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History and Archives

History of the Old Masonians’ Lodge No 2700

Compiled by W Bro William Everingham LGR PM and W Bro Michael Coggles SLGR PM to mark the centenary of the lodge in April 1998, a pamphlet history of the lodge is in private circulation.

The first formal step in the organisation of the charitable work of the craft was begun in 1727 when the Moderns Grand Lodge appointed a committee for the management of the fund of the General Charity set up for the relief of indigent brethren.
In 1739 a proposal came before Grand Lodge that another fund should be raised for the maintenance, clothing and apprenticing of a number of deceased masons’ sons. This, however, was rejected on the grounds that this proposed fund might adversely affect support for the General Charity.
This rejection led to the development of relief for the needy children of the brethren outside the administration of Grand Lodge. The brethren of the Moderns Grand Lodge, who had been instrumental in putting forward the 1739 proposal, no doubt disappointed at its rejection, made no further attempt and it was left to the brethren of the Ancients Grand Lodge to push on alone.
They did so in 1798, following concern expressed by the distressed circumstances of families of deceased brethren of the United Mariners’ Lodge, then Number 23 on the register of the United Grand Lodge. They opened a subscription, which ultimately led in that year to the foundation of an institution for the clothing and education of the sons of indigent Freemasons. In 1801 the Duke of Atholl, the Grand Master of the Ancients Grand Lodge, became patron, and his Grand Lodge voted considerable sums of money towards its support, regularly contributing a proportion of the fees received from the initiation of candidates.
In 1814, the distinction between the Ancients and Moderns Grand Lodge had disappeared and the benefits of the institution were then available to the sons of all English Freemasons. In 1817 the Ancients institution was formally amalgamated with a similar institution which had been formed by the Moderns Grand Lodge in 1808 as a result of the efforts of Bro F. Columbine Daniel and other brethren of the Royal Naval Lodge Number 59 on the register of the United Grand Lodge, to form the Masonic Institution for Boys.
The institution, like its predecessors, was charged with the task of clothing and educating the sons of “distressed and indigent Freemasons” at schools near their homes.
In 1832, King William IV became patron and the Duke of Sussex accepted the office of president, the prefix “Royal” being added to the title of the institution. Since 1832 until its amalgamation to form the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, every monarch has honoured the institution by being its patron. (to be continued)

Lodge History

Lodge meeting places:
from 1898 Anderton’s Hotel, Fleet Street, London EC1
1903 Holborn Viaduct Hotel, London
1919 Great Eastern Hotel, Liverpool Street, London (see photos in gallery)
1985 Freemason’s Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, London

A first world war messenger: Corporal John Sidney Roberts joined the army in August 1914, attached to the motorcycle section of the Royal Engineers. Sergeant R. W. Gore, who was in charge of GHQ Dispatch Riders from 1914-18, writes: ‘Cpl Roberts joined the GHQ Dispatch Riders with the first batch of reinforcements after the first day of the retreat from Mons. He arrived one mile south of Landrecies the night after the 1st Corps battle there with a message for 1st Corps HQ. He volunteered to kep guard that night as I had had rest the night before and most of the others had had none for two nights. He then joined in the general retreat to the south. He was soon a general favourite, his cheerful confidence and (alleged) knowledge of French assisting all of us to find our way. His enquiries usually began (and ended) thus: ‘bites done, mon vieux, n’est pas?”’ Roberts had the reputation of always getting his dispatch delivered and getting back with the reply. Occasionally the machine would break down, and he would hire or borrow a horse and get to his destination, after which he would return in triumph with his machine in a cart. What he lacked at first in knowledge of motorcycle vagiaries he made up for in keeness and a solid sense of duty. After the victory at Marne and the crossing of the aisne, trench warfare began and the duties  of dispatch riders became more regular, and Roberts was stationed at St Omer until 1916. For some time it was his particular duty to keep in touch with the Belgian HQ at La Panne and for this purpose he was temporarily stationed at Bergues, by the inhabitants of which he became very well known and esteemed. On leaving St Omer, Roberts was appointed dispatch rider to the commander-in-chief Sir Dougas Haig, a post he filled for a long time, and he was a well-known figure on the personal staff. At the time of the armistice, Roberts had been a dispatch rider on the road from August 1914 to November 1918 – a record few can boast. He went on short leave to Paris and contracted influenza from which he died in January 1919. He was buried in the British part of the Pantin Cemetery at the end of the Avenue des Marronniers Rouges. Tributes of flowers from the GHQ Signal Company, GHQ Dispatch Riders, the Paris Leave Club, Paris Signal Office etc showed the popularity of a dispatch rider who in the war had played many parts and filled them all in his inimitable way. Generous and good natured to a fault, he was missed by us all, and will never be forgotten by any who served with him. Each year at the Motorcycle Show at Olympia, which is a meeting place for old dispatch riders, I am always being asked about him, and also how his famous twins are getting on.”

Roberts, who lived from October 12 1892 to January 1919, left a widow and two children. Roberts had joined the school aged 11, was in Burwood House from 1903-08 and was initiated into this lodge on April 18 1914 aged 22, passed on May 21 hat year and raised on August 4 1917. He also joined Lodge No 6 Boulogne and his name appears on the school’s roll of honour.

Lodge furniture and gifted equipment 

Raising the standard: the lodge owns a set of fine banners displayed during meetings and kept with its belongings at Freemasons’ Hall. The oldest banners have been restored after becoming very fragile. They list all past masters back to the lodge’s consecration. W Bro Laurance Thomas writes: One of the earlier OM banners (1917-1936) is in a state of complete disrepair and is in the possession of my wife Maureen who is in the process of making a new one. There have been some technical difficulties, but nothing which cannot, in due course, be overcome. She plans to have the banner remade (it is beyond repair) by the installation meeting in April 2013.

Founders of the Lodge

(with rank and lodge numbers)

RW Bro A.F. Godson MP Provincial Grand Master (Worcester)

VW Bro The Rev C.J. Martyn PG Chaplain

VW Bro J.W. Woodall PG Treasurer

VW Bro Richard Eve PG Treasurer

W Bro C.E. Keyser JP PGD

W Bro J. Morrison McLeod PGSB

W Bro Stanley J. Attenborough PAGDC

W Bro William P. Brown PGStdB

W Bro Colonel Clifford Probyn Grand Treasurer Elect

W Bro David de Lara Cohen PM St Alban’s 29 PGStdB

W Bro James Burgess  PProvGD West Lancs PM 1325

W Bro F.J.Hubbard 2012, 591, 1032, PM 2492, PPrGD West Lancs, PPrGTreas Bucks

W Bro James Speller 1677, PM 2256 & 2374 PPrGD Essex

W Bro Hugh E. Diamond PM 353, 1704 PPrGW Derbyshire

W Bro R. Harold Williams WM St Mary’s 63

W Bro Roland H. Ward PM Grosvenor 1892

W Bro Charles Fruen PM 2381

W Bro J. McDowell PM St Hilda’s 240

W Bro J.H. Whadcoat JP CC PM 19 & 37

W Bro D.E. Radclyffe PM 209 & 942

W Bro D. Meyer 1069  WM 59

W Bro H. Manfield PM 1704, 1911 & 2431 PPrGD Northants & Hunts

W Bro A Chapin PM 137 PPrADC Dorset

W Bro A.G. Neville PM 2127

Bro Robert Stanley Chandler London Rifle Brigade 1962

Bro E. Roehrich Mount Moriah 3

Bro P. O’Doherty Tinity College 1756

Bro H. Bowler St John’s 90

Bro A. Watkins

Bro R.E. Barnes Royal Oak 871

Bro G. Martin 460

Bro L. Wain 199

Bro G. Allison 765

Bro R. Dunlop

Bro W.W. Chate Cosmopolitan 917

Bro R. Davies Caveae 176

Bro J. Rosell 29

Distinguished former members

Past Masters

Roll-of-Honour

In Memoriam: tributes to former members

From the archives: items of interest  from the lodge’s record books
A Masonic thought for the new season 2013-14 (a new one will be added every year)
A Masonic sermon preached by The Rev Stephen Greaves, father of a lodge member, at a church in South Africa in the 1950 for a Masonic dedication service
Those who are present this morning and are not Freemasons will at least know this; that a Mason has something to do with a building, and that this order has quite obviously taken it’s name because of that. It is not a religious order as such, but again quite obviously has to thank religion for it’s background, and for the tenets which it holds. It is in fact a secular society which by it’s own rules may not disallow any member from the practice of his faith, and indeed depends on him doing so for it’s own real strength.
For that reason, again quite obviously, it must be guided as all society should by the teachings of the Book of Faith, the Holy scriptures. And for the background of our thought today I shall dwell on the observation of St Paul which is common to all of us. St Paul is recognised as a tough, hard and fearless man – one who enjoyed the physical adventure of unknown lands, the crossing of treacherous seas in primitive vessels, the tackling of men with firm convictions contrary to his own. But beside that he was a thinker and a theologian, THE theologian of his day upon whose work the thinkers of all ages have spent much profitable time.
He is writing to a church which he started as a missionary and now has left to others to carry on, while he continues his part of the work elsewhere. So, from 1 Corinthians 3 v10 “According to the grace of God which was given unto me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation and another buildeth thereon. But may each man take heed how he buildeth thereon.”
You know as well as I that many a man in his day has laid foundations, whether of stone, or of belief or of system and method. Without detailing their work, you have only to think of men like Solomon, like St Augustine of Canterbury, like Cecil Rhodes and the early settlers in this colony. And how clear it is that their work would have been labour lost had not others after them continued the building. one of the first truths we have to learn is that no one man goes on forever and that his work, however well done, can so surely go to waste, unless those who in God’s grace have seen to it’s continuance and furtherance. Sooner or later in this world of time, we must all of us be removed from the scene of our work here. if that work has been badly done it will not be worth building upon by our successors. If it has been well done it will count for nothing unless others after us see that it is not allowed to fall into disuse, or if they build wildly or badly on our success.
You and I can have no complacency in this matter today, for in our own time there is growing the very opposite, in many respects, to the moral code built up by our forebears. What has happened to the tenet that work itself is honour, that a fair profit cannot mean getting as much ad we can wring out of other people, that to be the husband of one wife or wife of one husband is to make a strong, clean and well ordered society? All of these used to be e backbone if our English society. If we are going to build our own code, departing from that of the past, don’t you think we better be sure that it wasn’t worth building on, that it departed from the plan of the wise God? Don’t you think we’d better be certain that it can fulfil the laws of God – this new morality that so many are bent on spreading though out the earth? Surely it is difficult indeed to throw out the old as wrong and undesirable until we are convinced that it was so. I for one find it hard to believe that it can be so when for all to see is the progress and development in God’s Earth which has been built on those earlier foundations and lower structures of civilisation.
Surely there is room for wrath and indignation among God-fearing men and women that so much is thrown to the four winds. You might well take a lesson from your youngster’s wrath when a careless sister kicks over the toy brick building her younger brother has spent hours constructing. That wrath is justified, even though the temper that goes with it may not be. What patience then must be endured by our forebears in our favour, and what love and understanding of our weakness by the God who made us? But let yourself get away from God, and that side of his character you will never know, and the undoing will go on to destruction of all that the past has made good.
St Paul, doing the work of Christ, gave a fair warning to those who were to carry on. he knew the grave would one day take him, that he would never see it all through himself and that he was not ashamed to leave his work to another. For that alone I believe he is well worth taking as a model for our task.
The text was not completed in my first reading, and the most important is still to come. St Paul never considered himself to be the starter of anything, but first recognised his own need for care in doing his share of the work. He says in the next verse: “But other foundation can no man lay, than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
You don’t lay the foundation twice in any building – that has to be the first job and the best. The rest is useless without it, and no man can ever pretend that his window painting or his ornamental ceiling could be there at all unless they had something to stand on. It is recognised then that the whole matter of our life is a process, a process of getting nearer and nearer to fulfilling a plan. when then does that plan start?
At this time of the year the answer should be plain enough to see. When Christmas comes we shall have bodily presented to us in the church the fact – fact in history, not just a nice story, that God sent his son to labour amongst men – not just to give instructions, but to get on with the job Himself. There is something pleasantly nice about the story of the birth of the Son of God, and no one would wish to take away from it’s wonder and the marvel f it all, for it is the manifestation of the power of God.
But why dud it happen? Why did God send his son. There is no time to give a treatise on this save to say that it is the Christian belief that before he came false foundations had been laid, any false hopes set upon them. God wasn’t going to send a leader just to build up their material wellbeing, he was to send his son to lay another and a better foundation, that upon you and I might build, not for our glory but for His.
Three gifts were bought him – they were symbols which which should mean much to men who are accustomed o being taught by symbol. gold – for a king. Yes, putting us within the kingdom of God, where he requires the allegiance of all his subjects, and their response to his command.
Incense for God. Yes, putting us within the family of a father whose wisdom created us that we might work for the whole family of creation.
Myrrh for one who was to sacrifice the whole of his earthly existence that the real life might be made open to all born on Earth. It was the symbol of the last ministration to an earthly body, which when it’s work is done must hand over all to the King and God.
So then we have a new foundation laid. Not one for which it’s work closes the door to all who are not of a particular race of humanity, but to build upon which all men may exercise their several gifts. it s the will of God that all men shall come into his kingdom, building it as they go, strengthening it by their own lives and examples, extending it to take in all of His creation, being guided by his wisdom.
So there is much to do, and the plan is God’s. We are here then to dedicate ourselves to that God, to give ourselves to His work here while we have time. That work suttee every part of us – body, mind and spirit. It is all God’s, and the foundation is well laid by the Christ of Bethlehem’s stable, and Calvary’s cross. Let us here make our decision to keep close to the plan and to the planner, to the King, the God and the Sacrifice.
Whether masons or not, this should be the statement if our being. “Ye are God’s fellow workers. Ye are God’s husbandry, God’s building.” Do it then, and do it WITH GOD.

One Comment
  1. Several members have asked for the Latin form of grace used at the boys’ school and used at the lodge’s festive board to this day. This was read out from the raised dias end of the dining hall with the striking of the ship’s bell from HMS Renown. The grace was standardised shortly after the arrival of headmaster Hugh Mullens.
    Grace before meat: Benedict domine et nobis qui haec dona tua sumus consumpturi et eis qui haec nobis ministrant et hac tua largitione nos comple viribus ut viriliter Tibi et liberis tuis imnibus semper serviamus per Jesum Christum Dominum Nostrum. “Amen
    And after meat: Pro bono cibo et pro sodalitte bona Te Deum laudamus et Te ut nos et fratres ubique omnes isto vero alimento nutrias supplices oramus per Jesum Christum Nominum Nostrum. Amen

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