EBRINGTON LODGE 1847: HISTORY
At the Regular Meeting of Brunswick Lodge No 159 held at Union Street, on the 3rd December, 1879, it was minuted that the newly formed Lodge Ebrington No.1847, had applied to Brunswick Lodge to become sub tenants of their new rooms (the Ebrington Masonic Temple, Hobart Street, Stonehouse). It was proposed and carried unanimously, that the Lodge Ebrington be accepted as their tenants.
It was announced that Lodge Ebrington was to be consecrated by the Provincial Grand Master, Lord Ebrington on Tuesday 6th January 1880. The Provincial Grand Lodge having been opened in due form, and the Provincial Grand Secretary having announced the desire for certain brethren to be constituted into a regular lodge in ancient form, the Warrant from the Most Worshipful the Grand Master of England was read.
The brethren of the new lodge then signified their assent to the Officers named in the Warrant.
Lord Ebrington delivered an oration to the brethren and although Freemasonry is a lot more open in modern times, those words, delivered and minuted nearly 140 years ago, are still relevant today:
“No one should be admitted but with due regard to his fitness for Masonry. None but those on whose admission their fidelity and obedience could be relied on. No candidate should be admitted or recommended for admission unless it was felt to a certainty that he would be an honour to their Lodge and to the Order. The ancient mysteries of Freemasonry had maintained their position from time immemorial in defiance that the power of persecution and the howling fanaticism had been brought against it....Every care should be taken not to allow a Lodge to become merely a friendly society, or a mere social gathering of the members. He wished however, to be carefully understood not to denounce in any way the social meetings that followed labour.”
The Lodge having been closed, the brethren adjourned to the Farley Hotel for the Banquet.
His Lordship’s health having been drunk, Lord Ebrington in his reply, heartily thanked the brethren for their reception, and was glad that his first important ceremony had been in the Three Towns –The Metropolis of the West. “The usual other toasts were duly honoured, and very pleasant evening spent”.
Meetings were held on the second Tuesday in every month. The regular meeting place from 1909 - the date of the earliest minutes existing - was the Masonic Temple in Princess Square. There appears to have been some friction from time to time with the management but complaints always fell on stony ground, as did a formal protest in 1929 against the raising of the rental to £45 per annum. Several proposals to move from Princess Square were lost and it needed a direct hit by a German bomb in 1941 to effect the necessary change. In 1909 the annual subscription was 24 shillings payable in four monthly instalments of six shillings. A move to increase it to 30 shillings in 1920 was deferred, and it wasn’t until 1925 that this was carried. In June 1931, the dues were increased to 32 shillings and remained at this figure for the next 27 years.
Times of Tyling varied between 5:30 and 7:30pm. It was not unusual for two degrees to be worked in one evening, indeed, on some occasions, all three Degrees were conducted. The Lodge Meeting in April 1914 must have been of marathon proportions. The Lodge was opened at 6:10, one Brother was initiated, one Brother was passed and four Brothers were raised separately. The time of closing is a matter of conjecture as the Secretary, perhaps not surprisingly, did not record it. The most unusual meetings attended by our members were those called by the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in June 1916 and July 1917. These were held “somewhere in France within short distance of the enemy lines and within range of the guns”. A brother from Ebrington Lodge attended together with brethren from more than 100 lodges.
The earliest known social event was “a motor drive to Torcross” in July 1910 which took place in grand weather and was proclaimed a great success” with 44 members attending. Children’s Christmas parties were regularly held, as were whist drives and dances in the Spring and charabanc outings in the Summer.
The Second World War
The first impact of the War on the Lodge was the destruction of the Masonic Temple in Princess Square where the last recorded meeting took place in March 1941. The Lodge met on June 6th 1941 in the Davie Hall, North Hill. At this meeting, the loss of all the Lodge regalia, clearance Books, attendance registers and Warrant were reported. Authority from Grand Lodge, to hold Regular Meetings pending the issue of the Warrant of Confirmation was received by the Secretary. It was proposed and carried that the Lodge should meet on the first Friday in every month, except July and August, at the Davie Hall.
In December 1941 the Lodge received its Warrant of Confirmation which was framed and photographed. May 1945 saw a Notice of Motion to change the Lodge venue to Sincerity Masonic Hall, Elliot Street “to obtain the facilities of the Club” and was confirmed by the brethren. The first meeting at Sincerity Hall took place on Friday September 7th 1945.
Many valiant deeds were performed by our brethren during the war and personal honours bestowed on them by the King including citations, the British Empire Medal and mention in despatches.
The Post-War Years and Beyond
The return to peace time Masonry saw, amongst other things, a revival of festive activities. In February 1946, an Entertainments Committee was formed and its first brief was to organise a Ladies Night in April 1946 at St Aubyn Hall. Coach trips, social evenings and river outings were regularly organised and Lodge visits were re-introduced, notably with our Mother Lodge Brunswick and Sister Lodges Hope and St Aubyn. Many gifts were made to the Lodge by its brethren and included a book of ceremonial hymns, a gavel and block “quarried from King Solomon’s mine”, an inscribed Volume of the Sacred Law and a Past Masters Jewel with the express wish that the Jewel be attached to the IPM’s collar.
Since its consecration in 1880, so much has happened in the world: we have had two World Wars; Man has landed on the moon; technology has moved on beyond belief with multi-media giving us access to a worldwide audience. We at Ebrington 1847 celebrated 100 years in 1980 and 125 years in 2005. The Lodge is still thriving, carrying out the fundamental principles of freemasonry, brotherly love, relief and truth as laid down by our forebears all those years ago.
Researched by Asst. Secretary 1980 and Secretary 2016