In The Freemason magazine on 24 September 1910, page 196, (less than a month before the Consecration) reference was made to the impending Consecration of the Lodge and it was stated that ‘This interesting event will shortly take place under the auspices of the Province of Cheshire, and be carried into effect at Thornton Manor, the home of Bro. W.H. Lever, P.P.G.W.’ This is the only record of any such intention and in fact it never happened as the ceremony took place in the Hunter St. Lodge Room in Chester.
Prior to the consecration ceremony, members and visitors were given a conducted tour of the newly completed Freemasons’ Hall in Hunter Street, Chester (The Provincial Grand Master, Lord Egerton, had laid the foundation stone on 24 May 1909). This included an inspection of all the rooms and the kitchen and so it seems likely that this was the first important event to take place there. It was recorded in the local press as an ‘unprecedented gathering of brethren’ and ‘a ceremonial unique in the history of Masonry’. The Chester brethren were both delighted by the large influential attendance and by the praises passed upon their new hall.
The Lodge of King Solomon’s Temple (3464) was consecrated at 3.00 pm on 19 October 1910 at Freemasons’ Hall, Hunter Street, Chester by the Right W. Bro. the Right Hon. Lord Egerton of Tatton, P.G.W., Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master of Cheshire. Before the arrival of Lord Egerton and the Provincial Officers a lodge was opened with Bro. George Barlow, WM of the Lodge of Independence in the Chair. A Provincial Lodge was then formed and brevet rank was conferred by the P.G.M. as follows:
Past Provincial Grand Senior Wardens: G. Hammond Danby, John Mayers (Chester), Jos. Clarke (Birkenhead), G.F. Bird and James Hamilton.
Past Provincial Grand Junior Wardens: G. Holland, A. Saunders and E.G. Parker.
Past Provincial Grand Registrars: A.E.G. Wallace and A.S. Edwards.
This ended the business of the Provincial Grand Lodge.
As a preface to the Consecration Ceremony, which he said he was conducting under the direction of the Duke of Connaught the Grand Master, Lord Egerton said that a word more than the ordinary ought to be said seeing that the lodge about to be consecrated had such a remarkable name and purpose. The idea of the brethren who had petitioned for and founded this lodge, which had received the approval of Grand Lodge, was that the Temple of King Solomon ought to be commemorated in some way by Masons at Jerusalem. It was at first proposed that this lodge should actually hold its meetings in the underground quarries of Jerusalem from which the stone for King Solomon’s Temple was extracted. That might still take place, he said, but meanwhile, as there were difficulties to be overcome, the lodge would meet at Chester and devote itself largely to Masonic research, pending a possible transfer to Jerusalem.
The impressive consecration was then performed by the P.G.M. (the Consecrating Officer) assisted by a number of Grand and Provincial Officers which included:
W. Bro. Lieutenant-Colonel H. Cornwall Legh, Deputy Provincial Grand Master;
W. Bros. Owen Jones and R. Cecil Davies as Wardens;
W. Bro. Berry as DC;
Bro. Rev. C.A. Griffin (Chester) as Provincial Chaplain;
W. Bro. F. Broadsmith P.A.G.Reg., Provincial Grand Secretary; W. Bro. J. H. Vernon P.S.G.W.; W. Bro. C. Kenworthy P.J.G.W.; W. Bro. W.J.R. Boler P.G.Reg.,; W. Bro. Rev. W.C. Thistlethwaite M.A. P.G.Chap.; W. Bro. James Cookson A.G.D.C. (Eng.); W. Bro. C.S. Brewer P.P.S.G.W.; W. Bro. Samuel J. West P.S.G.D.; W. Bro. Robert Brown P.J.G.D.; W. Bro. Ralph Blackwell P.G.Swd.B.; W. Bro. Edward Johnson P.G.Std.B.; W. Bro. Elias Wild P.G.Pursvt.; W.Bro. S. Thompson P.G.Tyler.
Although in the Consecration literature W. Bro. William Hesketh Lever was recorded as a Presenting Officer, he did not attend the ceremony. The day before (the 18th) he had been initiated into a ‘Cryptic Degree’ and he did not return home until lunchtime on the 19th and that evening, together with his wife, he attended the Port Sunlight Adult Bible Class where he delivered an address.
All the Founders and Officers Designate of the Lodge wore evening dress; for the other brethren present this was optional. There were 28 Founder Members and 60 visitors present.
On entering the Lodge, with the Provincial Officers, the P.G.M. as Consecrating Officer took the Chair and appointed his Officers pro tem. The Lodge was then opened in the Three Degrees after which a hymn (the Opening Ode) was sung. The P.G.M. and the Grand Officers were saluted and the P.G.M. addressed the Brethren on the purpose of the meeting and called upon the Chaplain to offer prayer. Next the DC addressed the P.G.M. who replied and gave directions on how to proceed. The DC arranged the Founders of the new Lodge in order and the Warrant was read by the Provincial Grand Registrar. The P.G.M. enquired if the Founders approved of the Officers named in the Warrant whereupon they signified their approval in Masonic form.
An Oration was given by the Chaplain, Bro. Rev. C.A. Griffin, on ‘The Nature and Purposes of Freemasonry’ in which he devoted his address chiefly to the lessons to be drawn from the building and plan of King Solomon’s Temple and reminded each of the Brethren of an individual duty to erect a spiritual temple.
An Anthem was sung: ‘Behold how good and joyful a thing it is for Brethren to dwell together in unity …’ after which the first portion of the Dedication Prayer was delivered. The Brethren turned to the East and the P.G.M. gave the Invocation which was followed by the Chaplain reading II Chronicles, Chapter ii, Verses 1 to 16.
The Lodge board was uncovered and the P.G.M. and Wardens carried the Elements of Consecration three times around the Lodge, halting in the East after each perambulation. The fourth circuit was made by the Consecrating Officer alone. Before the first circuit the Brethren sang: ‘When once of old in Israel, …’ and during the first perambulation the P.G.M. strew corn – the Emblem of Plenty saying ‘I scatter,’ etc. – ‘May the Almighty,’ etc. after which the Chaplain read Psalm 72, Verse 16. This was followed by a musical response ‘Glory be to God on high’. The P.G.M. then dedicated the Lodge to Masonry from the East saying ‘In the Name, …’ etc.
Before the second circuit the Brethren sang: ‘When there, a shrine to Him alone they build with worship, sin to foil, …’ and during this second perambulation wine was poured – the Emblem of Joy and Gladness – and the words ‘I pour wine,’ etc. ‘May God,’ etc. were spoken. The Chaplain read Nehemiah, Chapter x, Verse 39 which was followed by the musical response ‘Glory be to God on high’ and the P.G.M. dedicated the Lodge from the East to Virtue, saying: ‘In the Name, …’ etc.
Prior to the third circuit the Brethren sang: ‘And we have come, fraternal bands, …’ and during this perambulation oil was poured – the Emblem of Unity – and the words ‘I pour oil,’ etc. ‘May he whose’ etc. were spoken. The Chaplain read Exodus, Chapter xxx, Verses 25 and 26 which was followed by the musical response ‘Glory be to God on high’ and the Lodge was dedicated from the East to Universal Benevolence by saying ‘In the Name, …’ etc.
The Founders (of which 28 were present) were arranged in order around the Tessellated Pavement and before the fourth circuit the Brethren sang: ‘To build on the great Corner Stone …’ after which the P.G.M. perambulated the Lodge alone scattering salt – the Emblem of Friendship, saying – ‘I sprinkle salt’ etc. Leviticus, Chapter ii, Verse 13 was read by the Chaplain which was again followed by the musical response ‘Glory be to God on high’. The Lodge was dedicated from the Chair with the words ‘In the Name, …’ etc. after which the Sanctus was sung ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, …’.
The Chaplain then carried the Censer round the Lodge three times, halting and censing the chairs of the Worshipful Master, Senior Warden and Junior Warden saying – ‘And Aaron shall burn, …’ etc. and at the end of the third perambulation he halted at the East and delivered the second portion of the Dedication Prayer. The Founders faced the East and the P.G.M. Constituted the Lodge saying – ‘In the name of the Most Worshipful Grand Master, I constitute you, …’ etc. After the Founders resumed their seats the following Anthem was sung:
This was followed by the Patriarchal Benediction after which the P.G.M. vacated the Chair in favour of the Installing Master (W. Bro. Frederick Broadsmith P.G.Sec.) and the Lodge was resumed in the Second Degree. The first Regular Meeting of the Lodge then commenced.
This first meeting followed directly on from the Consecration when The Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W. Bro. Lieutenant-Colonel Cornwall Legh and W. Bro. David Lythall Hewitt (Mayor of Chester) presented W. Bro. Robert Freke Gould P.G.D., the Master nominated in the Warrant of Constitution, for the benefit of Installation. On opening the Lodge in the Third Degree, a Board of Installed Masters was convened and ‘according to ancient custom’ W. Bro. Gould was installed as Worshipful Master.
W. Bro. William Hesketh Lever was appointed to act as the Immediate Past Master (although he was not present) and the Lodge closed down through the Second to the First Degree after which both the Senior and Junior Wardens (W. Bro. Albert Ephraim Coveney and W. Bro. Albert J. Thompson respectively) were introduced to the P.G.M. who directed that they should be conducted to their Chairs. A ballot was taken for the Office of Treasurer which proved in favour of Bro. Dr Henry Keays Bentley P.P.G.S. and upon a show of hands W. Bro. John Scott P.P.G.Supt.Works was elected Tyler. The W.M. then appointed and invested his Officers:
Local Charity St.
W. Bro. W.H. Lever P.P.G.W. (Afterwards Lord Leverhulme)
W. Bro. A.E. Coveney P.P.G.W.
W. Bro. A.J. Thompson P.P.G.W. (Shelley-Thompson)
Bro. Rev. Canon W.R. Yates
W. Bro. Dr J.G. Gibson P.P.G.Chap. (Durham)
Bro. Dr H. Keays Bentley
W. Bro. J. Clarke P.P.G.W
Bro. J.N. Hargreaves
Bro. T.G. Lumley Smith
W. Bro. C.E. Keyser P.G.D. (Eng) D.P.G.M. (Herts)
W. Bro. A.E. Mitchell
Bro. Rev. H.C.P. Wilkinson
W. Bro. J.F. Swift P.P.G.O.
Bro. A.T. Wright
Bro. G.E. Osborne P.P.G.Std.
W. Bro. J.M. McLeod P.P.G.Swd.B.
W. Bro. C. Woods
W. Bro. M.M. Robertson
W. Bro. A. Le Fre
W. Bro. C.G.R. Stephens
W. Bro. W.S. Tafner
W. Bro. F.K. Cooke
Bro. H.E. Clarke
Bro. H. Mathison
Bro. Herbert E. Clarke (Jerusalem)
Bro. Henry Mathison
W. Bro W.J. Kerr P.G. Treasurer (West Lancs.)
W. Bro. J. Scott P.P.G.Supt. Works.
The Installing Master (W. Bro. Frederick Broadsmith) delivered the Addresses to both the Master and the Wardens whilst the Charge to the Brethren was given by W. Bro. William Henry Davies P.P.G.Swd.B.
A committee was appointed to frame the Bye-Laws of the Lodge and it was announced that the Collars and Jewels for the Officers and the Founders Jewels for several of the members (including one for the P.G.M.) had been very generously donated by the Immediate Past Master W. Bro. William Hesketh Lever.
The following 31 Brethren were then proposed as Joining Members:
The Right Rev. The Lord Bishop of Chichester P.G.Chaplain
The Right Rev. Bishop Gwynne, District Grand Chaplain of Egypt
Bro. Dr Donald A. Coles (Physician and Surgeon)
Bro. Captain Gloster
Bro. Rev. Canon F.D. Newham
Bro. Connop Perowne (Gentleman)
Bro. Rev. Dr Chetwynd Atkinson P.P.G. Chaplain
Bro. Rev. Canon J. Carnegie Brown
Bro. L. Holt Hardman (Chartered Accountant)
Bro. E. George Hensman [Gentleman - he was on the Founders’ List!]
Bro. J.G.A. Lawson (Medical Student)
Bro. A.N. McLeod (Gentleman)
Bro. Alexander McLellan (Master Stevedore)
Bro. Frederick Bulmer (Dramatist)
Bro. George John Garnett (Corn Merchant)
Bro. Henry Thomas Luton (Corn Merchant)
Bro. William Truesdale (Corn Merchant)
Bro. J.F. Wood (Theatre Proprietor)
Bro. Stuart Donnithorne (Gentleman)
Bro. Charles Hornstein (Gentleman)
Bro. G. Salamer (Agent for Messrs. Cook’s)
Bro. A. Datzi (Gentleman)
Bro. A.R. Perkins (Gentleman)
Bro. W. Houldsworth Lunn (Gentleman)
Bro. Rev. Charles Alfred Griffin
W. Bro. J. Taylor-Davies P.P.G.S.
W. Bro. Rev. Dr Reginald W. Williams (Vicar of Minsterley, Salop)
Bro. E.H. Godsland (Gentleman)
Bro. W.W. Hook (Manager)
W. Bro. George Proudman P.P.G.Reg. (Town Councillor)
Bro Dr Dawson (Physician and Surgeon)
Nothing further appearing for the good of Freemasonry in general or of this Lodge in particular it was closed in due and solemn form. Following the Consecration Ceremony a banquet was held at 5.30 pm – the tickets were 1 guinea (£1.05p) each including wines.
W. Bro. Robert Freke Gould, the new Worshipful Master, presided and both he and W. Bro. A.J. Thompson made interesting speeches. The Lodge did not take Initiates, only Master Masons, and pending a possible transfer to Jerusalem in the future decided to devote itself largely to Masonic research. However, during his speech, Bro. A.J. Thompson announced that within the next twelve months it was hoped to ‘initiate’ into the Lodge in Chester eight gentlemen who were coming from Jerusalem especially for the purpose. It would appear from a search of the minutes that no ‘initiates’ were introduced, whereas within the year there were a number of Joining Members from Jerusalem – the word ‘initiate’ would seem to have been used in a casual sense.
The musical programme for the evening was under the direction of Bro. E. Robinson, Choirmaster of St John’s Church, Chester assisted by the Organists of the Lodge W. Bro. J.F. Swift and Bro. Rev. H.C.P. Wilkinson F.R.C.O.