Over 80 brethren joined Assistant Provincial Grand Master Keith Kemp to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the consecration of Lancaster Castle Lodge No 5952.
Supporting Keith at this significant milestone for Lancaster Castle Lodge were grand officers Phil Gardner, Jim Wilson, Raymond Firth and Chris Butterfield, together with acting Provincial grand officers Paul Mason, Norman Lay and David Ingham. Also present were Lancaster and District Group Chairman Neil McGill, vice chairman Scott Devine and group secretary Chris Larder. Directing events were Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies Ian Halsall, ably assisted by Ryan Modlin APrGDC.
The WM James (Jim) Hamilton conducted the early part of the business with style, which was characteristic of the ceremony to come. With the initial business complete, the PrDGDC announced that the APrGM stood without and demanded admission.
Having processed in to the lodge room in full splendour, Keith was welcomed by the WM and offered the gavel of the lodge, which on this occasion he retained.
Following salutations, the third degree working tools were presented by Phil Howden, after which the lodge was closed by virtue and then similarly after the presentation of the second degree tools by Peter Whaley. The first degree tools were delivered by Simon Hanson.
At this juncture Keith addressed the brethren on the purpose of the meeting, following which he invited the secretary Trevor Barber to read to the assembled brethren the warrant allowing the meeting to be held on the exact date of the consecration.
John Stanley was then invited to give an Address, in which there was information regarding the historical background to the founding of the lodge and its consecration on the 31 May 1944, 6 days before D-Day. The ceremony at the Ashton Hall in Lancaster was attended by over 400 brethren, representing some 54 lodges. Immediately after the consecration, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master W. S. Hannay proceeded to place James Howie into the chair of King Solomon, thus becoming the lodge’s first WM.
Lancaster Castle Lodge was conceived in a ‘Golden Age’ for Freemasonry, when over 1000 new lodges were consecrated between 1943-1948.
The founders of the lodge were predominantly from John O’Gaunt Lodge No 3815, but also from the Lodge of Fortitude No 281, Lune Lodge No 4721 and Wenning Lodge No 4496. They would have certainly been proud to witness these anniversary celebrations, under the guidance of the lodge’s 76th WM Jim Hamilton.
The final part of the anniversary meeting was when the lodge banner was paraded around the lodge to the tune of Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’, played expertly by the organist David Tattersall. This was a sombre moment as it was played in memory of the son of a founder John Septimus Burrough.
His son, John S. Burrough, was second officer on a merchant navy ship bound for India with war supplies, when in July 1945 it was hit by a violent storm off Greece. Along with many others, he perished. On the night when junior deacon John senior was due to conduct his son around the Lodge at his initiation in 1946, he presented the lodge with the banner in his memory, instead.
Following a prayer of rededication and the singing of ‘Now Thank We All Our God’, the commemoration came to an end, and the WM was invited to regain his rightful place in the lodge.
The WM then had the pleasure of offering a cheque worth £1,184 to Keith on behalf of the lodge, made payable to the MCF 2021 Festival. This allowed the group charity steward Simon Hanson to rise and present the lodge with a Grand Patron Certificate in recognition of their charitable giving to the Festival.
After the lodge was closed, the brethren retired to the festive board, held in the banqueting suite of Lancaster Masonic Hall, there to enjoy an excellent three course banquet, consisting of sea food platter, chicken chasseur and finally fresh strawberries.
In response to the toast to the lodge by Keith, Jim Hamilton thanked John Stanley for his monumental efforts in researching and preparing the Address to lodge and also Trevor Barber for his immense hard work as secretary. This was received with rapturous applause.
A raffle held during the festivities raised a marvellous £604, a fitting conclusion to a wonderful evening.
Article written by Paul Thompson.
Photographs courtesy of Alan Fleming.