The end of an era for Ellesmere Lodge

Sadly, after 114 years since its inception, Ellesmere Lodge No 3068 has decided to hand its warrant in. On this sad occasion the lodge was honoured by the presence of Assistant Provincial Grand Master Dave Walmsley accompanied by Eccles Group Chairman Stuart Sutherland Boyd and Patrick Walsh group vice chairman.

The brethren of Ellesmere Lodge No 3068.

The brethren of Ellesmere Lodge No 3068.

WM Dougie Crompton opened the lodge after solemn prayer by the chaplain James Birkett. A minute’s silence was observed for the passing of a dear servant of Ellesmere Lodge, Ron Baxter

A presentation and explanation of the Grand Lodge Certificate was given to James Branham by his father, Neil Branham.

The lodge was then opened in the second degree after all EA were asked to retire for a short period. The lodge was then opened in the third degree after all brethren below the rank of a master Mason were asked to retire for a short period.

The DC Neil Branham entered the lodge to report that Assistant Provincial Grand Master Dave Walmsley demanded admission and David was admitted accompanied by the group chairman and vice-chairman.

The master welcomed Dave and offered him the gavel, which he was pleased to accept and took the chair of King Solomon. The lodge was then closed in the third and second degrees and business was resumed in the first degree.

Dave began his address by thanking the brethren for their warm welcome despite the circumstances of the meeting. He said that the evening of course brought a great deal of sadness, yet for a lodge that has spanned 114 years of existence there was a great deal to be celebrated and he felt truly privileged to be there to share the evening.

Dave said that he has been very fortunate to have visited the lodge on many occasions going back well over 30 years, and had seen the lodge celebrate numerous installations, 50th and 60th celebrations as well. In fact, it was only the previous month that Roy Boles had celebrated his 60th anniversary, a wonderful achievement and he repeated the many congratulations to Roy.

He was also, he said, present for the initiation of the last candidate James Branham who earlier in the evening had been presented with his Grand Lodge Certificate. Sadly, he also noted that he had been together with many who attended the funeral of James’s grandfather; Geoff Branham, the father of the lodge, a highly respected Mason for some 64 years and a true gentleman. Geoff was the WM when the lodge celebrated its centenary.

Dave explained the history of the lodge since its inception back on Tuesday 15 November 1904 at the Assembly Rooms, Monton Road, Eccles. For here on this date, the consecration of Ellesmere Lodge No 3068 in the register of the Grand Lodge of England was followed by the installation of its first master. Ellesmere Lodge continued to hold its meetings at the Assembly Rooms until September 1921when it was resolved that future meetings were to be held at Elm Bank Masonic Hall in Eccles and they have continued to meet there until this, there last meeting.

Dave then said that when he was invested as an Assistant Provincial Grand Master he received a Patent of Appointment. That Patent authorises him to act on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master in his absence. He then requested that lodge secretary James Birkett to record in the final minutes of the lodge, the gratitude of the Provincial Grand Master James Anthony Harrison to all the members of Ellesmere Lodge No 3068, present and past, for the huge contribution they have made to the order.

Dave continued by addressing the brethren of Ellesmere Lodge, saying that they had all been part of a great journey, which had lasted 114 years. Ellesmere Lodge had played an important role in the lives of many Freemasons and their families; in the life of the local community; and in the greater plan of Freemasonry, through its charitable work. He concluded by saying: “Treasure the memories you have; strive to maintain the Masonic friendships you have grown; and above all, be proud that you have been part of a great work, which is now completed.”

Dave then invited the WM to resume his seat and handed back the gavel.
The Provincial DC then asked the WM to leave his chair and stand in front of the pedestal. He then collected the warrant from the secretary and handed it to the WM. The APrGM then left his chair with the assistance of the Provincial DC and the WM then handed over the Warrant to the APrGM. He was then placed in front of the junior warden’s pedestal and their accompanied by the group chairman and group vice chairman with the Provincial DC. A procession was also formed on the other side of the lodge room with the officers of the lodge lead by the lodge DC with the wardens carrying their gavels and the secretary his minute book. This concluded the ceremony of Ellesmere Lodge 3068 in the register of the Grand Lodge of England after 114 years, a sad loss, but a beautiful service.

At the closing of the lodge and after a most moving and sincere ceremony, Dougie ceremoniously surrendered the warrant and charter to Dave for safe keeping and transportation to London, there to be retained in the archives of the United Grand Lodge of England.

The brethren then retired to enjoy the last festive board. WM Dougie Crompton gave the last toast and thanked Dave and all the brethren who had attended and supported the lodge on this final occasion.

Article by Tom Fredrickson and pictures by David Marlor.

The lodge brethren and principal guests.

The lodge brethren and principal guests.