On Tuesday 19th March, 22 Acting Provincial Officers of the year accompanied the PGM RWBro Alexander Sillars McLaren together with his Deputy PGM VWBro John Hartley Smith and Assistant PGMs WBro Gerald Noel Howard Young and VWBro David Hedley Thompson to the Sesqui-Centenary Celebration meeting of St Andrews Lodge No 34 in Salford.
Following the Appointment and Installation of Officers and the accompanying addresses, WBro Geoff Baillie PProvGJD the Lodge Secretary then gave us the history of the Lodge (a copy of which is given below *), which he had carefully researched and prepared.
The Provincial Grand Secretary, WBro David Rainford PGStwd then took the floor to read out the Sesqui-Centenary Warrant, which was subsequently presented to the newly installed WM Bro Christian by MWBro Benjamin Addy Past Pro Grand Master.
The normal business of the Lodge then followed and was subsequently closed following the recession of the Provincial Deputation accompanying the MW Past Pro Grand Master.
A short interval for refreshments followed, after which the Sussex Mark Ancient Re-enactment Team (SMART) took to the floor in period costume to treat us to an excellent Mark Degree Ceremony from 1761.SMART travel up and down the Country to perform the Ceremony and raise funds for the Mark Benevolent Fund by way of donations received (they don’t charge a fee) and to date have raised some £40,000 for the Mark Benevolent Fund !
At the Social Board which ended the evening, they were presented with a very generous donation of £1500 by St Andrews, who also gave every Brother attending a Mark Penny which had been specially minted for the occasion.
A most memorable afternoon and evening was had by all; many thanks WBro Geoff Baillie, Lodge Secretary for organising it all and for the work put in to the Lodge history.
Pics by WBro Tony Blore – Words by WBro Garry Errock ProvAGSec.
* Brief History of St Andrews Lodge No.34 EC 22 SC
On the 13th March 1869 a meeting was held at the Bush Hotel,254 Deansgate, Manchester present at the meeting were Charles Fitzgerald Matier, William Wayne and John Adam Whyatt they were informed that an application had been made to Supreme Grand Chapter of Scotland to form a lodge of Mark Masters St Andrews Lodge No.22 under the Scottish constitution. The warrant was granted and the consecration by officers of St Johns Lodge No.2 SC took place on the 27th May 1869, the first RWM was CF Matier.
In 1865 the Grand Master Rev.GR Portal agreed that St Andrews Lodge could continue to operate the OLD WORKINGS and that the WM lost the title RWM the document issued confirmed that we are Mark Master and not Mark Masons.
After a short time enquiries were made at the then Masonic Temple on Cooper Street and it was resolved that the Lodge move there for an annual rent of 8 Guineas with the first recorded Banquet priced at 5/- the lodge met there for 6o years.
At the regular meeting of the Grand Mark Lodge of Mark Masons Red Lion Square, High Holborn a petition presented by the Provincial Grand Master of Lancashire confirmed that in simple terms St Andrews Lodge of Mark Masters could now be named under the English constitution as lodge no. 34. This document further confirms the point which was always hammered home by the late HG Bartlett that the members of St Andrew’s are not Mark Masons but Mark Masters.
In 1873 the strength of the lodge was a nominal 39 but in October 1874 the WM pointed out the irregularity of their attendance and their uniform late arrival, attendances were in the region of 15 to 20 one of the regular officers of the lodge was designated “Timekeeper” and ranked next after Treasurer this office is usually held by the father of the lodge presently one of our honorary members WBro JM Clerc.
In 1881 the founding Master WBro CF Matier tendered his resignation, he accepted Honorary membership and for many years continued to install incoming Masters. In 1887 he became Assistant Grand Secretary and was appointed Grand Secretary in 1889 an office he held until his death in 1914 in April of that year all Lodges were ordered to assume three months of mourning.
In 1880 the Earl of Kintyre became a joining member he never attended and in 1883 he was elected an honorary member. He became Grand Master from 1884 to 1886.an important milestone in the history of Mark Masonry had occurred in February 1879 when WBro CF Matier Proposed that the sanction of St Andrew’s Lodge be given to a petition being presented to the Grand Lodge of Mark Masons requesting permission to establish a Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners under the warrant of St Andrews Mark Lodge this lodge was formed under the name of “United Manchester” which is still in existence today.
In 1915 it was resolved that letters of sympathy should be sent to all members whose sons had been killed in action. Unhappily this became a regular feature of the minutes for the next three years.
In 1918 it was resolved that because of rising costs visitors would be paid for by their hosts.
In 1929 the Lodge agreed that the September meeting would be held at the new Masonic temple at Bridge Street, Manchester.
It was proposed in April 1935 that St Andrews become a “keystone Lodge” it was not until April 1942 that the proposition was finally passed.
There are still theories as to the naming of the Lodge,
1) Matiers wife was born in the parish of St Andrew’s Holborn
2) Matier was the substitute Master of St Andrew No. 48 Edinburgh
3) He was already a member of St Andrew’s Conclave No. 15.
We have 3 daughter Lodges which are “Manchester Keystone” Constitution Mark and Canon Taylor we were responsible for consecrating Furness Mark Lodge N0 36 in 1870 and have a RAM Lodge which is United Manchester thankfully not the other way round.Having provided Grand Lodge with a Grand Master and a Grand Secretary it was expected that some quiet years would ensue.
The three silver mounted mahogany gavels were presented in 1913 by WBro HG Bartlett and WBro LA Thomas in1932 WBro HG Bartlett made and presented the collection box which is in the shape of a keystone, in 1945 he presented the cut out of a mallet and chisel.
During the War years the lodge was attended and supported by some of our brethren from the United States of America both joining members and members who were advanced, Brother Toft Chapmen who was advanced in St Andrews during the war years found an ivory mallet and silver chisel in an antique shop he presented them to the Lodge before he returned home. There followed many years of reducing membership which was then followed by surges and again reduction.
WBro George Reid who was a founder of a successful Craft Lodge in Salford was charged with the task of somehow increasing the membership of St Andrews his idea brought us to where we are today the first meeting at Hemsley House was August 19th 1997 and we have been meeting as a lunchtime Lodge since that date we are in our fourth year without a Past Master in the chair and are looking forward to the same for the next two at least.
With thanks to WBro JM Clerc and past members of St Andrews Lodge No.34. for providing the basis for the brief History.
Geoffrey N Baillie