What connects Ashton Trinity Lodge No 8821 and a lodge that originated in Uganda and now meets in Edinburgh under the Scottish Constitution? The answer is Howard Morris, a member of Ashton Trinity (who’s first appointment to Provincial Grand Lodge is Provincial Grand Steward), who is also current worshipful master of the Caledonian Lodge of Uganda No 1389 on the roll of the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
This connection prompted a fraternal visit to Bryn Masonic Hall by a colourful entourage of Scottish Masons, including Howard’s two wardens, inner guard, director of ceremonies and deputy master. Also in attendance was Howard’s son Adam, who is also a member of Caledonian Lodge of Uganda and had returned from his study year at the University of Bergen in Norway to join the contingent. Ian Clarke, Provincial Grand Master of the Royal Order of Scotland, attended in support of the Scottish brethren.
After the lodge was opened by the WM Joe Feeney, the brethren were treated to a delightful meeting, with a lecture from lodge elder statesman Stanley Brown on the origins of the Ashton Trinity Lodge warrant. This was followed by a lively festive board enjoyed by all. It was appropriate that Stanley should talk about the warrant, the visitors having a unique history in relation to their warrant or charter.
As the name may suggest, Caledonian Lodge of Uganda was originally consecrated in Kampala, Uganda but under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, in 1935. It was to serve Masonic ex-pats, both Scottish and English, living and working there for a little over 35 years. Unfortunately, when Idi Amin came to power in 1971, things became more difficult and eventually Britons were expelled from Uganda and the lodge ceased to operate. Members undertook the task of removing lodge property from Uganda, at considerable risk to themselves. The lodge lost some records and furnishings, but the charter, along with nearly all the office bearers’ aprons, collars and the Bible, were saved and repatriated.
In 1977 the charter was re-designated in Edinburgh and the lodge has met there ever since. They meet on the afternoon of the fourth Saturdays of February, April, June, September and November. Howard reports that the dinner held immediately after the lodge meeting costs around £2 and beer to wash it down for £1. Visitors are always made welcome and Howard would be delighted to see Masons from the Wigan group, or indeed the Province, to make the relatively easy trip north to see this truly interesting and historic lodge.