In early 1914 the winds of war were already spreading over mainland Europe. Discontent was growing in the Balkans and the hurricane which would be unleashed later that year was fomenting. Closer to home in Britain, Irish home rule was on the governmental agenda and suffragettes were pushing their cause and gaining momentum. Masonry had been well established in the country for many years with some lodges nearby already having celebrated their centenary. Unanimity Lodge in Preston No. 113 in particular.
The town of Fleetwood, at that time, had a single masonic lodge – Hesketh Lodge No. 950 – and it was from there that seven members joined with seven brethren from other lodges to form a new lodge in the town, which was to be known as Fleetwood Lodge No. 3711. The lodge was consecrated on 11 March 1914 at the Mount Hotel. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Louis S Winslow, was in attendance along with a number of other Grand and Provincial Grand Officers.
A little over 100 years later over 90 brethren gathered at the Savoy Hotel in Blackpool to celebrate the centenary of Fleetwood Lodge No. 3711.
The WM Howard Valentine opened the lodge and the dispensations to hold the special meeting were read by the secretary Mark Blundell. Howard transacted the other business of the lodge before it was announced that the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Howard Jones, was without and demanded admission.
The brethren rose and Howard was admitted accompanied by Harry Cox, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Raymond Martland, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Duncan Smith, Chairman of the North Fylde Group and a number of grand and acting Provincial grand officers.
Howard Valentine offered Howard Jones the gavel of the lodge which was accepted and he took his place in the chair of King Solomon.
Howard then nominated his Provincial team in readiness to open Provincial Grand Lodge. For that purpose, Harry Cox was requested to assist as Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Mark Matthews the position of Provincial Senior Grand Warden, Joseph Hall as Provincial Junior Grand Warden, Graham Halsall as the Provincial Grand Chaplain, Neil McSymons as Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Frank Kennedy as Provincial Grand Tyler, Peter Taylor, Provincial Grand Secretary, along with other acting officers, all in their respective positions for the purposes of the centenary ceremony.
Howard then opened Provincial Grand Lodge and called upon the Provincial Grand Chaplain Graham Halsall to give an oration to the lodge. Graham started his oration by informing the brethren a little about how the town of Fleetwood come to be and surprised most present by revealing that there were three lighthouses in Fleetwood.
At the conclusion, Graham was congratulated by Howard for his well-researched and well-rehearsed oration. The assembled brethren concurred with extended applause.
Howard was then pleased to present the lodge members with their splendid centenary jewels.
A prayer of rededication followed which was led by Graham, this was followed by the closure of Provincial Grand Lodge. Howard returned the gavel to Howard Valentine who resumed the WM’s chair. Howard then rose and thanked the Deputy Provincial Grand Master for the wonderful and enjoyable ceremony. He then presented Howard with a cheque to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity for the magnificent sum of £3,711. Howard thanked the lodge members for their splendid donation.
The Provincial party then retired in a magnificent and colourful recession before Howard Valentine closed the lodge and the brethren made their way to the dining room where they enjoyed a happy and convivial festive board.
In readiness for the meeting, the lodge produced a centenary booklet containing lodge information and historical notes. The booklet was written and assembled by Mark Bludell with the assistance of members Peter Bailey, David Brooks, Brian Chapman, Neil McSymons, Jonathon Moss, Alan Ollerton, Peter Tebbs, Edward Vollans and Dewi Williams who all spent hours trawling through the numerous minute books to build the story about the lodge’s existence.
Harry Cox had the pleasure of proposing the health of Howard Jones at the festive board and during his proposition Harry informed the brethren that Howard was a people’s person, always had a ready smile and a welcoming approach to all that he meets. As a Freemason, he had had two acting ranks that really got him known around the Province. Harry continued by adding the Howard was doing a magnificent job as our Deputy Provincial Grand Master.
Howard in his response to the toast to his health congratulated the lodge and commented in saying ‘well done to the founders and well done to the members’. He then offered his own toast to the lodge.
Davyhulme Lodge No. 3715 was consecrated on 22 April 1914 and to celebrate its centenary a unique and special meeting was held by dispensation and is now recorded in the annuls of the lodge history – the centenary meeting, one hundred years to the night after its inception coupled with the dedication of a lodge banner to mark the occasion
The centenary meeting was reported as being the ninth centennial meeting within the Province during this masonic season and was held in the Westbourne suite at Urmston masonic Hall.
Worshipful master Tom Sharp requested the lodge secretary, Keith Lewis, to read out the special dispensation before opening the lodge.
Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Keith Kemp entered the lodge and announced that the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Howard Jones was without and demanded admission.
The brethren having risen were extremely pleased to receive Howard and the Provincial team, accompanied by John Hutton (APrGM) Mike Adams (group chairman) grand officers Chris McNab, Anthony Jobs, Brian Hayes, David Durling and Nolan Morrison PDepPrGM East Lancs.
Howard, was introduced to the WM, who offered him the gavel to which he duly accepted and occupied the chair of King Solomon.
In his opening, Howard remarked on Davyhulme lodge’s centennial year liaising with eight other lodge centenaries, a total of nine throughout the Province this masonic year, each of the centenary celebrations of course being as equally important to the Province and the respective lodges and individuals. He went on to say that this particular centenary celebration had its own uniqueness in that there was also to be a joint banner dedication.
Howard explained the importance of banners and gave the brethren a note of realisation of banners in their respective theatres of application not just appertaining to Freemasonry.
A banner dedication team of lodge members were despatched from the lodge to collect the banner and return into the lodge room, amongst those members were the lodge secretary, Keith Lewis, who had been rightfully nominated as the banner bearer. Keith had designed and produced the banner himself and along with the other members of the banner party, proudly displayed his work as they lined up in the east. Howard dedicated the impressive banner and presented it to the worshipful master and his lodge, where after the banner was put on display in the south east part of the lodge.
Howard then appointed his Provincial team in readiness to open Provincial Grand Lodge, for that purpose, John Hutton was requested to assist as Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Mark Matthews occupied the position of Provincial Senior Grand Warden and Joseph Hall as Provincial Junior Grand Warden, with Godfrey Hirst acting as the Provincial Chaplain, Keith Kemp remained as Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Gordon Ivett continued as Provincial Grand Pursuivant, Peter Taylor, Provincial Grand Secretary, along with other acting officers David Thomas Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, Peter Brown Provincial Senior Grand Deacon, Gordon Southwick Provincial Junior Grand Deacon, and having already preceded Howard into the lodge by procession were Stuart Kane and Anthony Hill both of whom are Provincial Grand Standard Bearers, Alan Briggs Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, Derek Hughson Provincial Grand Organist, all in their respective positions for the purposes of the centenary ceremony.
Howard then opened Provincial Grand Lodge and called upon the Godfrey Hirst to give an oration to the lodge.
Howard thanked Godfrey, for a very interesting and thought provoking oration and then called the brethren to the attention of Godfrey for a prayer of re-dedication where after Howard closed Provincial grand lodge and handed the gavel back over to the worshipful master.
On completion of the ceremony, and having retrieved the gavel, Tom rose to the thank Howard along with the Provincial team for making the evening such a special occasion for the lodge members. Tom then had much pleasure in handing over a magnificent cheque for £3,715 made out in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, 3715 being the number of the lodge.
Howard thanked the lodge on behalf of all those who we may never know who would eventually benefit through the charity by the very kind generosity of Davyhulme Lodge.
The Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies then commandeered the proceedings with excellent precision and the Provincial team exited the lodge in a magnificent colourful procession.
The lodge having closed, the celebrations continued at the festive board which was of course an exceptional event of joviality and concord. Howard in his response, congratulated the lodge and Tom for his starting the second centennial term of the lodge as master.
The unique and memorable occasion concluded leaving the lodge members clearly proud of the Provincial presence in full in its ceremonial form, making a lasting impression on their minds and of course in celebration of their founders 100 years prior.
The novelist Franz Kafka wrote: 'Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old'
And Albert Einstein wrote: 'The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.' And so it is with young people, they possess an innate curiosity and an inherent capacity to see beauty in those things that adults all too often take for granted. How do the young view Freemasonry? Does it appeal to them and, if so, what is its appeal?
11 year old Thomas Kenyon, the son of Graham Kenyon who is a member of Brotherhood Lodge No. 3967, is ideally qualified to answer those and other searching questions. A bright young man with an inquisitive mind and an eye for good in humanity and the world in general, Thomas relates the elements of Freemasonry that appeals to him. Top of his list is that Freemasonry supports charities and tries to improve the lives of people around them. Asked if he could give examples of masonry’s charitable work Thomas replied: 'Well, I know of cases where masons have provided artificial limbs to people and they have supplied play equipment and computers to schools. They care for those who are less fortunate than themselves.'
Already determined to follow in his father’s footsteps by becoming a mason when old enough, Thomas went on to say that masons don’t only do things to enhance the lives of others, but strive to improve themselves.
'They get dressed up when they go to a meeting so that they look smart and set a good example to others in society. There have been a lot of masons who have been excellent role models. Winston Churchill was a mason and you can’t find a better role model than him'.
Asked how he had discovered that Churchill had been a Freemason, 'We went on a tour of the Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill Museum under Downing Street, London that was opened as a war museum in 1984 and on the same day we went to United Grand Lodge in Queen Street and were shown into the Grand Temple. It was brilliant with the huge doors and stained glass window and displays of masonic regalia and things. There were even masonic things from concentration camps in Nazi Germany. It was fascinating.'
History is one of Thomas’ particular passions, along with chess and riding his bike and scooter. Despite having customised his scooter, he prefers his bike because the scooter wheels get caught in the gaps between paving slabs – a very practical consideration for an 11 year old.
Elucidating on his interest in history he said, 'I find WWII most interesting because I can’t understand why the Nazis were so intolerant and hated Jews, Freemasons, gypsies, and such. What makes people hate so much? But not all Nazis were evil. Oskar Schindler saved 1,200 Jews at immense risk to his own life. I don’t know if he was a Freemason but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was' - a compliment indeed for the fraternity.
Thomas then said that he had read an article in Freemasonry Today about the German occupation of Jersey and had been fascinated by the events that occurred during that period.
Through his father, Thomas knows a number of Freemasons and in his view they are nice, well-mannered and considerate people and he can appreciate why they have so many good friends.
'It must be really nice to be in a group of like-minded people' is his verdict. Having visited the Masonic Hall, Adelaide Street, Blackpool during heritage open days, he is also curious of the lodge furnishings and symbolism on the walls and considers the masonic regalia to be extremely impressive. 'Not only does it look smart, it gives an impression of a disciplined group and that makes you feel good'.
But without a doubt his over-riding impression is that Freemasonry is about caring for others and recognises that it is a potent catalyst for relieving suffering and improving the lives of others while developing one’s own character. Some may accuse us of being ardent romantics but in the eyes of this 11 year old we are firmly realists.
We can learn a lot by viewing the world through the eyes of the young, unpolluted by dogma, bigotry, intolerance, and malice. It appears that the eyes of the young see with that clarity of vision that we in Freemasonry aim to restore in ourselves.
The Ormskirk Masonic Hall was filled to capacity to celebrate the 75th anniversary in Freemasonry of Ernest Richard McKay (Richie) who has reached the wonderful age of 103 years and is the oldest mason in the Province of West Lancashire
Maghull Lodge No. 7190 welcomed 67 members and guests to this auspicious occasion. The regular meeting was opened by WM Peter Yearsley with a very warm welcome to all attending. After the usual lodge business was completed, Malcolm Bell, Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, entered and informed the brethren that the Assistant Provincial Grand Master Philip Gunning was without and demanded admission.
Philip then entered in a colourful procession led by Malcolm. Philip was accompanied by Frank Umbers Ormskirk and District Group Chairman, Grand Officers Roy Worthington and Jim Charnock, along with other Provincial and acting Provincial Grand Officers.
Having accepted the gavel Philip asked Malcolm to place Richie before him. It was with great enthusiasm that Philip said how much he had been looking forward to the evening and having the privilege of celebrating with, and telling, Richie’s story.
Richie was born on 6 November 1910 in the military town of Aldershot, where the family lived in the barracks. His father was in the army and served in the South African war where he was promoted to the rank of captain in the Royal Field Artillery. Philip said that looking back to the beginning of this decade, George V became King of England, and other famous people born in the same year included Jacques Cousteau, Mother Teresa and David Niven.
On the outbreak of the first world war Philip said Richie’s family moved to Hillsborough in Sheffield and then a further move to Aintree when his father was posted to the Royal Army Ordinance Corps in Bootle.
It was here that Richie experienced every boy’s dream of riding in a first world war tank. Richie attended Longmoor Lane Secondary school.
On leaving school Richie gained employment at a colliery and shipping agents, on the magnificent wage of five shillings a week, until the business closed following the general strike. By this time Richie had joined the territorial army and decided as a job to join the regular Army.
Having joined the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders he found himself in Jordan, a short time later at the start of the second world war he was posted to Alexandria with the rank of warrant officer II. Richie also saw action in Tobruk which was under siege by Rommel, before returning to Cairo. Whilst there, Richie having joined Freemasonry in 1939 spent time visiting many lodges.
Philip continued saying that on receiving a commission to lieutenant, Richie was posted back to England. In 1943 he was promoted to captain in the royal army service corp. In 1944 together with his company Richie arrived in Normandy just after the D-Day landings where in the port of Dieppe he and his men assisted in the unloading of supplies for the front.
In 1945 Richie returned to the UK and on the 9 May married Betty Nuttall who was the daughter of one of the founders of Maghull Lodge. Betty and Richie were blessed with two daughters, Allison and Lindsay.
After the war Richie remained with the NAAFI working from the head office in York as the head of supplies for the north.
In 1958 Richie started his own business the Lancashire Embroidery Company with a factory in Kirkby and a work force of 30, being a major supplier of embroidery work to all the armed forces. Richie’s daughters both joined the business and retired in their 60s. Richie continued working and only retired at the age of 97 when the firm was sold!
Richie enjoyed many caravanning holidays with Betty, particularly in the south of France. Sadly Betty passed away just a few years ago but he said that he is still well looked after by his daughters.
Richie enjoys a very active life which includes walking and his greatest love playing golf. He is a member of Ormskirk Golf Club which he has enjoyed for 58 years and has the honour of a challenge cup named after him. Philip said that Richie described his life in these terms: 'If I am not working, I am playing golf'. On his 100 birthday not only did he receive a telegram from the Queen, he also received letters from two of the greatest golfers of all time, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer (who incidentally is a mason).
Richie was initiated on 12 March 1939 into Lodge of the Holy City – Jerusalem No. 1372, Scottish Constitution, and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason on 19 October. He was also exalted into United Services Royal Arch Chapter No. 631 on 15 October 1942 Cairo, being made a life member in 1946.
Richie attended the consecration meeting of Maghull Lodge No. 7190 at the Adelphi Hotel on 25 November 1952, as a guest of his father-in-law and a month later Richie was proposed and admitted as the first joining member of the lodge.
In 1965 Richie became WM and during his year in office he performed multiple ceremonies. At this time the meeting room closed down and the members made the decision to move to the Ormskirk Group. Richie said that it was the best move they ever made. Whilst working Richie had the honour of designing and presenting a magnificent 50 year anniversary banner to the lodge.
Being a frequent visitor to Lathom Abbey Lodge No. 6286 Richie joined on 1 April 1979 and has been a loyal and regular attendee ever since. Richie was promoted in 1989 to PPrGSupWks in recognition of 50 years in Freemasonry. On the 19 October 1999 Richie received further promotion to the rank of PPrJGW. Richie also holds high ranks in other masonic orders and Philip read out a letter of congratulations from Peter Connolly a PrGM in one of those Orders as Ritchie has been a member for 74 years in that Order.
During the evening Philip read out several letters of congratulations including one from the present WM of the Lodge of the Holy City – Jerusalem, also one from Steven Reid, Philip Gardner and Peter Hosker the Provincial Grand Master of the Province of West Lancashire.
Philip then asked Frank to read out the celebration certificate before he formally presented it to Richie. Philip concluded by saying that he hopes to be in office long enough to see Richie celebrate his 80th anniversary.
At the exceptional age of 103 years Richie stands proud in a lodge that can only admire his fortitude and longevity. He retains a remarkable recollection for ritual, often playing a very active role in the proceedings.
Richie has met every challenge presented to him and remains very committed to Freemasonry. Every mason in the Ormskirk Group wish Richie the very best for his continued masonic career and hope he has many more years of active service in the Craft.
Further celebrations continued at the festive board when Richie had the opportunity of warmly thanking everyone for their support and good wishes. He was then presented with a bottle of his favourite tipple and a 75 year lapel pin from the members of Maghull Lodge. This presentation concluded a most memorable and emotional evening.
West Lancashire's 154th Grand Masonic Festival and Ball is the highlight of the Provincial social calendar
Over 530 brethren, companions and their ladies from across the Province joined Mark Matthews, Provincial Senior Grand Warden, and Joe Hall, Provincial Junior Grand Warden, at the Premier Suite, Reebok Centre, Horwich.
The evening started with a formal reception for all installed Masters and First Principals where there was an opportunity to meet the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Howard Jones and the Deputy Grand Superintendent Steven Reid. The Quayside Jazzmen played music during the reception.
After the reception Howard and his daughter Mrs Lindsey Young led the Provincial party into the Ball room where they took their seats for a sumptuous four course dinner of Beetroot cured Salmon with French dressing and vegetable crisps, Daube of Beef and Yorkshire pudding with roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables followed by chocolate raspberry tart with white chocolate sauce followed by a selection of fine English cheeses.
After the meal Mark expressed his and Joe’s thanks along with the whole Province to the organising committee. He thanked Ray Dainton for playing piano music at dinner, he then said special thanks go to the members of the organising committee: Mike Kinsella (Hon treasurer), David Lea (Hon secretary) and Glynn Wrenall (Hon event co-ordinator) he then presented flowers to their wives.
Howard then said he wanted to give special thanks to David Lea, who is retiring after 16 years as secretary. Howard said that David’s first ball was in 1998 and David and his wife Alma had organised 17 Grand Masonic Ball’s and the Province thanked them both for their hard work.
Before dancing commenced to music by the Pyramid Band, everyone joined in the Grand march led by Howard and Lindsey.
All proceeds from the evening will be donated to the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity.
The members of Crosby Lodge No. 3714 and their many guests gathered in Bootle Masonic Hall to celebrate the lodge centenary and the investiture of Derek Parkinson as Assistant Provincial Grand Master
The Master of the lodge Graham Chambers had the pleasure of welcoming the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Howard Jones who entered the lodge room accompanied by his full entourage of grand and Provincial grand officers in a magnificent and colourful procession.
Graham ceded the gavel to Howard who took the chair and nominated his Provincial officers for this special opening of Provincial Grand Lodge. These included Mark Dimelow who acted as Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Mark Matthews Senior Warden, Joe Hall Junior Warden, Rev Can Geoffrey Hirst Deputy Provincial Grand Chaplain, Peter Taylor Provincial Grand Secretary, Keith Kemp Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Neil McSymond DGDC, John Fielding Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, Peter Hughes and John Gibbon Provincial Deacons, Antony Hill and Stuart Kane Standard Bearers, Gordon Ivett Pursuivant and Frank Kennedy Tyler. They were accompanied by three APrGMs Ray Martland, Tony Harrison and John Hutton and two PPRAGMs David McCormick and John Moore and several other grand officers.
The Bootle Group was represented by chairman Ian Gee, vice chairman John Marsden and secretary Ray Barrow.
After opening Provincial Grand Lodge Howard said: 'Brethren I am delighted to be here with my Provincial team we are here this evening for two special reasons the first is to invest Derek Parkinson as an Assistant Provincial Grand Master for this Province and the second is to celebrate 100 years to the day that Crosby Lodge was consecrated, Howard said the meeting is able to be held thanks to a dispensation that has been granted.
Howard stated that the first item was to invest Derek and it was an honour and a privilege to carry out the investiture on behalf on the Provincial Grand Master Peter Hosker who was unable to attend due to illness.
A deputation was then formed to bring Derek into the lodge to which Howard welcomed him in. Howard read out Derek’s masonic history from when he was initiated into Cleveleys Park Lodge No. 7540 by his father and was installed as worshipful Master in 1988 to his appointment as an Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals two years ago. Howard said that his service to Freemasonry both in the Craft as well a Royal Arch was exemplary and that his CV was highly commendable.
Derek was asked if he was willing to undertake the responsibilities and duties of the office of Assistant Provincial Grand Master, to which he replied, I am. Peter Taylor then read out the certificate of office signed by the Provincial Grand Master.
Derek then knelt and took the solemn obligation of an APrGM. Howard invested Derek with the chain of his office and thanked him on behalf of Peter Hosker for accepting this important office. The brethren then saluted John with the grand or royal sign five times.
The centenary celebration then got underway. Howard said 'Crosby Lodge No. 3714 has prospered and its members can be justly proud of what has been achieved in its 100 years.'
He then called upon the Provincial Grand Secretary to read the Centenary Warrant issued by the Grand Master which he did. This document also gives the lodge members permission to wear a special Centenary jewel. Howard then presented the Centenary Warrant to Graham who promised that it would be preserved, for subsequent masters pure and unsullied as he received it.
Howard then called upon Rev Can Geoffrey Hirst to deliver an oration to the lodge. What followed was truly an oration of quality, eloquence and erudition which held the assembled brethren spellbound. At the conclusion of his oration, Geoffrey was congratulated by Howard for his oration. The assembled brethren concurred with applause.
Next followed a prayer of rededication, given by Geoffrey. Howard then closed Provincial Grand Lodge. Howard returned the gavel to Graham who resumed the WM’s chair.
Graham then rose and thanked the Deputy Provincial Grand Master for the wonderful and enjoyable ceremony. He then presented Howard with three cheques, £214 for PALMA - Liverpool Pancreas Biomedical Research Unit, £500 to the West Lancashire Freemasons' Charity and £3,000 to FROTH – Friends of the hall. Howard thanked the lodge members for their generous contributions to these most worthwhile causes.
The Provincial party then retired in an equally magnificent and colourful procession to a sumptuous festive board.
Nobody present could fail to be impressed by the dignified and stately manner in which this important and historic landmark had been celebrated by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master and his officers and by the officers and brethren of Crosby Lodge No. 3714.
Over 70 brethren enjoyed a wonderful meal and good company at the festive board.
Fallowfield Lodge No. 3693 celebrates its centenary meeting
The centenary meeting of the lodge was held in the Westbourne Suite at Urmston Masonic Hall and was very well attended. The Worshipful Master Andrew Davies requested the secretary, Ron Spragg to read out the special dispensation before opening the lodge.
The lodge members and visitors alike were then most pleased to receive an expected knock on the door from the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Keith Kemp announcing that the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Howard Jones was without and demanded admission.
The lodge room rose and were pleased to receive Howard accompanied by John Hutton (AsstProvGM) Mike Adams (group chairman) and grand officers Chris McNab and David Durling, along with his provincial team entered the temple in a magnificent, colourful procession
Keith introduced Howard to Andrew and acceded to Andrew’s request to accept the gavel of the lodge and he took his place in the chair of King Solomon.
Howard commenced his introduction and remarked on certain centennial dates which liaised with the same year as the Fallowfield Lodge's inception. The comparisons were that on the same evening as Fallowfield had been consecrated there was a famous boxing match taking place in Paris, France, between the two American boxers Jim Johnson and Jack Johnson. Similarly in that same year, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe made a debut, and composer Benjamin Brittan was born.
Howard opened Provincial Grand Lodge and called upon the acting Provincial Grand Chaplain Godfrey Hurst to give an oration to the lodge. Godfrey started his oration by a reference to the game of poolsticks, where in the era of the lodge commencing its era, where youngsters, from a bridge over a river, would throw sticks into the water and see whose stick would reach a designated point first would be the winner. In the era of a lodge, the sticks would represent people and the flowing water represents change, and so his oration flowed with many references and very interesting analogies. Godfrey then related his oration to the lodge banner and gave a very interesting interpretation of the lodge's Latin motto ‘Quadrage Simus Septimus’ and its ordinal numeric reference.
On completion of Godfrey’s presentation, Howard thanked him for a very interesting and thought provoking oration. Howard called the brethren to the attention of Godfrey for a prayer of re-dedication after which, Howard closed Provincial Grand Lodge and handed the gavel back over to Andrew Davies.
Having resumed his position, Andrew asked the secretary Ron Spragg to read out the minutes of the consecration meeting as recorded on the lodge's minute book. It started ‘at past 4 o'clock’ continued by an interesting dialogue including tools presented in the three degrees by Bro Wilmslow and a presentation of 10 guineas towards the lodge charity account. The lodge closed at 6.20pm.
On completion of the ceremony, Andrew rose to thank Howard along with the Provincial team for making the evening such a special occasion, and handed over a number of envelopes containing charitable donations. Howard was absolutely delighted to receive the donations made out in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity. One was for £1,500, one for £1,000 and the third donation was made out in favour of the Urmston Masonic Hall fund for £1,193 - a total of £3,693, that being the number of the lodge.
Howard thanked the lodge on behalf of all those who, through the charity, would eventually benefit by such kind generosity and was equally pleased to see the same generosity towards the Urmston Masonic Hall fund.
ProvGDC Keith Kemp then commandeered the proceedings with excellent precision and the provincial team exited in the same inimitable, magnificent colourful procession.
The lodge having closed, the celebrations were continued at the festive board and there was an exceptional event of joviality and concord.
David Durling produced a centenary table card which had interesting points of information relating to Fallowfield's consecration year. Just a selection of those, some of which we take for granted today were as follows: potato crisps were produced commercially for the first time, stainless steel was invented in Sheffield, the first Chelsea Flower Show was held in London. The UK had a Liberal government, the suffragette Emily Davison threw herself in front of King George V horse at the Derby race and to compare against current day communications, news reached London of the failure of Captain Scott’s 1912 polar expedition.
Howard in his response to the toast to his health congratulated the lodge and commented in saying ‘well done to the founders and well done to the members’. He then offered his own toast to the lodge.
The memorable occasion may have ended, but the history encompassing the lodge founders, clearly making an impression on the minds of the proud lodge members for them to recall in their own Masonic years ahead.
In readiness for the meeting, the lodge produced a centenary booklet containing lodge information and historical notes. The booklet written and assembled by Sylvester During with the researched assistance by members David Emmett, Dalphon Lusack, Cliff Bevan, Sahr Kondeh and Andrew Wallace who all spent hours trawling through the numerous minute books to build the story about the lodge’s existence, produced an excellent conjoined effort which is available to view by clicking here.
The Provincial team were out in force recently to help the members of Abercromby Lodge No. 3699 celebrate their centenary meeting at Liverpool Masonic Hall
The proceedings commenced with the entrance of the Deputy Provincial Grand Master Howard Jones, whose arrival was heralded by Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Keith Kemp. He was preceded by the Provincial Standard Bearers and the Provincial Sword Bearer in a magnificent and colourful procession.
Howard was accompanied by many Grand and Acting Provincial Officers. Amongst those distinguished brethren were Mark Dimelow, the Chairman of the Liverpool Group, Sam Robinson, vice chairman Bob Povall and Abercromby Lodge grand officers Dudley York-Sumerskill and Ian Fisher.
Accepting the proffered gavel from the lodge WM Arthur Garnett, Howard took the chair and opened a special meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge. He called upon the Provincial Grand Secretary Peter Taylor, to read to the assembled brethren the centenary warrant issued by the Grand Master commemorating the centenary and permitting and authorising the members of Abercromby Lodge to wear their centenary jewel. Howard then formally presented the warrant and centenary jewel to Arthur Garnett, who promised to keep and pass on the warrant to his successors pure and unsullied as he received it.
A most wonderful oration was then delivered to the assembly by the Provincial Grand Chaplain the Rev Graham Halsall, who explained how Abercromby Lodge came to be so named. The lodge was consecrated on the eve of the Great War on 3 January 1914 and was named after nearby Abercromby Square, in those days a fashionable location filled with merchant’s homes and also the palace of the Bishop of Liverpool. The lodge motto is Vive et Vivas and Graham went on to moralise upon the meaning of those words, which could be translated as 'Live well so that others may live’. Graham then led the assembly in prayer for the future of the lodge and its members.
Howard passed on the greetings and congratulations of the Provincial Grand Master who had been prevented from being in attendance due to illness. The special Provincial Grand Lodge was closed in due form and Howard returned the gavel to Arthur.
A comprehensive but concise history of Abercromby Lodge from consecration to the present day was then read to the lodge by Dudley York-Sumerskill. This history explained how the lodge became named and traced the story of the lodge and its members, including the effects on it of the vicissitudes of two world wars, the economic difficulties of the 1930s, as well as the more prosperous periods.
It was interesting to note that the lodge membership consisted at one time of many members of the teaching profession. Dudley made mention of several individual brethren who made notable contributions to the lodge including the first master, Herbert Standring and Billy Bucknall who were instrumental in founding the lodge. Abercromby lodge’s oldest surviving past master from 1957 is Herbert Price, who recently celebrated his 101st birthday! Although sound in mind and spirit, Herbert’s physical condition prevented him from attending the meeting. Dudley’s discourse was received with applause by the assembly. Although far too extensive to be reproduced here, several of the lodge members have co-operated to produce a written history which was distributed to the members and visitors for their interest.
It is pleasing to report that the lodge is now undergoing something of a renaissance with several younger members looking to advance through the lodge offices. The meeting reached a conclusion when Arthur Garnett presented Howard with a cheque for £300 which represented a donation by Abercromby Lodge to the masonic charities.
The lodge was closed and the brethren adjourned to a lavish festive board. Following the meal Howard gave a most interesting speech in which he gave an account of the life of Sir Arthur Stanley, who was the Provincial Grand Master at the time that Abercromby Lodge was consecrated. The consecration took place in the Bear’s Paw public house in Lord Street, Liverpool. This fascinating account received hearty applause and crowned what had been a most enjoyable and memorable evening and a fitting celebration of the practice of 100 years of Freemasonry by the brethren of Abercromby Lodge No. 3699.
25 visiting brethren attend 300th meeting of Prodesse Lodge No. 8678
The visiting brethren included Tony Bent, Stanley Oldfield, Wigan Group chairman Malcolm Taylor, Geoffrey Porter, Stanley Brown and Stewart Blagg. All were present to witness the initiation of a fourth generation mason.
Also present was Jack Lyon, the first candidate to be initiated after Prodesse Lodge was consecrated in 1975.
The worshipful master Brian Rollins opened the lodge and after the minutes were confirmed the two remaining founders - Alan Davies and Eric Draper were proposed for honorary membership.
Brian then asked the lodge secretary Jim Miller if he would assist him and occupy the WM’s the chair in order to carry out the main business of the meeting which was to initiate Jim’s son James.
Jim carried out the initiation ceremony in an excellent and sincere manner, it was clear to all that Jim took great pride in initiating his son into Freemasonry.
At the festive board when proposing the toast to his son, Jim said that the candidates great grandfather and great great grandfather had been members of Sincerity Lodge No. 3677.
Sincerity Lodge is unique in several ways, it celebrated its centenary earlier this year but has worked continuously since 1786. Formerly the Lodge of Sincerity No. 486, it joined the Liverpool and Wigan masonic rebellion. The Liverpool rebellion effectively started in March 1823 when United Grand Lodge (after much correspondence) expelled 26 brethren from several lodges, including some brethren from the Lodge of Sincerity, stating that they had been found guilty of various acts of insubordination against the authority of the Grand Lodge.
The inaugural and the second meeting of the rebel Grand Lodge took place in Liverpool, their next meeting was held in Wigan on 1 March 1824. Lodge of Sincerity was amongst the lodges in Lancashire which revived the Antients Grand Lodge which became eventually the Grand Lodge in Wigan, with the Lodge of Sincerity at its head as Lodge No. 1.
James Miller was to witness the end of the Grand Lodge of Wigan, as the last surviving lodge being isolated and alone, and, as a relic of the Antients of the eighteenth century, it was not recognised by other local masonic lodges. Col JD Murray from Provincial Grand Lodge was approached to facilitate Lodge of Sincerity’s transition back into the fold of United Grand Lodge in 1913. After acceptance, the number of the lodge was changed from No. 486 to No. 3677 and James's great grandfather (who was originally initiated in 1908) was along with all the brethren of the lodge re-initiated, passed and raised to the degree of master mason.
Schools lodges meet by the seaside: St Anne’s-on-the-Sea hosted this year’s annual Festival of the Federation of School Lodges, arranged by South Shore Lodge, No. 4672
Province of West Lancashire Assistant Provincial Grand Master Harry Cox was joined by the Mayor, Cllr Viv Wilder, and John Topping, acting head teacher of Blackpool Collegiate High School, who received a donation of books from Federation Past President Digby Woods.
The Federation comprises 173 lodges and chapters, including one in Ghana. It was founded with the aim of providing an easy way for lodges associated with schools and universities to connect, and to promote an annual festival where members can meet together.