Town Band donation hits the right note.

South Molton’s Town Band will be playing some new tunes next summer thanks to a £1000 donation. 

Members of the Loyal Lodge of Industry attended Band practice this week to hand over a cheque from the
Devonshire Freemasons’ WAKE fund.

(L to R) Frank Handscombe (Secretary), Gil Taylor (Musical Director), Ray Kingdon (Chairman), Mike Latham (Worshipful Master)

Musical Director Gil Taylor explained..

“People rarely appreciate that one of the major expenses for a Brass Band is the purchase of new music.  Some competition pieces are over 10 minutes long and with 27 players in the band that adds up to a lot of sheet music.  A single piece can cost getting on for £100”.

Our support for the Town Band goes back decades.  Our Lodge’s current Master, Mike Latham added…

“ The Town Band are wonderful ambassadors for our community who have promoted South Molton far and wide across the country, even as far as the Albert Hall in London.  We are delighted to make this donation on behalf of Devonshire Freemasons, and look forward to hearing the band’s wonderful music around the town again soon”.

Band Chairman Ray Kingdon replied…

“We are enormously grateful to the members of The Loyal Lodge of Industry and Devonshire Freemasons for their continued support.  Covid-19 has seriously hampered our activities over the last couple of years and it is only through donations like this that we have been able to keep Brass Band music alive in our community.”

The band are currently preparing for a busy Christmas programme and look forward to getting back to competition in the New Year.


Our Story: Back in business!

Well…. we took a major step along the road back to normality this week when we held our first Installation meeting in almost 2 years! However it was a very different occasion this year as Covid safety compliance meant that numbers attending were restricted and the Ceremony was reduced to the bare essentials in order to minimise the time in the Temple.

Freemasons Hall in South Molton was built in the second half of the 19th Century, long before anyone thought about ventilation in the face of a pandemic! Our Trustees have put members’ health and safety first, which means we are having to curtail our activities until remedial ventilation upgrades are complete.

A major departure from normal practice meant that we were unable to welcome a delegation from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Devonshire who normally attend every Installation. However rather than view this as a problem, we saw it as an opportunity. The Presiding Officer was our long serving Secretary WBro. Frank Handscombe BEM, PJGD, and the addresses were given by our VGO WBro. Barry White, and Lodge members WBro. Peter Kyle and WBro. Richard Carney.

One particular aspect of the meeting was that it marked the end of three years as Master of the Lodge for WBro. John Finch. Having already committed to carry on for a second year following the sudden resignation of his Senior Warden in 2019, Covid meant that we have been unable to elect a successor until now. In presenting a Past Master’s jewel to John, Frank Handscombe paid tribute to the way John’s leadership, stamina and determination had held the Lodge together during a very difficult period.

Frank Handscombe presenting John Finch with his Past Master’s Jewel

His monthly Zoom meetings had proved to be a vital way of maintaining the spirit and enthusiasm of the members and ensuring that when the time came, we were ready to resume our normal activities.

As is usual on these occasions, the Lodge made substantial donations to both The Province of Devonshire’s Benevolent Fund and the 2023 Festival in aid of the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

Following the ceremonial part of the meeting we all repaired to the dining room where we enjoyed a sumptuous Festive Board of Tomato and Basil Soup, Roast loin of Pork (with crispy Crackling) and Apple and Blackberry Crumble with piping hot custard!

During his response to the Toast to the Province of Devonshire WBro Frank again paid tribute to the “extraordinary generosity” of the Lodge and it’s members, and passed on both the thanks and the good wishes of the Provincial Grand Master RWBro. Ian Kingsbury JP.

We now look forward to our November meeting!


Freemasons to become strategic partner of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award


The Freemasons have become a strategic partner of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), funding a new national programme to upskill its team and volunteers. The programme will also help enrol more schools and clubs, to ensure all young people have access to DofE.

Read the full story in Freemasonry Today at…

Charity News

Devonshire Freemasons support for Chemohero

Barnstaple’s Cancer Charity, Chemohero, received a further donation this week from Devonshire Freemasons’ WAKE fund at a socially distanced presentation held at Fremington Quay on Wednesday 28th April 2021.

Co-Founders of the Charity Lisa and Rob Wallis met with our Worshipful Master John Finch and Charity Steward Peter Kyle.

Chemohero provides “Boxes of Kindness” to patients attending North Devon District Hospital’s Seamoor Unit for Chemotherapy treatment.

Over 40 different items go into a box of kindness, some have been donated, some sponsored but most have been fundraised for by the North Devon community.

Since it was founded the Charity has donated over 1500 boxes.

The Loyal Lodge of Industry’s association with the charity began when John Finch himself received just such a box while attending the the hospital in 2019.  He recalled…

 “ Your first Chemotherapy appointment can be stressful and frightening.  Receiving a box such as this reminds you that you are not alone, and that there are people who know how you feel and who are willing to help make things easier for you”.

John Finch – Worshipful Master, Loyal Lodge of Industry No. 421
Commenting on the donation Lisa said…

“We are enormously grateful to South Molton’s Freemasons for their continued support.  During the pandemic our usual fund raising activities have been severely restricted,  so donations such as this are vitally important to allow us to continue our work.  I would like to extend our sincere thanks to both the Loyal Lodge of Industry, and Devonshire Freemasons for this wonderful gift”

Lisa Wallis – Co Founder, Chemohero.
Lisa and Rob Wallis
In reply Peter Kyle said…

“We are very pleased to be able to continue with our support of the wonderful work that Chemohero do to support members of the North Devon Community at what can be a very difficult time for them.  Freemasons do not raise funds from the public.  Every donation we make has been contributed by individual Freemasons and their families to help those less fortunate than themselves.  We are continuing to work with Chemohero to explore other funding opportunities with our national charity The Masonic Charitable Foundation.”

Peter Kyle – Charity Steward, Loyal Lodge of Industry No. 421

If you would like to add your support for the fantastic job that Chemohero do for the people of North Devon, visit their website at…

About History

Freemasonry & Genealogy

With a documented history extending as far back as 1646, Masonic records are a valuable resource for people engaged in Genealogical research.

Records held by Lodges, The United Grand Lodge of England, Provinces and various masonic Museums around the country; contain a treasure trove of social history and give a priceless insight into the lives of long lost ancestors.

Anyone joining a Lodge would have had his name, age, address and occupation recorded. Lodge minutes would then record his activity within the Craft for the duration of his membership.

With many of these records now available online they are easier to access than never before.

Major online players in the industry are now promoting this, as you can see from this video. It’s a few years old now and a bit “scripted”, but it is factually correct (although the age at which you can join is now being reduced to 18). The shots of the interior of the art deco masterpiece that is Freemasons Hall in London are beautiful.

It just goes to show what a pivotal role Freemasonry has played in the history and cultural development of the UK. Even the english language has adopted phrases with a masonic origin such as “Past Master”, “On the Level “, “Hoodwinked”, “Blackballed” and “The Third Degree” all of which are still in current usage.