St Osyth’s Priory Lodge Part 4

A grant of £10 10s. 0d. was made on January 19th, 1900, towards a fund for the benefit of Widows and Orphans of the Soldiers and Sailors slain in the Transvaal War, and on the following March 16th a resolution was passed “That a Masonic Ball should be held at an early date, and that the funds realised thereby should be devoted to the S. African Masonic Relief Fund.”

In April, 1899, the brethren extended an invitation to Provincial Grand Lodge to hold the annual meeting at Clacton-on-Sea. The invitation was accepted, and on July 17th, 1900, the first Provincial Grand Lodge was held in this town.

A vote of profound sympathy with the members of the Royal Family on the occasion of the death of Queen Victoria was passed on February 15th, 1901, and congratulations were sent to the Grand Master on his accession to the throne.

At the regular meeting held on October 15th, 1909, a vote of condolence was recorded on the minutes owing to the death of one of the founders, W. Bro. Sir John Henry Johnson, who was also the first master of the Lodge.

In 1910 Freemasonry suffered a great loss in the death of His Majesty King Edward VII., Past Grand Master, Protector of the Order, and it is recorded that a vote expressive of profound sympathy by the members of the Lodge to the Royal family was passed on May 20th, 1910.

Local brethren will be interested to know that Clacton’s first lifeboat, which was named “The Albert Edward,” was one of two lifeboats presented to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution by the Grand Lodge of England as a thank-offering for the safe return to the Grand Master, H.R.H. the Prince of Wales (afterwards King Edward VII.) from a tour in India. It was launched with Masonic ceremonial at Clacton-on-Sea by Lord Skelmersdale, Pro Grand Master, in 1877.

Clacton-On-Sea. Masonic Ceremony. Foundation Stone of St. James’s Church laid with Masonic Rights. Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. Members of the Freemasons lead a parade with choir boys and clergy. The men are dressed in their full Masonic regalia. VS as one of the leading Masons lays the foundation stone of the church.

The R.W. Provincial Grand Master, Col. the Rt. Hon. Mark Lockwood, P.C., C.V.O., M.P., laid the Chief Corner Stone of the new Church of St. James’, Clacton-on-Sea, with full Masonic ceremony on Tuesday, November 5th, 1912, an especial Provincial Grand Lodge being holden for that purpose at the Winter Gardens. After lunch the Provincial Grand Lodge was opened, and the procession proceeded to the site in full Masonic regalia. The stone was duly laid by the Rt. Wor. Provincial Grand Master in the presence of a large number of brethren. On this occasion, St. Osyth’s Priory Lodge presented a Volume of the Sacred Law to Bro. the Rev. L. Butler for the use of the new Church.

Provincial Grand Lodge has since honoured Clacton-on-Sea with visits in 1920, 1927 and 1934, on the last occasion over 1,000 brethren being present.

In February, 1914, the Lodge passed a resolution in the following terms’:“ That in future the Lodge hold eight meetings in the year, viz: the third Friday in January, February, March, April, May, June, October and November. The Installation meeting to be held on the third Friday in October instead of September as heretofore.”

Twenty Guineas was voted to the Prince of Wales’ National Relief Fund to relieve acute distress caused through the Great War at a meeting of the Lodge held on October 16th, 1914. Banquets were deferred on this and subsequent Lodge nights as a consequence of the war.

On November 20th, 1914, it was resolved to send a letter of sympathy to Col. the Rt. Hon. Mark Lockwood, Provincial Grand Master, on the death of his nephew, who was killed in action at Mons.

At the Installation meeting held on Friday, October 18th, 1918, an interesting link was formed again with St. Osyth’s Priory when W. Bro. A. E. Cowley, M.A., D. Litt., P.G.D., the then owner of St. Osyth’s Priory was unanimously elected an honorary member of the Lodge.

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