During recent work on the heating system at the Masonic Hall in Loughborough, the removal of a panel has revealed a plethora of masonic artefacts and memorabilia
The items were found in two locked chests belonging to Howe and Charnwood Lodge No. 1007, in the Province of Leicestershire and Rutland, and a small metal box, which had belonged to Henry Deane, one of the early members of Howe and Charnwood. How long they had been behind the panel is not known, nor why they were there, but other documents recovered included the Minute Books of Howe and Charnwood Lodge from 1864 to 1979, Attendance Registers to 1965 and early Declaration Books.
Within the items is an early photograph album containing a picture of Earl Howe. There is also a photograph of the Master and officers of the lodge for 1895-96.
RW Bro Richard William Penn, 1st Earl Howe was Provincial Grand Master of the then Leicestershire Province from 1856 and became the first Provincial Grand Master of the combined Province of Leicestershire and Rutland until 1869. He was also the Deputy Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England from 1844 to 1866.
Among the other items discovered are the Grand Lodge certificates of many early brethren, including Charles F. Oliver, who became Provincial Grand Master in 1928. In addition, there is Grand Chapter certificate issued to William Grimes Palmer, who joined the Chapter of Fortitude, No. 348 (now 279), on 27th November 1843.
All the certificates have been professionally scanned and have been housed in the Museum at Freemasons Hall in Leicester. Prints have been made and are being held at Loughborough along with digital copies.
David Sharpe, a member of Howe and Charnwood Lodge No. 1007, commented: 'It seems that a number of these items were sent to Loughborough when it was proposed to set up a museum in the early 1970s. It was felt that as they were Loughborough Masons, they should be kept locally.'
A portrait oil painting of Earl Howe and Past Provincial Grand Master of Leicestershire and Rutland, has been recently restored and re-installed at the Masonic Hall in Hinckley, Leicestershire
The painting, which has been under the care of the Freemasons of Hinckley since 1985, dates back to around 1845 and had through the course of time suffered degradation and physical damage. When the Hinckley Masonic Hall underwent major reconstruction during the summer of 2011, the painting was removed for safe storage and has since been lovingly restored including the addition of a new frame.
RW Bro Richard William Penn, Earl Howe lived in Gopsall Hall, near to Hinckley, and was Provincial Grand Master of the then Leicestershire Province from 1856 and became the first Provincial Grand Master of the combined Province of Leicestershire and Rutland until 1869. He was also Provincial Grand Master of Warwickshire from 1843 to 1852 and Deputy Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England from 1844 to 1866.
Earl Howe was a much loved and distinguished brother who practised the meaning and teaching of Freemasonry outside the lodge as well as in it. When the Knights of Malta Lodge No. 50 fell into hard times in the 1850’s he agreed to become its Master and served for two years. He was also a great benefactor to the town of Hinckley and started many initiatives to help its residents when many families were destitute after the Napoleonic War. He also donated a large sum of money to repair, renovate and construct churches throughout the county.
The painting of Earl Howe can be seen by every Freemason when negotiating the stairs in Hinckley Masonic Hall and will serve to remind them of role Earl Howe in both Hinckley and beyond.