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Woolsack Lodge 8221  In The News

Our two Founders in the News

On 11th January W. Bro Jack Bleach received his 70 year Certificate of Service to Freemasonry from R.W.Bro Ian Chandler, Provincial Grand Master on the occasion of Godalming Lodge’s Centenary Celebrations; and V.W.Bro. Mike Yalden was Installed as M.E.Z of Mid-Surrey First Principals Chapter No 7388 on 8th January where he delivered his presentation of “The Indispensible Link – A duty of Care”. Thus, emphasing the importance of completing knowledge of “Pure Antient Freemasonry” by promoting the Royal Arch.


Freemasonry before the Consecration of Woolsack Lodge

The history of Freemasonry as a Province in Surrey goes back to 1784 long before the United Grand Lodge was formed in 1817. The first, “unofficial” Provincial Grand Master being Thomas Parker (1722-1792) who held meetings under various Lodge Banners, but the first official Provincial Grand Lodge was held in 1837 with Lord Monson Master as Provincial Grand Master.

Moving on to more modern times, in the early 1960s Freemasonry was still booming with waiting lists to join after interviews could be two or three years and progression in Lodge equally long even to being appointed to be a Steward!

The year before Woolsack was consecrated in 1967, The Earl of Scarborough had resigned as Grand Master and accepted the office of Pro Grand Master on the election of the Duke of Kent as Grand Master and installed on the 14th June this being the 250th anniversary of the United Grand Lodge. Godalming Lodge had celebrated their 50th Anniversary


 In the following year on 29th February 1968, the Earl of Shannon was Installed as Provincial Grand Master for Surrey in succession to R.W.Bro F.T.B. Wheeler. Woolsack was the third Lodge to be Consecrated by Lord Shannon on 24 September 1968; the others being Priory Gate 8202, St Lawrence 8205, Hyde Abby 8214 and Star of Stoneleigh 8244. At that time Surrey had 282 Lodges and when Lord Shannon retired in 1999 Surrey had 348 Lodge – we now have 250 primary Lodges.

Other Lodges meeting in Godalming in 1967.

Bramston Beach No 2101 – with 106 members - Master Frank Mullard, C. Spenceley PM 1963 (Founder Master), K. Kneen , JD (Founder SW)

Godalming No 3811 - with 69 members –  Master G Stagg - Jack Bleach (Founder) a PM 1960 and ADC.

Bargate No 5829 – with 64 members – Master N. Fish- W.M. (Bill) Yalden (Founder DC) a PM 1952 and Treasurer; Mike Yalden just been appointed early as a Steward five years after his initiation.


Later, Bucknill No 4527 were also meeting at Godalming in 1968 with a membership of 79 making a total number of Craft Masons membership meeting at Godalming of approximately 318.


What happened next?

A meeting was held at the old Masonic Hall Godalming on Wednesday 17th January 1968 to agree the by-laws and various fees including the annual subscription of ten guineas (£10.50p) plus the formation of a committee to deal with all the details. The petition was duly presented to our sponsor, Bramston Beach Lodge no 2101 on 25th January and approved in March for the consecration on 24 September for our first regular meeting on first Wednesday in October. The rest is history and will be fully recorded in our celebrations later this year.

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