Napier-Clavering, but as well as being a career soldier, he was also a very active Freemason, and was very prominent in Freemasonry, becoming Provincial Grand Master of both Craft and Mark Orders of Northumberland.

In time, he also became the titular Head of other Masonic Units, culminating in becoming Grand Master of two Orders.

Born in 1858, as Charles Warren Napier, as the son of an obscure Parson, his life would be changed forever when his Father came into the lands and estates known as Axwell Hall, near Blaydon.

This came about on the death of the last legitimate holder of the Clavering title, Sir Henry Clavering, who left it to his distant relative, on condition that the Reverend John Napier added the surname, Clavering’ to his own, and in due course, the Estate passed down to the Colonel.

As stated, this book is not merely a ‘biography. It is written with the knowledge of the Napier-Clavering family descendants, but it is not an intrusive history.

Those who look for scandal and tittle-tattle may look elsewhere. It is more of a social history, including as it does accounts of the British Army in the closing days of Queen Victoria’s reign.

There is an exhaustive discussion on such subjects as the origins of the Boer War, Religion in Victorian Times, and the development of the Public School in Literature,

But above all, this book is a tribute to a man who was a Freemason first, and a Soldier second….

Soldier and Mason: The Life & Time of Colonel Charles Warren Napier-Clavering

Available at a cost of £12.00 including postage and packing. If you would like a copy, please email Ian at


All proceeds from the sale of this book goes to the Northumberland Masonic Charity Association.

For more information about the book, author, and Northumberland Masons, visit:

masonic knowledge

making good men better

share the square with two brothers

click image to open email app on mobile device

Share this article ....