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Silver coffee pots return to Holmes Lodge No. 4656

Wednesday, 04 May 2016

Silver service

Holmes Lodge No. 4656, which meets at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester, has been most fortunate to acquire two beautiful silver coffee pots which form a lost part of the lodge's history but they could not have done it without the aid of other brethren in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland.

Initially the items were spotted by W Bro Andy Green who keeps an eye on internet auction sites for items of masonic interest which might be purchased for the Museum. He contacted W Bro Don Peacock who leads the Library and Museum team, and it was then decided to contact Holmes Lodge to see whether they might be interested in making the purchase as the coffee pots were beautifully engraved with the lodge crest.

No time was lost in contacting the vendor who, most fortunately, turned out to be the daughter of a mason and who was most happy to pass the items into the keeping of the lodge for a very reasonable price. The items had come into the vendor's possession via an auction sale, but she had paperwork to show that in the 1980s they had been sold through the London Silver Vaults for a much higher price, and that they had then become the property of a gentleman who lived in Kensington.

The question then arose of how the silver had found its way from Leicester to London. The hallmarks and maker's marks indicated that the silver had been made in 1924, and the original sellers were Pearces who had a very exclusive jewellery shop in Leicester, latterly in the Market Place, but before then in Gallowtree Gate. It was thus clear that the silver had a connection to the early years of the lodge.

At this point W Bro Don Peacock rode to the rescue once more by discovering in the lodge archives a letter from RW Bro Edward Holmes, the then Provincial Grand Master, to W Bro GW Hunt, the founding Master of the lodge. This letter congratulated W Bro Hunt on his year as founding Master. There were further archive references to silver coffee pots and an inscribed salver being given to W Bro Hunt from the Lodge to mark the appreciation felt for all he had done.

W Bro Hunt went on to become Deputy Provincial Grand Master and Grand Superintendent in and over Leicestershire and Rutland, and it must have gratified him greatly when he was able to consecrate Holmes Chapter in 1945, the only Royal Arch Chapter to be consecrated in the Province during the Second World War.

The silver would have formed part of his estate on his death in 1954, and it is now down to 'Lodge Sleuth' W Bro David Hughes to obtain testamentary evidence to cast light on the fate of the coffee pots between the 1950s and the 1980s. The fate of the salver is unknown, however the silver pots are now safely back at Freemasons’ Hall, Leicester where they will be displayed on Holmes Lodge nights at the Festive Board.