A joint lodge meeting to celebrate the 2017 tercentenary of the first Grand Lodge, was held by Carnforth Lodge No 4951 and its two daughter lodges, Silverdale Lodge No 6926 and Warton Lodge No 8411, at Kerneforde Hall, Carnforth.
The principal guest at this celebratory meeting was the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, accompanied by Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger, Lancaster and District Group Chairman Jim Wilson, Tom Holroyd, John Robson, Peter Mason, together with acting Provincial grand officers Stephen Plevey, David Cole, John Eccles, Stewart Aimson, Keith Halligan and Philip Burrow, all expertly led by the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Keith Kemp.
Being a joint lodge meeting, all the offices of the lodge were shared amongst the three lodges, including those of the WM and the two wardens; Paul Coward (master of Carnforth Lodge), senior warden Andrew Wood (master of Silverdale Lodge) and junior warden Frank Senior (master of Warton Lodge). Once the lodge meeting had been duly opened by the master Paul Coward, the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Keith Kemp announced that the Provincial Grand Master was without and demanded admission. On Tony’s entrance into the lodge he was received by Paul Coward who expressed his delight at being able to welcome him to this very special meeting.
The main business within the lodge room was the presentation of a lecture by Peter Mason entitled, ‘The formation of the world’s first premier Grand Lodge in 1717’. The details of Peter’s lecture were fascinating and amongst the many facts that were presented, his audience learnt that the origins of Masonry in its present form are unknown, although there are records of some Masonic meetings before 1717, an example of which is the initiation of the Right Honourable Robert Moray in 1641.
The meeting at which the formation of the Premier Grand Lodge was agreed was on the feast day of St John the Baptist, 24 June 1717 and is the reason for some lodges referring to the installation as the Festival of St John. Indeed, in earlier times all lodges held their installation on this day. Peter illustrated the lecture with a presentation of drawings and pictures of prominent Masons and intertwined it with the history and experiences of the Lodge of Fortitude No 281 which amalgamated with the John O’Gaunt Lodge No 3815 to form the City of Lancaster Lodge No 281 in 2006. The lecture was very well received and was greeted with applause by the brethren.
At the subsequent festive board the brethren were treated to a splendid banquet consisting of soup, roast beef or salmon salad, followed by cheese and biscuits. David Grainger had the honour of responding to the toast to the grand officers, within which he thanked the joint lodge committee and all concerned in the organisation of the evening. Proposing the toast to the Provincial Grand Master, David highlighted Tony’s commitment to Masonry, especially in reaching out and communicating with the junior brethren.
Tony responded by initially thanking all the grand and acting Provincial grand officers for their support on this wonderful occasion. Moving on, Tony made mention of a number of issues close to his heart, including the new arrangements in the care system, recruitment in the Royal Arch and the launch of the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival. Tony concluded by urging all the brethren present to enjoy their Masonry to the full, remembering that by working together we can make a difference.
During the festive board, a raffle was undertaken and at which Bob Skelly of Warton Lodge won the 1st prize of a bottle of whisky. The raffle raised a total of £247 and was donated to the ‘Unique Kidz’ charity.
Once the formalities associated with the festive board had been completed, Tony was invited to unveil a plaque marking the position of a time capsule containing artefacts belonging to Carnforth and Warton Lodges, which had been placed there to commemorate the purchase and refurbishment of Kerneforde Hall in August 2012. Articles within the time capsule include amongst other things, precepts from past meetings, a history of Warton and photographs taken during the conversion. To mark the ceremony, Tony was presented with a book of photographs recording the refurbishment (similar to that within the time capsule) by the Chairman of the Kerneforde Hall committee Fred Frobisher.
Article written by Paul Thompson
Photographs courtesy of Bob Skelly.