'We are the guardians of traditions. We take great pride in our antiquity and in that way render a great service to the Community. Tradition is the accumulated wisdom of those gone before and the tendency of modern progress is to lose sight of tradition. We are one of those Institutions which preserve tradition'
Less than two months before the late Pro Grand Master, Lord Ampthill, addressed the 150th Annual Convocation of the Grand Lodge of New York with the above words, Essex Freemasons formed a new Lodge to keep alive the memory of William of Colchester, the Chief Mason of the works of the Nave of Westminster Abbey in the 1400s. On 26th March 1931, the Provincial Grand Master, Brigadier Sir Richard Beale Colvin - see Monkhams Centenary (essexfreemasons.org.uk) was the Consecrating Officer.
Ninety years later, on 25th November 2021, the Brethren of William of Colchester Lodge No. 5255 clearly demonstrated to their guests and visitors that the former Pro Grand Master, Chief Mason and Provincial Grand Master would be deeply satisfied that their Lodge is preserving tradition. In between a model Opening and Closing the Lodge gave an impeccable demonstration of the First Degree Ceremony in preparation for an Initiation of a new candidate at the next meeting.
With a focus on Charity the Lodge agreed to donate £1,000 to the local Night Shelter and the 25 Brethren at the Festive Board raised £250 with the raffle and football scratch cards. The visitors included two Brethren from Nore Lodge No. 3610, Mark Gurteen, a Past Assistant Grand Standard Bearer, the Charity Steward and Mentor, with his mentee, Fellow Craft Kevin Ebbs, on his first ever visit to another Lodge. Both Mark and Kevin were decidedly impressed to say they will be returning for the next Meeting.
Other visitors included Provincial Senior and Junior Grand Deacons Andy Hastings of Old Parkonians’ No. 4709 and Keith Bartlett of United No. 697; John Print, a Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden, of Meridies Colcestriae No. 9715; Andy Hardie, the Immediate Past Master of Grey Friars No. 5169, proudly wearing his Locomotion Lodge of Mark Master Masons lapel badge of which he is a Founder Member.
Paul Skiffington, the Master of Pyefleet No. 8913 responded to the Toast on behalf of the Visitors. Paul was extremely appreciative and succinct with his response. Having served for many years in an Army Corps with the motto ‘Nil Sine Labore’ which translates as ‘Nothing Without Work’, Paul knew that such an enjoyable and successful Lodge meeting and festive board with its focus on Charity does not just happen but takes hard work and dedication which the Brethren of William of Colchester Lodge No. 5255, like the vast majority of Freemasons, do so well as the guardians of traditions.