It happened in Chorley in 1765

Well, it could have! The preparation was authentic. The setting was perfect and the cast was well rehearsed. The Chorley lodge room was set out with all the Masonic equipment required for an initiation in 1765. This included wine, beer and brandy with traditional clay pipes and a well used swear box (two pence a time).

Lodge members with Peter Schofield (standing third right), the candidate (standing right) and Vic Norris (standing second right).

Lodge members with Peter Schofield (standing third right), the candidate (standing right) and Vic Norris (standing second right).

In 1765 the event would have been held in a tavern. This would have invited complaints from the tavern keeper about the chalk marks on the floor. At the re-enactment meeting they agreed to follow the new fashion and have a cloth made.

The meeting opened and the usual business of the lodge was worked around the central table. The whole event was lit by candles alone. The initiation moved to the body of the lodge and was led by Vic Norris. The initiation would be recognised by today’s Masons, including the many ad-libs by the now well refreshed lodge members.

It was great fun. The members of Astley and Ellesmere Lodge No 730 had worked hard on their interpretation of the lodge meeting and by all accounts had a good time at rehearsals. The lodge members’ wives, the main costume designers and manufacturers are demanding they get a chance to see this entertaining performance – so maybe Astley and Ellesmere Lodge will perform an encore!

John Lancaster thanked all the lodge members who had taken part. He also thanked Peter Schofield who had smuggled the script out of Cyprus.

Lodge members in all their glory.

Lodge members in all their glory.