Wigan tercentenary celebration has no peer

  • No, not the legendary jetty on the canal at Wigan that was jokingly labelled the pier, now long since gone.

    We are talking about a celebration in the Wigan Group without equal. It took place exactly 300 years after that famous get-together that took place at the Goose and Gridiron Public House in St Paul’s Yard, London and laid the foundation for our Grand Lodge, and the three centuries of ‘organised’ Masonic activities that followed.

  • Watch the launch video

  • Watch the message from London

  • Then came the first surprise of the evening when, at exactly 7pm, there was a live link-up with the Cornerstone Club, a group of Essex young Freemasons, who were gathered by the plaque dedicated to commemorate that historic event on the site of the Goose and Gridiron.

    There was a delightful exchange of welcomes and, on the very spot where it all started, some fine words from London were followed by a very warm response from APrGM Tony Bent on behalf of the Bryn Masonic Hall revellers. London and Ashton-in-Makerfield were parted with rapturous applause and waving from both ends of the country.

There was a delightful exchange of welcomes and, on the very spot where it all started, some fine words from London were followed by a very warm response from APrGM Tony Bent on behalf of the Bryn Masonic Hall revellers. London and Ashton-in-Makerfield were parted with rapturous applause and waving from both ends of the country.

  • The theme of the evening was ‘Freemasonry universal’, and the menu consisted of 10 courses, each from a different country from around the world. They are a well-travelled bunch at Bryn, and fraternal visits have been arranged to a different country/jurisdiction for the past 16 years. Each course was preceded by a video welcome from a lodge in the country from whence the cuisine originated.

    As an example, the first course, being a Greek salad, was preceded by a video message from the brethren of the Parthenon Lodge No 3 from Athens, and local wine accompanied the dish. Courses (and appropriate liquid refreshments) followed from Hungary, France, Ireland, New Zealand, United States of America, Scotland, Brazil and Italy, all with suitable greetings displayed on the silver screen. To add to the occasion, crooner extraordinaire David Marshall entertained everyone with songs and music relevant to the selected countries and dishes.

  • Watch the message from Greece

Click the videos below to watch the rest of the messages from around the world

  • Hungary

  • France

  • Ireland

  • New Zealand

  • USA

  • Scotland

  • Brazil

  • Italy

  • Watch the PrGMs message.

  • Having travelled a culinary route around the world, it was the pleasure of our own Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, to welcome everyone back to Blighty and West Lancashire and Bryn in particular, with his own congratulatory video message.

    A selection of English cheeses and quality port was a fine finale to a unique dining experience.

  • After the meal David Marshall led the ensemble in a patriotic sing-along, reminiscent of Last Night at the Proms, with flag waving classics such as Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory.

    It was 300 minutes after the start that the National Anthem (two verses) concluded the official proceedings, but dancing and partying went on until well after midnight in a wonderful atmosphere.

    Pier or no peer, the Wigan Group really know how to celebrate. 300 years in 300 minutes, shared with the world, was the way to do it. The four lodges who met 300 years ago were well and truly commemorated, and in a manner no doubt they would have approved of.

  • Watch David perform.

Story, pictures and videos by Barry Dickinson

The Brethren and their ladies celebrate the Tercentenary at Bryn Masonic Hall.

The Brethren and their ladies celebrate the Tercentenary at Bryn Masonic Hall.