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.
One of our members got quite a shock this week when the Loyal Lodge of Industry No 421’s monthly ZOOM meeting received a surprise visit from none other than RWBro Ian Kingsbury JP, Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Devonshire.
The reason for his unannounced arrival was to congratulate our long serving Secretary WBro. Frank Handscombe BEM, PAGDC on 60 years of continuous service to Freemasonry.
Expressing his regret at not being able to attend in person,
RW Bro Ian offered the warm congratulations of the whole Provincial Executive; the members of which had been sworn to secrecy to ensure a complete surprise.
It is not certain whether Frank had remembered the significance of the date, but his faithful Assistant Secretary, Bro Eric Stanley had; and together with Provincial Grand Secretary WBro Richard Ebrey, ensured that a certificate was safely delivered to Frank’s home later that evening.
In presenting the certificate, the Provincial Grand Master said…
“I would like to thank Frank for his many years of Service to not only the Lodge but also to the Province of Devonshire which he has served as Secretary of the Benevolent Fund for many years. He is someone who can always be relied on to complete any task which is asked of him. His contribution to the Craft over the last 60 years has been outstanding.”RW Bro. Ian Kingsbury JP
Once he had regained his usual equilibrium, Bro. Frank thanked everyone for their good wishes and paid tribute to the support he had received from the Loyal Lodge of Industry’s members over so many years.
“ I couldn’t do what I do without the wholehearted and enthusiastic support of our wonderful members” said Frank. “It makes me proud to be part of such a caring and committed Lodge.”Frank Handscombe BEM
Before he left the meeting, RWBro. Kingsbury promised to attend the Lodge at the earliest opportunity to present the certificate in person.
Who knows….. Frank may even buy him a pint!
UPDATE… 8th March 2021
It’s turning out to be quite a week for
We are delighted and proud to confirm that it was announced today that the MW The Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, HRH The Duke of Kent, has been pleased to promote Frank to the rank of Past Junior Grand Deacon.
Well done Sir!
We are delighted to confirm that this website has been accredited by
The United Grand Lodge of England
under its Charter Mark Scheme
The Charter Mark scheme has been established to recognise Masonic websites which provide accurate, high quality content in a safe and secure environment.
Our Lodge meetings may be temporarily suspended, but our Charitable work goes on regardless.
Just this week we received a lovely letter of thanks from
the Calvert Trust, based in nearby Exmoor.
Calvert Trust Exmoor is a five-star accredited activity centre, located in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the edge of Exmoor National Park. Their award-winning centre enables people with physical, learning, behavioural and sensory disabilities to experience exciting, challenging and enjoyable outdoor activities,
together with their friends and families.
They welcome guests of all ages and levels of ability.
Their letter detailed some of the pressing problems they have encountered as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic
“… we are extremely grateful for your support now more than ever to help us through this incredibly challenging period”.
“Calvert Trust Exmoor… now faces the greatest challenge to its existence through the impact of Coronavirus”.
However the Team are working hard to ensure that as soon as the current restrictions are lifted they can return to their vital and essential work
“…the Trustees and key members of our staff team are working hard to ensure the continued viability of Calvert Trust Exmoor.“
“We are enormously proud of… the incredibly positive impact Calvert Trust Exmoor has had on the lives of so many. It is with the help of people like you that we are determined that come what may, Calvert Trust Exmoor will continue to enrich people’s lives long into the future.“Calvert Trust
Peter Kyle, our Charity Steward said…
“We are delighted to support the wonderful work of the Calvert Trust and hope that our donation will go some way to ensuring a swift resumption of their day to day activities which have a positive impact on so many lives”.Peter Kyle – Loyal Lodge of Industry No 421
To read the letter in full Click Here
For more information on the work of the Calvert Trust you can visit their website at https://calvertexmoor.org.uk/home/
PROVINCIAL GRAND LODGE
22 April 2020
We are now over thirty days into lockdown and complying with the sensible guidance from Government and United Grand Lodge of England. We know this will save lives and together we can defeat this terrible virus.
My Executive and I want you to know we are so proud of you and your families for your compliance and patience in following these new and temporary rules.
But I want to go further, and praise you all for the ways I learn you have been helping others in the community. I have had so many examples of the good works that are currently being undertaken by our members.
Above all to those of you who are in the front line, risking your lives to care for others, we salute you and thank you for making us all proud to have you as Brothers. We thank you and your families for quietly putting into action the principles by which we live and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
At the beginning of the confinement to our homes, I suggested that lodges ensure every member has the contact list of other Brethren and that in conjunction with the Almoners – all members are contacted personally. This identifies those who need help and also encourages us to chat and keep in touch. I hear this has been much appreciated and I hope it becomes a regular activity as the lockdown weeks go by and before we can meet again.
I know many of you are communicating electronically and I too have been holding meetings on Zoom, which does enable me to see which of my Executive are getting tea in bed!
As your Provincial Grand Master I love to hear of the many acts of kindness which are constantly being undertaken. Here are just two examples:
- Over the Easter weekend Benevolent Lodge 303, Teignmouth, allowed a non-Mason and his son to cook Sunday roast dinners in their kitchen at for nearly 150 people and which were delivered free into the community. Well done Benevolent.
- WBro. Mark Bowes-Cavanagh of Courtland Lodge 6706, donated 7000 hand sanitizers from his company to NHS care homes, schools and surgeries. Thank you Mark.
It does not go unnoticed that many more of you are working so hard to serve your community and I know it will continue – thankyou.
The UGLE Covid19 Response Group shares all our initiatives via our PGM’s Regional groups and in conjunction with the MCF, it is fully supportive of all we are doing. Meetings are held on a frequent basis via WhatsApp and they are keen to share ideas to enable best practice throughout our order.
The support and advice and sensible guidance we have received from UGLE since the beginning of this situation cannot be praised enough, we must all be grateful.
I expect most of you are aware of the Covid 19 Relief Chest that has been opened, by the MCF, and is ready to receive donations. I want to make it clear that if you choose to donate to this fund your contribution will be counted towards the total of the 2023 Devonshire Festival. Your contributions to this Covid19 relief chest will also count towards a Steward’s Festival Jewel.
I know we are all sorely disappointed that we were not able to hold our annual Provincial Grand Lodge Meeting at Torquay. Those newly appointed and promoted officers will be entitled to wear the collar for that office from the 20 April 2020. It upsets me, as much as you, at not being able to make that presentation on the stage. I am truly sorry Brethren and I congratulate all those promoted for what you have done so far in Masonry to deserve this recognition. Well done!
Let’s just hope that after we get through this dreadful situation we may be able to enjoy the rest of this year together.
I would also take this opportunity to thank my two Provincial Wardens: WBro. Rob Summers and WBro. Antony Eldred for their dedication and support. This of course came with heading up another year of dedicated active Provincial Officers.
I thank them for the incredible amount of £2,202 raised for our MCF Festival.
Those of you that are alone in your homes be reassured that you are part of a very caring organization that will help you through these difficult times. VWBro. Simon Rowe, WBro. Peter
Balsom and I are united in our endeavours to help you if we can.
Indeed we appeal to you all to join with us and the other leaders of the Provinces of Cornwall and Somerset for the 9 o’clock toast each day.
This dreaded virus has brought normal life to a standstill but given us a period of time to spend in quiet reflection on life. All the material things that we may crave for pale into insignificance and makes you realise it is the love and care we show for each other that is the most important.
You are all very precious and special people please keep safe and well.
RWBro Ian Kingsbury JP
Provincial Grand Master of Devonshire