Kilgrimol Lodge History

To the majority of people 1990 will be just another year, mainly remembered for the fact that the Country was preparing for the millennium. But Kilgrimol Lodge it marks a most important and historic milestone, being the year in which the Lodge celebrated the 50th Anniversary of its Founding.

The foundations, laid half century ago and preserved through to the present day by so many distinguished Brethren, give every Brother the sober responsibility of seeing that its future reflects as much glory as its past. Its beginnings start in February 1948 when Bro J. Pye and Bro J.H . Martland made enquiries with a view to the formation of a new Lodge and made approaches to Bros. P. S. Uttley, J. L. Schofield and V. Pearson for support. These Brethren were later joined by Bros. J. T. Beresford, J. H. Ellis, E. Hoyle, B. W. Tyler, Sam J. Entwistle, Jack S. Heap and W.Bro’s. A. Kinnear and F. C. Marsden. As the majority of the Brethren were members of St Annes Lodge No 2457, it was decided to seek the support of that lodge in making an application for a Charter. The members readily agreed to the idea and thus the foundations were laid for St Annes Lodge to become the Mother Lodge of Kilgrimol. After early initial discussions Bro. J. Pye was advised that the prospective founders needed to formally notify St Annes Lodge of their intention to start a new Lodge and ask them (St Annes Lodge) if they would officially sponsor the petition. A letter to this effect was sent to the Worshipful Master of St. Annes Lodge on the 5th March 1948. It was recorded that a committee meeting of St Annes Lodge, the matter was fully discussed and it was resolved that St Annes Lodge would sponsor the petition. A formal proposition was then put in Open Lodge and adopted. The Founders were then advised that an application had to be made to the R.W. Provincial Grand Master through the Chairman of the Fylde Group, giving full details and the reasons for the formation of a new Lodge. (They were wisely advised that simply because St Annes Lodge had a large membership would not be considered as a sufficient reason in itself).

At a meeting held at the Palace on 6th April 1949 the Brethren were informed that to strengthen the application, several Grand and Provincial Grand Officers had been approached to become Founders of the Lodge including W. Bro Sir Knowles Edge Bt. SGD. The minutes record the list of Founders current at that date were W. Bro. Sir Knowles Edge Bt.SGD., W.Bro R. B. Tillosto, PPrJGW., W. Bro A. Kinnear PPrAGSB., W. Bro F. C. Marsden, Bros. J. Pye, J. H. Martland, P. S. Uttley, J. L. Schofield, V. Pearson, E. Hoyle, J. T. Ellis, B. W. Tyler, and J. T. Bersford. It was also recorded that W.Bro. J. Bell, PGD and W. Bro. G. d. Radford, PPrGDC. Were interested and would like to attend the next meeting. W. Bro. Sir Knowles Edge.BT. SGD kindly consented to be the first Worshipful Master.

Now 50 years later looking back we realise what a wonderful choice of a Master this proved to be and confirmed the sagacity of these early Founders of Kilgrimol Lodge. Bro R. Moore was suggested for the Office of Tyler. At a meeting of the Founders held on 8th June 1949 W. Bro. Sir Knowles Edge Bt. SGD occupied the Chair and fully explained the essential provisions required to be embodied in any petition to be submitted for the formation of a new Lodge. At the same meeting suggestions for a name of the new Lodge were sought.

These were to be submitted to Bro. J. Pye and circulated to all the Founders for their consideration. It was agreed that the working of the ritual should be strict Emulation according to the Nigerian Ritual which was the one currently available. A most interesting list of 26 suggested names for the new Lodge were considered at a meeting held on 22nd June 1948 and the name Kilgrimol was adopted. It would appear that whoever suggested the name of Kilgrimol, had knowledge of local history, but there must be many Brethren even now are unaware how, when, or where the name of Kilgrimol or its local associations arose. The existence of a Kilgrimol is no figment of imagination. A map of this district in 1532 clearly records that, though using an earlier spelling; a hamlet of that name did exist.

It stood somewhere along the coast between St Annes and Squires Gate and in the Foundation Charter of a Benedictine Priory of 1190 mention is made of a Boundary Cross set up on the Western side of the Cemetery of Kilgrimol. We are told that on a wild and violent winters’ night, a giant tide running before the wind rose up, boiled over and swamped the hamlet of Kilgrimol. Legend has it that on New Years Eve; the bell of the Oratory of Kilgrimol can be heard tolling from under the waves!

Kilgrimol, is a very worthy name and long may the bell of Kilgrimol Lodge be heard tolling out of good news of Freemasonry, in its widest sense of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, for many years to come. At a meeting held on 12th August 1948 the following Brethren were added to the list of Founders: W.Bro. A. Binns PPrGW, W. Bro. W. Stevenson PPrGDC and W. Bro. A. Milner. It was reported the Lodge would meet on the 4th Tuesday, September to April, later changed to the 2nd Friday, September to April. At this same meeting W.Bro. Sir Knowles Edge Bt.SGD, gave a full statement of the details to be submitted to the Fylde Group regarding the formation of the new Lodge, the statement was approved and appreciation expressed to W.Bro. Sir Knowles Edge for his compilation.

At a Founders meeting held on 15th March 1949 it was reported that a letter had been received from Provincial Grand Lodge stating the petition for the new lodge had been granted and the number of the lodge would be 6851. It was resolved that W.Bro J. Bell PGD, W. Bro G. D. Radford PPrGDC, W. Bro F. C. Marsden and Bro. Joseph Pye be named on the Warrant in addition to the names of the Worshipful Master and his two Wardens. Bro. V. Pearson kindly consented to present the Lodge with a case containing a complete set of Working Tools and Bro. Ernest Hoyle offered A Masonic Bible.

At a Founders meeting held on 26th May. 1949 final arrangements for the Consecration were made, including details of the Consecrating and Installing Officers and the Officers to be appointed. The Lodge was consecrated on Wednesday, 29th June 1949 by the Rt. W. Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W. Bro. W. S. S. Hannay. The Brethren who assisted and occupied the Offices were:-

Eighteen of the Founders attended but unfortunately W. Bro A.L. Binns, PPrGW, was seriously ill and Bro. V. Pearson was unable to attend and their apologies were recorded. W.Bro. Sir Knowles Edge Bt. SGD was installed in the chair by W.Bro. Ashton Davies, CVO., OBE.,PGD,Asst Pr GM. The first Honorary Members of the Lodge, were then elected, being:-

This Lodge was blessed with its Founders. Two in particular would rate a special mention in many history of Kilgrimol Lodge viz. W.Bro F. C. Marsden, PPrGW, and W.Bro J.L. Schofield, PPrG.Organist. The former had been either ADC or DC of Kilgrimol Lodge from the Consecration until his resignation in 1977 and the latter had occupied the office of Organist for the first 28 Years. These two excellent Masons, who rendered such yeoman service to the Lodge, surely provide an outstanding example to us all. It is most interesting to recall that the Formation and Consecration expenses incurred in the Founding of the Lodge amounted to the sum of £405 4S 11d. A lodge crest was submitted to Provincial Grand Lodge for approval; the crest having as its centre piece, a windmill, surrounded by emblems which represent the waves of sea and sands, presumably to represent the connection with the Hamlet of Kilgrimol and the borough generally. Provincial Grand Lodge approved the crest, providing the name and number of the Lodge was incorporated into it, which of course was done. Seven Founders submitted names of candidates for Initiation. They resolved that the names submitted should be placed together and drawn, and the order in which they came out would determine the order in which they would be interviewed and Initiated.

The first Initiate into Kilgrimol Lodge was Mr. Ian George McGuffie, a worthy mason who for many years was the Treasurer of the Lodge and became the first Initiate to receive Provincial Grand honours. Whilst on the subject of Treasurers, it is recorded that on 5th march 1954, W.Bro P. S. Uttley stated at a Committee meeting that he was the only Founder not in Office and he would like to be considered for the position of Treasurer.

Following a ballot, he was duly invested at the next Installation, serving the office with distinction. Would that masonry always had similar volunteers for such Offices. Along with Freemasonry in general, Kilgrimol Lodge has suffered from time to time in its fifty years with the loss of distinguished leaders in the Craft and the loss of beloved Brethren of our own Lodge. Despite these losses however, other Brethren have risen as worthy successors and the flag of freemasonry still flourishes at National, Provincial, Group and Lodge level. Long may it continue. We have had an interesting 50 years of progress, times of sorrow, times of exultation and moments most unexpected, such as when on Friday 10th January, 1958, a certain Mr. P. S. Walker was admitted into the Lodge for Initiation.

Whilst standing in the N.E. part of the Lodge it was discovered that he was neither poor nor penniless. The Ceremony was stopped and the work to that point, repeated. W.Bro. George Daniel Radford was the D.C. on this occasion and it would seem it was the one and only time his equilibrium was ruffled. Needless to say, the Acting Tyler, a Founder, was ribbed about the incident for many years.

Nevertheless, this worthy initiate went on to rise through the ranks to Assistant Provincial Grand Master, an office which he held from 1987 to 1998. After he had retired, on the 11th September 1998 the Brethren of Kilgrimol Lodge presented W.Bro. P.S. Walker PPrAGM with a golfing putter for his outstanding service to the Province of West Lancashire in general and Kilgrimol Lodge in particular.

The first Initiate into the Lodge Bro. I. G. McGuffie was Installed as Worshipful Master in 1957. In that same year, W.Bro. T. A. Manning was made an Honorary Member of the Lodge, W.Bro. Sir Knowles Edge.Bt.PGD., became an Assistant Provincial Grand Master and our Honorary Member, W.Bro. A. Davies CVO,OBE,PGD became the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of the Province of West Lancashire. Unfortunately W.Bro. Davies only held the office for a few short months before he died.

From 1949 to 1999 there have been 67 Initiates and 40 Joining Members into Kilgrimol Lodge. Obviously over the years there have been many deaths and resignations. The present membership including country members stands at 29. A strange minute from 3rd January, 1952 records, “Resolved that the W.Master Collar be lengthened to the same size as the other Collars in the Lodge.”

On 10th April, 1968 W.Bro. Sir Knowles Edge Bt.PGD.APrGM a Founder and first Master of Kilgrimol Lodge was installed as the Provincial Grand Master for Masonic Province of West Lancashire. Many of the Brethren of Kilgrimol Lodge attended a packed Winter Gardens on this most notable occasion to witness the Installation of the Provincial Grand Master which was carried out by the Most Worshipful, the Grand Master, H.R.H. the Duke of Kent. On the same day W.Bro T.A. Manning PGD was invested as an Assistant Provincial Grand Master. In 1970 the Lodge celebrated 21 years. This was marked by a presentation of rolled gold ball point pens to the Provincial Grand Master, W.Bro. Sir Knowles Edge Bt. PGD, and W. Bro. J. T. Beresford, both Founders of Kilgrimol Lodge, pairs of gold cuff links were presented to W. Bro. J. L. Schofield PPrG.Organist and W. Bro. F. C. Marsden, ADC/DC PPrJGW who had held continuous offices since the Lodge was Consecrated. A gift of £100 was also given to W. Bro. Sir Knowles Edge the Rt. W PGM to distribute to the Masonic charities of his choice. A further tribute was paid to W.Bro. Sir Knowles Edge, still the Rt. W PGM in 1977 when the Lodge donated £20, as a contribution along with other Lodges, to commission a photographic portrait. The picture is displayed in the Palace Buildings to this very day. History was made within Kilgrimol Lodge, when on November 8th, 1991 Bro. J. Barclay became a joining member from another Constitution, the Grand Lodge of Scotland.

Again on 12 February 1999, Lodge history was made when the Koran was used to obligate Mr A. Y. Benashour as an Initiate into Kilgrimol Lodge. Over the years Kilgrimol Lodge has been honoured in having a Mayor of the Borough as a member of the Lodge, Several Bankers, many Schoolmasters, town Clerks in Holy Orders and other representatives of business and commerce in the Borough, not to mention a host of other equally important Brethren. From the Founding of Kilgrimol Lodge to the present time the Lodge has contributed generously to Masonic Charities in their many forms and long may it continue.