Provincial Grand Lodge of Dorset

The official website of Dorset Freemasonry

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For Province P0060 - Province of Dorset.

6th

Jan. 2021

Masonic Carvings

The Lodge of St Cuthberga No.622 is the sixth oldest Lodge in the Province of Dorset and its members have been meeting in Wimborne since 1853. Richard Micklefield, one of its Past Masters, has a connection with the Church of Ascension, which is located in the quaint village of Woodlands, near Wimborne. Richard has discovered a masonic treasure that has been long forgotten and we have his permission to share that with you.

The Church of Ascension was given by Harriet Augusta Anna Seymourina, Countess of Shaftesbury, in memory of her husband, Anthony Ashley-Cooper, the 8th Earl of Shaftesbury. Anthony was also the son of the serving Provincial Grand Master for Dorset and Past Master of the Lodge of St Cuthberga.

Woodlands was part of the Shaftesbury estate until after the Second World War. Most of the inhabitants were employed by the Earl or his tenant farmers. The church was dedicated in 1892 and is particularly unique in having three central columns down the middle of the nave. The only other church built thus is a 14th century church in Hannington, Northants.

Richard was previously the Church Warden and while wandering through the church surveying the fabric he became aware of carvings on the underside of the Priest's stool in the Sanctuary adjacent to the Rood Screen.

On closer examination he discovered that the carvings contained masonic symbols synonymous with both craft and chapter freemasonry, specific to the Lodge of St Cuthberga.

This of course aroused Richard's interest and in reading Dr Hannay's Lodge History he discovered that a Charles Frederick Cooper Knapp was initiated in the Lodge of St Cuthberga in 1908. At the same time a Charles Frederick Cooper Knapp was Priest in Charge of the Church of Ascension. It is a fair assumption to assume that they are one and the same but sadly there is no information as to any progress or office held by CFC Knapp held by the Lodge of St Cuthberga.

The following photographs are courtesy of Richard and show the carvings under the Priest's stool.

Further information about the Church of Ascension can be found at:

https://verwood.org/history/Woodlands-church_of_ascension.htm

Chapter carving

Stool carvings

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