Provincial Grand Lodge of Dorset

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Lodge consecration 1872

On the 10th January 1872 a matter of some importance took place at Beaminster when a Special Provincial Grand Lodge was held at the White Hart Hotel for the purpose of consecrating the Beaminster Manor Lodge No 1367. The Prov.GM R.W. Joseph Gundry; The Dep. P.G.M. W/Bro. J.M.P. Montagu: L the Prov. S.G.W.., W/Bro. B.P. Gundry attended with other Provincial Officers, eight members member's from St. Mary's Lodge No. 707, four from Faith & Unanimity No. 417 and many others.

Provincial Grand Lodge was opened in ample form, the Provincial Grand Officers of the new Lodge for the purpose of the ceremony. The Prov. G. Sec. Read the Petition which was dated 13th July 1871 and stated:

'We the undersigned being regular registered Members of the Lodge mentioned against our respective names having the prosperity of the Craft at heart are anxious to exert our best endeavours to promote and diffuse the genuine principles of the Art and for the convenience of our respective dwellings and other good reasons we are desirous of forming a new Lodge to be named 'Beaminster Manor Lodge'. In consequence of this desire we pray for a Warrant of Constitution empowering us to meet as a regular Lodge at the White Hart Hotel, Beaminster, on the first Thursday of May, June, July, August, September and October etc,'

The petition was signed by seven Members of St. Mary's Lodge No. 707 and two members of Faith and Unanimity No 417. The Master and Brethren of the latter Lodge recommended the Petition and such recommendation was signed by eight members of that Lodge. We therefore owe our birth to these two Lodges.

The Warrant of the Lodge was dated 3rd August 1871 and appointed John Staines Webb as first Master (he was Wor. Master of St. Mary's Lodge in 1868). W.H.W. Toby as Senior Warden and James Andrews as Junior Warden. The Warrant was signed by the Earl of Carnarvon, Dep G.M. (on behalf of the Earl of Ripon, G.M.), and John Hervey. GdSec

The ceremony of solemnly consecrating and dedicating the Lodge in ancient form was ably performed by the Provincial Officers, the first Master duly installed, and he invested the Wardens, Secretary and Deacons, the other appointments standing over for the time being, At this meeting six members of St Mary's Lodge No. 707 and two from Parrett and Axe No 814 were proposed as Joining members and four candidates for initiation. No mention was made as to the time Prov. Grand Lodge was opened but it was closed at 3:30 p.m. after which many members dined at the White Hart Hotel.

At an Emergency Lodge held on 8th February 1872 the eight joining members were elected, the Treasurer, I.G. and Stewards invested and Robert Leigh, George Squire, Edward Toleman and Samuel Cox (well known Beaminster names) were duly elected and initiated separately. The Lodge was convened for 7:30p.m. and closed at 10:20 p.m. A second Emergency Meeting was held on 7th March 1872 when a Lecture of the Second Tracing Board was given and the Lodge closed at 9:15 p.m. It appears these two meetings were held to get the Lodge into working order before the first regular meeting. However, at each of these meetings the minutes were read and confirmed. If the members dined after the meetings one wonders what time they returned to their homes.

The first W.M. had a very short tenure of office as when five months had elapsed a ballot was taken on 6th June for a W.M. for the ensuing year and Bro. Toby elected.

The original Bye-Laws provided for initiation fee of £5.5s.0d., Joining fee 12s. 6d, annual subscription £1. 1s. 0d and the Tyler was paid 2s.6d.each ceremony, a candidate had to deposit £1, 1s.0d... prior to a ballot and each member had to sign the Bye-Laws. The following was one of the Bye-Laws:

'If any Brother behaves in such a manner as to disturb the harmony of the Lodge he shall be thrice formally admonished by the Master. And if he shall persist in his irregular conduct, he shall be fined such a sum not exceeding 21/- as the Lodge shall determine, and on non-payment thereof, may, after due notice, be excluded, or, if the Lodge shall so resolve, he may, after due notice, be excluded without fine.'

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