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Years 1984 to Today

GOLDEN JUBILEE YEAR to 2008

 

The last 25 years from our Golden Jubilee in 1983 have seen a steady decline in numbers, as experienced in most Lodges in Bristol and masonry generally but although the latter years have been difficult the Lodge has continued in a way in which we hope our founders would be proud.

 

In May of 1992 we held our 500th meeting and in the following year, 1993 we passed our Diamond Jubilee.

 

In 1983 the Lodge membership was in excess of 80 members and it is worth noting that this is 20 more than the Lodge had resolved to accept in 1934 but this must have been changed, we presume by another resolution, in subsequent years. Our membership has dropped steadily to 36 in 2000 and now in March 2008 is only 26 with an additional 4 Honoury Members. There have in fact been times when it has been difficult to officer the Lodge but in true Chatterton spirit we have soldiered on with the help of guests and in some case visitors and masons drafted in from other Lodges.

 

It has only been the perseverance of a few who have managed to sustain the Lodge and our sincere thanks goes out to them for their efforts.

 

The one shining light is the number of Candidates that we have initiated, passed and raised which total 56 since 1983, which is exceptional compared with many other Lodges but this must be tempered by the knowledge that in that period we have not retained as many as one would have hoped. There are 16 who are still members, of which 12 were initiated in the last 6 years and another 4 who have transferred their membership to other Lodges. The remainder having resigned or passed to the Grand Lodge above; this is a huge 64% loss.

 

In common with masonry as a whole it should be quality rather than quantity that should be our goal in relation to new Candidates. Nevertheless it must be said that we have never accepted a Candidate who had on the surface and after interview not fulfilled all the necessary qualifications for membership and without the numbers indicated above, it could be argued, the few struggling to maintain the Lodge may have given up by now!

 

In January 1991 A book ‘History of Free Masonry’ to Lodge to be passed from W.M. to W.M. was presented by W.Bro. Fred Baber and inscribed by him to mark his 50 years in masonry

 

We have installed 17 Worshipful Masters in the last 25 years, one of whom had been through the chair prior to 1983, which means that 7 have been in Masonic terms, ‘recycled’. Again this is not unusual for either the Province or Masonry as a whole and in fact is probably a lot better than many Lodges.

 

Chatterton Lodge has continued to welcome fraternal visits from other Lodges including              

                        

                        Chaddersley Corbet Lodge No.8942

                        The City of Cardiff Lodge No.7528

                        Wenvoe Lodge

                        Arrow Lodge No.2240

                        Motspur Lodge No.6106

                        Fitzroy Lodge

                        Dean Leigh Masters Lodge No. 3687

                        Metalus Lodge No.6150

                        Excelsior Lodge

                        Grip of Friendship Lodge

                        King Alfred Lodge


and groups of masons from the Lodges in the Torbay area arranged by W.Bro.George Bevan, one of our present Honoury Members.

 

Up until 1997 we were still continuing our regular biannual reciprocal visits to Bute Lodge in Cardiff but they then unfortunately ceased until last year when we welcomed their present Master and one of his brethren to our Installation Meeting. A return visit has been arranged and we hope this will continue and resurrect a tradition started by W.Bro. Frank Watts when he became Worshipfull Master in 1979.

 

We have had Provincial visits in 1984, 1992, and 2000 which have been welcomed as a unique experience for newly initiated brethren in as much as they guarantee a full Lodge Room. This has been one of the undoubted down sides of decreasing membership in that a partially filled Lodge Room does not create the same atmosphere as a ‘full house’ and therefore the sense of occasion is diminished and the enthusiasm of the brethren depleted.  As an illustration at our Installation meeting in May 1984, 49 members were present (over 50% of the membership) together with 66 visitors and in October 1992, 42 members were present with 73 visitors. This was however a Provincial visit combined with a fraternal visit from the Lodges in the Torbay area but nevertheless illustrates the difference compared with the past few years when between 2000 and 2007 we averaged only 32 brethren at each meeting. Things are however slowly improving and as was pointed out recently by our organist, whose own Lodge boasts a very large membership by comparison, numbers are not always the best judge of the heart of a Lodge.

 

In March 2000 we applied and were granted permission to reduce the number of Meetings from 8 to 7. Our meeting night being the first Thursday of the month and this day more often than not seeming to fall very close to New year, it had always been a meeting that was poorly attended and after much debate and heart searching we bowed to what in hind sight seems to have been the inevitable by not meeting in January.

 

It is also interesting to note, whilst trawling through past Lodge and Committee Minute Books, of the earlier insistence of the Province that no Masonic insignia was permitted on any articles of clothing such as ties or cuff links and definitely no badges. Things have changed along with a Bar which for many, many years was frowned  upon in the Bristol Province.

 

In 2002 the Province took part in a nation wide Masonic initiative, ‘Freemasonry in The Community’ which was designed to encourage Masonic charitable giving more locally and to promote to a wider audience how much masonry gives to the general public. We as a lodge raised over £1,400 and supported Claremont School, a school  for children between the ages of three and nineteen who have physical and learning difficulties; Callicroft School, Patchway with their Library refurbishment and Look West, a charity giving support to children with sensory difficulties. This for a small Lodge, with a membership only averaging 30 members over this period, was a magnificent effort on top of an additional £795 given to other charities. This highlights one of our successes since 1983 in that we now give much more to charity, both in actual terms and also as a proportion of our income, than ever before. This statement is not made in a boastful way but to encourage our Brethren, who have struggled to keep the Lodge going over the last few years, that our efforts are worthwhile and do help practically in so many ways within and outside the fraternity as a whole.

 

Since the year 2001 we have donated over £14,500 to the following additional charities;

                        BMBI 2008 Festival Appeal

                        British Legion Poppy Appeal

                        Bristol Masonic Widows Association

                        Royal Institute for the Deaf

                        St. Peters Hospice

                        Tynsfield Children’s Hospice Appeal

                        1987 Christmas Tree Appeal

                        The Grand Charity

                        Mission for Deep Sea Fishermen

                        Bristol Children’s Hospital Premature Baby Appeal

                        Breast Cancer Research

                        Marie Curie Cancer Research

                        MacMillan Cancer Research

                        Diabetic Research

                        The Jessie May Trust

                        The Salvation Army

 

On 2nd October 2003 we were honoured by a visit from Rt. W.Bro. Peter Hong Yuen Wong O.B.E. the District Grand Master for Hong Kong and the Far East who presented the Lodge with a set of miniature working tools which he suggested we raffle or auction for charity. This has now happened on numerous occasions with the winner graciously presenting the gift back to the Lodge to be auctioned or raffled again; another example of affective recycling in action.

 

We have only carried out one demonstration since our Jubilee year, a Third Degree Ceremony at the Dean Leigh Masters Lodge in Birmingham in 1990. The Province may have been being kind to us but we must aspire to being able to put on a demonstration hopefully in the not too distant future. We now have a very enthusiastic set of younger brethren who are officers which bodes well for the future and a candidates list which is looking very healthy.

 

Since our Golden Jubilee we have had the great pleasure of seeing three of our members reach the milestone of 50 years in masonry; W.Bro Fred Baber in January 1991; W.Bro.Lionel Bennett in March 1997; W.Bro. George Wolland in March 2000; W.Bro. Stewart Perry in April 2001; W.Bro. Mervin Hussey in March 2004 and W.Bro.Ken Kerslake in May 2007.

 

At our 618th regular meeting held last year on 4th October 2007 the Lodge was presented with a new Bi-corn hat by W.Bro.Ian Millard in memory of his father. This hat is traditionally worn by the Worshipful Master of Bristol Lodges when entering the Lodge. We had tried for some time to obtain a new hat to replace the old one, presented to the Lodge by Bro.E.J.Hutchinson  after the war and which was deteriorating rapidly, but not being a normal mode of dress these days it was proving to be very difficult. The new hat, comes with a full pedigree as to its original owners and is in fact at 150years old; twice as old as the Lodge itself.

 

We have recently had to increase the Lodge fees by quite a large percentage yet again. However looking back through past minute books the fees have increased on a regular basis each year and whilst being a far cry from the halcian days of the founding of the Lodge when they were 15 Guineas or £15.75 in today’s money. This also included dining fees, wine and ‘a reasonable number of guests’ and represents a staggering equivalent fee of £812.42 in today’s currency. Masonry is not that expensive really is it? All things considered our current fee in our 75th year equates to little more than one pint of beer every week.

 

Since our Golden Jubilee we have mourned the passing of many Brethren and we list those who served the Lodge as Worshipful Master whilst at the same time not forgetting those, who for various reasons never achieved or possibly even aspired to that office but nevertheless have been an integral part and served the Lodge well over the years.

 

 

 

 

We remember particularly the following members who have served The Lodge as Worshipful Master:

 

     W.Bro.Jack Gleave – W.M. 1952 (Hon.), Secretary; December 1983

     W.Bro.Sid Witchell - W.M. 1961; October 1985

     W.Bro. Arthur Brooks – W.M. 1951 (Hon.); September 1986

     W.Bro. Bill Smith - W.M. 1956 (Hon.), D.C.; October 1988

     W.Bro.Harry Marsh - W.M. 1939 (Hon.); January 1991, aged 97

     W.Bro. John Hawkins – W.M. 1980; April 1992

     W.Bro.Fred Baber – W.M. 1958/59; March 1993

     W.Bro. Bob Evans – W.M. 1974; September 1994

     W.Bro. Norman Clark – W.M. 1971; September 1996

     W.Bro. Eric Roberts – W.M. 1970; April 1997

     W.Bro. Tony Carey – W.M. 1968; November 1997

     W.Bro. John Cochram – W.M. 1989/90; December 1997

     W.Bro. Brian Gainard - W.M. 1977/92/93/2000; D.C. and Chap; Dec. 2000

     W.Bro. Ron Needs – W.M. 1978, Treasurer; March 2000

     W.Bro. Gordon Baker – W.M. 1981; September 2001

     W.Bro. Lionel Bennett – W.M. 1963 (Hon.), D.C.; April 2006

     W.Bro. Ken Kerslake – W.M. 1976; April 2007

     W.Bro. Frank Watts – W.M. 1979 (Hon.); September 2007

     W.Bro. Derek Heyel – W.M. 1994; April 2008

     W.Bro. George Wolland – W.M. 1966 (Hon.); September 2009

 

 

INITIATES AND JOINING MEMBERS, 2010

 

          R.J.Needs PM 1984/95/96                         M.C.S.Hall

          M.B.Lewis PM 1985                                  R.Panesar

          H.J.Grey PM 1991                                     S.Singh

          I.D.Millard PM 2001 & 2003                        A.C.Hall

          S.J.Hall PM 2004                                      J.B.Singh

          D.M.Ward PM 2005 & 2010                        M.B.Lenthall

          B.W.Parker PM 2006 & 2007 (Joining)        P.J.Brown

          M.J.S.Panasar PM 2008 & 2009 (Joining)   J.O.Jewkes

          J.G.Webb                                                 S.Bradford

          K.W.Stephens                                           S.Ahluwalia

          M.K.Kerslake                                            S.Suunak

          R.A.Stephens                                           A.White

          I.Jethwa                                                   

                                                                         

                        (Golden Jubilee year Members in blue Type)

 

                                                                        

 

 

 

Hon. Members

The Right Worshipful Brother M.J.Flynn, J.P.

Provincial Grand Master

Very Worshipful A.J.Vaughan,PGSwrd

Deputy Provincial Grand Master

Dr.D.H.Fox, MBE, PPGM

R.W.M.Howes, PGSwrd.B, PDGM

 

G.F.Wolland P.M.1966

S.R.Perry PM – 1969

M.C.Hussey PM - 1972 & 1975

G.H.Bevan PM – 1982

 

 

 

 

POST-WAR GIFTS TO THE LODGE

 

Virtually all the Lodge property was lost with the destruction of Freemason’s Hall, Park Street, in 1940 and it is with pleasure and gratitude that we have take opportunity, on the occasion of this, our 75th Celebration, to record the following generous gifts to the Lodge.

 

GAVELS (3), made of timber taken from the roof of St.Paul’s Cathedral during repairs there.

W.Bro.T.G.Eastman

SILVER PLATING of those of the original Lodge Jewels recovered from the debris of Park Street.

Bro.A.G.Fisher

LODGE BANNER. This was dedicated on 7th October 1954 by W.Bro.Rev.Canon G.B.Havard Perkins, P.A.Gd.Chap., P.M.1388.

W.Bro.H.C.Hussey - Founder

W.Bro.H.T.Marsh - Founder

WARDENS’ COLUMNS. In the early days of the Lodge, W.Bro.I.J.Spencer gave two valuable silver Candlesticks to be competed for annually by members of the Lodge in a Golf Tournament. After the war, he had these adapted for use as Wardens’ Columns.

W.Bro.I.J.Spencer - Founder

WANDS for D.o.C., A.D.C., S.D., & J.D.

W.Bro.W.S.Cockbill

HYMN FOLDERS with tunes as originally composed for the Lodge.

W.Bro.W.S.Cockbill

PONIARD for the use of the Inner Guard.

W.Bro.W.S.Cockbill

GAUNLET CUFFS for W.M. & Officers

W.Bro.F.J.Baber

W.Bro.H.S.Stowe

MASTER’S COCKED HAT (original now replaced – see below)

Bro.E.J.Hutchinson

LEATHER-BOUND PAD and matching Pencil (for Writing Test)

W.Bro.F.J.Baber

NEW COLLAR for W.M.

W.Bro.G.F.Wolland

COLLAR & JEWEL for Organist

W.Bro.E.G.Gerrish

First P.M.’s PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM

Mrs.F.A.Cox, in memory of her husband, the late Bro.F.G.Cox.

Second P.M.’s PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM

W.Bro S.R.Perry

MASTER’S COCKED HAT (2007)

W.Bro.I.D.Millard