Where and How did it happen?
A group of local Masons enjoying a beer suddenly realized from their conversation and knowledge, that all had known or still did know a Mason living in the local area, who might if approched be willing to become a founder member of a new Lodge. Hence enquiries began.
Guidelines were first established and after initial recruitment found that from the 25 plus possible applicants it was going to prove quite difficult since 7 different Provinces were involved and 2 different Constitutions.
The Province of Staffordshire undertook to accept and consecrate the new Lodge under the name of Gnosall St. Lawrence Lodge No. 9458. The name having been suggested by the provincial Grand Secretary, W.bro. Stanley Loweth, MBE P.S.G.D.
The consecration of the Lodge took place on Monday 30th March 1992 at 3.30pm at the Masonic Hall, Tettenhall Road, Wolverhampton. There being 133 Brethren present. The highlight of the proceeding being when the consecrating Chaplain perambulating the Lodge swinging the incense sensor, did not realize that the incendiary contents of the sensor where being dispensed with religious precision on the carpet of the Lodge. After a flurry of activity by Brethren in the S.W. Corner who had rushed to extinguish the potential hazard, all then proceeded with normality.
The first meeting of the Lodge on Wednesday 13th May 1992 was opened by the Master and Wardens of our Mother Lodge, Eccleshall No. 5389 at the Kings Arms Hotel in Eccleshall which was to be the home of the new Gnosall St. Lawrence
The 5th meeting of the Lodge on Wednesday 10th March 1993, the Tyler, W.Bro. Charles de Boer accompainied by Bro. Kevin Jones were admitted to the Lodge and presented a box containing the "Emblems of Mortality" a piece of furniture used in the 3rd degree or ceremony of raising to Master Mason. The Mater W.Bro. Colin Sharp thanked them for the gift and craftmanship contained therein.
At an emergency meeting of the Lodge on Monday 6th December 1993 the Lodge was taken over by the Provincial Grand Lodge for the purpose of dedicating a Banner made by Mrs. Brenda Farmer wife of the Worshipful Master W.Bro. Ralph Farmer.
The meeting of the Lodge on 25th May 1994 noted that the sum of £1,234.00 from Lodge Charity funds was distributed between 5 Organizations, 1 Masonic and 4 Non Masonic. At the same meeting the Lodge was presented with a Tylers Sword fasioned and forged by Phillip Dunmall a craftsman farrier of Farriers Lodge No. 6305 of which W.Bro. Charles de Boer was also a member. W.Bro. Charles then gave a description of the symbloism of the Tylers Sword.
The 16th meeting of the Lodge on Wednesday 11th January 1995 was appropriately entitles "Burns Night" at which the Master and Principal Officers were piped into the Lodge by W.Bro. McKenna, they also retired to the sound of the pipes at the end of the meeting. At the festive board the address to the "Haggis" was performed by W.Bro. Finlay.
The 25th meeting of the Lodge on Wednesday 13th Novemeber 1996, W.Bro. Robert Swain a visiting Grand Lodge Officer when responding to his Salute, stated that he would be normally have given warm greeting, but in view of the lack of heating, he was just pleased to be here.
The 27th meeting held on Wednesday 12th March 1997, the Secretary stated that by the next meeting of the Lodge, W.Bro. Vic W. Southan will have been appointed to P.A.G.D.C. in the U.G.L.E.. The Secretary offered congratulations to W.Bro. Vic on behalf of the Lodge and hoped that his jokes would be uplifted by his promotion.
The 33rd meeting of the Lodge on Wednesday 13th May 1998 saw yet another presentation of equipment to the Lodge in the form of a Box containing the "Working Tool of the 3 Degrees of Masonry" again the craftsmanship of W.Bro. Charles de Boer.
At the 43nd meeting of the Lodge, following the ceremony, the S.W. W.Bro. Len Clayton presented the Lodge with a set of Square and Compasses to be used in conjuction with the V.S.L. The W.M. thanked W.Bro. Len for his gift, and asked that the Secretary write to Eccleshall Lodge to thank them for the use of their set for the past 8 years. Apart from the fixed furniture of the Lodge, Gnosall St.Lawrence is now becoming more self sufficient.
Wednesday 13th September 2000 saw the 44th meeting of the Lodge, this being the first meeting since the Lodge room had been re-carpeted and the other alterations made.
Congratulations were extended to W.Bro. Cristall and Angela on the occasion of their marriage.
The 53th and emergency meeting on 23rd March 2002 was to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Lodge.
At the 73rd meeting held on 14th September 2005 W.Bro. Boston thanked the Brethren for attending the Barbeque at his home which raised £295.00
Wednesday 9th November 2005 the 74th Meeting a contribution of £288.00 was made to Eccleshall Lodge towards the installation of the stairlift.
The 79th meeting on Wednesday 8th November 2006 saw the distribution of Charity Funds to First Responders Group, the Wolverhampton Cruse Group (a bereavement counseling organization for children who have lost parents) and to the Footpath Lighting Scheme for St.Lawrence Church.
The 88th meeting held on Wednesday 19th September 2008, the Lodge had receivecd a letter from W.Bro. Chris Boston & Barbara thanking the Brethren for £636 raised for Muscular Dystrophy at their Barbeque.
The 102nd meeting held on Wednesday 4th May 2010, attendance of members is again becoming critical with 7 members present and 4 visitors. Perhaps we should be looking to make changes?
The recent influx of new members of the younger and energetic variety is encouraging, for new members are the life blood of any organization.
Written by W.Bro. A T Elwell, P.Prov G. Reg, P.Prov G. Swd. B. (Worcs).
Where are we now
We found that the attendance at the Kings Arms were we met was falling. This was for one or two reasons. No heating, there was central heating in the Lodge room but it was not switched until the room was opened up. This meant that the room did not get warm until after the meeting finished. It’s the only lodge room were you put your overcoat on when you get out of the car to go to a meeting. The other problem was the food at the Kings Arms. Not only could did we have no choice of menu and the quality of the meals had deteriorated considerably. The lack of choice meant members and visitors had a problem because if you did not like a course then there was no alternative. The King Arms ‘take it or leave it’.
There was a under current in the Lodge for us to change venue. We looked around and visited several venues and asked questions regarding dates (wether we could keep our meeting dates), parking and of course meals.
Most members liked The Chase Golf Club and 4 of us met with the directors of Rugeley & District Masonic Rooms Ltd. We were made very welcome and after a brief history we were given a tour of the Masonic rooms. Afterwards we talked about costs etc. We were told there would be a one off joining fee and that this would be based on the number of members in the Lodge.
This was taken back to an Officer’s & Past Master’s meeting were the pros and cons were discussed at length.
The advantage of moving were, nice Lodge room, plenty of car parking and the food was very good complete with a choice of starters, main and sweets etc.
The meeting was in favour and the wheels were put in motion, having first checked with Provincial Grand Lodge to get their support.
A petition had to be presented to the Lodge with at least 8 signatures, then a notice of motion and finally a vote.
The vote had to be two thirds in favour. The vote was one hundred percent in favour.
The Directors of Rugeley & District Masonic and the members of the Lodges that already meet ther could not have been more helpful and supportive both before the move and since.
So we moved and our first Regular meeting at Chase Golf Club was on 12th September 2012 with W.Bro. David Davies in the chair.
Since then we have gone on to initiate 4 new members. The atmosphere is excellent and the attendance of both of members and visitors has greatly improved. At our last meeting at The Kings Arms there was only 8 people stayed for a meal now we have 20 plus and sometimes 30 plus.
The Lodge finances have not been good due to the one off joining fee to the Rugeley & District Masonic, but that is now all paid and we are looking forward to a more healthy balance sheet.
The future for the Lodge looks good and if we can attract more candidates and perhaps some joining members even better.
Written by W.Bro. Chris R Boston, P.Prov. G. Sup of Wks, P.Prov. J.G.W. (Warwickshire)
The Lodge meets on the second Wednesday in
January, March, May, September, and November.
September being the start of our new Masonic year, with the Installation of our new Worshipful Master.
Rugeley & District Masonic Centre, Chase Golf Club, Pottal Pool Road, Penkridge, Staffordshire ST19 5RN Tel 01785 712888