Provincial Grand Lodge of Dorset

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For Lodge L3625 - Blackmore Vale.

Blackmore Vale Celebrate the Tercentenary in Style

What are we going to do to mark the Tercentenary' was the question at the March 2016 Committee meeting.
A few ideas were put forward, then some bright spark suggested 'Why don't we have a ceremony where the officers taking part are dressed up in period costume?'.
So from little acorns as they say …. and the seeds of a plan were sown.

A local costume hire shop was approached and once it was confirmed they could supply enough costumes the 14 brethren eagerly agreed to join in.

It was decided that we wanted to make a big impact as the brethren entered the lodge, so very little was divulged to anyone, just enough we hoped to entice people to come along to see what was going to happen.
What else could we do to make it authentic? What about performing the whole evening by candlelight. We could have authentic food at the festive board with the waitresses dressed as waiting wenches. The ideas were coming thick and fast.

So on Friday 26th May, the Blackmore Vale Lodge celebrated the tercentenary in costumes of the period, where the officers taking part in the ceremony, plus the candidate, donned 18th Century costume and performed a real Third Degree ceremony. Tricorn hats or wigs and clay pipes were de rigeur for the evening, although the taking of tobacco and snuff had to be done outside.

The Assistant Provincial Grand Master was welcomed by the Worshipful Master in an appropriate and goodly fashion, contemporary to the period
Candles were placed around the lodge room and the whole evening was conducted by candlelight.
The minutes of the previous meeting were recorded on a scroll of parchment and signed by the Worshipful Master using a quill pen made from a peacock's tail feather.
There were passing references to local highwaymen and bandits who were roaming the area, who had it was reported purloined the strong drink ordered for the meeting (although looking at the colour of the Treasurer's nose in the photographs we suspect some of it had made its way into his hip flask).
This was met with some dismay and the brethren had to therefore wait until the festive board before partaking of drink, although from the bawdy behaviour of some brethren it was suspected that some had already imbibed before the meeting had commenced.
After the ceremony the brethren in costume paraded to the Exchange for the festive board and caused something of a stir walking through the centre of Sturminster Newton, still on the lookout for those highwaymen.

The menu was a hearty British affair of a wholesome broth, beef and gravy pie with vegetables and a suet pudding to complete the fayre.
The waitresses entered into the spirit of the evening by wearing old fashioned pinnies and mop caps.
Punch was served at the start of the meal from old fashioned jugs and bowls.
During the festive board the brethren had to be on their best behaviour as there were 'spies' afoot who reported to the Lodge Secretary and on the spot fines were imposed for misdemeanours and indiscretions or anything that the Secretary thought worthy of a fine.

During the festive board the Worshipful Master presented the Assistant Provincial Grand Master with a mini tricorn hat for Dorset Light Blue Vinney as a memento of the evening.

The raffle at the festive board raised a tremendous £625 for the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, which included an anonymous donation of £250.
A bottle of whisky and a large basket of fruit were auctioned which raised a further £45.

The evening was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone and attracted a large turn out of brethren, with over 80 attending.'

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