The histories of the lodges in the group are listed on this page
Lodge of Loyalty No 86
In December 2004, Lodge of Loyalty No 86 celebrated 250 years of continuous Masonry in Prescot. Apart from the church and the Earldom of Derby it is difficult to think of any other organisation with such a long connection with the town.
The history begins in 1753 when 24 year-old Anthony Tyrer, who had been made a Mason elsewhere, petitioned the Moderns Grand Lodge to grant a warrant of constitution authorising the foundation of a lodge of Freemasons in Prescot. This was duly issued and dated 20 December 1753 and is one of a class of documents called ‘Deputations’, of which only six exist in the country, three of them in Lancashire.
Readers will readily appreciate why ours is stored in a bank vault until the day of a meeting and returned promptly the next morning. This document and the original by-laws, which were written on parchment, are perhaps the most treasured items in the lodge’s inventory of effects.
The deputation does not mention a lodge name or number and during its lifetime the lodge has been allocated a total of nine numbers: 235 in 1753, 172 in 1755, 136 in 1770, 110 in 1780, 111 in 1781, 101 in1792, 126 in1814, 101 in1832 and finally 86 in 1863.
Grand Lodge records show it to have been known in a variety of ways e.g. in 1756, as No 172 followed by a pictorial representation of a rose and crown ‘at Prescot Lancashire’, and about this time it seems that the lodge was called, but not officially named, ‘The Rose and Crown Lodge’. Letters exist showing that in 1777 it was referred to simply as ‘Lodge No 136’, later as ‘101 Legs of Man at Prescot Lancashire’. The name Loyalty appeared for the first time in 1801 and this is the only name, apart from that of the meetinghouse, in the records. At this time meetings were being held at the Green Dragon public house (now demolished) but it was felt that this was not an acceptable name.
It is thought that ‘Loyalty’ was adopted because many of its members were also members of The Loyal Club.
The lodge has met on the Wednesday before the full moon ever since its foundation. There have been at least four attempts to move it to a fixed meeting day, all being soundly and happily defeated.
In the early days, meetings were held in public houses but at no time were they ever more than a few 100 yards from the lodges current home. A Freemasons hall had been built halfway down Derby Street and was used between the years 1875 and 1877. It has a beautiful domed “Masonic” ceiling but it had to be sold when the Masonic Hall Co. got into financial difficulties, and today it is occupied by social services.
Later, when the building became available, the brethren decided, perhaps short-sightedly, for good times do not last forever, that they were too comfortable – and too well looked after by the unrivalled catering skills of Annie Watkinson at the King’s Arms – to contemplate a move. It was only in 1927 that the lodge came to its present home.
During its lifetime, daughter lodges, granddaughter lodges, great-granddaughter lodges and even a great-great-granddaughter lodge have been formed. The first daughter lodge was Equity No 1384 in Widnes, followed by Antient Manor in Prescot, but all the St Helens lodges owe their existence to Lodge of Faith No 484 in Ashton-in-Makerfield.
Whilst Lodge of Loyalty can today boast a history of 263 years, had it not been not for the tenacity of five brethren in 1851, the lodge would have foundered.
Between 1840 and 1841, interest waned to an alarming degree, in fact in some years there were no meetings at all. Some of these difficulties can be attributed to the activities of The Chartists, a forerunner of today’s Labour party, who caused considerable unrest in the town.
The determined five invited brethren from Liverpool to help keep the lodge alive. A meeting was set for 26 April 1850 but the brethren failed to appear. The despair felt and recorded in the minutes is almost palpable. The five did, however, resolve to pay all the arrears due to Grand Lodge and at the next meeting, six Liverpool brethren from lodges 294 and 368 attended.
By the following year the membership had increased to 24 and three years later to 44. The rest, as they say, is history.
Written by Frank Davies.
St Helens Lodge of Loyalty No 897
The lodge owes its origin to a meeting held on 25 September 1861 in a solicitor’s office in Church Street, St Helens at which the eight lodge founders were present, when it was resolved that a petition be presented to the Grand Lodge of England for a warrant to hold a lodge at the Fleece Inn, St Helens, to be called The St Helens Lodge of Loyalty No 1199 (changed in 1863 to 897).
On 9 December 1861 the first meeting of the St Helens Lodge of Loyalty No 1199 was held at the Fleece Inn. It is not until 7 September 1863 that Grand Lodge changed the lodge number to 897, a number by which it is still known.
In March 1879 it was recommended that the lodge lease private rooms in a new building to be erected in Church Street at the corner of Hall Street for a period of seven years. The lodge assembled at the new building in December 1879.
A resolution to move the lodge to the Imperial Buildings in Ormskirk Street, St Helens in 1885 was defeated but the lodge did eventually move to the Imperial Buildings in 1898.
Modernisation of the rooms took place in 1912 with the installation of electric lighting.
In 1919 a deposit was made to secure the late Salisbury Hotel in Salisbury Street, St Helens a purchase not completed until 1921 with formation of the Masonic Hall Co Ltd.
The minutes record that in March 1923 the Masonic Hall Building Co Ltd had purchased Wolverhampton House in Church Street, St Helens and Salisbury House is briefly mentioned as having been sold.
Two years later the company being unable to obtain possession of Wolverhampton House, purchased the premises of Messrs Critchley Bros & Co (a former paint store) in Hall Street, St.Helens and the St Helens Masonic Hall Ltd was formed.
The lodge moved to Hall Street in February 1927 after extensive refurbishment and still meets there.
Freemasonry has steadily expanded in St Helens since the lodge was founded, there being eight Freemasons lodges meeting at the St Helens Masonic Hall.
Written by C R Bromilow
William Fleetwood Lodge No 2814
The William Fleetwood Lodge was consecrated on 29 June 1900. The consecration of the lodge took place at the Walton Centre and was carried out by the Provincial Grand Master of the day who was Edward George Bootle-Wibraham the Second Earl of Lathom.
When it was consecrated it was called The Fleetwood Lodge. When the prospective members of the lodge applied for a warrant to form the lodge, they wished to call it The William Fleetwood Lodge after the first master of the lodge. However, this was contrary to the regulations of Grand Lodge at the time.
In 1914 an application was made for a lodge in Fleetwood Lancashire and the request was for it to be The Fleetwood Lodge. After much negotiation between the two lodges, in 1918 the Grand Lodge granted permission for our name to change to The William Fleetwood Lodge.
In the first three years of the lodge 34 new candidates joined the lodge.
Over the following years the lodge numbers grew until the Walton Institute was no longer big enough and the lodge moved to the Carlton Rooms in Eberle Street.
Throughout the First and Second World Wars the lodge continued to function at the Carlton Rooms until 1930 when it moved to Reeces Building In Parker Street. The stay at Reeces lasted until 1945 when the lodge moved back to The Carlton, where they stayed until moving to the Masonic Hall in Hope Street in 1977. The lodge then had a short move to Garston Masonic Hall from 1983 to 1984, when they returned to Hope Street. The lodge moved to Prescot Masonic Hall in 2010.
Over the first 112 years since it was consecrated the lodge has initiated over 350 new members from all walks of life and of many faiths, for the only criterion for membership is good character.
Written by Don Kelso.
St Helens Lodge No 4121
In 1920 several past masters of Ionic Lodge No 2405 met to discuss the possibility of forming a new lodge within St Helens. At that time there were only two lodges in the town plus one in Prescot. The outcome of various meetings over several months was the consecration on 30 September 1920 of St Helens Lodge No 4121 on the register of the Grand Lodge of England. The consecration was at St Helens Town Hall by the then Provincial Grand Master W Lewis S Winslow.
The consecration ceremony was attended by many visitors and it is recorded that there were initially 18 members of the new lodge present, 17 being past masters plus one master Mason, all from Ionic Lodge. The master installed at this meeting by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master was Joseph K Turner, who at that time was Mayor of St Helens. It has been suggested that this gave rise to the name of the lodge and it is interesting to note that the Founders’ Jewel was a miniature painting of a glass blower using a long blowpipe linking the lodge to the local industry. However, no record to substantiate this has been found and another suggestion for the name is that it was named after St Helen whose history tells us had many of the attributes which are expected of Freemasons.
After the consecration, regular meetings were held in the Imperial Buildings, Ormskirk Street, St Helens, followed by the festive board at the Fleece Hotel, Church Street on the first Wednesday of each month, excluding June, July and August, with the installation taking place in October. In 1921 there was a proposal that the May meeting be cancelled but, following a debate, it was decided to retain the May meeting, but drop the September one.
In 1923 the meeting was altered to the second Wednesday in the month where it remained until the opening of the Masonic Hall, Hall Street (our present building). Following the dedication of the temple in 1927 regular meetings were transferred to the new venue and the meeting day was altered to the third Wednesday which is still the case.
During the war years, lodge meetings were held as normal with 13 members being initiated during the period 1939 to 1945.
At a meeting in 1943, with the consent of Grand Lodge, Peacock of Lodge of St Margaret’s, Scotland was raised. He was stationed at Haydock with the RAF and was unable to attend his own lodge for this ceremony.
Since its foundation the lodge has been honoured many times by the promotion of its members to Provincial grand lodge rank and, more especially, to Grand Lodge Status. The highest honour must surely be that awarded to Arthur Foxton who, having been initiated into St Helens Lodge in 1945, was appointed to the Rank of Assistant Provincial Grand Master for West Lancashire in 1968.
Over the years since its consecration, the lodge has attracted a large number of members drawn from many and diverse occupations, which has contributed to the character and high standard of the lodge. This, the members trust, will be maintained in the future as we approach our centenary in 2020.
Extracted from the 75th Anniversary History
Dominian Lodge No 4289
The original warrant was dated 30 May 1921 and was consecrated by the then Provincial Grand Master, Louis Slade Winslow on 4 October 1921 at the Carlton Hall, Eberle Street, Liverpool. The sponsoring lodge was Excelsior Lodge No 3580 and J Harding of that lodge was the first master. There were 18 founder members whose names are shown on the lodge summons.
The first regular meeting was held on 22 October 1921, when 10 joining members were admitted along with the first two initiates, A Fyles and J Lawrence. Fyles was installed as WM in October 1934 but unfortunately, Lawrence resigned on 24 September 1927 without making the WM’s chair.
The lodge left the Carlton Masonic Hall in October 1922 to make it’s home at 22, Hope Street, Liverpool where the meetings were held in the Adams Suite except for the installation meeting which was held in the Corinthian Suite due to the large number of brethren attending. All meetings were held on the fourth Saturday.
In 1988 the members decided to purchase a banner, which was dedicated by the then Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Colin Penty Wright. The dedication took place at the regular meeting on 26 November 1988, and is still displayed at all lodge meetings.
The lodge was originally formed as a seafaring lodge, hence the name ‘Dominion’ and the crest of a globe and Union Flag. On the banner, as on the past master’s jewel, the countries of the British Empire and Dominions are shown in red, to denote that on which, like Freemasonry, the sun never sets.
The lodge celebrated it’s golden jubilee in October 1971 the WM at this time was Bro William Hindson.
The lodge continued to prosper until the early 1990s when, along with other city lodges, the numbers began to dwindle reaching a low of 21 in 1996. The past masters decided that in order to save the lodge from extinction, drastic action was needed such as moving away from Liverpool and altering the meeting night away from Saturday. Neither of these suggestions initially found favour with all the brethren as our roots were in Liverpool and Saturday was the only night convenient for some of the existing brethren who worked and resided in places as far away as London. It was therefore decided to take one step at a time and to this end it was proposed and seconded at the regular mMeeting on 28 September 1996 that the lodge move to Prescot. The proposal was carried unanimously and the move took place on Saturday, 25 January 1997 but still retaining membership of the 8th Liverpool Group. This was the start of the rejuvenation of the lodge.
The members were made extremely welcome at Prescot and eventually became full members of the St Helens and Prescot Group from the commencement of the 1998/99 season.
It was agreed to alter the regular meeting night, with the exception of the installation, which is still held on Saturday, to the first Friday commencing with the start of the 1997/98 season. The lodge has continued to prosper.
Written by a lodge member.
Lodge of Hospitality No 5074
On entering the temple at the Masonic Hall in St Helens (No 2 Hall Street, on the corner of Hall Street and George Street) looking to the right of the tyler’s door you will see a large picture of P G Jeffrey on his appointment as Provincial Grand Warden of the Province of West Lancashire, who was then a past master of Ionic Lodge No 2405.
You may consider the mention of a past master of Ionic Lodge a strange way to commence a history of Lodge of Hospitality but it was WBro Jeffrey who in July 1927 instigated the circulation of a letter among the then four lodges meeting at St Helens, Loyalty 897, Ionic 2405, St Helens 4121 and Integrity 4151. His letter requested brethren “Brethren who are keen and enthusiastic and who desired to make progress in the fraternity to meet and discuss the formation of a new lodge.”
As a result of that letter 14 brethren attended a preliminary meeting on Friday 7 October 1927 at Hall Street and the minutes of that meeting indicate that it was considered that a new lodge should be formed ‘to relieve pressure on the other lodges particularly St Helens Lodge of Loyalty No 897 and Ionic Lodfge No 2405’. The minutes further state that: “an aggregate of over 200 members from lodges had not yet attained the office of steward.” The following names were suggested as possible titles for the new lodge; Equity, Friendship, Fidelity, Sincerity, Fellowship.
It must be mentioned that in 1927 the premises at Hall Street had only recently been occupied as a Masonic Hall having previously been a paint warehouse, and a considerable amount of work had been undertaken especially on the domed temple. There was obviously, at that time, an air of optimism with thriving membership and enthusiasm to expand the Craft.
Subsequently, a petition was sent to Provincial Grand Lodge stating that there was at that time a total of 330 members of the four existing lodges (more than our total present membership among eight lodges meeting at St Helens in 2004) and because of a rule that no more than six initiates per year should be permitted per lodge, there was a waiting list for entry. The proposed WM of this new lodge was to be P G Jeffrey.
Those interested in the proposal for a new lodge met on Wednesday 11 July 1928 and were informed that the original five suggested names were not acceptable to Provincial Grand Lodge as they were duplicates of existing lodges. P G Jeffrey then put forward his own proposal for Lodge of Hospitality, which was carried. The fees payable were to be 15 guineas initiation, five guineas joining and two guineas subscription.
On Wednesday 27 March 1929, less than two years after the concept of a new lodge was aired, the consecration of the Lodge of Hospitality No 5074 took place at St Helens Masonic Hall. L C Bailey Provincial Grand Master of the Province of West Lancashire being the consecrating officer and Colonel S T Stephenson the Deputy Provincial Grand Master as installing officer. At this ceremony the Provincial Grand Chaplain in his address stated: “The founders having chosen the name Hospitality, their aim should be the strengthening of the bond of union between lodges, and so there must come the inspiration of being associated with vast numbers of other Freemasons in devotion to a common purpose, crystallized in the phrase, the grand design of being happy and communicating happiness.
The records of the lodge show that after consecration, Lodge of Hospitality was particularly busy in relieving the waiting list for membership of lodges in the St Helens Group and even resorted to an emergency meeting in June 1929 (not a regular month for a meeting) to accommodate an additional ceremony and a further extra and emergency meeting in November. In addition, there were many proposals for joining and honorary membership as well as initiates. The lodge continued in this vein until the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 when Grand Lodge first decreed lodges should not meet at all. The lodge resumed its meetings in October the same year but met at varying times, 5:30pm, 6pm or 6:30 pm depending on the month of the year.
It is interesting to note that in the early years of the lodge it was customary to call an emergency meeting during weekdays at varying times to coincide with a funeral of a deceased brother. The lodge was opened and closed in the normal manner and tributes paid to departed merit. The assembled brethren attended the church or graveyard for a burial service. One such meeting was held on Thursday 28 September 1939 at 11:45 am due to the death of J Fairhurst PPrAGDC a founder. The brethren then ‘repaired to Rainhill Parish Church where Rev S Bradford Vicar of Whiston conducted the Masonic funeral service’.
During the war years the lodge extended an open invitation to all Masonic servicemen staying in or visiting St Helens to attend their meetings and also considered any requests regarding a reduction in lodge fees for any brethren serving in the forces. The war years obviously caused disruption to Masonic business within the lodge, and with the flow of initiates some meetings had to resort to lectures for a brief period in 1941 after which membership surprisingly picked up again. Initiates in the 10 years between consecration and the outbreak of war totalled 37 and in the interim of the Second World War (six years) totalled 17. This flow of initiates continued after the war and it is only in recent times that a fall off has occurred.
Three of our founders, P G Jeffrey, J L Hodgson and Stanley Marsh, eventually became grand officers receiving the rank of Past Grand Deacon. Percy Augustus Shaw was initiated into Lodge of Hospitality on 9 December 1931 aged 29 years, passed through the ranks, was master in 1948, and eventually also became a Past Grand Deacon and Assistant Provincial Grand Master in the Province of West Lancashire in 1959.
The lodge celebrated its golden jubilee (50 years) in March 1979. The DC of the lodge at that celebration was Eric Latham who was then Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies and his deputy was G H D Bellis then a past master of the Lodge of Hospitality, both of whom have also received Grand Rank. It is worthy of note that in 2004, Paul Lundy a past master of this lodge attended the 75th Anniversary and Banner Dedication Ceremony in his official capacity as Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies following in the footsteps of Eric Latham.
The Provincial Grand Deacon at the consecration of the lodge spoke of the strengthening of the bond of union between lodges as being its aim, so it would please our founders to know that in May 2003, 100 members of the Lodges of Hospitality, including many from 5074. met for a weekend festival at the Abbey Hotel at Great Malvern, Worcestershire. This was a result of Nick Plotnek and other brethren of the Lodge of Hospitality 8325 in the Province of Worcestershire in the millennium year 2000 deciding to visit all the lodges of Hospitality listed in the Masonic Year Book. On visiting 5074 in St Helens the idea of a festival weekend was conceived and it is anticipated 5074 will host a similar event in 2005. The following Lodges of Hospitality were listed on the menu sheet for the festival of 2003: 187, 1697, 5074, 6607, 7927, 8325, 8645, 9299 and No. 4 from Slovenia – surely a fitting epitaph for the founders of the Lodge of Hospitality 5074.
This short history of the Lodge of Hospitality No 5074 was written to mark the 75th anniversary of its consecration.
Lodge of St George No 6048
The desire to form a new lodge (which became the Lodge of St George) was first conveyed to a meeting of the past masters of Ionic Lodge No 2405 in March 1944 when they were asked to sponsor the same. The meeting resolved to give the project its support provided that more complete arrangements were submitted for approval.
There followed a meeting of prospective founders in April 1944 when 12 past masters and two wardens agreed to become founders. A further meeting in May 1944 added 12 master Masons to the original 14 following which a letter to the WM, officers and brethren of Ionic Lodge, dated 8 May 1944, formally asked that they approve the formation of a daughter lodge and recommend the favourable consideration of Grand Lodge.
Tentative approval was given at the meeting of Ionic Lodge in September 1944 and final approval was granted in November 1944.
At a meeting of the founders in October 1944, it was resolved that the name of the new lodge was to be St George and that the first WM would be J Collier (Snr) PM lodge and that H Abbott PM Lodge and T NMcIntosh PM Lodge of Hospitality should be senior and junior wardens respectively.
In February 1945, at a meeting of the founders, HO Cowper PGStdB the Chairman of the St Helens and Prescot Group of Lodges informed them that the Grand Master had been pleased to accede to the prayer to found a new lodge which would be numbered 6048. It was resolved at that meeting that the badge would be the badge of St George with the legend “Lodge of St George No 6048”.
The consecration of the Lodge of St George took place on Friday 4 May 1945 at the Masonic Hall, Hall Street, St Helens at 2:30 pm. The Provincial Grand Master, Arthur Foster, having entered in procession, accompanied by his officers and officers of Grand Lodge, and taken the chair, appointed as his officers:
Installing Master: W S S Hannay PGW Dep PrGM
Senior Warden: T W Ward PrSGW
Junior Warden: J W S Warmington PrJGW
Chaplain: Rev R A Roston PrGChaplain
Secretary: E A Nicholson PGDPrGSec
Director of Ceremonies: A A Boutriller PPrSGW PrGDC
Senior Deacon: L Bailey PrSGD
Junior Deacon: F A Clark PrJGD
Sword Bearer: E Denson Pr G SwdB
Standard Bearer: S Foster Pr GStdB
Standard Bearer: A Keenan PrGStdB
Immediate Past Master: J Robinson PPrGD
Inner Guard: J Brough PPrGDC
Presenting Officer H O Cowper PGStdB
Presenting Officer: R Richardson PPrGD
There were also present:
J E Hewlett PGD APrGM
H Harrison PGD PAPrGM
P Jeffrey PGD
Together with all founders (with the exception of W A Heaton), 13 Past Provincial Grand Officers, seven masters of lodges and 51 other brethren.
The Provincial Grand Master then proceeded to consecrate the lodge, after which the Deputy Provincial Grand Master installed James Collier (Senior) as the first WM.
The address to the WM was given by T W Ward PPrSWW, that to the wardens by J W S Warmington PrJGW, and to the brethren by J E Hewlett PGD APrGM.
In considering the first few years after the consecration, it is necessary to put the position of the lodge in the context of what was happening in the world. The consecration took place on the day that the German forces in NW Europe signed their surrender at Luneburg Heath, to be effective from 5 May and Victory in Europe Day was celebrated on 8 of May 1945. Victory over Japan Day was on 15 August 1945 before the lodge held its first ordinary meeting.
Though the war was over, austerity continued and rationing only finally ended in 1953. This affected the lodge in several ways.
To buy lodge clothing would have required clothing coupons (generally under the control of and jealously guarded by the ladies) and so Ionic Lodge kindly loaned theirs until the 31 coupons necessary were acquired by the lodge members. The clothing was finally bought in 1948 and a contribution made to Ionic Lodge to assist them in the expense of having their lodge clothing refurbished.
Another borrowing was the lodge floor cloth from the Lodge of Loyalty No 897 until Rex Winter presented one to the lodge in 1948.
Food was another problem, ‘Ladies Night’ was restricted to 140 persons in the early days and the reports of the allocation of tickets show that they were often oversubscribed. In 1947, the number dining was reduced to 100 to comply with the Food Restriction Order so that there had to be two classes of ticket for dining and non-dining guests.
It was about this time that the first WM of the Lodge, J Collier, Senior, was in charge of the catering at the Masonic hall and there is no doubt it took a lot of ingenuity to keep the members happy and fed. There are reports that he occasionally served ‘mountain lamb’, a euphemism for goat.
Despite these problems, or perhaps even because of them, the lodge continued to prosper on the well-laid foundations.
Statistics can be sterile of themselves but some numbers do serve to illustrate the fortunes of the lodge.
The lodge started in May 1945 with 26 founder members and ended the year with 38 members, nine joining members and three initiates added to the former 26. The numbers increased reasonably steadily, reaching a peak of 70 in 1968, falling to 57 in 1973, rising again to 62 in 1975 and then falling to 40 in 1990 and remaining in the lower 40s since that time.
To the end of 1994 there have been 26 founders, 112 initiates and 27 joining members, making a total of 165. Those departing total 124: 47 deceased, 64 resigned and 13 excluded.
The first Olde England Night was held after the February meeting in 1947 when the founders carried out the ceremony, and this continued until 1955 when the founders/past masters’ night was changed to March and the Olde England Night to the December meeting, where it has remained ever since. The only time when there were no festivities was when W L Else was WM and on the first Wednesday in February 1952 His Majesty King George VI died. The brethren dined and then dispersed as a mark of respect.
In the early years the Lodge of Loyalty provided a choir until the lodge organist H Lowe FRCO trained up a choir from the stewards and members of the lodge. The fall in lodge membership saw the end of the choir and of late we have relied more on community singing.
The pattern has remained more or less the same though there have been changes due to ever-rising costs. At the start the stewards wore wigs and Georgian costume, church wardens’ pipes and tobacco were provided, as were glasses as souvenirs often etched with the lodge badge and the date and name of the master, though shapes and sizes varied through the years.
The first Ladies’ Night was held in February 1946 on a Thursday, (half day closing in St Helens) and continued on Thursdays until 1968 when it was changed to a Saturday evening in November where it has remained ever since.
In the early years there was whist as an alternative to dancing, but again due to the fall in numbers of those wishing to play this ceased.
For the first 17 years two founders, Peter Dickson and Jack Pimblett supplied red roses at Ladies Nights and installations. Peter Dickson resigned in 1962 and Pimblett continued supplying them for a further five years. Since 1968 the senior and junior wardens have supplied the roses and additionally for Olde England Night.
The saddest occasion to be recorded was in 1960 during R Grundy’s year as WM. He and his wife had received their guests, dinner had been announced and they had reached their places at table when his wife suffered a heart attack and died.
Dinner dances were started in 1950 to raise money for the RMBI 1952 Festival after which they became a regular event and were held twice a year in September and March. The September dance has now unfortunately fallen by the wayside due to lack of support.
Crown green bowling has been a regular feature in June since its inception at various venues including St Helens Bowling Club to the Police Sports Ground in Bishop Road, via several public houses. For the last few years, members’ ladies have been invited and this has greatly enhanced both the numbers attending and the pleasure of the evening. A silver cup, presented to Jim Ball on his retirement as director of ceremonies, was returned to the lodge by his wife after his untimely death and is now presented as the annual prize to the winner of the gentlemen’s competition. A cup presented to the lodge by N Brown in memory of his wife Gladys, is presented to the ladies competition winner.
The banner dedicated to mark the golden jubilee of the lodge is a replica of the emblem used on the lodge summons since the consecration. This in itself was based on the reverse side of full sovereign coins.
It was crafted by Harry Boscoe PPrSGW of St Oswald’s Lodge No 5170 of Warrington assisted by his wife Dorrie.
Harry Boscoe was a headmaster who took up banner making on his retirement and has made some 70 banners for Craft, Royal Arch and other Masonic Orders both within and outside the Province of West Lancashire. He never took payment for either his or his wife’s time or for materials, but asked that a donation to charity be made in his name. In West Lancs, this was generally to the Alpass Benevolent Institution. In this way he raised some £17,000, a truly magnificent achievement.
He also liked to carry ‘HIS BANNER; at the dedication ceremonies but in the case of the Lodge of St George this was not to be. He died shortly after completing our banner and is no doubt watching our usage of from the Grand Lodge above.
The compilation of this history owes much to the dedication of the secretaries of the lodge over the years who have faithfully recorded the proceedings of both the lodge and its committees.
In addition, the father of Alan Glover PPrJGW the late W Glover PPrGD who was secretary for a short time, was a great believer in keeping his own statistics and record of events not to mention filing all his circulars, installation programmes etc. etc.
The late Stanley Marsh PGD and W Glover were very great friends so that before even joining the lodge Alan had heard tales of the early years of the lodge and these memories have been of great help in compiling this history.
Alan expressed his thanks at the conclusion of this history to the lodge committee for allowing him the honour and pleasure of writing for the brethren an outline of the heritage we hold in trust for future generations.
The lodge is the daughter of Ancient Manor Lodge No 4511 and was consecrated on 1 July 1947 the consecrating officer being A Foster Provincial Grand Master.
W Hunter PPrGD was installed as the first master of the lodge byW S S Hannay DPrGM.
Following the ceremony, the brethren retired to the Deanes House Hotel for the banquet, one of the original banquet cards is still in existence and has been retained in the lodge archives.
The next important milestone in the history of the lodge was a celebration to mark the golden anniversary of the consecration of the lodge held in the presence of J S E Holker PSGD, APrGM, the WM of the lodge being K E Allen.
The lodge meets at the Prescot Masonic Hall on the fourth Thursday of the month from September to November and January to April.
The installation meeting is held in October. The lodge hosts numerous social events throughout the year.
Prescot Lodge No 8470
The formation of Prescot Lodge and selected extracts from the short history of the lodge by R Clark.
Within these walls may Peace abound,
May all our hearts in one agree,
Where Brethren meet, where God is found,
May Peace and Concord ever be.
Harry Francis Ryte 1793-1847 (from Psalm 122)
These words were adopted by the lodge at its consecration and would ultimately have had a great influence in the choice of ‘Bless this House’ as the lodge theme song introduced in November 1940 by the WM F Waine.
The practice of Craft Masonry in Prescot owes its origins to the Lodge of Loyalty No 86, which was constituted in 1753, and has continued to meet regularly in the town ever since – a period of 257 years.
One of the lodge’s descendants was Antient Manor Lodge No 4511 at Prescot that was founded in 1922. This lodge became the parent of Prescot Lodge No 5470 in 1934, the petition having been submitted to the Grand Master, Duke of Connaught and Strathern, in November 1933.
Our mother lodge, Antient Manor Lodge No 4511, no longer exists as such having amalgamated on 14 June 2006 with St Michael`s Temperance Lodge No 3401 and Red Triangle Lodge No 3874, to become Prescot Trinity Lodge No 3401, although still meeting at Prescot Masonic Hall.
Prescot Lodge was consecrated at the Social Club of British Insulated Callender’s Cables Ltd, in Aspinall Street, Prescot, by the Provincial Grand Master of Lancashire (Western Division), Arthur Foster, on 12 May 1934, assisted by an impressive team of grand and Provincial grand officers.
The first master of the lodge, named in the warrant dated 7 March 1934, was J B Beesley a past master of our mother lodge (Antient Manor Lodge No 4511). The minutes of the consecration ceremony record:
The reverence and impressiveness of the ceremony could not well have been excelled, the whole ceremony being conducted in a faultless manner. A clarion call was sounded in the oration by the Provincial Grand Chaplain on the nature and principals of the Masonic order, he explained the deep symbolic nature of the Order and the lofty ideals set forth by the principals to uplift humanity.
Leading up to and throughout the Second World War the lodge continued to operate installing masters each year, although at many different venues, at this time the lodge met on the first Thursday in January (installation), February, March, April, October, November and December. However, in October 1939 the military had commandeered the BICC Social Club and alternative arrangements had to be made. Permission was sought and granted to use the Oddfellows Hall (later to become Prescot Masonic Hall as we know it today) and the minutes record “Our Grandmother Lodge of Loyalty No 86, readily allowed us to use their beautiful antique furniture, for which we tender our grateful thanks.”
Throughout the war years the above is the only reference in the minutes to the great difficulties encountered. However, there is ample indirect evidence in the various venues, dates and times of meetings of the lodge. It is remarkable that despite all the difficulties, the lodge continued to meet in the specified months throughout the war, apart from October 1940, when no meeting was possible due to the Oddfellows Hall also having been commandeered by the authorities. By Saturday 9 November 1940, this problem was resolved and a meeting was held in the Deanes House Hotel at 2.30pm.
Meetings continued to be held at this hotel, usually on Saturday afternoons until the summer recess of 1942, with installation meetings at the St John Ambulance Hall, (across the street from the Masonic hall, today operating as a Martial Arts Centre).
On 5 October 1942, the first Monday meeting of the lodge was held at the Deanes House Hotel, and the first Monday in the month became the regular meeting day from that time. installation meetings in 1943 and 1945 were held at the Conservative Club, High Street, Prescot, the 1944 installation was held at the Deanes House Hotel.
On Tuesday, 10.April 1945, the lodge returned to the Oddfellows Hall with subsequent meetings reverting temporarily to the first Thursday in the month. However, at the meeting on Thursday 1 November 1945, Bye-Law No 1, was altered to state that: “The lodge shall meet at the Oddfellows Hall, High Street, Prescot, on the first Monday in the month, except in the months of May, June, July, August and September- installation on the first Saturday in January.” This Bye-Law has remained essentially unaltered to the present time, except for the description of the meeting place, the words ‘Masonic hall’ being substituted for “Oddfellows Hall” in March 1948, after the transfer of ownership to the Masonic Hall Company.
In the immediate post-war years, the lodge slowly reverted to peace time conditions, with an abundant number of candidates entering Freemasonry. It was not unusual at this time to perform double ceremonies. On one unique occasion, in April 1953, Frank Hankinson (WM) passed four Candidates, in two pairs, conducting the ceremony twice in the same evening.
The lodge continued to make steady progress throughout the following years from 1963 to 1968, although it must be mentioned that on 4 November 1957, Walter Davies Pritchard was initiated into the lodge, Walter is our longest serving member, celebrating his 50 years in Freemasonry in 2007, and at 94 years of age, also our oldest member. The years during the 1990`s to early 2000, proved to be the ‘lean years’, with a scarcity of candidates. However, the lodge managed to hold meetings with demonstration ceremonies and lectures. Great credit must be attributed to the worshipful masters, officers and brethren of the lodge during this period, for their dedication, allegiance, loyalty and perseverance.
The lodge has enjoyed a revival, with candidates being regularly initiated, contributing to a healthy membership that also enjoys a wonderful social life. As we approach the end of the first decade after the second millennium, the lodge looks forward with confidence to the future, that our centenary celebrations can be achieved by practicing those virtues of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth that are shown on the banner we dedicated as part of our 75th anniversary celebrations.
Footnote: It is sad to report that all the lodge`s minute books prior to 1993 are missing. My thanks therefore are to the late R B Boak and J S E Holker for extracts taken from their publication ‘The First 50 Years.’
Re Footnote. In August 2010 the minute books were discovered packed away in the garden shed of one of our widows which was being cleared out, she has very kindly returned them to the lodge. We now have a complete record of the lodge meetings since its formation, we are very grateful for the kindness and forethought which prevented their destruction.