Full History of the Grey Friars Lodge


Our thanks to John Owen, PGSwdB. PDep Prov Grand Master (Berks) for his hard work in 2014 in preparing this history of Grey Friars Lodge as part of the preparation for the 150th anniversary of the Lodge in November 2016.

During the 150 plus years that the Grey Friars Lodge has been in existence, it has had many Lodge Secretaries who have written the Minutes with a varying degree of interest and legibility. We would like to thank John Owen for ploughing through all 18 of those Minute Books and also full marks to the widows of those Secretary’s who may have died in office and have not seen fit to dump these old volumes.

John said that preparing these notes had been a fascinating experience. His objective was to record some of the interesting facts about the Lodge and the times in which it has existed and he also wanted to remind (or perhaps even educate) the reader of the several facts which have affected the Masonic Fraternity over the past 150 years.

John commented that it had given him much enjoyment in writing it and hopes that you now will find similar enjoyment in reading it.

Thanks again John, from all of us at Grey Friars.

The First Minute Book

The first regular meeting of the Lodge was held a month after the Consecration when four of the seven candidates proposed at the Consecration were initiated. One was Edward Margrett of whom, more later. During the next twelve months, 17 Lodge meetings were held of which five were Emergency meetings. Fifteen Initiation ceremonies were carried out, one being before the Installation ceremony. They were certainly gluttons for punishment in those days. Especially when it is recorded that, apart from Installation meetings, there was no refreshment  served after meetings.

Eighteen months after the Consecration, the question of supper after each meeting was raised, but the matter was rejected. It was not until 1873 when the Minute Book records, “The Brethren adjourned to Bro. Bailey’s, the Upper Ship Hotel, for refreshment, a very agreeable evening being the result”.  And the members of Grey Friars Lodge continue to be refreshed  after each Lodge meeting- even if the price seems to be somewhat higher than in days of yore. The first mention of the cost of “refreshment” is in July 1894 (i.e. 28 years after the Consecration) when it was three shillings (£12.45 today)

Greyfriars Lodge Reading 1101

There is an interesting photograph of the first Worshipful Master of the Lodge W. Bro William P. Ivey. What is particularly interesting is the Master’s chair, which you will recognise as being the self-same chair as in Lodge Room No. 1 at the Berkshire Masonic Centre, Sindlesham. Around about 1990, there was a mini “Antiques Road Show” at Sindlesham organised by the Centre Manager. One of the Experts was asked,  if memory serves me right it was Eric Knowles, to have a look at the chair. He thought it was French Prisoner of War work, and quite valuable.  It might well be valuable, but probably it is the most uncomfortable chair in the building. However, W.Bro William Ivey has a twinkle in his eye, so perhaps 150 years ago there was a little padding in the seat!

From the very start, Grey Friars Lodge has been particularly generous with various charities. The first recorded donation was to the “Masonic Life Boat Institution” when £5-5s. was proposed. A Brother Weightman thought that this should only be £2-2s., but was defeated. No record can be found of a “Masonic Life Boat Institution”. It probably was a mistake by the Secretary, because in following years a similar gift was always to the “National Life Boat Institution”.

Another regular donation was to the Reading Dispensary in Chain Street which had been founded by a group of Doctors with the objective of providing advice and medicine free of charge to poor patients. In its time it had given free vaccinations against the scourge of small-pox and treated many injured during the construction of the Great Western Railway until this work was taken over by the new Royal Berkshire Hospital – another recipient on a regular basis of Grey Friar Lodge charity. National Health was a long way off.

One of the first resignations from the Lodge was a Brother Hunt who resigned because “he was going to the Colonies”. Another off to the “colonies” was Brother Sherwin about whom it was hoped “his voyage to residence in South Africa would be of great benefit to him and enable him to regain his health and strength”.

And so in 1886, after 189 Regular Lodge meetings and 20 Emergency meetings, the Lodge being 20 years old, we come to the end of the first Minute Book of Grey Friar Lodge meetings.  All beautifully hand written, but sadly the ink used for the first ten years has faded and makes it difficult to read. Although the book written in 1910 by G.T. Phillips, “History of Grey Friars Lodge” lists the various ceremonies, and who did what, there is little of real interest to the present day reader, but it has been a great  help in compiling these notes.


In the beginning

There appears to have been Masonry in Reading since around the late 1700’s with the Mitre Lodge of Freemasons working at “The Mitre Tavern”. Following the demise of this “Lodge”, several more sprang up (and died), but in September 1833, the first true Reading Lodge (such as we might recognise today) was Consecrated – The Reading Lodge of Union, then No. 147, but the number being changed in 1863 to the present No. 414.  The Lodge met at a number of Inns and Hotels in the area,  all deemed unsatisfactory such that brethren began to think of a permanent home. The project was kick started  in April 1852 by a gift of 40,000 bricks (how practical can you get?) from W Bro R. Gibson, and eventually the building in Greyfriars Road, Reading was sufficiently complete to hold an “Emergency” Meeting in 1860.   The total cost of the building, site and decorations came to £1,350 [£112,711 in today’s money].

By 1866, the Reading Lodge of Union had a membership of about 80, and several of the Brethren decided that a second Lodge in the town was required as a new member had what was described as a “long period of probation before attaining the Chair”. A petition was submitted to the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, the  Prayer of the 15 Petitioners was granted and on Thursday 17th May 1866, The Grey Friars Lodge was Consecrated by the Grand Registrar, VW Bro Aeneas J. McIntyre, the Acting Provincial Grand Master for Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.  The after proceedings took place in a local hotel where there were 11 long speeches, each with an apparently even longer reply. After each speech, there was a musical item provided by professional brethren from St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. What time the proceedings were completed can but be left to the imagination!  The speeches are recorded in the Masonic newspaper of the day, and seem to the modern reader to be remarkably boring. One wonders how the Brethren managed to remain awake.

So, Grey Friars Lodge came into being in 1866. There are no minute books of the Committee meetings before the Consecration to ascertain why it was named “Grey Friars Lodge”. The Masonic Hall was in Greyfriars Road so presumably this was the source of inspiration. In 1311, a church at the end of Friar Street (then known as New Street) had been built by a community of friars of the Order of St. Francis of Assisi, who had come to Reading to establish a centre from which they could minister to the poor and oppressed. They had renounced all their worldly possessions and wore a simple grey habit – hence they were known as Grey Friars.

But what was life like at the time the Lodge was Consecrated?  Victoria had been on the throne for 29 years and was still in mourning for her beloved Prince Albert five years after his death – as she was to remain for the rest of her long life. If you were caught stealing, you were  liable to be transported to Australia, and public hangings had  something of an entertainment value (both ceased two years after the Lodge was Consecrated!) There was no electric lighting – the new Grey Friars Lodge paid for gas lighting at their meetings.

The Assizes at Abingdon had moved to Reading, making Reading effectively the County Town of Berkshire.  The railways had recently come to the town, and the through traffic of stage-coaches along the Great Bath Road came to an end.  It was due to this early  mode of transport that a young Joseph Huntley sold his biscuits to stage coach passengers whilst the horses were being changed at the Crown Inn. By 1846, Huntley, who was joined by George Palmer, opened a  factory on Kings Road  and by 1900 Huntley and Palmer was the largest biscuit manufacturer in the world. Their biscuits travelled all over the world in tins made by another Reading company, Huntley, Boorne and Stevens.

Around the time that Joseph Palmer was making and selling his biscuits, another thriving business was being built up in Reading’s Market Place by John Sutton and his son, Martin. Sutton’s seeds became well known for quality and reliability. Sadly, although the name remains in the Industrial Park on the London Road, the business has now moved to Torquay.

One of the abiding memories of the author is  the smell of hops from Simonds brewery, right in the middle of Reading where it had been since the late 18th century. (actually the site of the present day Oracle Shopping Centre)   The brewery has long since moved and become part of Courage’s Brewery.    Although Reading was thriving, with a population of around 60,000, in 1866 almost one third of the people were living in poverty.

So this gives a very brief  flavour of the life and times when the Grey Friar Lodge came into being. But what of the work of the Lodge?

Square and Compass Oldest Masonic Symbol

Towards the 20th Century

Throughout the latter part of the 19th century, Grey Friars Lodge was very active indeed.  From the Consecration until 1900, a matter of 34 years, 139 Initiations were carried out, and most of these were then Passed and Raised. In 1889, for example, there were 10 Regular Lodge meetings and two Emergency – all carried out one or more ceremonies. Today, many Lodges only have 5 or 6 Regular meetings a year – Grey Friars has 7 (including the Installation meeting.)

From the start, it was felt that Grey Friars Lodge did not need an Almoner as an officer of the Lodge. The work was carried out by the Almoner of Reading Lodge of Union. In 1956, the Minutes record that W Bro Charles Wood  of Reading Lodge of Union was requested to act as Almoner. It was not until  1972 that a Grey Friars member, W Bro G.A. Burrows was invested as Almoner of the Lodge. Nevertheless, the Lodge certainly took care of its sick and elderly. Very many letters of good wishes were sent by the Secretary when Brethren were sick, and condolences to the widows. Many gifts were sent  to Brethren in financial distress of Grey Friars and also Reading Lodge of Union. For example, in 1894, a sum of 10 guineas [about £1,000 today ] was sent “in aid of support of Bro Blackwell Pell of the Lodge of Union No.414, his wife and children”.  Each year, a Christmas gift was made to the widows of the Lodge.

Every year, the Worshipful Master represented the Lodge at a Festival for one of the Masonic charities. An example: the Minutes for 10th October 1888 record  “ The Worshipful Master reported that he attended the Festival of the R.M.I.G.   [Royal Masonic Institution for Girls] as a Steward through the kindness of the Brethren and was able to take up the handsome amount of £80”  [£7,700 in today’s values] Prior to the Festival, the Provincial Grand Secretary contacted the Lodge stating the Province wished to donate £10 to the Master’s list.

Today, of course, we have quite a different system.  Each  of the four major Masonic Charities has an annual Festival which provides its major source of income. Each Festival is allocated to a Province which attempts to raise a huge sum (usually several million) – and certainly Grey Friars Lodge has been outstanding in its contributions in support of the Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire when he has been President of a Festival.

Perhaps now is the time to consider what was happening in the world during the first three decades of the life of Grey Friars Lodge. Queen Victoria was very firmly on the throne – indeed, in 1887, the three  Reading Lodges (Kendrick Lodge was the third) held a “Children’s Carnival  and Fancy Dress Ball” to celebrate the Jubilee of her accession.  Bell had recently demonstrated his invention of a telephone to the Queen (there is no record of her reaction) and the same year that the Children’s party was held, and probably of more interest to the reader, Glenfiddich single malt whisky was first distilled.

On a far more serious note, the Boer War was going very badly for Great Britain. Conan Doyle (author of Sherlock Holmes , and incidentally, a Freemason) described the last week of 1899 as “the blackest one known during our generation and the most disastrous for

British arms this century”. Eventually however, peace was restored, and South Africa supported Britain heroically during the two major World Wars of the 20th Century.

One thing for which the present Brethren of Grey Friars Lodge should be grateful is, not only the quality of their past Secretaries, but also the forbearance of their ladies. So often one finds that, when a Brother dies, all his Masonic equipment is confined to the dust bin (or now adays, perhaps to a skip). Most certainly all the old, smelly Minute Books are often the first to go. However, all the Secretaries of Grey Friars Lodge have kept, not only all the Minute Books intact and in pristine condition, but have inserted the occasional newspaper cutting and other item of interest.

One such newspaper, the Newbury Herald and Berkshire ( Gazette?)  reports in detail the Church service held at St. Lawrence’s Church where the Rev. J.M. Guilding was the Vicar and preached the sermon. He was also the Master of Grey Friars Lodge. The calling notice for the Service states that on the motion of W Bro Edward Margrett , seconded by W Bro W. Ravenscroft “That Members of the Lodge do attend Divine Service on the morning of Sunday, 13th January 1895”. They were to meet in the Small Town Hall, and walk in procession to the church.  “Officers and Past Masters  of the Lodge to wear their collars and jewels, but no aprons.” They were all to wear white gloves. The Wardens to carry their column of office.  Such processions and church services were quite common up to the First World War.

On the reverse of the newspaper cutting reporting the above Church Service is a report of the Reading Temperance Society in which the Chairman in his opening address stated “they had met there that night to fight the tremendous evil of drink”.  The report states “the attendance was somewhat limited”.  Although this might seem humorous to some of us today, it should be remembered that drunkenness was a very serious problem at the time. This was the time when the Salvation Army came into being, and two Berkshire Lodges retains the word “Temperance” as part of their  name (even if the members do not now strictly conform to the Lodge name).

The January 1890 meeting was interesting for two reasons.  During the meeting, the Master “Called Off” the Lodge “to partake of refreshment when the Brethren were agreeably surprised to find an excellent supper served in the anti-room and provided by the W.M. Bro Hickie”.  (there is no indication that this became a “tradition” of Grey Friars Lodge!).

The more important reason was the proposal which had been suggested by the Provincial Grand Secretary following the death of the Provincial Grand Master (Sir Daniel Gooch) that “The WM, Wardens and Brethren of Grey Friars Lodge No.1101 request the VW the D.P.G.M [Deputy Provincial Grand Master] in Charge respectfully to represent to His Royal Highness, the M.W.G.M. [the Most Worshipful Grand Master – later King Edward  Vll] the desirability of dividing the existing Masonic Province of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire”.

In seconding the proposition, W Bro Ravenscroft  “ remarked [on]the difficulty in communication between many of the Lodges in the two Counties; another reason being that the Lodges of Buckinghamshire were equally desirous of the division.”  The Province was divided on 1st June 1890, and the Duke of Clarence and Avondale became Provincial Grand Master of Berkshire. He died two years later to be succeeded by Lord Wantage, VC..

In February 1896, it is recorded that “A vote of thanks be given to W Bro W. Ravenscroft for the trouble he had taken and the skill he has displayed in designing the new border for the monthly agenda paper”.  This is, of course the design on which the present day Lodge Summons is printed. The full explanation as given by W Bro Ravenscroft is appended to these notes.  It is suggested that the summons of the Grey Friar Lodge is the most decorative in the Province of Berkshire, and certainly the one in which there is most symbolism. The figure of the Franciscan monk, or Grey Friar has alongside it in Latin a quotation from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians 2:21, “All the building fitly framed groweth  unto an holy temple in the Lord in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God.”   The Latin at the bottom of the summons “Audi, Vide, Tace” may be translated “Listen, Observe, be silent”. Every member of the Grey Friars Lodge should read W. Ravenscroft’s explanation at least once!  In 1934, a large number were printed with a view of giving one to each Initiate.   William Ravenscroft also designed the Lodge Banner which was dedicated in November 1903 when he gave a short explanation of its meaning.


Towards War.

On entering the 20th Century, Grey Friars Lodge was a well established successful Lodge which thought it was time it should have a banner. As such, a committee was formed  to look at sketches, and £20 was put aside to purchase one. W Bro Ravenscroft’s design was accepted and the finished article was unveiled in 1903 when he gave a short explanation of the symbolism (sadly we have no copy of his talk).

A standard procedure which might appear macabre to us today was the emphasis placed on mourning. When a Brother died, the “Lodge was draped in mourning, and Masonic mourning was worn in memory of” the named Brother. When a Provincial Grand Master died , and even more so if he were a Prince of the realm, detailed instructions were sent to all Lodges as to the number of black rosettes to be worn and where they were to be placed on the apron or collar.

Despite the gathering political storm clouds, the Grey Friars Lodge continued its work, almost at a hectic pace.  The Master pointed out that the meeting of January 1909 was the 400th meeting of the Lodge. Charity contributions continued apace. In 1912 the Lodge gave to the “Mayor of Reading’s fund for the relief of those left dependent through the loss of the ill fated Atlantic liner The Titanic”.  A year later there was a contribution to “The Children’s Boot Fund” (one wonders what that was, but then remembers the extreme poverty in the town.)

Since the latter part of the 19th Century, Britain had considered Germany the main threat to its empire. Various treaties had been made between many of the  European countries. The various small German states had combined to form a united Germany under Bismark’s influence, with the Kaiser at the head. Germany was building a large fleet of warships. The Kaiser loved to “rattle his sword”, but it was a relatively minor incident, the assassination of the heir to the throne of the Austo-Hungarian Empire, that sparked a full scale war. Having declared war on Russia and France, Germany invaded Belgian (which Britain had promised to defend) and on 4th August 1914, Britain declared war on Germany.

“The war would be over by Christmas”, it was said, but, as we know, it lasted four long and bloody years. The effect of the war is reflected in the Minute Books of Grey Friars Lodge during the war years, especially in the recipients of the Lodge charity donations, and also in the military Brethren who were members or who visited the Lodge. Some of those charities were “Queen Mary’s Work for Women Fund”, “Princess May’s Sailor and Soldier Christmas Fund”, “The Mayor’s Belgian Refugee Fund”,  and again “Boots for Necessitous Children Fund”. The donations ranged from 1 to 5 guineas when, it is noted, one guinea is worth £88 in today’s values.


Military Brethren are mentioned many times. Congratulations on promotion, a number of various army ranks were initiated as was a Captain Grimshaw of the Royal Flying Corps. Many more attended as guests of the Lodge, mainly army personnel stationed at Rushmoor and several were elected “Temporary Honorary Members”.  At the meeting in December 1918, Bro. Lt. Markus Love was welcomed back after his time as a Prisoner of War in Germany.

An interesting relic of the First World War is preserved in the Museum at Sindlesham It is a “Soldiers” Pass” which was issued by Grey Friars Lodge No.1101 to Bro A.E. Perries who was Initiated in 1912.    It states “ The above-named Lodge presents and vouches for the Brother to whom this card is issued as a worthy Master Mason, and so commends him for brotherly care and lawful aid to any Mason who may find him in distress or need – incident to his services as a British sailor (soldier)- with the assurance that any courtesies so extended will be deeply appreciated and reciprocated should the occasion arise”.  It is signed by Charles E. Keyser, WM, and E.O. Farrer, Sec..  On the reverse of the card the message is translated into four languages – French, Italian, Arabic(Turkish?) and German. A copy is appended.

Early 1918, the submarine blockade of Britain was having an effect on the food supply of the  nation. Grand Lodge issued an edict , “Once more, and with even greater earnestness, because of the steadily increasing national necessity for the observance of strict economy in the consumption of food, the Board [of General Purposes] appeals to every Lodge in general and every Mason in particular to observe the utmost practical abstinence in this regard”. The motion was seconded by the Minister of Food (Lord Rhondda), who happened to be the Senior Grand Warden.

Unlike the Second World War, when food rationing was introduced immediately war was declared, it was not until February 1918 that rationing commenced. A substantial amount of the UK’s food came from Canada or the United States. The unrestricted submarine warfare, which commenced in 1917, brought the UK within six weeks of starvation. However, Grey Friars Lodge managed to continue to have “Refreshment after Labour”.

After all the slaughter –  some 16 million military and civilians were killed – eventually an Armistice was signed on the 11th day of the 11th Month of 1918. Grey Friars Lodge held a Lodge meeting two days after the Armistice, of which there is no mention in the Minute Book! Perhaps they were still suffering from shock (or maybe, a ‘hang-over’). The Province organised a Special Thanksgiving Service at St. Giles Church a month later, on Wednesday 11th December at 3p.m. “To offer up thanks to T.G.A.O.T.U. for our Victories in the Great War” when Masonic Dress was worn.

Following the Church Service, Grey Friar Lodge met as usual and carried out two Initiations and two Passing ceremonies. They did have supper afterwards (at a cost of 3/-).

Between two World Wars.

The servicemen returning to Great Britain after the war were finding anything but “a country fit for heroes”, as promised by Lloyd George. There was an initial burst of activity as war damage was repaired , but Britain had lost many of its overseas markets. In the first six months of 1920, unemployment had doubled – Great Britain was suffering a severe depression.  It was quite common to see groups of soldiers, bedecked with medals, shuffling along the High Street, maybe one playing a mouth organ, or trying to sing a popular war-time song, and almost always  one without a limb. Begging was their only source of income.

But there were over 720,000 men who would not return, and by 1920 there were over  5,000  war memorials already constructed across the land, with many more to follow.

In December 1919, the Grand Master, H.R.H Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn , made an impassioned plea to all Freemasons , and launched the Masonic Million Memorial Fund. The objective was to raise £1,000,000 (this would be about £35 million at today’s value) to build a Masonic Peace Memorial  to honour those Brethren who had fought and those who fell in the War. Details of how contributions would be rewarded with Certificates and medals were sent to every Lodge. Grey Friars Lodge considered the request, and wisely decided to wait and see what happened. In 1926, plans for the Masonic Peace Memorial Building in Great Queen Street, London, were accepted, the Foundation Stone was laid a year later and it was completed in 1933. It is a Grade II Listed Building and is considered one of the finest Art Deco buildings in the Country. It has 21 Lodge Rooms. a Library and Museum,  and the Main Temple which seats 1700. It is also the offices of all the Masonic Charities as well as the United Grand Lodge of England. The building is open to the general Public, and, if you have never been, it is very worthwhile a visit. Despite the initial caution, in 1922 Grey Friars Lodge voted to contribute as recommended by Provincial Grand Lodge – 10/- per member out of Lodge Funds, payable at the rate of 6d. a Quarter. – a total of £300 per member at today’s values, payment to be spread over 5 years.

On a far lighter note, the Brethren of Grey Friars Lodge decided in 1923 to enter the sporting arena by competing in the Masonic Golf Competition for the cup presented by Brother Langley, and also the Bowling Competition for the Sir F. Dyson Challenge Cup. The Golfing and the Bowls fraternity still compete annually for these cups – as well as a few others.  Grey Friars Lodge won the Langley Cup in 1993 and in 2012 won a golfing  prize of £40, which, of course went to charity, but never the Bowling cup.

A very sad note now creeps into the history which it is felt should be recorded. A Senior member of the Province, in fact a Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master, and an Honorary member of Grey Friars Lodge , together with his brother, had been convicted and imprisoned for a period of three years. The Secretary of the Provincial Charity Committee circulated all Lodges in the Province to ask if , as the two were about to be released, would the  Lodge contribute a small sum towards their upkeep as “undoubtedly they will not be able to earn their living, the senior being 77 and the junior just 70 . If each Lodge did see its way to contribute, say £3 or £4 per annum, sufficient would then be raised to keep them out of actual starvation”. There is no indication as to their misdemeanour, but as they were solicitors, it was possibly misuse of clients money.

Grey Friars, generous as always, subscribed the upper suggestion, but stipulated that the two brothers should live outside of Berkshire!   As there were 28 Lodges in the Province at the time, probably something like £112 per annum could have been raised [about £6,000 p.a. at today’s values] but it seems inappropriate to delve further.

Following the Armistice of 1918, the world was in turmoil. The Treaty of Versailles was proving a disaster. The enormous reparations demanded of Germany had brought that country to its knees. There were food shortages, mass unemployment and a lack of optimism which allowed a German army corporal named Adolf Hitler, who promised the world, to be voted into power as the Chancellor of Germany in 1933.  There was even an instruction from Grand Lodge that Brethren of Alien Enemy Birth should not be allowed to return to their Lodges, unless the Lodge so voted unanimously.

But despite all the International problems, the Brethren of Grey Friars Lodge No.1101 continued with their Masonic business. Still with eight meetings a year, plus an occasional Emergency meeting, the Lodge was maintaining its high level of activity. Apart from their Masonic work, throughout the history of the Lodge, many Brethren have served Reading as Mayor, Aldermen, Town Councillors and Justices of the Peace.

Now might be an appropriate place to mention just a few of the eminent Masons who were members of Grey Friars Lodge.

The first Initiate of the Lodge was Edward Margrett, who was the Master in 1876 and again twenty years later.  Under the Headline “Imposing Ceremony” in the “Reading Observer” of Saturday 20th May 1916 concerning the Grey Friars Lodge Jubilee celebrations, W Bro E.O. Farrer is reported as saying “ The outstanding personality in the [early]  history of Grey Friars Lodge is undoubtedly that of Edward Margrett. Throughout his Masonic career he was the dominating spirit in the Lodge and his name consistently recurs in the record of proceedings until his death in 1914”. [Having read all the Minute books, that is certainly a correct statement].  W Bro Margrett was a builder, and it was he who gave the working tools now used in the Lodge; proper artisan tools probably made in the workshop of his company, but plated and polished for Lodge use.

One of the offices he held was that of Secretary to the Provincial Charity Committee, an office now replaced by the Provincial Almoner and Provincial Charity Secretary. These two offices came into being in 1991 (and then initially, a Province could only have one or the other, not both). Before that date Berkshire had a “Charity Committee”, which held a briefing meeting once a year attended by a representative from each Lodge in the Province. The actual Provincial Almoners work was carried out by the Secretary of that Committee. This involved organising petitions for distressed brethren or their widows, applications for admission to a Masonic residential home, getting help for the children of deceased Brethren, even admission into the Royal Masonic Hospital, in fact all the work currently carried out by the Provincial Grand Almoner. In addition, he was also responsible for raising the money when the Province held a Festival for one of the Masonic Charities. It was quite a job.  Edward Margrett held it for 15 years.

Another long serving member of Greyfriars Lodge was E.O. Farrer, or “Teddy” as he was always known. Appointed Secretary in 1905, he remained in that office until his death 29 years later.  The leading light in the formation of Berkshire Masters’ Lodge, he was its Secretary for 25 years. He was not only an active Alderman and then Mayor of Reading, he was very involved with several of the Masonic Charities – especially the Royal Masonic Hospital.

  1. Ravenscroft has already been mentioned as designing the surround of the Lodge summons and also the Lodge Banner. He was a local architect and a Fellow of the Society of Arts.

F.A. Sargeant, CBE.,  became Treasurer of the Lodge in 1915, and went on to become the Grand Treasurer of the United Grand Lodge of England.

How many Brethren pass the Library at Sindlesham and fail to notice that the plate on the door states that it is “The Hugh Fraser Room”?  Initiated in Grey Friars Lodge in 1910, Hugh Fraser stood down from the office of Secretary in 1958 having been 24 years as Secretary and 8 years previously as Treasurer. In 1970 when the Lodge was moving to Sindlesham, W Bro Fraser celebrated his Diamond Jubilee as a Mason, and the Lodge decided to equip and decorate the Library  and Museum. The original books for the Library came from Greyfiars Road where E.O. Farrer had been the Librarian.

Mention has already been made in the Preamble to these notes of the blitz on Reading February 1943. It was recorded by a Brother who gave a paper on Grey Friars Lodge [author and date unknown] “ Hugh Fraser was found by his rather startled Brethren at his usual post behind the Secretary’s table in spite of the fact that his business premises in Yield Hall Lane were blazing away merrily. The Brethren were firmly told that there were people whose task it was to attend to matters of this kind; this was the night of Grey Friars regular meeting”.

Just before the Second World War, the Lodge had over 100 members, but the Lodge Committee was very concerned that the average attendance was only 40. Many Lodges these days would be happy with this number attending!

September 3rd 1939 at 11a.m., Britain was once again at war with Germany. The causes do not here concern us, but the immediate effect was for Grand Lodge to suspend all Lodge meetings, although a few days later, this knee jerk reaction was rescinded.  However, a number of instructions were issued concerning meetings. Proceedings were to start as early in the day as possible; after proceedings were to be brief and simple (The Province issued a note to say that there should be no Festive Board) and many items of the Book of Constitutions were waived, especially with respect to serving brethren.

But still the Grey Friars Lodge continued with eight regular meetings every year at the Masonic Hall  in Grey Friars Road. But clearly the  war was having an effect on the work. Several times the Lodge summons states, for example as in March 1941 “ To raise Bro Lt. L.D. Habbits, RN or, if he is unable to attend, to Initiate Mr. Ernest Plumridge”. (In this instance, Mr, Plumridge was Initiated, and Bro. Lt . Habbits was Raised by his brother (the Worshipful Master, W Bro R.A. Habbits) at an Emergency meeting six months later. (Incidentally, at the March meeting in 1958, R.A. Habbits initiated his son.)

The Lodge agreed that  Bro’s H.J. Royal and D. Brown, who were both Prisoners of War, and all other serving Brethren should be excused their subscriptions during their period of absence from the Country.

Reading had one serious air raid during the war to which reference has already been made in the Preamble. There were some six other minor incidents, one of which killed a milk roundsman’s horse in Berkeley Avenue (with three people slightly injured). Other than these, Reading survived the war relatively unscathed, at least compared to the likes of Bristol, Cardiff and Coventry.

World War Two, Bombing of Reading

Late on a dull and drizzly  morning, Wednesday 10th February 1943, a solitary German bomber identified as a Dornier DO 217 was seen approaching Reading. There was no time to give a warning. Flying low it dropped a stick of bombs across the town, and machine gunned any unfortunates in the street. It was early closing day and also because of the weather, the streets were practically deserted.  Much damage was done to various buildings.  The back of Wellsteed’s Departmental store was completely wrecked  and St. Laurence’s Church, in addition to losing all its stained glass,  the pinnacles on the tower were rendered unsafe such that they had to be removed. Even the Town Hall was badly damaged.

Just a short walk away from the Masonic Hall in Greyfriars Road , a restaurant in Friar Street called People’s Pantry, was hit by a bomb. 41 people were killed with a further 49 seriously injured and over 100 slightly injured.  This was the worst air raid on the town during the Second World War.

That evening, Grey Friars Lodge met as usual in the Masonic Hall at 5.30p.m.. The Lodge was opened. The Minutes were quickly read, and the Master, W Bro. Harry West stated, “ that in view of the air raid, which had just taken place, and considering the damage done and lives lost, he did not propose to carry through the further items on the agenda, and proceeded to close the Lodge”.

This must surely have been the shortest meeting ever (and certainly the most alarming) in the very long history of Grey Friars Lodge.   It is certainly the most sombre meeting recorded in any of the 18 Minute Books since the Consecration of the Lodge on 17th May 1866


Post Second World War

Peace eventually came, the lights went up, and things were supposed to return to normal. But they did not. One thing that certainly did not return immediately to peace time levels was the supply of food. Food rationing, which had started at the very beginning of the war, continued until nine years after the war end. Bread rationing came in for a while after the end of the war, and  meat did not come “off ration” until 1954.  Even Festive Boards were limited in numbers by the Ministry of Food which issued instructions limiting the number of diners to under 100 persons. At Grey Friars Lodge  Installation meeting November 1954,  54 members and 81 guests were at the Festive Board so, by this time, the instruction had either been dropped, or was being ignored – possibly the latter.

Everything, not just food, was in very short supply. If you were lucky, you might be able to purchase an “Export reject”. Anything worth purchasing of British manufacture was being exported to help pay for the war.    Even Grand Lodge was finding things difficult. In 1954 a letter stated that they were having difficulty in obtaining supplies of parchment for Grand Lodge Certificates, and as such two Certificates were delayed. They apologised.

Brethren were returning from the War and were made more than welcome by the Lodge. A Captain Brian Thorne, RASC, who was a Re-joining member gave his occupation as  “Rubber and Coconut planter”. There cannot have been too many of this profession in Berkshire.  Still the Lodge remained as busy as ever, with occasional Emergency meetings, and always a full ceremony – in the case of the Second Degree, usually with two candidates. Men returning from the Armed Forces found that Freemasonry offered the camaraderie they were missing from their Service life.  Freemasonry flourished.

In 1954, a Mr. Goddard, who was the father in law of Bro C.S. Stebbings, then the Inner Guard of the Lodge, bequeathed his house in Worthing to the Lodge, subject to the  life interest of a widowed daughter who was living in the property.  The daughter continued to live there until 1983 when the lady moved to Lord Harris Court. The Lodge Minutes for November 1983 state, “Property in Worthing has been sold, which enabled the Lodge to look after her needs”.  When she died in 1991, the sum of £21,430 was paid to the Lodge which was placed in a Relief Chest for Grey Friars Lodge operated by the Grand Charity.

The first murmurings about moving from the Masonic Hall, Grey Friars Road , Reading were in 1954 when the Management Committee reported that “any major expenditure upon the present building could not be justified and the alternative of the possibility of another site should be examined forthwith”. The Secretary of the Committee was W Bro R.R. Cheyney, a Past Master of Grey Friars Lodge.  In 1957, the building was in urgent need of repair and renovation. Repairs to the roof, modernisation of the kitchen equipment and decorating would cost £2,500 [ equivalent to £50,000 today] and the Management requested loans from the Brethren – but no takers are recorded.

To continue briefly with the Masonic Hall story. In 1964, a site was found in Reading  on the Bath Road at the top of Castle Hill and purchased for £17,000. However, road widening would have reduced the car parking space and it was clearly not a suitable venue. Then the attention was drawn to a building on the market at Sindlesham, Wokingham. This was        St. Mary’s College, a Catholic Seminary run by the Salvatorian Fathers – the Society of the Divine Saviour. Originally a family home which had been a manor house for centuries and was now a  Grade ll listed building. The Grey Friars Road property was sold for £32,500 and became part of the Sainsbury supermarket, and the Sindlesham property was purchased, also for £32,500. The site on the Bath Road was sold and on 6th September 1969, the Berkshire Masonic Centre was opened at Sindlesham.  Amongst the many items removed from Grey Friars Road is the very fine Secretary’s  Table in the main Berkshire Temple.  This was a gift from W Bro  A.C. Priston given to Grey Friars Lodge to mark the Lodges’ Centenary in 1966. It is a superb piece of work, and worthy of close inspection, particularly the carved Grey Friars emblem on the front centre panel.

The last meeting of Grey Friars Lodge at the Masonic Temple in Grey Friars Road, Reading was the April meeting in 1969 when a Brother was raised. The May meeting was held by Dispensation in the Caversham  Masonic Hall, but the October meeting was in the new Masonic Centre at Sindlesham, where, of course, the Lodge continues to meet.  A paragraph on the summons for this meeting states    “Transport. It is hoped brethren will make arrangements amongst themselves. Any brother in difficulty should contact the Secretary”. This is a reminder that there was some antagonism about the move to Sindlesham, particularly by Brethren without a car.

The May 1969 meeting held in Caversham was by “Dispensation”.  Although Caversham is now part of the County of Berkshire, before the County boundaries were changed in 1974, it was in Oxfordshire. Grand Lodge decided that the Masonic Provinces would remain the same as the old County boundaries. (As such, Slough is in the Province of Buckinghamshire, but Wantage and Abingdon remain in the Province of Berkshire).

The period from the end of the war to the Millennium saw a number of significant changes to Freemasonry. Sufficient just to mention a few.  Details are available in the Library at Sindlesham if you are particularly interested.

In 1964 RW Bro Bishop Herbert, who was the Provincial Grand Master of Norfolk, proposed the ritual be altered such that the penalties be referred to as “Symbolic” (which of course they are). His proposal cause great ructions within the Craft! Grey Friars decided to take no action (perhaps because it would have meant re-learning parts of the ritual by the older Brethren?). However, in 1986 Grand Lodge voted that the Permissive working (as it was called) became mandatory. It is now what we all use, and it is difficult to understand what all the fuss was about.

Until it was repealed by section 13(2) of the Criminal Law Act of 1967, the name and address of all members of a Lodge had to be supplied annually to the Clerk of the Peace in accordance to The Unlawful Societies Act of 1799. This Act arose out of the Napoleonic Wars and was concerned with the suppression of seditious societies. Freemasonry was exempt providing information was supplied concerning members, and it was the duty of the Lodge Secretary to provide this information.

In 1974, at the request of the Grand Master, MW Bro. H.R.H. Duke of Kent, Lord Justice Bagnall published a report on the Masonic Charities, and the way forward.  Following this report, over the years, The Royal Masonic Hospital in London was closed and sold. The Masonic Samaritan Fund now provides financial assistance for private medical help locally to the patient when required.   The Royal Masonic Institution for Boys and the Royal Masonic Institution for Girls were combined to make the Masonic Institution for Girls and Boys (“Royal” since 2003). The Boy’s School at Bushey was closed, whilst the Royal Masonic School for Girls at Rickmansworth continues as an independent establishment in the private sector of education. The Grand Charity was created to which we all pay a contribution as part  of our Grand Lodge dues. This charity makes grants to Petitioners in need, and also contributes large sums to various non- Masonic causes. One item of particular interest to the Charity Steward of the Lodge is that The Grand Charity operates the Relief Chest scheme which takes a great deal of work and worry away from him.

Towards the end of the 20th Century, Freemasonry came into the public spotlight for all the wrong reasons.  In 1985 the Faith and Order Committee of the Conference of the Methodist Church published an adverse report of Freemasonry which concluded “Consequently our guidance  to the people is that Methodists should not become Freemasons”. Two years later the Synod of the Church of England published a report “Freemasonry and Christianity” which took much of the ritual completely out of context and, amongst other things detrimental to the Craft considered the Royal Arch ceremony to be blasphemous. These two reports led to much distress amongst many Freemason causing several Clergymen to resign. Fortunately sense has prevailed, and once again we have an increasing number of the clergy of all denominations amongst our members.

Another problem was the Home Affairs Committee chaired by the MP for Sunderland South, Chris Mullin, which investigated Freemasonry and claimed that it had infiltrated the Police, the Judiciary and Local Government. Membership was required to be declared in all these professions.(This requirement to declare membership was  dropped a number of years ago).  Of course, the media latched on to this and all sorts of lurid articles were published. For example, one paper reported in May 1995 “these days he [a Mason] is seen as part of a network of mutual backscratchers, all busily pushing advantages and opportunities in each other’s way, blocking the progress of non-members, and even, should the need arise, sheltering members who might fall foul of the law”.  Stuff and nonsense – but it reflected the thoughts of a lot of people (according to the newspapers).

Much of this, it is suggested, was our own fault in that Freemasonry had tended towards the secretive, especially during the Second World War. Many Freemasons on the Continent had been transported to the extermination camps, and there was a real fear of the UK being invaded, so perhaps the secrecy could be understood. In fact, the only secrets in Freemasonry are our modes of recognition, and these can readily be obtained from any Public Library. Nowadays Grand Lodge is very proactive in answering any slur on Freemasonry. Indeed, anything anyone could possibly wish to know about Freemasonry is readily obtainable on the Web Site. Many of our recent recruits to Freemasonry have joined as a result of this curiosity. Berkshire has a particularly good web site.

The latter part of the century saw Grey Friars Lodge hosting many Prestonian Lectures. These are the only “official” lectures sanctioned by Grand Lodge and were originally set up to commemorate the life of William Preston, who when he died in 1818 left £300 to perpetuate his system of instruction of Masonic ritual. The “system” was revised, and lectures on Masonic subjects of the lecturers choice have been given since 1924, except for the period 1940-46. It is considered a great honour to be able to host the lecture, and Grey Friars Lodge has hosted a number.  The title of some of the lectures include, “The Master Mason at Arms – a short study of Freemasonry in the Forces”, “Masonry Pure and Applied”, “And the greatest of these is charity – the development of Masonic Charity”, and others.  In 1994 a resolution was passed in the Lodge “to continue the practice of inviting the previous years’ Prestonian Lecturer to Grey Friars”.  The lecture in 1996 was “Freemasonry and Sport” given by W Bro John Webb (whose grandfather was the first to swim the English Channel). It was given in Grey Friars Lodge in front of non-Masonic Guests, including Ladies. There were 144 at the Festive Board.

Into the Millennium

Towards the end of the 20th Century and into the start of the 21st Century, although the membership continued to hold in the lower 50’s, the number who actually attended Lodge meetings fell quite considerably, For example, in January 2001, with 51 subscribing members, only 21 attended the meeting – and there were only three guests. Never the less, Grey Friars Lodge found much work of an interesting nature, but with very few Candidates to Initiate.

One item of particular interest  at the April meeting 2002 was that  the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Digby Wood caused consternation by turning up unannounced, and certainly without the previous knowledge of any member.  It is stated in the Minutes that, following a knock on the door of the Temple, the Past Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies (who happened to be W Bro Roy D’Archambaud – who had previously apologised to say he would be late!) announced the Provincial Grand Master was outside and “Demanded Admission”. The Lodge Secretary, W Bro Peter Kean, records it was at this point “I noticed an element of panic in the eyes of W Bros. Ray Swaine [the acting WM] and Malcolm Pittock [DC] and I hoped that one of our guests was a medical practitioner!”  Fortunately his services would not have been required.  The Provincial Grand Master occupied the Chair and then presented W Bro “Tommy” Thomson with his 50 years certificate tracing his Masonic history and  paying him the highest of compliments. The PGM said that he was “well aware of the apprehension he had caused to certain members as a similar situation had occurred to him when he was in the chair of his Lodge as a young Mason many years ago”. He explained he was unable to stay for the ceremony as he had a previous engagement, and then retired from the Lodge. The Lodge recovered its breath, and continued with the evening’s work which was an Initiation.  

Another interesting meeting was when, following an Initiation, W Bro Raymond Head, the Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master assisted by W Bro Peter Kean gave an explanation of the First Degree Charge in front of Ladies and other non Masonic guests.

But still for most of the first decade of the new Century, Grey Friars Lodge was short of new members to replace those who sadly had deceased. But then an interesting thing happened. In an interview in “Freemasonry Today”,  the Assistant Grand Master, RW Bro David Williamson who was then shortly to retire,  it was reported that he had visited Apollo University Lodge in Oxford and had been extremely impressed, the members being very young and the ritual excellent. He spoke about it to Lord Northampton, the then Pro Grand Master saying how we should have lodges like that all over the country, whereupon he was given the job to organise it. Thus was born the Universities Scheme. There are now fifty-nine Lodges in the scheme, of which Grey Friars Lodge is one.

The scheme was set up in 2005, and two year later, the Provincial Grand Master, RW Bro Mike Hooton, asked whether Grey Friars Lodge would be interested in joining the scheme. The Lodge already had an association with Reading University in that W Bro Ewan Page was a Past Vice Chancellor and Bro.’s Paul Davis and Stan Crooks  were alumni.  Initially there was a little apprehension in the Lodge, perhaps due to ignorance as to what would be involved and maybe what changes would need to be made. Perhaps it was the visit to the January meeting of 2008 of the Assistant Grand Master, RW Bro David Williamson, together with the Chairman of the scheme, W Bro Oliver Lodge  and the Provincial Grand Master, that persuaded brethren of the Lodge it was a good idea, and the Lodge was welcomed into the scheme in November 2008.

The result of joining the University Scheme has been outstanding. The Lodge now has a representation in the form of a stand at the annual Reading University “Freshers’ Fayre” where many interested enquiries have been made, and the Lodge is now fortunate in having Initiated, Passed and Raised a number of Under-graduates. Several ceremonies have been double or even triple ceremonies for which the Provincial Grand Master’s Dispensation is required, as it is when the Initiate is under the age of 21 years.

The MW Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, KG,  in his address to Grand Lodge in 2010 said of the Universities Scheme, “A real benefit the Scheme confers is having young intelligent men joining us who will, we hope, contribute greatly to the future of the Craft, as potential leaders and sources of inspiration”. That certainly is a challenge to the  Masons that Grey Friars Lodge has Initiated under this scheme. It is also a challenge to we less intelligent mortals (?) who are already members of the Lodge, to make every effort to retain them and encourage them to progress.  It will be a fact of life that many will move from the area –even the Country – but Grey Friars can be proud that they will have started many young men on their Masonic journey through life and hope they will seek fulfilment in another Masonic Lodge elsewhere.

In an earlier Chapter of these notes, mention was made of three Brethren who had performed outstanding service to the Lodge and to Freemasonry. Now it would be appropriate to mention two of more recent vintage, but who have sadly departed this life.

W Bro W.J. (“Tommy”) Thomson has already been mentioned when he received his 50th anniversary certificate. He was Initiated in April 1952 when his profession was stated as “Library Owner”.  This was perhaps why he was a brilliant author of papers concerning many aspects of Freemasonry, a number of which are preserved in the Lodge archives. These have been a source of information and inspiration to the author of these few notes.  In 1963 he was the Worshipful Master, and was seldom out of an office in the Lodge during the rest of his life.

W Bro Roy D’Archambaud was a Joining member of the Lodge coming from the Province of Surrey.  He soon made his mark in the Lodge and was one of the few to have twice been Master of the Lodge –  1988 and 2005.  He was the Lodge Secretary for 9 years (1993-2002) and was also Provincial Grand Almoner from 2001 to 2007. The Provincial Almoner’s job is not only an onerous one, but one where great tact and understanding is required. Roy had these qualities and was further assisted by his expert knowledge in the field of insurance – especially how to get the maximum out of whatever was available from the State for a petitioner in distressed financial circumstances.


In 2007 Roy was appointed the Inspector General of the Ancient and Accepted Rite for the District of Berkshire – usually known as Rose Croix – and he was not only an excellent Inspector General but also a very popular one. Sadly his term in office was shortened by the motor neuron disease which eventually killed him. A mark of the man was that, shortly before his death he took part in the Reading Half Marathon – well, in a wheel chair pushed by several Masons over the last part of the course. He was sponsored by very many Masons for the Rose Croix contribution to the RMBI Festival of 2011. He died June 2011.

The Festival of 2011 for the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution saw Grey Friars Lodge contributing the magnificent sum of £27,568 – an outstanding achievement.  This was in addition to £1000 to both the Thames Valley Air Ambulance and Naomi House (a Hospice for Children and young people), plus £250 to the Friends of Lord Harris Court to provide extra comforts for the residents.  Through-out the life of the Lodge, donations to local charities has been of paramount importance to the Brethren.

Perhaps it was a charitable thought that caused the Lodge Secretary to organise  for the January 2012 meeting, Haggis, Tatties and Neaps at the Festive Board in honour of the Worshipful Master, W Bro Allan Dishington. On it being delivered to the Worshipful Master “he  delivered the Robbie Burns address in a broad Scottish dialect with vigorous flailing of arms to the amusement and delight of all present.”

Grey Friars Lodge has never been so steeped in so called “tradition” that it is unwilling to make changes. One of the Honorary members of the Lodge (RW Bro Digby Woods) once gave a talk on resistance to change in which he said, “Resistance to change is like holding ones breath. Success is fatal”. Grey Friars Lodge was one of the first to invite non- masons (including ladies) to special meetings when appropriate.

There were some changes necessary by participating in the University Scheme. One such was the alteration to the By-laws in 2012 , replacing the May meeting with one in October. This was in order “to accommodate the opportunity for the student intake to attend a Stewards meeting to be held in October as they cannot attend in May due to their end of term examinations”. (The “Stewards Meeting” is  traditionally the meeting where the Stewards of the Lodge took the various junior offices in order to gain experience of working the ritual). Another change is that occasionally the wording the Lodge summons may state the name of several candidates for a particular ceremony “subject to work and study commitments”.

So we are coming towards the 150th  anniversary of the Consecration  of The Grey Friars Lodge. The Lodge continues to Initiate Candidates, many coming from Reading University, attracted by the display at the Fresher’s Day and also through word of mouth from the Undergraduates who have become members of the Lodge. In 2013, the first of the initiates who came in under the University Scheme, Liam Halliday, became Worshipful Master of the Lodge.

There were some changes necessary by participating in the University Scheme. One such was the alteration to the By-laws in 2012 , replacing the May meeting with one in October. This was in order “to accommodate the opportunity for the student intake to attend a Stewards meeting to be held in October as they cannot attend in May due to their end of term examinations”. (The “Stewards Meeting” is  traditionally the meeting where the Stewards of the Lodge took the various junior offices in order to gain experience of working the ritual). Another change is that occasionally the wording the Lodge summons may state the name of several candidates for a particular ceremony “subject to work and study commitments”.

So we are coming towards the 150th  anniversary of the Consecration  of The Grey Friars Lodge. The Lodge continues to Initiate Candidates, many coming from Reading University, attracted by the display at the Fresher’s Day and also through word of mouth from the Undergraduates who have become members of the Lodge. In 2013, the first of the initiates who came in under the University Scheme, Liam Halliday, became Worshipful Master of the Lodge.

Uni postgrad as WM

In the book written in 1910 by W Bro G.T. Phillips, “History of the Grey Friars Lodge”, the very first Initiate of the Lodge, W Bro Edward Margrett,  wrote the Preface.  In it he writes, in the very flowery language of the time:-


 “True Masonry is that touch of human soul to human soul which defies analysis, and cannot be embodied or perpetuated in an institution. It is the doctrine of the Spirit as opposed to that of the Letter, and the solidarity of humanity in the    Great Truths of the Divine Fatherhood, and the Human Brotherhood. The Grey Friars Lodge, in common with others, has not failed to maintain this fraternal tradition, and it has, I trust a great and useful future.”


There is no doubt that  Grey Friars Lodge has had a great past, and we trust that Edward Margrett would have approved.
We now looks forward with eager anticipation to

“a great and useful future”

during the NEXT 150 YEARS.

Appendix I
Lodge Jewels


Volume of the Sacred Law
Presented by Bro. Frederick Burnett Houghton, a Founder Member, on the day of consecration.  17th May 1866.

Working Tools
Presented by Bro. Edward Margrett (WM 1876) on 13th February 1878.

Square & Compasses on VSL
Presented by Bro. George Chancellor, (WM 1871) a Founder Member, on the day of consecration 17th May 1866.
Silver, Birmingham 1865 [B&P] Bent & Parker.

Presented by Bro. E. Stewart Scotchbrook (WM 1977
Silver London 1980 (PPM)

Presented by Bro. John E. Danks (WM 1879)

Collar Jewels

WM – Silver London 1819   [TH] Thomas Hyde.
Collar restored by Bro. John K.S.Tagg to commemorate his year as WM 2001.

SW – Silver Birmingham 1865 – B&P

JW – Silver Birmingham 1865 – B&P

Chaplain – Silver Birmingham 1864 – B&P

Treasurer – Silver Birmingham 1865 – B&P

Secretary – Silver Birmingham 1865 – B&P

D of C – Silver Birmingham 1865 – B&P

Almoner – Metal Presented by Bro. Charles S Parnell, (WM 1957)
On 10th November 1976.
It is assumed the original jewel had been lost.

Charity Steward – Metal.
It is assumed the original jewel had been lost.

Mentor – Silver Details to be confirmed (2012)
Presented by Bro. Peter  O. Kean in 2012

SD – Silver Birmingham 1865 – B&P

JD – Silver Birmingham 1865 – B&P
Restored by Bro. Peter O. Kean in 2011.

Asst. Sec. – Metal.  Toye & Co, London.

Asst D of C – Silver  Kennings, London.

Organist – Silver  GK  George Kenning

Steward – Silver  London 1865

GK – George Kenning – Silver  London 1877  [W.F.L.B]
Metal – Kennings London
Metal – No mark

Inner Guard – Silver  Birmingham 1865       B&P

Past Master – Silver  London 1858               [WB] William Bateman
Silver  Birmingham 1866 – GK   George Kenning

Tyler – Silver  No mark?

Appendix II
Regalia & Lodge Furniture


Framed Charter.
Framed Centenary Certificate.
WM’s pedestal Drop.
Compasses      2 EPNS
Hoodwink       3
Poinyard          1
Cable tow        3
Slipshod          1pr medium,   1pr 8’s,   1 x 8’s,   1 x 10’s

Appendix III
Officers and Founders 1866


Bro *WILLIAM PEARSE IVEY                   WM.
“   *WILLIAM BIGGS                            as IPM.
“  *JOHN ELLIS                                           SW.
“  *ALEXANDER BEALE                            JW.
“    Rev.R.J.SIMPSON                                Chap.
“  *JOHN WEIGHTMAN                            Treas.
“  *W.P.IVEY, Junr.                                     Sec.
“  *GEORGE LYDDON                                JD.
“  *EDWIN J.TABOR                                    DC.
“  *WILLIAM HENRY BIRCH                    Org.
“  *GEO. CHANCELLOR                             IG.
“  *JOHN T. STRANSOM                           Stwd.
“  *W. GODSMARK                                Almoner.
“    WILLIAM HEMMINGS                       Tyler.


Bro   Frederick Burnett Houghton who did not take
Office was also a Founder of the Lodge.

Appendix IV
Treasurers & Secretaries



1866  John Weightman
1867  William Biggs
1870  Alexander Beale
1872  John T.Stransom
1893  William Ferguson
1903  Charles Slaughter
1916  Fred’ck A.Sarjeant
1926  Hugh R.Fraser
1934  H.Paul Harris
1944  Frank H.Lewis
1959  Albert E.Brooker
1972  John H.Jackson
1977  John Holland
1980  Hugh Eveson
1988  Leonard J.Brown
1991  Michael E.Perry
2008  Dean R.White



1866  William.P.Ivey, Jnr.
1867  George Lyddon
1869  James Greenfield
1870  John T.Freeman
1872  William P.Ivey Snr.
1884  Joseph Greenaway
1896  Thomas P.Stewart
1898  Robert E.Hodder
1934  Hugh R.Fraser
1958  Robert A.Habbitts
1964  Reginald Bluring
1970  Clifford G.Talbot
1972  Sidney F.Miles
1988  Hugh F.Eveson
1993  Roy D’Archambaud
2001  Peter O.  Kean

Appendix V
Worshipful Masters


1866  William P.Ivey
1867  John Ellis
1868  Alexander Beale
1869  Rowland Hurley
1870  John Weightman
1871  George Chancellor
1872  John T.Brown
1873  John Eggington
1874  James Greenfield
1875  John T.Freeman
1876  Edward Margrett
1877  Arthur Welch
1878  William G.Flanagan
1879  John E.Danks
1880  William Ferguson
1881  Edward J.Blackwell
1882  Richard Dowsett
1883  W.Walford Ridley
1884  John H.Hawkes
1885  Richard C.Prickett
1886  William Ravenscroft
1887  Henry Creed
1888  Charles Slaughter
1889  William Hickie
1890  Joseph Greenaway
1891  Thomas P.Stewart
1892  Henry G.Sherwin
1893  Robert E.Hodder
1894  Rev.John Guilding
1895  Ernest W.Ridley
1896  Edward Margarett
1897  William B.Biddles
1898  Edwin J.Lewis
1899  William B.Reed
1900  Daniel N.Heron
1901  Daniel N.Heron
1902  Edward O.Farrer
1903  Fred’ck A.Sarjeant
1904  Edward H.Salmon
1905  Frederick Tunbridge
1906  Denys Egginton
1907  George F.Fuller
1908  George T.Phillips
1909  Alexander W.J.Way
1910  Alf’d H.V.Baughan
1911  Pomeroy W.Teague
1912  Herbert J.Perris
1913  Harry Julian
1914  Frank H.Lewis
1915  Francis Tunbridge
1916  Charles E.K.Keyser
1917  Archibald A.Atkins
1918  William H.Oliver
1919  Thomas Hunt
1920  Hugh R.Fraser
1921  Harry P.Harris
1922  Edward E.Langston
1923  George Fraser
1924  James A.Wells
1925  Fred’k W.Vasey
1926  Edward D.Fraser
1927  Fred’k Herrington
1928  Albert J.Maker
1929  William W.Fraser
1930  Arthur D.Aust
1931  George F.Mallett
1932  Charles A.Langford
1933  Albert W.Sherwood
1934  Albert E.Brooker
1935  William H.Tranmer
1936  Charles J.Hopkins
1937  Arthur C.Priston
1938  Thomas Oldham
1939  Reginald Cheyney
1940  Robert A.Habbitts
1941  James Loveridge
1942  Harry M.West
1943  William E. Scotchbrook
1944  Reginald H. Bluring

Appendix V
Worshipful Masters


1945  Thomas W.Knight
1946  Harold R.Smith
1947  Clifford G.Talbot
1948  Etienne C.E.Barrett
1949  John H.Jackson
1950  John E.Luker
1951  John R.Thornhill
1952  Harry J.Cuddiford
1953  Owen Kean
1954  Walter S.Atkinson
1955  Stanley C.Tarrant
1956  Leonard A.W.Spratt
1957  Charles S.Parnell
1958  Maurice A.Jerrold
1959  William H.J.Williams
1960  Chas S.Stebbings
1961  Roy M.N.A.Turner
1962  George G.Hammond
1963  Walter J.Thomson
1964  John L.Evans
1965  Jas E.Craig
1966  Gwyn Williams
1967  Tom Watson
1968  Sydney F.Miles
1969  George S.Burrows
1970  Etienne R.W..Barrett
1971  John Holland
1972  John Bluring
1973  Alfred J.Fox
1974  Brian T.Irving
1975  Hugh F.Eveson
1976  Leonard J.Brown
1977  Eric S.Scotchbrook
1978  Howard F.Phelps
1979  Harold E.Woodage
1980  Nicholas G.H.Snow
1981  Colin E.R..Barrett
1982  Thomas M.Young
1983  Frederick T.Argent
1984  Alfred L.Richards
1985  Michael E.Perry
1986  William S.Simpson
1987  Alan J.Brown
1988  Roy D’Archambaud
1989  Walter Leitch
1990  Brian G.Purbrick
1991  Malcolm W.Pittock
1992  John R.Kean
1993  Alan J.Brown
1994  Peter O.Kean
1995  Mark S.Hudson
1996  Jeremy D.Woolhouse
1997  Roy L.Howard
1998  Nicholas G.H.Snow
1999  Philip J.East
2000  Raymond F.Swaine
2001  John K.S.Tagg
2002  Maurice S.Newland
2003  Mark S.Hudson
2004  Ewan S.Page
2005  Roy D’Archambaud
2006  Dean R.White
2007  Paul A.L.Davis
2008  Stanhope L.Crooks
2009  Andrew Vernon
2010  Raymond F.Swaine
2011  Allan Dishington
2012  Allan Dishington
2013  Liam S. Halliday
2014  Liam Halliday
2015  Philip Kunovski

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