On the 21st April 1920, shortly after the end of hostilities of the Great War, R.W. Bro Sir William Raynor, Provincial Grand Master, ably assisted by W. Bro Richard Gill, Senior Grand Deacon and Deputy Provincial Grand Master and a full team of Consecrating Officers, came together to consecrate the newly founded Nevil Talbot Lodge. One of many Lodges which came into being following the war, Nevil Talbot’s original membership was drawn from that of the then highly successful Furnival Lodge No 2558 who had realised that their growing list of candidates would have to wait many, many years before attaining the Chair unless another Lodge was formed. Nevil Talbot Lodge was the solution to that problem. So what of their name? Well, the founders determined to follow the history of the distinguished Furnivall family but that the Lodge name could not directly involve the name to avoid confusion. Charting the family history back through the 14th and 15th century showed the line of Furnivall merged through marriage first to the Nevill family, through the union of Baroness Furnivall to Sir Thomas Nevill and subsequently through their daughter’s marriage to General Sir John Talbot. From that point forward descendants would be of the line of Nevil-Talbot, and the Lodge banner proudly displays the Coats of Arms of the Furnival, Nevil and Talbot families. Much of the Lodges history is, like many other Lodges, relatively uneventful with members quietly enjoying their opportunity to dwell together in unity and the companionship which that brought. Of interest to our current situation was a communication received from UGLE on 4th September 1939 suspending all Masonic meetings until further notice following the issue of emergency orders from H.M. Government following the outbreak of the Second World War on 1st September. That suspension was however lifted just 21 days later with permission granted for the resumption of Masonic activities which then continued throughout the war. Unfortunately, our current suspension has already lasted twice as long! However, the war was not without its effects not least the cancellation of a meeting immediately after the Sheffield Blitz in December 1940. There was also a request from Provincial Grand Lodge for brethren to surrender their jewels to be melted down to assist with the war effort. There is no information as to the extent with which this request was complied! In the 1960s the Lodge began to develop a reputation as a musical Lodge with various members who were local singers of repute. This tradition continued for many years. There was also an association with The Boys Brigade with many members sharing that interest as current or former members. In 1982 the then President of the Sheffield Battalion, Roland Hare was to be initiated and this led to an invitation being issued to the National President, The Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. Unfortunately the Earl was delayed in responding to the invitation as he was required to attend a meeting abroad about the now renowned Elgin Marbles. Nevertheless, two days before the Initiation, he accepted the invitation. His acceptance lead to a flurry of activity. He being such a distinguished visitor, the list of those due to attend rapidly rising from 30 to 80! Over recent years the Lodge has suffered a decline in fortunes with now only 13 members, not all of whom are still active. However behind the small number hide some great if now ageing characters of Sheffield Freemasonry like Terry Hoyland, Philip Kirkup and Roy Yates not to mention the current Secretary, Richard Drury-Smith just one of several members of that well-known family to have graced the Lodge. Although small in number the Lodge is big in heart and has been holding on for the past couple of years to be able to celebrate this wonderful milestone. We all offer our hearty congratulations to everyone at Nevil-Talbot Lodge and hope that we will be able to join them in person when our suspension finishes to celebrate properly what this proud Lodge has achieved over the past 100 years. I am most grateful to W. Bro’s Terry Hoyland and Philip Kirkup for the work put into the Lodge Centenary booklet from which this article was drawn.
V.W. Bro John Boyington Deputy Provincial Grand Master