Provincial Grand Lodge of Dorset

The official website of Dorset Freemasonry


For Province P0060 - Province of Dorset.


Dec. 2018

Connecticut to Beaminster - An Artefact Returns

We often read and hear of instances of internet scams and abuse of social media but overlook many of its enduring benefits. This was brought home in April 2018 when David Wakely, the Secretary of Beaminster Manor Lodge in Dorset received an email from Ben Headley of the Franklin Lodge No 20 in Westerly, Rhode Island, Connecticut. Clearly the benefits of the internet and the Dorset Website was soon appreciated as it was through the Dorset Provincial Masonic portal that David was tracked down. He identified that during his 'adventures' that he had found a wooden plaque bearing the name of Beaminster Manor Lodge and with the name of a WBro Toby dated 1873. He provided a photograph of it hanging in an antiques shop in Niantic, Connecticut. His quest was to establish if the artefact was of importance to the Lodge and if so to inform David if there was anything he could do to help repatriate it to its rightful owners!

David recognised it as a similar plaque for a WBro A Butler dated 1885 which had hung in the Lodge Dining Room for many years. He sent a photograph of their Plaque and confirmed that we would be most grateful that, if we covered all of the costs, would he be able to arrange to purchase and ship the item back to Beaminster? In the true spirit of Freemasonry they declined all offers of reimbursement and merely requested that they would like to 'present' it in their Lodge first and then send it off to them.

It turned out that the plaque was purchased at an estate sale in Mystic, Connecticut and as some American troops had been stationed in Beaminster during World War Two and the Lodge premises had been requisitioned during the war its possible it was 'requisitioned' at the same time!

Coincidentally, Beaminster Manor had by this time started on a refurbishment and redecoration of their Lodge room. When turning out a cupboard they discovered three more plaques all from the late 1800's. The Lodgebelieve that it may have been the practise for the Lodge to present a plaque to the Worshipful Master at the end of his term of office. It is then quite possible, upon his death, that the plaque could have been passed to the family.

As promised, the plaque was duly presented at the Franklin Lodge meeting in September and was recorded with a photograph of the event. It was then dispatched in late October and at the Beaminster Lodge meeting on the 13t November they duly repatriated the plaque to the Lodge and similarly had a photograph taken to record the event. This was then sent off to the Franklin Lodge with grateful thanks.

Beaminster Manor have now arranged all five plaques which now hang in a row above and behind the Worshipful Master's Chair in the Lodge. A fitting conclusion to the memory of those Past Masters. All involved are deeply indebted to the brethren of the Franklin Lodge, to Brother Ben Headley, their Worshipful Master, Joe Giancaspro and to their Secretary, WBro Daniel Rzewuski.


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