Founded in 1877, and named after its first master, Arthur John Brogden Lodge No 1715 has occupied its present small, unique and built for purpose Masonic hall in Grange-over-Sands since 1895. In fact, it has been in existence since before the town of Grange added the suffix ‘over Sands’ to its name. This addition took place around the end of the late 19th century as apparently the local vicar got frustrated with his mail being directed to the village of Grange situated within the Borrowdale Valley in the Lake District.
The addition alludes to the fact that access to the town, before the railway line was constructed, was made by foot or carriage over the sands of Morecambe Bay when the tide had fully ebbed. In general conversation locally it has become the custom to refer to the lodge by the initials AJB rather than use its full name.
The latest master of the lodge is Barry Saunders who was installed by his predecessor Alan Telford in a delightful ceremony held at the bijou hall. Alan had helped the lodge out by undertaking a second stint in the pre-eminent office due to a hiatus in the succession planning process. He had performed his duties throughout the year with all the enthusiasm he showed during his first time in the chair. Principal guest Phil Gardner was later to describe the work of Alan in installing Barry as being ‘sincere and dignified’.
Grange resident Barry, who is a builder and the owner of a caravan site, showed great promise as he went about his new duties in an accomplished fashion. Over the past few years Barry has acted as the social secretary for AJB and after one lodge meeting each year, he has organised a fund-raising event which has become established as part of the calendar within the Furness and South Lakeland Group. Local good causes such as the Brownies and the hospice have been the focus of the proceeds raised on these occasions.
Others too played their part in the proceedings. Chris Band addressed the deacons as to their duties whilst acting Provincial Grand Steward David Ingham was called upon to undertake a similar task in respect of the stewards. John Telford, father of Alan, delivered the address to the newly installed master. Brian Howson undertook a similar responsibility in respect of the address to the senior warden Alex Lowe and junior warden Ian Curwen. Phil was made to sing for his supper and orated the address to the brethren of the lodge. All played their part well and added to the enjoyment of the occasion.
However, the excellence of the ceremony was not just down solely to the efforts of the more experienced brethren. Craig Lennette, Tom Anderson and Andy Hull received great plaudits for the manner in which they presented and explained the working tools of the third, second and first degrees respectively. In Tom’s case it was the extended version of the second degree tools.
The trio were all accurate, clear and very accomplished in their work. It augurs well for the future of the lodge when three junior members can perform to such a high standard. Director of ceremonies Steve Lannaghan can take pride in the work of his charges and is able look forward with some degree of confidence to working with some junior Masons who offer great promise as regards the ceremonial aspect of the order.
Phil was able to announce that to mark the occasion the lodge had presented £850 to the Masonic Charitable Foundation 2021 Festival. Group charity steward Richard Wilcock was on hand to declare that the total amount denoted by the lodge, along with additions from the group matched-funding scheme, meant that they were now Grand Patrons of the Festival and he presented Barry with a certificate confirming the achievement.
As well as Phil and Chris other grand officers in the persons of David Grainger, Rowly Saunders, Alan Jones, Barrie Crossley and group chairman Peter Schofield added further lustre to the occasion.
David Ingham was in the company of fellow acting Provincial grand officers Phil Preston, Alan Hilton and Terry Ridal. Group vice chairman Gary Rogerson and secretary Alan Pattinson were amongst the visitors showing their support.
Following the ceremony, it was a short trip downstairs to the dining room. When first opened, the lower room had not been used by the lodge but for the initial 12 years after its construction it had been rented out as a furniture store and cabinets makers premises. It became the dining room in 1907. There were 65 members and visitors seated for dinner.
With it being that time of the year when lodges tend to have traditional Christmas fare after their meetings it was a pleasure to enjoy a three-course meal featuring beef as the main course. This went down particularly well with the visiting masters who were anticipating their fifth turkey dinner of the week!
A good ceremony, funds collected for charity and tasty food enjoyed in pleasant company proved an excellent way to spend an evening and take pleasure in being a Mason.