A History Of Cestreham Lodge No.6674

From First Ideas to the Consecration

During World War II, many London-based companies migrated to the chilterns to avoid the London blitz, bringing with them executive and management staff, many of whom remained in the area after the war.

Shortly after the end of hostilities, a number of brethren who were members of London andsuburban lodges, finding difficulty in those austere times, travelling to London Lodges of Instruction, decided to meet at Goss’s Team Rooms in Chesham Broadway to hold informal lodge of instruction meetings.

In December 1947 three of those brethren, W. Bro Harry Goss, W. Bro Walter Chandler and W.Bro Elwyn Harris, met at Harry Goss’s home to discuss the possibility of forming a new masonic Lodge for Chesham. The existing Chesham Lodge, Bowen Lodge No. 2816, consecrated in Chesham Town hall in 1900 – had a membership of some 75, twenty of whom were below Steward level on the ladder for office, meaning a very long wait for new joining members. Obviously a new lodge was required to relieve the pressure.

The three prime movers drew up a list of twenty-six possible founders. At a further meeting, on 7th January 1948, they agreed to approach eighteen of them and to invite them to a ‘prospective founders’ meeting on 13th January 1948. Fourteen attended, with a further two interested but unable to attend. At that meeting significant decisions were taken:

  1. All necessary steps to found a new Lodge would be taken as quickly as possible.
  2. That the name of the lodge would be Cestreham. Two other suggestions, Chess Valley and Beechlands were dropped.
  3. The Lodge would meet at the Masonic Temple Gerards Cross (Misbourne Rooms).
  4. The meetings would be in the winter months – five times a year and on Thursdays.
  5. That the Masons ritual to be used would be Taylors.
  6. Bro Bernad Blaser, as a prominent learned citizen of Chesham would be invited to be the first Master. (After some hesitation, he agreed).
  7. Bowen Lodge would be informed of these informal discussions, asking for their cooperation and if they would be prepared to act as our sponsoring Lodge.
  8. If so inclined, to give notice of motion at their February meeting to enable a Petition be prepared to be signed by their Master and Wardens at their March 1948 meeting.
  9. A sub-committee be formed to deal with the detail of the Cestreham Lodge formation.

By any standards a most successful ‘prospective founders’ meeting. It is interesting to note that ‘a collection was made to defray the cost of hire of the room’ which raised the sum of seven shillings (35p).

The sub-committee were exceedingly busy. Meeting at least fortnightly (indeed minutes of no less than seventeen meetings are recorded) and by the beginning of May the Petition had been completed. Bowen Lodge had readily agreed to act as Sponsor Lodge and their Master and Wardens had signed the petition at their March meeting after which it was submitted to Grand lodge, who approved it and allocated the number 6674. From the records, it is noted that there was one very disappointed founder who had attended the earlier meetings, Bro. H.R. (Ray) Harborne – not qualified to be a founder, being less than three years as a Master Mason. It was agreed that he ‘be invited to become an early joining member’.

Bro Ivo Nash, was the l;ast surviving member of the founders sadly passing away in 20xx. He was a regular attendee and Honorary Member of Cestreham until his death. The other founder member was abook manufacturer. Only three of the Founders were members of Bowen Lodge, though that Lodge was well represented at the consecration, there being 24 Bowen members present among the 74 guests.

The Consecration was performed by the Provincial Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother Major-general the Rt hon. The Lord Burnham, C.B., D.S.O., M.C., T.D. The grand Director of Ceremonies of the United Grand Lodge, Rt. W.Bro. Sir Gerald Wollaston, K.C.B., K.C.V.O., P.G.W., the Garter King of Arms of England, officiated as Director of Ceremonies. W.Bro. The Rev. D.J. Amies, acted as Chaplain and W.Bro. the Rev. Canon W.H.h. Elliot, the Provincial grand secretary acted as Secretary. With such military and ecclesiastical expertise to launch a Lodge, how could Cestreham do other than excel?

The spread of the founders’ professions is interesting:

Founder Master – Solicitor and recent Clerk to the Council

I.P.M. – Architect

S.W. – Gas Engineer

J.W. – Seeds Representative

Treasurer – Medical Officer of Health

Secretary – Surveyor and Highways Engineer

D.C. – Flag Manufacturer

S.D. – Confectioner and Caterer

J.D. – Estate Agent

A.D.C. – Garage Proprietor

I.G. – Builder and Contractor

Stewards – Licensed Victualler and the new clerk to Chesham Urban district Council, Ivo Nash

FOUNDERS & FIRST OFFICERS

 6TH July 1948

 Worshipful Master

W.Bro. BERNARD FRASER P.P.G.R.

 Acting I.P.M.

Bro. I. C. Powell F.R.I.B.A.

Senior Warden

Bro. R.S. Faulkner

Junior Warden  

Bro. A.W. Hoskin

Officers  (Non-Progressive)

  1. Bro. T. P. Evans M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., D.Ph., LGR. Treasurer
  2. Bro. R. E. Harris Secretary
  3. Bro. W. S. Chandler D.C.
  4. Bro. H.G. Goss S.D.

Senior Deacon

Bro. C. E. Howard

Junior Deacon

Bro. E. E. Mulkern A.D.C.

Inner Guard

Bro. A. W. G. Saunders

Stewards    

  1. Bro. E. Marriott
  2. Bro. W. I. Nash
  3. Bro. G. H. Barnes

Tyler

Bro. T. Theobald PPGD, Prov. G