At the conclusion of the
Ceremony of Consecration of the Old Wilsonians' Lodge several of the Brethren
expressed their regret that no record had been kept of the proceedings at the
Banquet. In the following notes an attempt has been made to supply such a
record and to incorporate in it a report of events leading up to the
Wherever possible , speeches
have been reported verbatim in order that the "atmosphere" of the
proceedings should, as nearly as possible, be recaptured.
Although the formation of the Masonic Lodge for Old
Wilsonians' had been discussed many times in previous years the idea had never
quite taken definite shape until just after the World War 1939/1945.
War the activities of the Old Wilsonians' had almost entirely ceased, but in
November, 1946 a General Meeting was held at the School, for the purpose of
resuscitating the Association. At the close of this meeting two of the Old
Boys, who had privately been discussing the possibility of forming an Old
Wilsonians' Masonic Lodge, approached Mr Jerry S. Lee, Headmaster of the School and
President of the OWA, whom they knew to be a Mason, and mentioned the subject
later in February 1947, a Re-union Dinner was held at which the President
mentioned the possibility of a Lodge being formed. As a result of this
announcement, a notice appeared in the Old Wilsonians' Chronicle, as follows:-
The Headmaster would be glad to hear of Old Boys who
would like to be considered for admission to an Old
Wilsonians Masonic Lodge if one
is formed in the near
future. The information has been received so far
suggests that there is a good
prospect of this scheme
The Headmaster received communication from some 25 Old Boys
who desired to assist in Founding the Lodge and from twenty Old Boys who asked
to be considered as Candidates for Initiation.
meetings were held, records of which are contained in the Founders' Minute Book
and an application was made to the Grand Secretary for permission to form a
Lodge for Old Boys, Fathers of Old Boys and Masters and Governors of the
White, the Grand Secretary, thereupon arranged to meet Bro. Jerry Lee, as Headmaster
of the School and W.Bro. Cyril Maddison-Roberts, as suggested Master-Designate
and, having discussed the project with the two Brethren, agreed to their taking
to the Founders the necessary form of Petition.
meantime some of the Founders had traveled abroad to such places as Belfast
and even Queensland, Australia, and so the Petition Form had to be sent to the
far-distant Brethren for their signatures. At least all the necessary
signatures were obtained and the Petition was submitted to the Edward Alleyn
Lodge No. 4328, the Lodge formed in connection wit the Old Boys of Alleyn's
School, Dulwich, whose members had agreed to sponsor the Petition.
27th November 1947 the Master and Wardens of the Edward Alleyn Lodge signed as
sponsors in the presence of W.Bro. Cyril Maddison-Roberts and Bros. Jerry Lee,
and Sidney Stevens, the proposed Master and Wardens-Designate and the Acting
Secretary to the Founders of the proposed Old Wilsonians' Lodge.
banquet following the meeting W.Bro. Tyson, D.C. of the Edward Alleyn Lodge,
proposed the toast of " The Old Wilsonians' Lodge", mentioning the
friendship between various members of his Lodge and Bro. Lee and also the
strong ties which existed between the two schools especially during the War,
when many Wilson's boys were "adopted" as temporary scholars of
W.Bro. C. Maddison-Roberts replying to this toast, said:-
It is not, by any means, the first time in history
that the names Alleyn and Wilson have been connected. We Wilsonians'
may, I think, take some justifiable pride from the fact that when he was in the
process of founding his College of God's Gift at Dulwich, Edward Alleyn,
according to entries in his diary, spent a good deal of time in the company of
his friend and spiritual advisor, Edward Wilson, Vicar of Camberwell, who, four
years previously, had founded the School which is so dear to Old Wilsonians.
Are we wrong in assuming that the
experience which Vicar Wilson had gained when founding his establishment in 1615
was not without influence on his parishioner, performing a similar task in
1619? Is it merely a coincidence that
the Rev. Samuel Wilson, a kinsman of our
Founder, was appointed by Edward Alleyn as the first Preacher and
Fellow of the College? Anyway, we know
for a fact that, as Edward Wilson lay on his deathbed, the kindly Mrs Alleyn travelled from Dulwich and Edward Alleyn himself called on his way from
London to enquire after their old friend.
The connection between the Schools
did not end with the passing of the Founders, for in 1644 a House of Commons
Committee appointed one Edmund Coleby to be the Schoolmaster at Dulwich, while
his kinsman, Jas. Coleby was elected Master of Wilson's. A few years later J.Bradfield Headmaster at
Dulwich fell in love with the daughter of the then Vicar of Camberwell, and to
be near to her, resigned his position at Dulwich and was elected Master at
Wilson's and married the lady of his choice.
So close has the connection between
the schools become by the middle of the Victorian era that when the College was
proposing to establish a new School from the old Lower School, the Charity
Commissioners actually approved a scheme to combine the resources of the two
foundations and build one large new school on the site now occupied by
Wilson's. The scheme was dropped,
however, and each School went it's own way, the new, revived Wilsons coming
into being just four years earlier than Alleyn's School, just as the original Wilson's had ante-dated Alleyns
original College by the same period.
It is not surprising, therefore,
that when the OLD WILSONIANS ASSOCIATION found in its heart that it was
prepared to be made a Mason, it should apply to its age-old friend for
assistance in this matter.
Worshipful Master and Brethren of
Edward Alleyn Lodge, we Old Wilsonians thank you for your great kindness to us
today and we trust that the connection between Alleyn and Wilson, that
has existed for nearly three and a half centuries, may continue from generation
to generation until time, with us, shall be no more"
Within a few minutes of its being sponsored the
petition form was delivered to the Grand
Secretary's Office in order that it might be considered at the quarterly
meeting of the Grand Master's Council held on the following Wednesday. A few days later, the Grand Secretary
summoned the Master Designate and W. Bro. Stelling, who was to be the Lodge
Secretary, to Freemasons Hall and arranged that the Lodge should be consecrated
by the Right Worshipful the Assistant Grand Master on Friday 30th January 1948.
appointed day the Founders gathered in Lodge Room No. 9 at Freemasons Hall at 2
o'clock and were rehearsed in the Consecration ceremonial duties by W. Bro. S.
Kingsley Tubbe, Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies.
o'clock, the Founders and Visitors being assembled, the Consecrating Officer,
R.W. Bro. Brig. Gen. W.H.V. Darell, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., A.G.M. entered the
Temple escorted by several Grand Lodge Officers. On taking the Chair the Consecrating Officer
Thomas Aubertin, Grand Treasurer to act
as Senior Warden.
Instr. Rear Admiral Sir Arthur Hall, K.B.E., C.B., P.G.D., to act as J.W.
C.H. Mosse, M.A., P.A.G., Chaplain, to act as Chaplain.
Sydeny A. White, M.V.O., to take his place as Grand Secretary.
Kingsley Tubbs, D.G.D.C. to act as Director of Ceremonies.
Sanger, A.G.D.C. to act as I.G.
and the ceremony of Consecration proceeded in due form as
recorded in the Lodge Minutes.
course of the Ceremony the Chaplain delivered the following Oration :-
Our lives have many roots, some small and
thin, others great and deep. For many of
us one of the deepest and strongest of the roots which have helped most in the
foundation of our characters, is the experience of our schooldays. The Founders of this Lodge have had the
privilege of spending those days in an ancient and historic foundation. At a time when our national life was in a
period of great expansion, when English literature was at its best and when the
spirit of adventure was new and vigorous, Edward Wilson founded his School in
I have no doubt that those of you
who can claim the proud title of OLD WILSONIAN have much to be thankful for as
you look back upon your schooldays. The
memory of those days and their events forms a strong tie which binds you to one
another; because although your lives are now lived in many varying ways and you
each have many different roots through which your life is fed, there is one
root in the life of each of you which goes back to the end of the 16th Century
and through which your own life has been nourished from ground which is common
to all the children of Edward Wilson.
But what is true of the tie which
binds each of you to Wilson's Grammar School is true also for the common bond
of Freemasonry. Here indeed is a root of
men's lives which is great and strong.
And it is our duty this afternoon to consider what it is which gives
this root its vital power to lift men's lives to the practice of high ideals
and to bind us together in brotherhood possessed of so much that is of benefit
to Mankind. I suggest to you that the
chief source of strength for our Masonic life is indicated in some words of
that Exhortation and Charge which is the Focal Point; the Climax of the 3rd
Degree. When we have been reminded of
the prospect of futurity, of a state of life yet to come, we are told to CONTINUE
TO LISTEN TO THE VOICE OF NATURE WHICH BEARS WITNESS THAT EVEN IN THIS PERISHABLE
FRAME RESIDES A VITAL AND IMMORTAL PRINCIPLE WHICH INSPIRES A HOLY CONFIDENCE
THAT THE LORD OF LIFE WILL ENABLE US TO TRAMPLE THE KING OF TERRORS BENEATH OUR
This vital and immortal principle
which is inherent in every human being is the ability to do right, and
"masonically", our attention was first drawn to this principle when,
as Initiates, we were told to stand perfectly erect, our feet formed in a
square, our bodies being thus the emblem of our minds and our feet of the
rectitude of our actions.
We are living in days when it is
becoming increasingly difficult to do right and the temptations to deviate from
perfect correctness of behaviour are almost overwhelmingly strong. Yet moral
integrity will never cease to be the sole means of gaining future happiness.
High principles, true and right ideals, are set before us in our ritual because
they are the only means of maintaining the dignity of man. As members of our Ancient and honourable Institution , a
responsibility is laid upon us to uphold these standards in the face of hostile
conditions; a responsibility which is commensurate with the greatness of the
need for doing so in these days.
There has recently been a great
increase in the numbers of our Lodges, for which we can be truly thankful,
since it means that more and more just and upright men of sound judgement and
strict morals are being brought in to strengthen this great Fraternity and
assist it by their witness to the
principles and tenets of our craft. There is no doubt I our minds that the
members of this lodge, which is now about to be consecrated, will maintain and
uphold the honourable traditions of the Order and bear effective witness to its
power for good in the world today."
At the conclusion of the Consecration Ceremony W.Bro. Cyril
Maddison-Roberts was Installed as the First Master of the Lodge by the Right
Worshipful the Assistant Grand Master, and then proceeded to invest the acting
IPM, the Wardens Designate, the Treasurer and to appoint and invest the other
Officers. The addresses to the Master, Wardens and Brethren were delightfully
delivered by the V.W.Bro. Sydney A.White, M.V.O., Grand Secretary, W.Bro.
Instr. Rear Admiral Sir Arthur Hall, K.B.E., C.B., P.G.D., and V.W.Bro. Thomas
Aubertin, Grand Treasurer, respectively.
Consecrating Officers were elected as Honorary Members of the Lodge and eight
Old Wilsonians' had been proposed for Initiation after which the Lodge was
closed in perfect harmony.
of the Brethren about one hundred strong was then assembled in the Cambria
Suite of the Connaught Rooms, taking their places in accordance with the
illustrated plan delightfully executed by the J.W. Bro. R. I. Williams, which
is kept among the Lodge records. Then
followed a Banquet served in accordance with the existing regulations of the
Ministry of Food.
Brethren joined together in singing the musical Grace, after which the Master
rose to propose 1. The King and the Craft, and 2. The Most Worshipful Master,
His Grace the Duke of Devonshire, K.G., both of which were received Loyally and
The Master then proposed the toast
of The Deputy Grand Master, Assistant Grand Master and the other Officers of
the UNITED GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND, PRESENT AND PAST, coupled with the name of
V.W. Bro. Thomas Aubertin, Grand Treasurer.
In proposing this toast the Master
alluded to the fact that "in 1786
the Ancient Grand Lodge marched in procession from Newington to Camberwell,
attended Divine Service at the Parish Church of St. Giles, immediately adjacent
to Wilson's School and afterwards dined together at Grove House, Camberwell,
with Masonic toasts in usual form".
do not suppose" he said "that we shall ever be privileged to
entertain the Grand Lodge en masse as did our ancient brethren of that time,
but I do want to assure the Grand Officers, present and past that if ever they
find it possible , individually or collectively, to make the journey to
Camberwell and join our assemblies, they will receive a welcome just as warm as
that accorded to their forebears by our Ancient Brethren, even if the
entertainment they receive may be somewhat more austere than was the practice
in those former days."
V.W. Bro Aubertin said that he found
himself rather at a loss in replying in the presence of the Assistant Grand
Master to a toast in which the eminent Mason was expressly named, while he (The
Grand Treasurer) was only one of a crowd.
There was, however, one aspect of the Grand Lodge which he, personally
could mention with some authority, namely, Finance, since he had recently been
preparing the Accounts for presentation to Grand Lodge.
"In fact" said V.W. Bro. Aubertin "I think I can give
you some information which is not yet generally known, the affairs of Grand
Lodge are in a satisfactory state" (laughter)
Then he added as an after thought
"subject to audit". (more laughter)
Master and Brethren" he concluded "on behalf of the Grand Officers I
thank you and wish you in this Old Wilsonians Lodge every success."
The Toast of the Consecrating Officers
was then proposed by the W.Master, who pointed out the Chief Consecrating
Officer held a position which, in the annals of the Grand Lodge of England, was
quite unique, since he was the first and only Assistant Grand Master that Grand
Lodge had ever had.
who have seen him preside at Grand Lodge " he said, "Know with what
dignity and charm he upholds that high position, and it is not only in masonry
that he has risen to eminence by merit"
time of war the idol of the British Nation is the fighting man. Well, as a
gallant soldier Brig. Gen. Darell has indeed served his King and Country well,
as is shown by the many orders and decorations which His Majesty has been
pleased to confer upon him.
peace, the admiration of the people of this country is turned towards the
giants of the sporting world, here, indeed, the name of Darell is one to
conjure with. Some of my friends never
tire of telling me that I have little enough to recommend me personally, but I
do make one claim to fame if only of a reflected kind. I was born in a year which in sport is looked
upon as a vintage year... the year when W.H.V. Darell won the diamond
sculls. We Old Wilsonians are proud to
be associated with such a distinguished man and mason.
are proud, too, and I think our Assistant Grand Master must be proud of the
eminent brethren who have assisted him in what we hope may come to be thought
of as this great and glorious undertaking.
They are indeed a very efficient team, or, since there are so many 'wet
bobs' among them, should I say, a very able crew?
Oration by the Chaplain will inspire us in our Masonic work for a long time to
come. We shall not readily forget that
oration. Neither shall we readily forget
the addresses so delightfully rendered by the Grand Secretary and the
Wardens. I thought the idea of selecting
a Director of Education to address the Headmaster of a School as Warden of a
School Lodge was a particularly happy one.
whole ceremony was, in fact, delightful and not least responsible for its being
so was the Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies (loud applause) with his ever
watchful eye and his ever ready hand and tongue.
if I may be allowed to say so, the Piece de Resistance, in my opinion, lay in
the paradox in connection with the appointment of the Inner Guard; a most
ingenious paradox, for we had today the Director of a famous News Reel Company
keeping from our Consecration Ceremony the eyes and ears of the world."
Acting Inner Guard was W. Bro. Sanger, A.G.D.C., (a Director of British
Movietone News Ltd)
these things you have seen and heard and must have admired for yourselves, but
there is an aspect of our Consecration Ceremony to which I must refer, for
although it is not so apparent, yet nevertheless it has played a tremendous
part in the success of this afternoon's proceedings.
Founders cannot be too grateful for the great help, the kindness and
consideration which have been shown to us all, and, may I say, to the master in
particular, not only this afternoon but in all arrangements leading up to it,
by Bro. Kingsley Tubbs, D.G.D.C., and perhaps even more particularly by
V.Wor. Bro Sydney White, the Grand Secretary. (loud applause).
may English Masonry enjoy the valuable services of these eminent Masonic
stalwarts, giving instruction and assistance to the brethren of our
The R.W. The Assistant Grand Master,
Brig. Gen. W.H.V. Darell, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., replied in an amusing speech in
which he referred to the original Charter granted in 1615 by James I to Edward
Wilson, Vicar of Camberwell to found a Grammar School for the education of the
Children of his parish. He quoted, amid
much laughter, some of the Regulations drawn up by the Founder of the School,
such as :-
THE HEADMASTER SHALL BE SOUND IN
RELIGION, BODY AND MIND, GENTLE, SOBER, HONEST, VIRTUOUS, DISCREET AND APPROVED
FOR A GOOD FACILITY IN TEACHING. HE
SHALL BE A MAN OF WISE, SOCIABLE AND LOVING DISPOSITION, NOT HASTY AND FURIOUS
NOR OF EVIL EXAMPLE. SUCH AN ONE AS CAN
DISCERN THE NATURE AND DISPOSITION OF EVERY CHILD (IF SUCH AN ONE MAY BE
GOTTEN). HE SHALL NOT KEEP ANY HOUSE OF
VICTUALLING OR GAMING NOT FREQUENT ILL HOUSES.
THE SCHOLARS SHALL BE PROVIDED WITH
A LITTLE BIBLE, PSALM BOOK, PAPER, PENS, INK, SATCHELS, AND CANDLES IN WINTER.
THE MAIN SUBJECTS TAUGHT WERE TO BE
LATIN AND GREEK AND THE GAMES, WRESTLING, LEAPING, RUNNING, CHESS AND SHOOTING
WITH THE LONG BOW.
Lodge" said Brig. Darell, "though only just commencing its life
today, has all the advantages of ancient and splendid traditions.
at Grand Lodge, are delighted to see that neither of the wardens has been
through the Chair and that the Founders have stressed their intention of
encouraging young masons to advance in the Craft. We Consecrating Officers are proud to be
associated with such a Lodge, and we look forward confidently to its great
F.L. Ellen, L.G.R., P.P.G.W., (Berks) the Acting I.P.M. then rose to propose
the toast of the W.M.
words of mine" he said "are needed to recommend our W.M. to you.
Having seen his work in the Lodge today, I Know you will all readily receive
the toast which I now give you".
The W.M. in his reply said :-
years ago there was a small boy at Wilson's who, on one occasion, because of
some misdemeanour, was set the painful task of committing to memory a passage
from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. That
small boy stands before you now, and he sees around him the familiar faces of
his Schoolfellows, and in particular as he sees sitting in the West, in the
Seat of Shiva, the Destroyer, the Tyrant, who was responsible for his having to
learn that passage, certain words from it come back to his mind with startling
are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them.
by any stretch of imagination could I be included in either the first or the
second of those categories, but I do feel that today, at least to some extent,
greatness has been thrust upon me. For I
find myself as the chosen representative of the Founders replying to the first
Toast of the W.M. in the Old Wilsonians Lodge.
In that capacity it was my great privilege this afternoon to receive
from the hands of our Chief Consecrating Officer the Charter from the M.W. the
G.M. enabling us to hold this Lodge, which for some time has been the subject
of our dreams and desires, just as years ago, Edward Wilson received from his
Sovereign Lord King James the Charter enabling him to establish the School
which for so long had been the subject of his dreams and desires. May the results of our labours be as
satisfactory as have been the results of his.
well begun is half done" said the ancients, "and as I think, we are
all agreed, that a good beginning has been made today, it would seem that we
are already some way on the road to success.
are many points in our favour, not least of which is the fact that we are to
hold our meetings in Wilson's School itself.
have often felt that when I was about to be passed to the degree of F.C. and
was asked the question, 'Where were you first prepared to be made a Mason'? it
would not have been altogether surprising if, spontaneously, I had replied 'In
my School'. For the principles and
tenets of Freemasonry have been taught, albeit under another guise, in Wilson's
School from generation to generation, so the very atmosphere of the premises in
which we shall meet will be charged with a strong influence for good.
of other Old School Lodges have told me that they envy us this great
advantage. They envy us, too, the fact
that we shall have as one of our first Principal Officers, our Headmaster, who
will be such a splendid link between the various generations of Old Boys. Think, too, what a delightful and comforting
thing it will be for our candidates when they find themselves being prepared by
so popular and familiar figure as Bro. Burton, the School Porter. Whom we were
so glad to elect as Tyler this afternoon.
ours is to be a Lodge of definite personality, and its personality will be
further enhanced by the furniture, working tools and the like, which have been
fashioned and prepared with such care and such craftsmanship by the Founders
confess I did not realise when first it was suggested that I should be Charter
Master of this Lodge, that I should find myself presiding over a Lodge of
operative as well as speculative masons, but it has most certainly proved to be
we shall have the advantage of premises, of personality and of paraphernalia. Surely with all these advantages we ought to
make a success of it - but the final result will depend upon the members of the
Lodge themselves, in their attitude towards one another and to the rest of the
I hope I may not be considered presumptive if, to conclude, I quote you another
passage we learned in our School Days, words by Robert Louis Stevenson, which,
I think, express beautifully the principles of conduct which would ensure for our
Lodge the success it deserves:-
us grace and strength to forbear and to persevere. Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet
mind. Spare to us our friends; soften to
us our enemies. Bless us, if it may be,
in all our innocent endeavours, and, if it may not, give us the strength to
withstand that which is to come, that we may be brave in peril, constant in
tribulation, temperate in wrath, and in all changes of fortune, and down to the
gates of death, loyal and loving one to another.
The Toast of "The Visitors" was
proposed by the Senior Warden, Bro. Jerry.S. Lee, The Headmaster
of the School, who said:-
offer to our Visitors a very hearty welcome and we hope that they have enjoyed
the beautiful and impressive way in which the Consecration Ceremony was
conducted. It would be quite impossible
to refer individually to all the visiting Brethren, but we esteem it a
privilege to have among our guests this evening representatives of the Board of
Governors of the School. They have our
grateful thanks for granting our Lodge permission to hold its meetings in the
School premises. Our Founders are
delighted that the place which they have held in such affection since their
boyhood days is now available for them for instruction and improvement in Freemasonry.
are extremely fortunate in having a Worshipful Master Primus who combines
enthusiasm with efficiency in everything he undertakes and we have a body of
Officers who will strive to emulate his inspiring example.
believe that the great enterprise launched today will bring lasting benefit to
Freemasonry, to the Old Wilsonians Association and to the School.
are very grateful to the Edward Alleyn Lodge which sponsored our petition and
we much regret that the date fixed for our Consecration has clashed with their
Installation Meeting, but although they cannot be included among our guests at
this gathering they have sent us their best wishes and we offer them our
this occasion there are so many guests whose voices we would have liked to have
heard, but as the limited time will not permit more than one speaker, I couple
with this toast the name of W.Bro. L.H. Powell, P.M. of Gallery Lodge No. 1928
and Secretary of Heritage Lodge in which our W. Master was initiated. W.Bro. Powell was formerly a member of the
Parliamentary staff of The Times and now holds the important position of Press
Secretary to the Chamber of Shipping of the United Kingdom. I am sure we shall listen to his reply with
W.Bro. Powell, P.M. replied in the
perfect host is the man who does everything he possibly can to make his guests
feel at home..... even when he wishes they were.
any qualification whatever, W.M., your guests tonight unhesitatingly acclaim
you, your Wardens and your Lodge as perfect hosts. It follows, almost as a natural corollary,
that the perfect guest is he who stays as short a time as ordinary politeness allows; says 'Thank you'
and goes. But the worst fears of the
pessimists present are about to be realised.... I am not the perfect guest.
it would be ungracious and ungrateful if, speaking as I do on behalf of a large
and distinguished gathering of guests, I did not spend a moment or two in
thanking you for the opportunity you have given us of seeing a Ceremony of
fragrant beauty carried out with precision and dignity; and on a lower plane,
for all you have done to bring warmth and comfort into our somewhat dull and
W.M., there are several things about a Grand Lodge Officer which I envy. One is the beauty of his adornment .... for
Grand Lodge Officers are truly magnificent creatures! A second is the strength of his
convictions... even when you know he is wrong.
A third is the air of ineffable wisdom which seems to surround him. Indeed, in my Mother Lodge, the Gallery
Lodge, we had a dear old Grand Officer, who was for many years the political
correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, of whom it used to be said in the lobbies
of the House of Commons that no one could possibly be as wise as he looked!
with reference to the Gallery Lodge, I feel pained at the thought that in a
by-gone age the pupils at Wilson's School should have looked upon merely as a
sport what we as journalists regard as a very serious pursuit....'shooting or
drawing the long bow.
there is another attribute of the Grand Officer which I envy; and that is his
ability to ignore the subject of his toast and go off at more tangents and
cotangents than are ever thought of in trigonometry. It is this characteristic which I propose, W.
Master, with your permission..... or, indeed without it!.... to adopt for a few
regard it as peculiarly appropriate that I should be here this evening. I trust that will not be regarded as egotism,
for egotism is only a case of mistaken nonentity. Mine, W.Master, was the first
hand that grasped yours when you stepped over the threshold of
Freemasonry. It was I who guided you
through the intricate windings of your first journey. It was under my direction that you made your
first advance to the Greatest of the Three Great Lights.
well I recollect the occasion! Your
steps had, of necessity to be irregular. But there was nothing faltering about
them. With a bold, purposeful stride you
pressed eagerly forward and, in spite of my restraining hand, ended with a
resounding crash against the W. Master's pedestal. To misquote Shakespeare, 'O, what a knock was
that, my Brethren!' It was early in the
year, or the dying Caesar might well himself have rushed forth to see 'if
Brutus so unkindly knocked or no'. It
was a symbolic knock. We had released a
new turbulence into Freemasonry on that 22nd of February 1937, and by a process
of jet-propulsion you have been carried into the Chair of your Mother Lodge,
Heritage, No.5572, and into the Chair of this Lodge in the same year.
no longer need the restraining hand; he who was your guide and instructor is
now, in another capacity, your faithful servant. But you will find many anxious and eager to
restrain you and you will know how to deal with them, for your own good sense
and judgement will direct you.
now I discard the assumed prerogative of a Grand Lodge Officer and direct
myself to the toast. It is my firm
conviction that the Visitor plays a very important part in our Masonic
structure and I never cease from dwelling on the fact when proposing and
responding to this toast..... not, of course, simultaneously.
Visitors keep Officers and Brethren of a Lodge, particularly the Officers,
"on their toes". Their
presence stimulates and encourages; while what they observe to be praiseworthy
they can carefully imitate.
may know a Lodge by the visitors it invites; you may judge a visitor by the
Lodge to which he is invited. The Old
Wilsonians Lodge has, of course, yet to establish its traditions but it is
fortunate in having links with the past which are a guarantee, if one were
needed, that the visitors who come to it will conform to a high standard.
this Leap-Year, when the opposite sex is permitted, by custom, to exercise a
privilege denied to them in other years.
May I, on behalf of all your visitors, express the wish that this year,
and in all the years to come, Dame Fortune will smile on your Lodge."
After an interval for informal chats
and renewals of old friendships among the Brethren the proceedings were closed
by Bro. Burton who proposed the Tyler's Toast.