A very early abiding memory is while wearing short trousers, sliding down the staircase bannister at Willow Royd Masonic Hall, West Vale, Halifax, at Savile Lodge Children’s Christmas parties.
Dad had followed his dad Arthur into Savile Lodge. Arthur had died in his year of acting office as PrAGDC in 1948 shortly before I was born – my lack of a grandad was to be somewhat compensated by senior brethren of the Lodge whom I looked to as surrogate grandfathers. An early lesson learnt that still holds true is that there are old men of 30, and young men of 70 – it’s all a question of attitude.
Following positive encouragement from beyond either family or Savile Lodge, I went through the membership application process and was initiated into The SAVILE LODGE 1231 on Thursday, 6 August 1970 by my father, W Bro Jack Priestley, during his year of office as WM; I was subsequently to be passed on 4 February 1971; and raised on 6 January 1972.
With the exception of Inner Guard, but including Organist when I couldn’t play a note, I served in the progressive offices of the Lodge culminating in INSTALLATION as MASTER on 3 December, 1981, a ceremony attended by RW Bros Norman H Fowler PrGM, and Fred Crosland PPGM.
I was appointed DC of the Lodge in December 1984, a position to be held for 8 years, including acting as Installing DC on the occasions of his 2 visits to The SAVILE LODGE as Provincial Grand Master by RW Bro. J Trevor Broadley.
I was invested as Grand Pursuivant in the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding, in May 1990, fulfilling the duties as Inner Guard previously missed in Lodge. RW Bro David Welch PrGM observed that my stentorian voice was suited to the Royal Hall, Harrogate – the Pursuivant was not then provided with a microphone! During that year the Acting Officers would be involved in consecrating a new Lodge at Otley, and the dedication of Masonic Halls at Southwood, Halifax, and The Allerton, Leeds.
Invested as Junior Grand Warden in the Province of Yorkshire, West Riding, in May 1994, being promoted to Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden in May 1995; from 1994 to 2000, I formally attended 59 Installation Ceremonies across the Province as the Personal Representative of the Provincial Grand Master.
In April 1996, I was invested as Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in the United Grand Lodge of England at Great Queen Street, London, by the MW Grand Master, HRH the Duke of Kent.
Consequently was appointed as Secretary of the Halifax Grand Officers’ Panel in succession to W Bro. John Burnham upon his Installation as Assistant Provincial Grand Master. When W Bro. John was succeeded by W Bro. Robert Scorer, the Secretary’s remit was expanded to include Huddersfield and District, and Uppermill, the whole being designated as the Pennine Area of the Province. This appointment continued in total for some 10 years, latterly during the appointment of W Bro. Maurice Bendig as Assistant Provincial Grand Master. This period coincided with visiting VICTORY LODGE, RYBURN LODGE and MEXBOROUGH LODGE, as Liaison Officer, services of 10 and 11 years to the latter two culminating in my election to Honorary Memberships.
I served on the Formation Committee of the WEST RIDING ACTING OFFICERS LODGE 9645, being inducted as its Founding Senior Warden at the Consecration and Installation Ceremonies at the Connaught Rooms, Bradford, in April 1997.
In 2013, I was inducted as Junior Warden of Mother Lodge, SAVILE; serving as Senior Warden for 2015, and being installed as Master of The SAVILE LODGE 1231 for a second term of office in December 2015. This ceremony was attended by W Bro. D Stuart Cummins PSGD, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, a courtesy returned as I had attended W Bro. Cummins’ installation as Master of the LODGE of CHARITY 4105 in October 1994 as Personal Representative of the Provincial Grand Master. In December 2016, having installed my successor, I was invested as Secretary of the Lodge in which office I served for 2 years, moving to Charity Steward in December 2019, my current office.
A highlight of The Savile Lodge’s recent years, actively promoted by this third-generation member, was to be its Sesquicentenary, joyously celebrated in 2018. Maybe we can look forward to acknowledging Willow Royd’s century of use as a masonic hall come 2026.
With the encouragement of my father, I was to be exalted into the Royal Arch CHAPTER of PROSPERITY 290, meeting at Greenhead, Huddersfield, on 20 December 1972. Service in the progressive offices culminated in my Installation as First Principal in March 1990. My later term of appointment as DC of the CHAPTER included the celebration of the Chapter’s Bi-Centenary in 1998 attended by MEComp The Lord Farnham, Pro First GP, and EComp. J Trevor Broadley, MEGSupt.
Interwoven with my early Masonic career were my studies at the School of Architecture at the Manchester College of Art and Design, which would continue with periodic block releases until 1973. During one such interlude, while working in Huddersfield, I met Jenny: we became engaged in 1970 and were married in August 1971. Temporary residence in Manchester would cease in 1972 when we found we were to expect a baby in the October – we decided to return to Huddersfield to set up home. Emma duly arrived to be followed 2 years later by Hannah. The dynasty has since increased by 2 granddaughters and 2 grandsons, ages ranging from 9 to 21.
I secured employment in Halifax in 1973, finally qualifying in 1974 with election to corporate membership of the RIBA. I established my own practice in 1979, which would continue until my retirement in 2009.
As our children grew up, I found I could resume my interest in golf. I joined Elland Golf Club in 1978, was its Rabbits Captain for 1985, twice Captain in 1993 and 2002, and President for 2007-9. I was Chair of its Centenary Committee from 2003 to and through the celebrations in 2010 and served as Captain of Captains of the Halifax and District Past Captains Golfing Asociation for 2015.
Is there time for anything else? Reading, country walking, historic buildings and industrial archaeology, DIY, selective gardening, rail and street transport (steam railways - full size and OO gauge – trams and trolleybuses), warships, travel at home and abroad…...
JKB Masonic resume?
It all started in 1969 with a gentleman walking into a bank, an insurance policy tucked under his arm and with a request for an overdraft.
It transpired he was the JW of a masonic Lodge and was to be fast tracked to WM as the current SW had decided not to proceed. That had thrown his financial planning into disarray as his policy, taken out to provide funds for his ‘year’, was not due to mature until 1971 and cashing it in early would have meant the loss of significant bonuses due on maturity. That, it was explained, was a normal way of funding ones term back in the day. The application was considered and approved and so began a long association with his eventual proposer into Scarborough Lodge No 1214 on 21 July 1970.
W Bro Jim says he had no prior knowledge of the craft, Scarborough Lodge or Blenheim House. Only visiting the latter once before his initiation and that was to attend his enquiry meeting. He does recall his mother, when he was 12 years old, pointing to a gable end wall and saying ‘If you want to get on in life you need to join them’ – the advert was for a monumental mason so not quite what she had in mind but it did show even back in 1952 public opinions of the order might have been somewhat misguided.
Cometh the day some 50 brethren attended his initiation, including W Bro Frank Harrison who was then an APGM (which meant nothing to Jim at the time). His two overriding memories are of the sea of dark and light blue that suddenly sprung before him as he was returned to the light and the dawning, half way through the Ancient Charge delivered by his proposer (who was then the WM), that he was delivering it from memory!
Early memories as he progressed were almost a fear and awe of the senior brethren and their almost autocratic nature. Most were brilliant, prepared to talk and encourage but some much less so. Many were the times when he wondered what he had got into but here he is 50 years on with many, many good experiences to reflect on, many wonderful friendships made, and that goes for his wife Judith too, and an absolute truth that his life has been enriched in so many ways. The camaraderie, particularly amongst the junior brethren in the early years, was a joy to experience and as he keeps repeating formed lasting friendships which still endure.
Progress through the formative years were in the main uneventful and he found himself as Master Elect in December 1981 when the meeting was quorate by the skin of its teeth due to severe snow.
A very enjoyable year in the chair was encountered. Ceremonies each month and with a still fairly strong social calendar. In the mid/late 70’s the Lodge had dropped, over time, the dinner dances held in September, October and November but still had very well supported events on New Year’s Eve and Mothering Sunday plus the annual Ladies Evening, together with the annual Children’s Christmas party and a Lodge Weekend, usually to the east coast. The first two are no more and although the Children’s Party is still active the Ladies Night and Lodge Weekend are spasmodically held at best.
After the obligatory year as IPM W Bro Jim acted as ADC for a couple of years and then took on the role of Secretary for a number of years. The most challenging task arose when it was decreed that the penalties should be removed from the obligations and rituals changed accordingly. Computer and spreadsheet use were in their infancy and 1214 had only recently invested in new bespoke ritual books, prior to which manual amendments by the hundred had to be made to Emulation ritual books in circulation. It was a difficult exercise to produce ritual which satisfied both the hierarchy and the brethren and also the get the same reduced and printed on to about 12 gummed pages for insertion into the ritual book stock.
At the Lodge Installation in 1990 it was W Bro Jim’s privilege to propose the ‘Crawlers Toast’ when one W Bro J Trevor Broadley was in attendance as Provincial Registrar. Jim did refer to the Provincial Grand Officers, jocularly using a sweetshop analogy, as ‘the old humbugs on the top shelf’. Fortunately, whilst threatening that any forthcoming provincial appointment had just been jeopardised, JTB did take it in the spirit in which it was intended and the rank of Acting Steward was offered and accepted a few weeks later.
Prior to the Provincial meeting commencing the brother seated to W Bro Jim’s left ‘advised’ him that the Steward from the oldest Lodge was usually ‘requested’ to organise the dining arrangements for the Provincial functions throughout the year. But he happened to know that the absent brother to W Bro Jim’s right would not be taking up that offer so it would fall to him! Thankfully it did not. Of course, and sadly, Stewards did not act throughout their term of office at that time so it transpired to be a quiet first year as a Provincial Officer.
As was the custom he took the rank of PPDGReg when his term as an acting Steward came to an end. He then became involved as a co-opted member of the Charity Committee which involved visiting lodges on scroll night and delivering an address to the Lodge on all aspects of Masonic Charity. To mark this appointment he was promoted to the rank PPGSwdB in 1992. This somewhat curbed attendance at 1214 meetings as, with a wife and young family he always tried to balance fairly his evenings away from home. It was a most enjoyable and satisfying time and role within the Province.
It was around this time that he was called on to make his biggest decision to date. He was asked if he would consider taking on the role of an elected member of the WRMCL team. In simple terms it meant an extended commitment of anything up to 12 years culminating with election as the Chairman for the last two years. He spent day after day pondering on this but when Judith his wife said ‘I don’t know what’s bugging you but whatever it is sort it out, you’re upsetting everyone’. He knew what was right for him, his family and his career and he very reluctantly turned the position down. He says had he been asked annually to do another year he probably would have done so but to commit to such a long term he felt would be unfair to his family.
Again, as was custom, when he retired from his role within WRMCL in 1994 he was promoted to the rank of PPJGW and also, much to his surprise, he was appointed to the rank of PAGDC within UGLE. Only the second Grand Officer from the ranks of 1214 in 135 years.
His only other involvement outside the craft has been with the Royal Arch. He was exalted into Scarborough Chapter in 1974, taking the three chairs in 1988-90. He was appointed to the rank of PPGScribeN in 1996 and then PGStB in 2001 following which he acted as a Personal Representative to the Grand Superintendent for a number of years.
Despite the desire to extend his masonic involvement he always felt that too much pressure would be placed on his family time so expansion of his memberships was never progressed.
In the mid 90’s he acted for the PGM as one of his Personal Representatives for a number of years and on occasion acted as part of an investigating team when problems within Lodges arose. He also assisted the editorial staff with the production of the Newsletter for four years and took over the Lodge Liaison officer duties for Wakefield 495, Sincerity 1542 and Rectitude 4393, which roles he held until his appointment as an APGM in July 2004. It was in 2000 that he agreed to take the office of JW in the lodge, having bypassed this office the first time round, in the firm belief that would be able to convince/coerce one of a few past SW’s to come back on to the ladder. He failed and as a result took the Masters chair for a second time in January 2002. Having another enjoyable and successful year although he feels Judith might baulk if a third term was ever proposed!
He considered it a real honour and privilege to be appointed an APGM and was installed by the PGM, W Bro J Trevor Broadley, at the regular meeting of Scarborough Lodge on 20 July 2004. There followed a delightful period of over five years, firstly supporting W Bro Trevor Broadley and subsequently W Bro John Clayton in the ruling and governing of the Province and where he was given the responsibility for the ongoing development and operation of the Education and Training programme. Thankfully ably supported by W Bro’s David Jackson and Alan Hurdley.
There was a memorable visit to Scarborough Lodge by W Bro Clayton and his team in November 2009 to witness W Bro Jim initiate his son Nicholas into the Lodge and who was master of the Lodge in 2018 when the Sesquicentennial celebrations were held. As he retired as an APGM he was appointed a Steward in 1214, a position he held for 5 years before being ‘promoted’ to Purveyor.
He has witnessed many changes within the order, less formality, and expresses concern over the future of the order as social and working practices, which have changed massively, continue to impact on many groups and organisations. Individuals seem to be less and less prepared to participate and accept roles requiring commitment and responsibility.
That said he says he has long and happy memories of his time as a member and will continue to actively support Scarborough Lodge particularly and Freemasonry generally as required.
He said that this milestone has seemed to take an age to arrive and now it has, all he wanted was a nice meal with as many of his Masonic friends as possible, no fuss. Well the coronavirus pandemic has sorted that out for him he fully expects to take the toast to absent with the 1214 zoom team on the actual anniversary date, in isolation in his study, with just his old mate Elvis’s picture watching over him!
On the 17th July, when the original Masonic Suspension ruling expired, it was not extended. This meant that the regular meeting of Scarborough Lodge due on the 21st July had to be held, unless certain criteria could not be met. Fortunately, due to the hard work of a few, the masonic hall at Blenheim House was deemed Covid secure and it was agreed that we could be quorate so the meeting went ahead. This was very fortuitous as within a matter of days Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council area was placed into lockdown due to rising new cases of the virus. This of course meant that any local masonic activities were again suspended. The Lodge meeting was held, 50 years to the day that W Bro Jim was initiated. Seventeen brethren were in attendance, including three visiting brethren. Not what was planned but a goodly number under the circumstances prevailing. The normal business of the Lodge was conducted plus on this special occasion, the minutes for the meeting held on Tuesday 21st July 1970 were read by the Secretary, WBro Steven Kimber PPDepGReg this being the day of the Initiation of W Bro James Kevin Batty into Scarborough Lodge No 1214, 50 years ago to the day. He was initiated this day, 50 years ago, in this very room, on the 21st July 1970. The Secretary, WBro Steven Kimber PPDepGReg, stood and read the history of how W Bro Batty had first become involved with the Lodge. W Bro Nicholas Batty IPM, W Bro Jim’s son, then invited his dad to come onto the floor, where he had the unique pleasure of presenting him with his 50th Jubilee Certificate, with an accompanying letter on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Bro. David Stephen Pratt. WBro Nick, spoke with great love and affection of his dad, providing a memorable and very touching tribute to him, on this special occasion. The brethren present were all noticeably affected by the sincerity of W Bro Nick’s presentation and gave them both a well-deserved heartfelt round of applause at the conclusion. WBro Jim then answered a few questions from the brethren present and he also explained some of the aspects of his masonic history, read out earlier by the secretary. At the close of business the brethren repaired to the bar of a glass or two together with a tasty cake that was suitably adorned with masonic emblems to mark the occasion. Sadly no Festive Board but hopefully that will be righted in the not too distant future.
We are about to enter the 150th year of the existence of our Province.
A comprehensive History of the Province is in preparation, and these notes give a flavour of our first century and a half.
THE LIFE OF THE PROVINCE
At Grand Mark Lodge in June 1857, it was resolved that the Grand Master should have the power to constitute Provinces and appoint over them a Grand Master who would be welcome to the Brethren he would have to superintend. In April 1871, Grand Master the Rev George Portal constituted the Mark Lodges in West Yorkshire into a Province, and appointed as Provincial Grand Master Thomas Perkinton, of Fearnley Lodge, who became Surveyor of the Halifax Permanent Building Society, later the biggest in the world.
Our Province was formed on Wednesday 2 August 1871, at the Masonic Hall, St John’s Place, Halifax. Thomas Perkinton, clearly moved by the toast to his health, said it should be his every study to govern the Province, and to foster that union between the Lodges for which it was established. The Provincial Grand Master Overseer confirmed the Provincial Officers were all determined to work heartily for the prosperity of the Mark degree, and the newly-formed Province. It is clear that the character, unity, and aims of our Province were both established and expressed from the very moment it was formed, as was the aim that the PGM should be welcome to the Brethren under his rule. It is a pleasure to record that nothing has changed since.
our first Prov.G.M.
Our Province was formed with fewer than 120 members and six Lodges, four of whom have since moved: Prince Edward No 14, Hebden Bridge; Britannia No 53, Sheffield; Fearnley No 58, Halifax; Integrity No 110, Morley; Copley No 111, Leeds; and Portal No 127, Dewsbury.
We now have 44 Lodges, soon to be 45, and around 1,100 members. Membership peaked at 2,500 in 1962, and the highest average membership of 65 per Lodge was in 1959 and 1960.
Royal Ark Mariner Masonry took much longer to be established in West Yorkshire. There were only four Lodges on the roll in 1900, and it took 47 years to double this number; there are now 22. Membership did not exceed 500 for over a century, reached a peak of 585 in
1981, and the Royal Ark Mariner Degree remains popular and well supported today.
Including the present holders, we have had 15 PGMs, 31 Deputies, 12 Assistants, and 21 Provincial Grand Secretaries. Our Province has only lost one Lodge in its 150 year history: Welcome Lodge No 661, Sheffield.
WHAT WE HAVE ACHIEVED
When you join the Mark in West Yorkshire, you’re not just joining an Order, you’re joining an organisation; a happy, active, and well-run organisation. We do much more than hold Lodge meetings, as the following, by no means exhaustive - list shows:
1895 - Provincial Charity Committee is established
1928 - Cleeves Memorial Fund is founded; named after PGM Fred Cleeves
1964 - The first of our four Installed Masters’ Associations is formed, to promote friendship, harmony and inter-Lodge visiting. Our Province is the only one which has them
1982 - West Yorkshire Mark Benevolent Fund is formed
2004 - The two Funds are amalgamated to form our Provincial charity, the Cleeves & Whitehead Trust, named after Fred Cleeves and Carl Whitehead, who was PGM for nearly 30 years.
1973 - First annual Provincial golf competition is held, a highly successful fundraiser over the years.
1977 - West Yorkshire becomes the only Double Keystone Province in the world, raising funds for the new Mark Masons’ Hall.
1988 - The Province becomes a Patron of the Mark Benevolent Fund, the West Yorkshire
1988 Festival raising £446,461, the second highest amount of any Province to that time.
1995 - First of the Cleeves & Whitehead Trust summer holidays for widows and infirm brethren. Now an annual event.
1997 - The first of the twice-yearly Almoners’ Lunches was held, for widows and infirm brethren.
2008 - The 250 Club is set up, initially to fund the Province’s 150th Anniversary Keystone button and a new Provincial Banner, and later towards our Sesquicentenary and Festival celebrations
2012 - The Province qualifies as a 150th Anniversary Keystone Province
2016 - The West Yorkshire 2023 Mark Benevolent Fund Festival is launched
2019 - The Province becomes a Grand Patron of the Mark Benevolent Fund
We hold popular social events throughout the year, because we recognise how important it is to involve our families and friends. Our Province could not have enjoyed the success it has without them. “Among Mark Master Masons, you will ever find friends” – and those friends will come and find you.
RELATIONS WITH OTHER ORDERS
Our Province has excellent relationships with the other Orders, and we regard ourselves as enthusiastic members of a happy, Masonic family. This culture was established long ago. In May 1905, PGM Fred Cleeves urged Mark Masons to cultivate friendly relations with the Craft. There must be no suggestion of rivalry. We are still mindful today that we all started as Craft Masons, and that the success of our Mark Province depends on our support for the Craft. In November 1899, PGM Charles Letch Mason stated that the average membership of the Royal Arch was 67% in Mark Masons, but only 37% in the Craft. Mark Masons continue to support the Royal Arch. We recognise that the Mark does not compete with other Orders, but complements them.
It is the intention of our Provincial Grand Master R.W.Bro. James Steggles, G.M.R.A.C. to mark the occasion of the Sesquicentenary (sesqui means one and a half) of our Province with an Especial Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge at Bradford Grammar School on 7th August 2021 when some exciting things will happen.
An incredibly special Sesquicentenary Jewel has been designed to commemorate the occasion. This Jewel has been warmly endorsed by Mark Grand Lodge who have given permission for every member of this province, from newly advanced members through to Grand Lodge Officers to wear this Jewel during our Mark Meetings in perpetuity, within the boundaries of our Province. The Prov.G.M. will announce further details regarding the sesquicentenary celebrations in due course and now formallyrequests that every member of the Province who wishes so to do should wear the Sesquicentenary Jewel. It costs £26 which includes postage costs.
You can now order online just CLICK HERE
The Provincial Grand Master, R.W.Bro. Jim Steggles, is proud to serve such a happy and successful Province and all the brethren who are dedicated to supporting it today. On behalf of the current members of the Province he wishes to thank all those West Yorkshire Mark Master Masons who have gone before and who, over the last 150 years, have contributed so much to that success. May Mark Masonry continue to prosper in West Yorkshire, as the Province now begins its onward journey towards its Bi-Centenary and beyond, Marking Well in all its undertakings on the way.
Brian Ward Price was born in 1942 in London, where his father was serving with the Air Ministry. However, his roots have so far been traced back to the late 16th Century in Devon, Shropshire,Worcestershire and Yorkshire. His family spent some years in India, but eventually settled inHarrogate in 1954 where he was educated at Harrogate Grammar School.
After University in Manchester, he worked briefly as an industrial chemist in the textile industry, but in 1963 joined the Royal Air Force as a Supply Officer.
Over the years he also became an air transport specialist, an operations research analyst and computer modeller, and a Management Consultant in various Information Technology fields.
He held corporate Membership of the Royal Aeronautical Society and a Fellowship of the Institute of Management.
His Air Force career, lasting nearly 34 years, took him not only to many parts of the United Kingdom but also to Malaya, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Germany with a final tour working with NATO and the European Community in Belgium.
He was appointed as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1992 and retired from the RAF in 1997.
He now lives in Harrogate, North Yorkshire with his wife Julia, a retired Junior School Teacher, whom he married in 1968. They have two children, Owen, (born 1971), and Eleanor, (born 1975); both are graduates and Owen is a Chemical Engineer and Eleanor is a doula and mother to Brian and Julia's three grandchildren.
His hobbies and interests, besides Freemasonry, have included Gliding, Flying, instructing scouts, and genealogy, archaeology, classical music, walking, camping, and travel
"The PGM telephoned W Bro. David Child on the 16th June to congratulate him on attaining 60 years of membership of the Craft.
History may have been made as the PGM promoted W Bro. Child to the rank of PPJGW on the 'phone, during the call."
During the 1950s, I attended several social functions at the Lodge of Friendship with my father, so after National Service, I spoke to him about joining the Lodge. I was initiated in June 1960.
In 1961 I was married and subsequently have had four children, two girls and two boys. I now have twelve Grandchildren and two Great Grandsons.
In March 1963, I was exalted in the Chapter of Faith and 11 June 1970, I was installed as a Knight by my Father into St. Laurence Preceptory.
In the 1960s the Lodge, which was strong with over 70 members, had a full-time stewardess with the Lodge. Meals being brought in and having to be carried up from the cellar by the stewards. It was two plates at a time until we obtained the stands which carried 5 plates. The steps were very uneven, so it was a miracle that there were no accidents!
In the early 60s, we had a visitor to the Lodge who was in the Black Watch regiment, and he gave a talk on Masonry in Cyprus. He was there at the same time as myself, and I wished I had been a mason at that time.
In those days we did not have very many Social Functions, just a Children's party and a Ladies evening.
The Children's party was always a huge success for upwards of 70 children. The ladies of the Lodge provided the tea while the children were entertained by a Professional Entertainer. After tea, there was a film show followed by Games and further Entertainment from the Entertainer. Carols were then sung, and Father Christmas came in on a sledge pushed by the Junior brethren. After the children, grandchildren, etc. had gone home, then there was a social for the remaining brethren.
During the year there was a Ladies night where visitors came and a good night was had by all.
Dependant on the WM there may be a ladies night for Brethren and their Lady only in November. It was on such an occasion when as Chief Steward I had to inform the WM Herman Jarvis of the assassination of the American President John F Kennedy.
In due time our stewardess retired and as no one was available to be appointed their quarters were incorporated into the Lodge. The Dining Room became bigger, The meals were provided by an outside caterer but prepared at ground level, and the stewards did not distribute the meal!!
In recent years the bar lounge has been altered and extended so a member of the 60/70s would not recognise it now.
December 1973 was a little different for at the Installation the WM. The SW and I as JW were
appointed but we three were all Lewises whose fathers were active in the Lodge.
In November 1976 we celebrated W.Bro Clifford Haigh's 50 years in Freemasonry. It was for me worse than an Installation for we had not only the Dep.PGM but the ASSISTANT PGMS. David Welch was only a Grand Lodge officer then. I felt sorry for the Prov. Charity Rep. who had to give a talk on Provincial Charities!!
Tragically during my time in the Lodge, I have seen two W Brethren Pass away, one while I was WM.
In 1977 I was IPM when the Treasurer W. Bro Priestley Carbutt fell ill, and I was asked to take over as Treasurer.
We three Lewises decided that all surpluses from Social Functions would go into a special reserve account so that there was money available to maintain our Lodge Premises, rather than reduce Lodge Subs. This I am pleased to say has continued with the current brethren, so the Lodge is in a reasonably healthy position.
Besides being Treasurer I have also been assistant Secretary, Secretary, Auditor & Organist. The
Lodge was fortunate to have 2 Organists so W Bro. Alan Clough and I were appointed and played when the other wasn't available. I have been the full-time organist for the last 20 years.
In 1985 I received a promotion to PPDepDofC and in 2000 to PPGR.
In 2010 I was delighted to have W Bro. Stuart G. Carley, to present me with my 50 years Certificate. This was a most enjoyable occasion.
In 2017 I was admitted to the hospital with a second dose of Bowel Cancer. I decided that travelling to Cleckheaton from Bingley was too far for me as well as the brethren to me. I played for the Installation in the December and then wrote my letter of resignation from the Lodge. It was a wonderful surprise to receive a reply asking if I would accept Honorary Membership; wonderful as I know that the Lodge does not give out Honorary membership lightly. I have played for their Installations and special ceremonies and accepted this wonderful gift.
I looked at the Lodges in Bingley and decided to join Shirley Lodge no 4978 This was approved in April 2019 and I was admitted in Sept. 2019 and am now the Almoner.
I was looking forward to the PGM presenting me with my 60 years certificate so my mother Lodge could enjoy the ceremony along with my new Lodge. Perhaps this may happen next year.
John Terrence (Terry) Hobson was initiated into Hillsborough Lodge No. 5444 on 8th March 1960, having been proposed by his father, W Bro A.E. (Jack) Hobson who was himself initiated into Hillsborough Lodge in 1944. Terry was passed in the May and raised in October of 1960 making steady progress through the long ladder of offices to be installed as WM in January 1975. He was appointed as PPDeputy Grand Sword Bearer in 1984, with promotion to PPJGW in 1993. Terry had been exalted into Hillsborough Royal Arch Chapter No.5444 in March 1973, installed as Z in 1980, appointed as PPAssistant Grand Scribe E in 1987 and promoted to PPGrand Scribe N in 1995, a reflection of his commitment to Sheffield Freemasonry which, has included him holding the position of President of Sheffield Royal Arch Council.
During his time in masonry Terry realised that he had made many early connections in life, having attended Oakwood prep school alongside W Bro Venon Outram, late of Royal Brunswick, before moving on to Ecclesfield Grammar School (which the late R W Bro JK Clayton also attended) – gaining his School Certificate and Higher School Certificate. Terry then went into the RAF on national service and then on to RAF signals working mainly on V.H.F. D/F (Radar was not in general use at that time). Demob was delayed for 6 months owing to the start of the Korean War, but on his discharge, Terry followed his father into the butchery business. A career he continued through to his retirement on age 71.
Terry was married in 1960 to Shirley, who sadly passed away suddenly in 2011. They have two daughters and four grand-children.
Unfortunately for Terry, Hillsborough Lodge handed back its warrant at the end of 2019, but to allow him to continue to enjoy his freemasonry and provide an outlet for his experience he joined Royal Brunswick Lodge No. 296 which meets in Sheffield and preparations had been made for everyone to celebrate his being presented with his 60th Jubilee Certificate. As we are all too aware those celebrations had to be postponed, but the lodge does intend to honour W Bro Hobson when ‘normality’ is resumed in order that we can hear more of his adventures.
W. Bro Kenneth G. Ogden PPJGW
C.Chem, M.R.S.C., M.I.Mech E., F InstGas Eng., F. Inst.
W. Bro Ken Ogden was educated at Doncaster Grammar School where he passed 9 School Certificate examinations. Not satisfied with these he went on to become qualified as a Chartered Chemist, Chartered Mechanical Engineer, Chartered Gas Engineer, Chartered Enery Engineer , Government Senior Scientific Intelligence Officer and a Civil Defence Rescue Instructor. Still not satisfied Ken went on to become President of the Yorkshire Gas Managers Assoc in 1968, Honorary Member of the Yorkshire Gas Managers Assoc. in 1985 (and still retains his membership), National Chairman of the Gas Managers Assoc of Great Britain 1974-6, he was also a Council Member of Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers 1973-6.
His career with British Gas spanned 48 years which gave him responsibilities all over our area covering Nottinghamshire, South & West Yorkshire and North Derbyshire.
W. Bro Ken began his masonic career on the 3rd May 1960 when he was initiated into Abbey Lodge No. 624 Burton upon Trent. During this time he was a visitor to Rotherwood Lodge 4392 on many occasions. After spending 12 years at Abbey Lodge progressing up the ladder he eventually joined Rotherwood Lodge 4392 occupying all offices before becoming Master of the Lodge in 1980.
Following his time in the chair W. Bro Ken occupied most of the senior positions within the lodge :
- Treasurer for 7 years
- Director of Ceremonies for 2 years
- Almoner for 7 years
He has presented the 2nd Degree Tracing Board on more than 15 occasions and has represented the lodge as VP of the Rotherham Installed Master’s Association in 1994 then becoming President in 1997.
Ken is a stalwart of our Lodge and can be relied on to fill any office when required. His commitment is second to none whether it be at a regular lodge meeting or a practice which he very rarely misses. W. Ken received his just rewards by being promoted to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 1996.
Of course his masonic work isn’t limited to the Craft. In 1988 he was exalted into Phoenix Chapter 904. After again occupying all offices he was installed as 1st Principal in 1999 and achieved Provincial Honours as Past Provincial Grand Scribe N in 2010. He became a founder member of the South Yorkshire Chapter of Installed Principals No 9633 in 2003, president of S.R.R.A.C. 2009-10.
In his “spare” time he became chairman of Rotherham 41 Club, Chairman Rotherham Probus Club, Chairman Wickersley, Probus Club. If that’s not enough W. Bro Ken is a keen gardener (his plumbs are ledgendry) and at one time was the keeper of 50 Australian Parakeets.
Once again Ken we congratulate and thank you for 60 years of work, commitment and support not only to Rotherwood but to the whole masonic community. You have been and continue to be a fine example of all that the masonic movement stands for and you are the best of role models for any “junior” brother.
Somewhat to my surprise, and to that of many others I suspect, Ian was born and bred in Macclesfield but, sadly his Father died when he was six and the family moved to Glasgow whence his Mother hailed. He completed his schooling and took up an apprenticeship at a Steelworks, which then enabled him to train as an Engineer with British Bakeries where his whole working life was spent, but in numerous locations, finally West Yorkshire in 1989.
His Masonic journey began when he was, on the 9th October 1969, Initiated into Lodge Tollcross No 1194, Glasgow. Advancement into the Mark lodge then followed on 4th June 1970 hence his fifty years is now complete. Work took him to Kirkcaldy where he was exalted into Royal Arch Masonry at Kirkcaldy Chapter No 97. He also joined Oswald of Dunnikier Lodge No. 468 where he became Master in 1987 and at the same time 1st Principal at Kirkcaldy Chapter and under this banner he was Installed as the W.M. of the Mark Lodge. In March 1991 he became a member of Horsford Lodge No. 5339 having established his move to West Yorkshire, subsequently taking early retirement in 2006, and became the W.M. in April 2000, later becoming the Lodge Secretary in 2002, a post he still holds. Very sadly his wife, Iris, died in 2013, but after a period of reflection he was prevailed upon by long-time friend Barry Massam to join Wharfedale Mark Lodge in April 2015 where he was subsequently Installed as WM in 2018. Shortly after that both Barry, and sadly missed friend Graham Cooper, proposed him into White Rose Lodge No. 77, Allied Masonic Degree.
In March 2017 his good friend John Clough supported by R.W.Bro. Jim Steggles “persuaded” him that he really wanted to join Claro Lodge of Royal Ark Mariner No. 525, he enjoyed it so much he became a founder member of the Rugby Football Lodge of RAM No. 1965 the following year. By now he had lost the ability to say no and the late David Cordell, District Grand Master for RSM, asked him if he would be his next District Recorder for West Yorkshire. When it was pointed out that he was not a member, the reply was “Oh that’s not a problem” and neither was it as by the following meeting in August of 2018 he was appointed and invested as District Grand Recorder. This was just before he was appointed and Invested in November 2018 as Provincial Assistant Grand Scribe E, an office he still holds. By January 2019 Cloughie, once again, convinced him to join Secret Monitor and introduced him into Claro True Friendship Secret Monitor No.4.
Ian is a very enthusiastic and committed Freemason, a jovial, friendly character welcomed wherever he goes, long may it continue, Congratulations on achieving this superb milestone.
A short history of the foundation of Beacon Lodge by W Bro. Malcolm Priestley PPGReg, mostly taken from an article written in 1960 by the late W Bro. Cyril Sunderland PPJGD.
Beacon Lodge is the daughter Lodge of De Warren No. 1302 and was consecrated at St. John’s Place, Halifax on the 4th June 1920 by Sir William Raynor JP PGM with 11 PMs 12 Brethren and 13 additional Brethren present (all former members of De Warren Lodge), as well as many other Brethren and visitors.
De Warren Lodge had been constituted in 1870, sponsored by its mother Lodge St. James’s No. 448. In the early 1900s De Warren joined St. John’s as joint owners of the Masonic Hall at Blackwall.
By 1919 De Warren had 132 members.
De Warren had applied for Beacon Lodge to be accommodated at Blackwall, but permission was refused by the joint owner Lodges of Blackwall, and preliminary arrangements were made for Beacon to meet in premises belonging to South Ward Liberal Club in Brunswick Street and Hopwood Lane, Halifax “on the 4th Friday of the month”. But these premises were sold for a tramway club and Beacon never did meet there and agreement was reached for the use of a room at St. John’s Place.
An exceptionally large influx of members into De Warren 1302 during the period at the end of the first World War (one WM initiated no fewer than 24 Brethren during his year of office in 1918-19, giving 78 obligations at 41 Lodges) increased the membership of De Warren Lodge to 132 by the end of 1919. The formation of a daughter Lodge therefore became almost inevitable. A petition for a Warrant was applied for on the 8th December 1919, with 23 petitioning Founders, all members of De Warren Lodge.
Fortunately agreement was reached for the use of the Lodge and practice room at St. John’s Place by the new Beacon Lodge. Beacon Lodge was consecrated in this Lodge Room on Friday, 4th June 1920 by Sir William Rayner PGM. From De Warren there were present 11 Past Masters and 12 Brethren as Founders and 13 additional Brethren, being Master Masons of less than 3 years standing and consequently unqualified as founders, but proposed at the time of the Consecration for Membership as "Founding Members' and elected at the subsequent Lodge. All these 36 Brethren were members of De Warren Lodge and Beacon Lodge must remain forever indebted to its Mother Lodge for the sure foundation laid by these numerous Foundation Members.
Few Lodges can have had for its first WM a finer Freemason than WBro Arthur Alderson. Initiated in De Warren Lodge in Dec.1889, he occupied the Chair in 1895 and during his year as WM initiated Sam Naylor who became the first IPM of Beacon Lodge. He served Beacon Lodge as WM for 17 months to bring the Installation date to November. When he relinquished office the Lodge presented him with silver Fruit Stand in appreciation of his services. His 14 Candidates also presented him with a silver Salver, engraved with their signatures, amongst them two Past Masters and that of the celebrated tenor Walter Widdop. The details of W Bro Alderson’s cabinet making business are recorded in Malcolm Bull’s Calderdale Companion.
The Consecration procedure of the new Lodge by the PGM and his team and the Festive Board thereafter are recorded in the Consecration/Banquet booklet, copies of which are still in the Lodge archives. The Festive Board was indeed a banquet with 6 courses including soup, fish, and steak jardinière, roast lamb/roast beef/beacon pudding with custard, cheese and biscuits! And a hundred Brethren!
Beacon Lodge moved to Southwood in Halifax in the early 1990s, where we had hoped to celebrate our Centenary on Thursday the 4th June this year, exactly 100 years since our foundation. Many more facts relating to the history of the Lodge remain to be formally recorded. Under the present emergency a proper celebration of the Centenary event has been postponed, however at a “Zoom” virtual meeting of the Lodge on 4th June 2020 it was possible to remind ourselves of the event 100 years ago of the original consecration. Much water has passed under the bridge since 1920 and there is much to relate from the history of the Lodge during the years 1920 to 2020, which I hope someday to record in an appropriate manner.
In spite of the tragic consequences of the conflict of WW1, the influenza epidemics of 1918-19, the Second World War, other economic downturns and health issues, Beacon rose to a membership of 75 at its height in the 1950s and 1960s. Membership is not so numerous now, but as the past shows, the future can bring upturns and reward unknown to those who steadfastly carry the banner through hardship and distress.
MI Priestley, in grateful acknowledgment to Cyril Sunderland.
My first introduction to Freemasonry was being co-opted by my Dad to help clearing up Fitzwilliam Street Masonic Hall after Installations, Cinderella Dances, Ladies Nights & Childrens’ Christmas Parties gradually attending all those events as I grew up. This meant that I became familiar not just with the premises but the many men involved in the Craft with my Dad, Trevor Smith who had joined the Lodge of Truth No 521 in the 1960s whilst I was still in education.
I was educated at Mirfield Grammar School & proudly graduated from Leeds University in 1967 with a BSc Hons in Agriculture. Later that year I started work with an Agricultural Company in Lincolnshire, as a Technical Adviser. Weekdays in Lincolnshire & weekends in Huddersfield was the result.
It was 1969 when I expressed an interest in joining the Lodge so my Dad started the application process. When I reflect on why my interest was aroused I believe that I had seen nothing but good being demonstrated.
On Friday 1st May 1970 I was initiated into the Lodge of Truth, No 521. It was an exciting event, but I know I was anxious. However, I can still clearly remember things that happened that night. My Dad proposed me. Brother Richard Hollas was my seconder & I am delighted to say that we have remained friends throughout the years.
I am immensely proud that on that evening there were 3 generations of Smiths present, my Grandfather, my Dad & myself - a unique occasion in the history of the Lodge, as far as we can trace.
Over the years, I made steady progress through the various offices & on the 1st December 1978, having driven through freezing fog from Lincolnshire, I was honoured to be installed into the Masters’ Chair by the late Worshipful Brother Fred Broadbent. This was followed by many enjoyable years rolling by & eventually I was privileged to be appointed Acting Provincial Grand Standard Bearer. Subsequently I was awarded the rank of Past Provincial Grand Standard Bearer.
I can honestly say that I have enjoyed all the time I have been in the Craft, having met countless numbers of people with whom I have enjoyed the best of Fellowship.
Over the years I have seen many changes both within the Craft but also in life in general. I believe that one important principle I always try to practice is that of tolerance & to accept the maxim that ‘Nothing is Forever’.
I am really proud to have reached the landmark of fifty years in Freemasonry & wish to record my sincere thanks to everyone who shared & helped me on my journey, especially Margaret, my wife of 43 years