History of St Mary’s Lodge 4864, Gateshead

St Mary’s Lodge was Founded and Consecrated on 15th January 1927 in commemoration of the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Lodge of Industry No. 28, 1725-1925.

 

The 50th Anniversary of St. Mary’s Lodge took place on Friday, 4th of March 1977. The Worshipful Master was Bro. Nicholas Alan Knox and in attendance was the Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro.  Rt. Hon. The Lord Barnard TD, accompanied by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master VW Bro J. MacMurray, M.C., B.SC., PGSWDB. The Assistant Provincial Grand Masters W.Bro. T.N. Thompson PGD, WBro. S. Hudson CBE PGD, W.Bro. C.V. Armitage OBE PGD, and the Officers of Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham present and past. Many Grand Officers and other Brethren were in attendance. The History of the Lodge was prepared at the request of the Brethren of St. Mary’s Lodge by Bro. Clayton Welsh, PAGDC, PPJGW. This text was also reproduced in the 50th Anniversary Booklet

 

The 75th Anniversary of St. Mary’s Lodge took place on Friday, 1st of March 2002. The Worshipful Master was Bro. Paul Sutton and in attendance was the Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro.  Dr. Alan Martin Davison accompanied by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master VW Bro. Charles Sheldon Marshall PGSWDB. The Assistant Provincial Grand Masters W.Bro. Derek Richmond PGSWDB, W.Bro. Norman Eric Heaviside PSGD, W.Bro. Raymond Norman Dinning PSGD and W.Bro. Colin Eric Penna PSGD Officers of Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham present and past. Many Grand Officers and other Brethren were in attendance. The address and History of the Lodge below was prepared at the request of the Brethren of St. Mary’s Lodge No. 4864 and presented by Bro. Charles Norman Fawcett, PM, PPJGD. This text was also reproduced in the 75th Anniversary Booklet

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As mentioned above the 50th Anniversary of St. Mary’s Lodge took place on Friday, 4th of March 1977. The Worshipful Master was Bro. Nicholas Alan Knox and in attendance was the Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro.  Rt. Hon. The Lord Barnard TD, accompanied by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master VW Bro J. MacMurray, M.C., B.SC., PGSWDB. The Assistant Provincial Grand Masters W.Bro. T.N. Thompson PGD, WBro. S. Hudson CBE PGD, W.Bro. C.V. Armitage OBE PGD, and the Officers of Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham present and past. Many Grand Officers and other Brethren were in attendance. The History of the Lodge was prepared at the request of the Brethren of St. Mary’s Lodge by Bro. Clayton Welsh, PAGDC, PPJGW. This text was also reproduced in the 50th Anniversary Booklet

Harmony was performed by the Keel Men and included ‘’The Lodge of St Mary’s’’ (sung to the tune The Bells of St Mary’s). Words by Bro. L.M.J.R. Parker, SD of the Lodge.

The History of the Lodge was presented, at the request of the Brethren, by Bro. Clayton Welsh, PAGDC, PPJGW, Master in 1942.

 

 

The text below was taken from the 50th Anniversary Celebration held on Friday, Bro. Paul Sutton, Master. In attendance were a full deputation of Provincial Officers led by the RW Bro Dr Alan Martin Davison; accompanied by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master VWBro Charles Sheldon Marshall PGSWDB; The Assistant Provincial Grand Masters W.Bro Derek Richmond PSGD; WBro. Norman Eric Heaviside PSGD, WBro. Raymond Norman Dinning PSGD and WBro. Colin Eric Penna PSGD, and the many Officers of Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham present and past.

No harmony was performed.

The History of the Lodge was presented, at the request of the Brethren, by Bro. Charles Norman Fawcett, PM, PPJGD, Master in 1974.

The following text was delivered by Bro Fawcett …

‘The History of St. Mary’s Lodge, presented on the occasion of the commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Lodge commences with a letter dates 21st November 1924 to the Provincial Grand Lodge Secretary from Bro. Alex Black, Secretary of the Lodge of Industry No. 48, stating …’

‘‘It is our intention to form another lodge to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the Lodge of Industry’’ and are asking for a Petition Form.

A Petition was duly completed and forwarded to the Provincial Grand Secretary on 23rd March 1925. It was signed by 21 founders: 15 members of the Lodge of Industry 48; three members of Rowlandson Lodge 3360; one member of Minerva Lodge 3385 and two members of Insurance and Banking Lodge 3885 in the Province of Northumberland.

The leading signatories were Matthew Pearson, the then Worshipful Master of the Lodge of Industry and his two Wardens. Bros. T.G. Stafford and D.G. Craig. Mat Pearson was a brother who for many years was a redoubtable Tyler of Lodges held at Jackson Street

Masonic Hall and the provider of formidable meals at festive boards at costs which in retrospect seem unbelievable – one shilling and six pence, two shillings or five shillings, if you wanted a seven course meal at an installation banquet.

In forwarding their petition the petitioners stated …

‘‘The reason for our application is to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Lodge of Industry whose minutes date back to the year 1725. Also to promote the general tenets and principles of Antient Freemasonry as introduced into the Province of Durham by the Lodge of Industry. We think this an appropriate way of honouring the old lodge and celebrating  great occasion.’’

 

The response to the application was a disappointing rebuff to one of the major desires of the petitioners, for on 19th January 1926 the Provincial Grand Secretary wrote …

‘‘I am instructed by the Provincial Grand Master to inform you that he will recommend the petition on condition the work be Emulation.’’

 

The petitioners asked for the return of their Petition so that they could reconsider their position and a period of exchanged correspondence and consultations, including a Deputation to Grand Lodge ensued, during which the petitioners stubbornly held their resolve to practice only the old Industry ritual. Eventually the Provincial Grand Master withdrew his objection. Lord Ravensworth graciously in his own hand from Eslington Park on 9th August 1926 saying …

 

‘‘After long and serious discussions in Great Queen Street, I have under the exceptional circumstances withdrawn my objection to the Old Ritual being used and give my assent to a Warrant being granted. The mere fact of a Lodge celebrating its bi-centenary does not by itself warrant the creation of a new Lodge to record the event. However I think there is room for a new lodge and under the exceptional circumstances I have waived my objection to the old ritual being used, though this is not to be taken as a precedent and I trust in future nothing by Emulation will be considered.’’

 

This generous concession to tradition allowed the petition to proceed and on 15th January 1927, at Jackson Street Masonic Hall in Gateshead, the Provincial Grand Master, Rt.W. Bro, The Rt Honourable Lord Ravensworth, conducted the Consecration Ceremony, supported by the following officers: Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W.Bro. Cuthbert Wilkinson; Assistant Provincial Grand Master W.Bro. The Revd. J. Short; Provincial Senior Grand Warden W.Bro. Brigadier-General H. Conyers Surtees; Provincial Junior Grand Warden W.Bro. W. Wallace; Provincial Grand Chaplain W.Bro. The Revd. T.H. Perkins, who also gave an oration on the Nature and Principles of the Craft; Provincial Grand Secretary W.Bro. R.W.E. Dixon; Grand Director of Ceremonies W.Bro. W.H. Cook; Assistant Provincial Grand Secretary W.Bro. W.J. Moore; together with the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Northumberland, W.Bro. Chas. W. Hodgson and his Provincial Senior and Junior Wardens, W.Bro. J.H. Colley and W.Bro. W. Storey; together with many other distinguished brethren.

 

The first Officers of the Lodge were …

W.M.                            Adam Dodds, PPGW

IPM                              Athol Campbell, PPGREG

SW                               J.H. Wright

JW                               E.B. Johnson

Chaplain                      J.H. Colley, PPW (Northumberland)

Treasurer                     W.H. Coates

Secretary                     Alex Black

DC                               S. Southern, PPGD

SD                               Charles Miller

JD                                Matthew Pearson

ADC                            Peter Childs

Organist                       W.O. Ord

Assistant Secretary      W.H. Ord

IG                                 J.H. Stafford

Stewards                      J. Haswell, J.C. Armstrong, W. Smith, D.G. Craig, Duncan Brydon, F. Hymers and Ben Tansley

Tyler                            John Lawson

 

The first candidate initiated in the Lodge was Adam Dodds Jnr, son of the Worshipful Master.

 

Many of the founders and early initiates of St. Mary’s were engaged in the professions and in commerce and resident in Low Fell. Several were ardent golfers and members of Ravensworth Golf Club.

 

In 1927 Low Fell was still a village almost separated from Gateshead and High Fell and the Team Colliery by farmlands; the Team River from Lamesley to Bensham was clear fields and parkland overlooked by the Provincial Grand Master’s castle at Ravensworth. The Team Valley still provided idyllic swimming pools for roaming schoolboys. In those days on a walk along ‘‘The Fell’’, once was almost certain to know by sight and reputation almost everyone you met and this compact community undoubtedly assisted in the wise selection of candidates and the cementing of fellowship in the Lodge.

 

The modern sprawl of population into new urban housing developments and new towns has undoubtedly disturbed the old established pattern of community relations and places new difficulties in the selection of candidates and re-emphasises the need for careful investigation into the credentials of every applicant for entry into the Masonic Order.

 

The bye-laws of St. Mary’s Lodge of Instruction stated the following …

 

‘‘The working of the ceremonies shall be in strict conformity with the recognised system of working as carried out by the Lodge of Industry.’’

 

The attendance of Brethren at the Lodge of Instruction was almost mandatory and woe was to them who attended unprepared. Early Directors of Ceremonies, particularly Brothers Jack Wright and Ernie Johnson, made certain that the ritual was meticulously carried out with style and dignity, resulting in a successful of Worshipful Masters in full command of the Ritual and who possessed easy address and with, notably Fred Hymers, Ben Tansley, Tom Burton, Tom Wilson and Ted Moffatt. They firmly established St. Mary’s as a Lodge attractive to members and visitors alike.

 

Ritual work carried out in the Temple by the Brethren of St. Mary’s has been and is always of a high standard, which is a credit to the successful Directors of Ceremonies.

 

It is a very rare occurrence that an explanation of the Fist Degree Tracing Board is given by we have in St. Mary’s Lodge two brethren, Bro. R. Sharkey, PPJGW and Bro. R.B. Crosson, PPJGW who were excellent exponents of this extensive and impressive piece of Ritual.

All meetings were well attended until the outbreak of War in 1939 which restricted the normal progress of many lodges. A number of Brethren and Officers left for War service including Howard Black in the middle of his year as Worshipful Master. Some of our meetings were held under the menace of air raid warnings and attacks, fortunately without any damaging results. Restricted transport and lighting black out greatly restricted attendances.

 

On the cessation of hostilities the revitalisation of the Lodge was steadily established under the form support and guidance of Tom Barron, Secretary from 1937 to 1960; Clayton Welsh, Treasurer from 1946 to 1964; and Howard Black (son of Alex Black the first Secretary), Director of ceremonies from 1953 to 1974.

 

A succession of Masters made their mark and contribution of whom, in the more immediate post War years included Bill Bleazard, Billy Muir, Harwood Johnston, Tom Tulip, Chris Kirby and Percy Cowell. Harwood Johnston had been a particularly able Charities Representative since 1959 and gave much assistance and comfort to the relatives of deceased members and to any needy cause. He had been a member of the General Purposes Committee of the Benevolent Committee of the Province since 1966.

 

The vital duties of Lodge Secretary since 1960 were undertaken with zeal and devotion by Bro. Chris Kirby PPJGW, a formidable Freemason within the Lodge and the immediate masonic area, and in more recent years by Bro. Jack Guy PPJGW, Bro. Bill Baty PProvSGW and the current Lodge Secretary Bro. Len Butler PM.

The traditions of the Lodge were maintained into 1960 and beyond under the calm and kindly but firm guidance of Bro. Howard Black, PAGSTDB, PPJGW, as Director of Ceremonies and by a new generation of Worshipful Masters, including Bro. Fred Apedaile PJGD, PPJGW who became the Director of Ceremonies and also Treasurer of the Benevolent Committee of the Province of Durham; Bro. Bert Forster, PPJGD Treasurer from 1965 to 1975; Bro. Ray Wilson, PAGDC, PPJGW who became Lodge Treasurer in 1976 and was honoured as Junior Grand Warden of the Province in the same year. The most recent holder of this important office is Bro. Stephen Lee, PM, the current Treasurer. Another interesting fact is that Bro Jack Guy whilst Lodge Representative for the 1979 RMBI Festival ably upheld the reputation within the Lodge for supporting Masonic Charities, long cherished in St Mary’s Lodge, by enlisting 100 covenanted contributors to the 1979 Fund, an outstanding achievement.

 

St Mary’s Lodge continues to be a very charitable and responsive Lodge having donated many thousands of pounds in support of the various Festivals within the Province of Durham and to many other worthy causes during its existence.

Our Lodge is also proud of its record of members who have held Office in the United Grand Lodge of England and in the Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham. Within Grand Lodge these include …

Bro. Thomas William Barron PAGDC in 1959

Bro. Clayton Welsh PAGDC in 1964

Bro. Howard Black PGStdB in 1972

Bro. Frederick Hindmarch Apedaile, PAGDC in 1981, promoted to PJGD in 1989

Bro. Raymond Wilson PGStdB, promoted to PAGDC in 1992

In Provincial Grand Lodge many of our Past Masters have been honoured including holding acting rank as follows…

 

Bro. Clayton Welsh JGW in 1958

Bro. Walter Harold Bevan GTreas in 1970

Bro. Bert Kenneth Forster SGD in 1970

Bro. Harwood Johnston JGW in 1972

Bro. Raymond Wilson JGW in 1976

Bro. Robert Brayson Crosson JGD in 1989

Bro. William Baty SGW in 1995

Bro. John Richardson Bolam JGD in 191999

In more recent years the brethren who have served the Lodge with credit and distinction include…

 

Bro. William Baty PProvSGW and Secretary for 10 years; Bro. Ron Batty PPJGW Treasurer for 10 years; Bro. James Armstrong PPJGW Chaplain for 18 years; Bro. Geoffrey Hindmarsh Brown, PPGSwdB Tyler for 13 years; Bro. Nicholas Alan Knox PPGSTDB Charity Steward for 20 years; Bro. Raymond Sharkey PPJGW, Director of Ceremonies for many years; Bro. Harry Atkinson PPAGDC and Bro. George Holland Morrod PPGStdB who both served as Social Secretary for many years; Bro. Malcolm Marshall PM who continues to give assistance within the Lodge in providing music and entertainment for our social evenings, dances and festive boards; Bro. Harry Blake Farnsworth, PPGStwd who served as Tyler for many years; Bro. Bill Pallett, PPGStwd and Bro. Frederick Charles Best PPGStwd who have served the Lodge for many years as Senior Stewards. Also Bro. Allan William Jones PPRGSwdB, who serves as Lodge Director of Ceremonies and also acted as Social Secretary for 14 years and still continues to raise funds within the Lodge.

Of all these our late lamented Brother Thomas William Barron PAGDC, PPJGW, Worshipful Master in 1934, contributed significantly to St. Mary’s Lodge. Bro. Tom, a Schoolmaster, skilled in Music and Art and a student of Masonic Ritual and History was ever a source of inspiration to his Brethren and a faithful and zealous servant of his Lodge. His example was always a stimulant to his brethren and his love a warming cloak – but he could be coldly critical of any who held the Order lightly or whose behaviour was unseemly or disrespectful. Tom Barron pursued his researches into every order in Freemasonry, occupying the Chair in all of the recognised Degrees and Orders. His example and encouragement took many of his brethren forward with him and those who have followed him into progressive degrees and orders owe him a great debt of gratitude for the consequent enlargement of their masonic knowledge and happiness. Bro. Tom never looked for reward but I am sure nothing would reward him more than to have present and future members of St. Mary’s Lodge continue this interest in our wonderful ideal we call Freemasonry and in the degrees beyond Craft Masonry.

 

In 1960 the Masonic Hall at Jackson Street was sold and St. Mary’s Lodge with nine other Gateshead Lodges purchased the Central Methodist Hall in Queen’s Terrace, Gateshead and developed it as a new Masonic meeting place. In St. Mary’s Lodge Bro. Percy Cowell PPAGDC organised the collection of donations and loans to the new Hall Company from individual members and Bro. Harry Hall was continually active in organising fundraising functions. His efforts resulted in St Mary’s being a shareholder in the Hall Company to the extent of £4,757. During the adaptation of the new premises our Lodge, together with other former tenants of Jackson Street, were, for a period, generously allowed to use the new Lodge of Industry premises on Coatsworth Road. The first meeting of St. Mary’s Lodge held at Queen’s Terrace was on 6th of April 1962 and this was to be our home for the next 21 years. Because of redevelopment by Gateshead MBC the Lodge had to vacate these premises, having been compulsorily purchased and moved to new purpose-built premises situated here at Alexandra Road in Gateshead and the building was dedicated on 15th October 1983. It now accommodates 14 Craft Lodges, 3 Chapters, 2 Mark Lodges, 1 Mariner’s Lodge, 1 Rose Croix Chapter, 1 Knight’s Templar’s and 1 Order of the Secret Monitor.

 

Over the years several brethren have received 50 year membership certificates namely …

Bro. Howard Black, PAGSTDB, PPJGW

Bro. Clayton Welsh, PAGDC, PPJGW

Bro. William Bleazard, PPGStdB

Bro. Chris Spence Kirby, PPJGW

Bro. Walter Harold Bevan, PPGTreas

Bro. Frederick William Hindmarch Apedaile, PJGD, PPJGW

 

When over 200 years ago, Ambrose Crowley introduced his contribution to the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, he incorporated into the management of his Iron Works disciplined work organisation in association with those principles of social welfare traditionally associated with a Lodge of Operative Masons from which our Mother Lodge, the Lodge of Industry No. 48 originated. The population of England was then some five million people, living for the great part in rural surroundings where life, though hard, was still closely in touch with the beauties of nature and the individual craftsman had some liberty to develop his talents.

In the following 200 years the population increased and development of steam power and changes in industrial and agricultural methods gradually transferred population from countryside to town until the majority of English lived in town, largely dwellers in mean streets and workers in factories producing goods wholesale, a situation in many ways ruinous to old time craftsmanship and old established orders.

This change, whilst providing essential material advantages, has had a most unhappy effect upon society and the amenities of life in villages and towns. When St. Mary’s Lodge was consecrated in the year of 1927 industrial and social turmoil was still a destructive influence, soon to be further aggravated by an even more violent outbreak of War. Today, the more materially wealthy man is still unable to evolve a pattern of life which gives satisfaction. Social unrest, violence, greed, self-interest and self-indulgence and a list for power abound. The pillars of Wisdom and Beauty are hard to discover. A multiplicity of voices advise us to solve our problems, but they do not carry the conviction of knowledge, wisdom or intention above sectional or selfish interest.

 

How do we as Freemasons react to our situations as citizens? Surely any solution to our distress must depend upon the moral integrity, honesty and social conscience of the individual and there can be few training rounds for good citizenship better than that on which Freemasonry rests.

Our V.W. Bro, the Bishop of Durham, addressing a masonic meeting in the year of 1927, said …

‘‘Freemasonry must stand for good citizenship. They could do much by word and example to save the nation from the besetting danger of democracy, the separation of public speech from knowledge and character and the substitution of clamour and violence for argument and law’’

At the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge held in Gateshead in May 1927, our Grand Master said …

‘‘I do want everyone to realise the true dignity of masonry and I would suggest that every Brother should very seriously review the ceremonies he has gone through and realise what his obligations are and what he has sworn to do; and if every Brother will take a real hold of what he has promised to fulfil, I think we should be better.’’

The Brethren of St. Mary’s Lodge have worked well in love and harmony for 75 years, let us heed those words of wisdom and hope that by our example we may prove to the world we are a society of men who stand firm on the sacred dictates of truth, of honour and of virtue.

See the More Recent Events Section for information since the 75th Anniversary

St. Mary’s Lodge

PROVINCE OF DURHAM

4864

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