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Wear Valley Lodge 1121 – 1866 – 2016 – 150 years
Wear Valley Lodge received its warrant on the 2nd of July 1866 and remained the only Lodge in Bishop Aukland until the Consecration of Vane Lodge 3110 in 1905.
1866 proved to be historically a notable year in that :
- Jessy James held his first bank robbery.
- The Atlantic telegraph cable was laid by SS Great Eastern.
- The American civil War ended.
- Beatrix Potter and H.H.Wells were born.
- Cadbury’s cocoa was marketed and Coleman’s mustard received its Royal Warrant.
- Colliery explosion in Barnsley killed 361 miners and 27 rescuers and Queen Victoria had reigned for 29 years.
A brief history of the Lodge and its formation was given by Stuart Bourne, Lodge Secretary, and was as follows:
The formative meeting for the Lodge was held in the King’s Arms, Bishop Auckland on the 11 May 1866. . A committee was formed to present a petition to UGLE to form the Lodge. Much work was done under the sponsorship of the Marquis of Granby Lodge 124 and Wear Valley Lodge did subsequently become the oldest “Daughter Lodge” of the Marquis of Granby Lodge.
J.Nicholson ,Past Master of the Marquis of Granby Lodge, was proposed as the first Master of Wear Valley Lodge with an initiation fee of 5 guineas and an Annual fee of 1 guinea The petition was signed by the Senior Officers of the Marquis of Granby Lodge and the Warrant was granted.
On 6th August the then Provincial Grand Master John Foster, 30 brethren of the Marquis of Granby Lodge and members assembled in Bishop Aukland Town Hall for the Consecration of the Lodge and a Commemorative banquet.
The Lodge originally held its meetings in The Savings Bank, Bishop Aukland Market Place. In 1871 it moved to the Talbot Hotel Bishop Auckland Market Place then in 1875 moved to the King’s Arms Bishop Auckland Market place It moved again in 1878 to the Masonic Hall, in Silver Street, now demolished, before moving to the Masonic Hall, a converted cinema, in Victoria Road in the 1970s and in January 2017 have moved to the Shildon Masonic Centre.
On the evening of the 150th Celebration Lodge Meeting a Provincial Deputation of 17 members ,led by the Provincial Grand Master, with 38 guests and 37 members of the Lodge in attendance.
During the Ceremony an oration was given by Canon Ron Black who drew everyone’s’ attention to the fact that 1866 was a significant year.. The Canon looked back at the changes over the past 150 years, two major Wars, great changes in the speed of living, changes in the way we live, .in communication, in transport, a great ,though unwelcome, development of Self Interest and Independence. He also drew our attention to “An atmosphere of purpose and determination and the need to stick to our Principles”, which was preparing the lodge for its next 150 years.
On conclusion of the formal proceedings the brethren adjourned to enjoy a very substantive and enjoyable Festive Board at which all attending brethren and guests received the gift of a commemorative pen manufactured by WBro E. Harrison
On conclusion of the meal the Provincial Grand Master spoke and reminded the brethren that he had been visiting Wear Valley Lodge over the past 45 years and shared his recollections of many of the ,”Old members”. Sadly he referred to the end of the occupation of the current premises having spent many an enjoyable evening in the building.
The response to the Visitors Toast was made by Robert Todd, Past Master of Lodge St. Mawdon in Scotland and as part of this he presented, from the Brethren of his Lodge, to Wear Valley Lodge a framed ,hand embroidered copy of St. Mawden Lodges’ crest which was well received by the brethren and guests.
At the conclusion of what had been a very enjoyable celebration many of the brethren remained to enjoy the hospitality of the Lodge and to reminisce about past times an events in the history of the Lodge.
TLC Teddy Initiative……
“thank you Freemasons for the thousands of teddies donated to children’s casualty departments”
Community Support Grants…..
“The grant from Durham Freemasons has made an enormous difference to our service users”
Provincial Annual Meeting….
“The Provincial annual meeting is one of the highlights of my year, it’s great to meet everyone and support all those being rewarded for merit”….
“My husband would be so proud that you still contact me so many years after his death, thank you for remembering me”
“The Provincial annual meeting is one of the highlights of my year, it’s great to meet everyone and support all those being rewarded for merit”
The Royal Arch…..
“I feel that I have a much better understanding of the whole Masonic story after joining the Royal Arch”
What have you gained?
“I’ve made wonderful friendships with people from all walks of life who I wouldn’t otherwise have even met”
In respect to the TLC Teddy initiative
“A child patient copes with medical treatment so much better when they’ve been given a TLC teddy”
What Freemasonry has done for you?
“The teachings of the masonic ceremonies helped me to be a better father, better husband, better son and better neighbour”What Freemasonry has done for you
One of the best things I have ever done…
“Along with getting married, the birth of my children and Sunderland winning the FA Cup, becoming a Freemason is one of the best things I’ve ever done”