Faith and Works Lodge explores the Rudyard Kipling connection at 500th meeting

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Faith and Works Lodge No. 5079, Wolverhampton, celebrated their 500th meeting in October 2012, having been consecrated in January, 1929. The evening was devoted to the founders of the Lodge, and to Rudyard Kipling, who provided the inspiration for its name.

In his book Debits and Credits, Kipling described a meeting during the Great War of a Lodge of Instruction, to which he gave the name Faith and Works. The first Worshipful Master of the Lodge, Major W. Hall Keys, on behalf of the founders, subsequently sought his permission to use the name. The Lodge is still in possession of the letter of reply from Kipling. The Provincial Grand Secretary of the time had determined that the new Lodge, formed because of the large size of existing lodges in Wolverhampton, with consequent slow progression, was to be named The Hampton Lodge. However, the Secretary of the Lodge took the petition to Grand Lodge personally, having inserted on the petition the name Faith and Works.

The meeting began with representatives of the lodges of the founders being placed in the office occupied by the founder from their own Lodge at the first meeting of Faith and Works, and the original by-laws of the Lodge were then read. Richard Jaffa, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master of Warwickshire, then presented a talk entitled Rudyard Kipling, Man and Mason.

Kipling was initiated into Freemasonry in Lahore while a young man. He does not appear to have been a regular attendee at lodge meetings, though there is one record of his having attended a lodge in London. The subject of Freemasonry, and reference to its ideas as well as to lodge meetings, can be found in a number of his stories and poetic works. These include Kim, The Man Who Would Be King, In the Interests of the Brethren, The Janeites, Friend of the Family, the poem The Mother Lodge, and others. Kipling appeared to have been taken by the mix of races and religions within his Lodge, noted in some of his works, saying 'I was entered by a Hindu, raised by a Mohammedan, and passed by an English Master, but never rose beyond the office of Secretary'.

For those who are interested in learning more about Kipling and his association with Freemasonry, details of Richard Jaffa’s book may be found on his website at

After the meeting the members of the Lodge expressed their gratitude for the attendance of so many visitors. Members were outnumbered by a ratio of three to one, and the visitors represented twenty-seven lodges from six Provinces.

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