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Woolsack Lodge 8221 - The First 50 Years


RW Bro E.Stuart-Bamford PPGM

VW Bro D.W.Barr. MBE. PGSwdB. PDepPGM

W.Bro F.W.Green PPDepGReg

W.Bro P.A.Woodcock PPGReg

W bro L.H.Voke PPJGW( Berks)

W Bro J Cane, PPJGW, PPSGW, (Middx).  


W Bro J.J.Bleach

VW Bro M.E.Yalden

W Bro G.R.Walder

W Bro R.J.Marriott

W Bro N.P.Marriott

W Bro N.Nickless

W Bro P.C.Lomax

W Bro I. Richards

W Bro T.Owens

W Bro R.E.Floyd

Bro G.M.L.Robinson

Bro J.D.Wenden

W Bro P.S.Cope

W Bro G.C.Phillips

Bro  R.I.Lyon

W Bro J.R.Stimpson

W Bro B.J.C.Massaam

W Bro M. Graham

Bro J.A.McHugh

W Bro Revd. Rowe

W Bro N. C. Jopson

Bro A. C. Bugarscchi

Bro U. B. Aniebonam

Bro R. Good

Bro J. Latter

Bro I. Jopson

Bro A. James

Bro. D. Arbunea


W.Bro C. Johnson


W Bro R.M. Chisholm PPSGW   


Golden Anniversary Booklet



Over the last fifty years Freemasonry has change significantly both generally and within the Province of Surrey and Woolsack Lodge.

However, the principals and tenants as recorded by the Founders have continued to the present day.

This history has been carefully and painstakingly researched by W. Bro Graham Walder, who has spent many hours in producing this booklet; it is hoped you will find this both interesting and a source of historical interest.

We extend to him our grateful thanks including his wife Kath and daughter Kate both of whom have given him invaluable support.

The success of Freemasonry is that it is established upon broad and deep foundations so that it will not waiver even in trying times.

Woolsack Lodge has enjoyed fifty years of sound leadership and teaching, perfect harmony, fraternal union, sympathetic understanding and honest endeavours. Long may these principals continue into our next fifty years.


V.W. Bro. Michael E. Yalden


October 2018

The Formation of Woolsack Lodge Consecrated September 24th 1968


This is a short history of how Woolsack Lodge came into being, how we obtained and derived our name and our Lodge Crest.

A number of eminent local brethren meeting at the Masonic Hall in South Street Godalming in January 1964 had previously considered forming a new Lodge, however, the main driving force at the time was W Bro R Knapman, but as he moved out of the area for a short time, matters died down. Along with W Bro R Knapman the other original Founders were primarily members from Bramston Beach Lodge along with a number from Godalming and Bargate Lodges. There were only three Craft Lodges meeting at the South Street Masonic Hall and they were all faced with the same problem; they had too many candidates on their waiting lists which of course meant quite a long progress through the chairs to that of the Master. With only a small number of Lodges meeting at South Street there was enough capacity for a new Lodge to be formed. W Bro R Knapman who had returned to the area in 1967 along with W Bro William M Yalden, W Bro C Spencely, W Bro H Collins, W Bro S, V, Jackman, W Bro K Kneen and W Bro W Bonner decided to proceed with their petition for a new Lodge and on their behalf W Bro Bill Jackman wrote on 20th May 1967 to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Surrey requesting the permission of the Provincial Grand Master to form a new Lodge in Godalming.

The Provincial Grand Secretary, W Bro Searle, wrote back stating they would need a sponsoring Lodge and a name for the new Lodge. He indicated it would be looked on favourably if both of these preconditions were met, suggesting that a strong connection to the town of Godalming should be included in the Lodge’s name, and on this basis, he also sent back all the necessary paperwork for it's formation.

Bramston Beech Lodge No.2011 agreed to be the sponsoring Lodge and after much discussion and encouragement from the Provincial Grand Secretary, the name Woolsack was selected. In ancient times Godalming was associated with the wool industry and the processing of the wool with barges bringing bales down from London on the River Wey to Godalming. However, it began to decline in the 17th century and almost became extinct until the manufacture of fleece hosiery commenced in the 18th century.

How did the name Woolsack come to be selected? Godalming began as a Saxon village and by the time of the Domesday Book (1086) it was a flourishing community of around 400 people. It might seem tiny to us but at that time Godalming was a large village in the Middle Ages. The Bishop of Salisbury who was Lord of the Manor in the year 1300 granted Godalming the right to hold a weekly market. He also allowed the town to hold an annual fair. In the Middle Ages fairs were like markets but much larger than regular markets, they included trading and bartering in produce; in Godalming, particularly wool, these attracted buyers and sellers from a wide area. During the reign of  King Edward III  1327 - 1377 he   commanded that his Lord Chancellor, whilst in Council in the House Of Lords, should sit on a wool bale, now known as "The Woolsack". Wool from Godalming was used in this bale, to symbolise the central nature and huge importance of the wool trade to the economy of England in those times. The presiding officer in the House of Lords was the Lord Chancellor and the Woolsack was usually mentioned in association with the office of Lord Chancellor. In 1575 Queen Elizabeth 1st made Godalming a Borough and Godalming decided to incorporate the Woolsack in its Coat of Arms.

Godalming came to world attention in September 1881, when it became the first town in the world to install a public electricity supply.  Calder & Barnet installed an alternator and dynamo which were powered by a waterwheel, located at Westbrook Mill Godalming on the River Wey. ~

In 1884 the whole town reverted back to gas lighting as the supply failed due to flooding. Electricity returned to the town in 1904. And street lighting was installed and with the supply of electricity it brought two eminent companies. In 1907 William Paine founded his famous knitwear brand and named it Alan Paine of Godalming; it is still in existence today. Later Jaeger also came to Godalming to open a factory for the manufacture of knitwear goods, again still a premier brand. It was decided with such an association with the wool industry it would be appropriate for the Lodge to be called the Woolsack Lodge following in the tradition of the town. The Woolsack was therefore incorporated in the Lodge Crest.

The Warrant of Constitution of the Woolsack Lodge No 8221 was granted on the 13th March 1968 (AL5968) by The Grand Master M.W. Bro H.R.H Prince Edward Duke of Kent and counter signed by the RW Bro Deputy Grand Master the Earl Cadogan and the Grand Secretary James Stubbs and the Seal was appended. It stated W Bro Cyril Spencely to be the first Master, Bro Kenneth Keen to be the first Senior Warden and Bro William Bonner to be the First Junior Warden.

At that time there was over 16 000 Freemasons in Surrey and well over 300 Lodges and at the time of writing there are currently 254 Lodges in Surrey.


The Consecration was held in the Wheeler Temple at the Croydon

Masonic Hall on September 24th, 1968 with the Ceremony performed by the newly installed Provincial Grand Master R W Bro The Rt Honourable the Earl of Shannon assisted by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master W Bro G W Livermore. Five Assistant Provincial Grand Masters with twelve other Provincial Grand Officers made up the full Provincial team. In addition to the originally twenty-two founder members and visiting Brethren, one hundred and forty-eight were present at the Consecration and one hundred and forty-three dined together.  All the Consecration team were elected honorary members of the Lodge. Following the Consecration, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W. Bro G.W. Livermore PGD. DepPGM installed the Worshipful Master Designate, W. Bro Cyril Spencely.

Of the twenty-two Founder members of the Lodge at the time of compiling this account of our first 50 years two distinguished Brethren are still Members. W Bro Jack Bleach PAGDC and VW Bro Michael Yalden PGSwdB. PDepPGM.


At the Consecration Meeting 3 Candidates were proposed for membership, and at the November meeting a further Candidate for joining was read out, Sinos George Sinadorou. At the first meeting of the Lodge at South Street all were voted in favour and accepted as Candidates for initiation in the future except for Mr R A Knight who was initiated that evening.


The full list of Founders and Officers who were appointed and invested were as follows: -


Worshipful Master                                  W Bro Cyril Spenceley

Acting IPM                                                W Bro Harry G Collins

 Senior Warden                                       Bro Kenneth Kneen

 Junior Warden                                        Bro William C Bonner

Chaplain                                                   W Bro Eric L Smalley

Treasurer                                                 W Bro R Knapman

Secretary                                                  W Bro CDr SV Jackman

Director of Ceremonies                         W Bro William M Yalden

Almoner                                                   W Bro Jack Bleach

Charity Steward                                      W Bro R.G. Knapman

Senior Deacon                                        Bro D W Bascombe

Junior Deacon                                         Bro Percival W Rout

Assistant Director of Ceremonies       W Bro Reginald V Smith

Almoner                                                  W Bro J Bleach

Organist                                                  Bro Paul P Perry

Assistant secretary                                W. Bro Leonard G Wells

Inner Guard                                            Bro Aubrey W Knight

Steward                                                   Bro Michael E Yalden

Steward                                                   Bro Donald Telford

Steward                                                   Bro Reginal Bickel

Steward                                                   Bro George E Brumwell

Tyler                                                          W Bro Henry R Dunce


Who Donated the Furniture of the Lodge?


The majority of the of the working tools of the Lodge and necessary items were purchased by various members of the Lodge, including those in office.

The Volume of the Sacred Law    W Bro C. Spenceley

The Cuffs for the WM, SW. JW.     Bramston Beach Lodge

The Tyler’s Sword                           W Bro W Yalden


Inner Guard’s Poniard                   Bro M Yalden

The Working Tools                         W Bro R Knapman

The Square & Compasses             Bro Lt. Col R A Sparks


The Cushion for the Volume of The Sacred Law was purchased in memory of the then late W Bro W Warn. The oldest founder who died before the consecration.


All the Founders in office presented their own collars and jewels, although the collars have been changed over the years. If you look on the back of the jewels you will see engraved the names of those who presented them.


Many of these working tools are still being used today, however the original Master’s collar was replaced when a chain collar in 1993 at our 25th anniversary meeting, but more about that later.


Why is Woolsack Lodge Different?

Although, not in the By Laws of the Lodge, the following is documented in the archives. The Founders desired that the Woolsack Lodge would be a superior Lodge and have its own traditions. It necessarily followed: -


  1. It should be a Wine Lodge


  1. That Dinner Jackets should be worn at the Installation Meeting


  1. Prior to the ballot in the Lodge for a Master for the ensuing year, the Past Masters of and in the Lodge and the Lodge Committee should recommended a suitable brother who is well versed in the ritual and the ceremonies and served at least one year in the office of Warden, preferably in the Lodge.


  1. That should the Preceptor of the Lodge of Instruction feel that the Worshipful Master requires assistance in conducting the ceremonies it would be advantageous to nominate a Past Master to assist him in the work.


  1. The Founders are aware of the phrase “it is traditional in the Woolsack Lodge” but we should be careful to define the difference between traditional variation and incorrect working practices. These in some cases have distorted Emulation working, which was one of the foundations on which the Lodge was Founded.


  1. Whilst there may be a few objections to small changes which might affect some of the procedures used, such as the lighting, and extinguishing the candles at the commencement and closing of a meeting. The Founders of the Lodge are of the opinion that some of these changes bring benefit and improvements to what will make an excellent Lodge.


  1. It is not a prerequisite that the Charge after Initiation and the Explanation of the Tracing Board is to be delivered by the WM. They can be delivered by the JW or the SW (Preferred) or a Senior Past Master.


  1. In conclusion, to emulate the aims of the Founders that those wishing to join the Lodge should be on the basis of Quality not Quantity.


The Original Masonic Building at South Street, Godalming

and a Little History of South Street and Woolsack Lodge


For most of the twentieth century, the meeting place of the Lodge was the Masonic Hall in South Street Godalming.  The hall had been built by Bro George Jones, a member of Bramston Beach Lodge, in 1886, and he or his family owned the building until well into the twentieth century.  

Woolsack was the 4th   Craft Lodge to meet at the centre although Libera Fidelis Chapter and Pleydell Bouverie Mark Lodge also met there. Our Mother and sponsoring Lodge Bramston Beach acquired ownership of the Masonic Hall in South Street in 1922.

Some framed photographs of the old building are on display in the bar area of the current Masonic Hall in Ockford Road. How things have changed?

The early years of the Lodge saw the annual subscription being £10.00 per member which it rose to the heady heights of £15.00 per member by the time we reached the 55th regular meeting, 7th March 1979. At our 25th Silver Anniversary year subscriptions had increased to £55.00. Current annual subscription is £140.00.

During our first 25 years many significant events took place: The first of particular note being that of W Bro Jack Bleach being presented with the rank of PPAGDC in 1969, this was the first Provincial Honour confirmed on a member of the Woolsack Lodge.

At the 22nd meeting in 1972 the Brethren stood in silence as a token of respect on the death of H.R.H the Duke of Windsor who was Past Provincial Grand Master for Surrey.

In 1973 at our 26th Regular installation meeting we were visited by    W Bro M Brown Assistant PGM in his own right as he was an Honorary Member being previously part of the Lodge’s consecration team. He addressed the Brethren congratulating the Lodge on its progress since its foundation as he was the one who originally suggested that a new Lodge was needed in Godalming, hence Woolsack came into being.

1976 installation meeting saw the creation by Grand Lodge and The Province of a new office and W Bro K Kneen was appointed our first Charity Steward.

In 1977 W Bro S Spencely was honoured by the Grand Master with the rank of PGStdB , the first Grand Officer in the Lodge.

In 1978 on Wednesday 4th October The Deputy Prov GM visited the Lodge to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Woolsack Lodge assisted by W Bro Clues PPGChap acting as Chaplain. W Bro D. Haigh PPSGW acting as SW, W Bro N C Stamford PPJGW acting as JW. And W Bro P A Toler ProvDC attended the Lodge for the dedication of the new Lodge Banner which had been embroidered by Ella Bleach the wife of W Bro Jack Bleach. This being our current Lodge Banner. On completion of the dedication it was specially noted that grateful thanks should be conveyed to Ella Bleach for the very fine needlework. At the conclusion of the evening’s work 70 brethren dine together in love and harmony.

At our 72nd meeting in 1982 it was announced the passing to the Grand Lodge above of our Founder Master W Bo C.A. Spencely PGStdB PPSGD.

In 1983 W B Jack Bleach received Grand Rank PGStdB, W Bro M.E. Yalden received PPJGD and our Secretary W Bro S.V. Jackman promoted to PPJGW. All excellent honours for the Lodge.

In addition to all of these, one of our Honorary members, W Bro Basil Hart PAGReg was invested as an Assistant Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Surrey.

In 1984 at our 82nd meeting on the 3rd October the death was announced of W Bro W M Yalden PAGDC. PPJGW our Founder Director of Ceremonies and former Chaplain of the Lodge who had passed to the Grand Lodge above.

1986 saw the retirement from office of our founder Secretary W Bro SV Jackman after 18 years in office. The Charity Steward announced that the Lodge Charity Fund was officially registered as a Charity (More work for the Charity Steward)

In 1987 W Bro S.V. Jackman PPJGW.LGR was elected an Honorary Member of the Lodge.

In 1988 at our 100th Meeting W Bro K Kneen was also made an Honorary Member of the Lodge.

1989 was a very special year it was our 106th and last meeting of the Lodge at South Street before we moved to our new Masonic Hall at Ockford Road Godalming.

Over the first 25 years the Lodge has flourished, holding 125 regular meetings and a number of emergency meetings. During this time 45 candidates had been initiated and there were 23 joining members, however due to resignations and brethren passing to the Grand Lodge Above our membership hovered around the 40 mark for several years. It was normal during these first 25 years to have at least 20 visiting members at our regular meetings.


Benevolence and Charity

During the first 25 years Woolsack Lodge was a keen supporter of what all Freemasons know is Charity, and over the years it has never been found wanting. The Lodge was pro-active in various Masonic and local charities.

1971 RMBI Festival, The Lodge became a Patron of the Royal Masonic Hospital.

1984 It became a Grand Patron to R. M. Benevolent Institution.

Grand Patron R. M. Trust for Girls and Boys.

Grand Patron of the Association of Friends of Shannon Court.

The years leading up to the first 25 years many National Charites, individuals and local Organisations within Godalming have received donations and support from the Lodge.

To name but a few:

Leukaemia Research.

The Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice.

The Leonard Cheshire Home.

The Royal County Hospital League of Friends.

The Godalming Disabled Club.

The Royal National Lifeboat Association.

The Mayor of Godalming Fund.

The Meath Home Godalming.

We close the first 25-years of Woolsack Lodge in love and...... Harmony.


But Lord your landmark is love.

More vulnerable than any tower.

Weaker, yet stronger, than any stone.

Enduring when all else fails.


Yet clear to see with eyes of faith.

Shape me, Lord as the mason shapes his stone,

With firm blows lovingly aimed,

That I might take my place,

A living stone in your temple

So, mote it be.


A New Era

The new Godalming Masonic Centre was dedicated on Friday 22nd September 1989 by the RW Bro Rt Hon The Earl of Shannon, Provincial Grand Master along with a full dedication team from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Surrey. The PGM placed a time capsule in the foundation at the north east corner of the building.


To commemorates the occasion Woolsack Lodge presented the stone plaque in the dining room.

On the 4th of October 1989, Woolsack was the 1st Lodge to hold a regular meeting following the dedication of the new centre, this was our 107th regular meeting.  

As we look around us now, those of us who are old enough to remember the old Masonic Hall can appreciate what an advantageous move to the new centre was.



Principal Officers of the Woolsack Lodge since Consecration



      F*         W Bro R G Knapman           1968 – 1972

      F*         W Bro R V Smith                  1972 – 1977

      F*         W Bro G W Bascombe        1977 – 1982

      F           W Bro M E Yalden               1982 – 1999

      I            W Bro G R Walder               1999 - 2010

      I            W Bro R J Marriott               2010 – Present



      F*            W Bro S V Jackman           1968 - 1986

      F*            W Bro E A Tasker              1986 - 1999

      F              W Bro M E Yalden             1999 – 2000

      I               Bro D P Amor                    2000 – 2004

      I              W Bro N Nickless               2004 – 2008

      J              W Bro R E Floyd                 2008 – 2013

      J              W Bro G C Phillips             2013 – Present

Director of Ceremonies

      F*             W Bro W M Yalden           1968 - 1977

      F*             W Bro W C Bonner           1977 – 1983

      I                W Bro P A Woodcock       1983 – 1990

      I*              W Bro R Seakins               1990 - !991

      I                W Bro G R Walder            1992 – 1996

      I               W Bro P A Woodcock        1996 – 1999

      I               W Bro P Lomax                  1999 – 2000

      I               W Bro R J Marriott             2000 – 2006

      I               W Bro N Marriott               2006 – 2014

      I               W Bro I Richards                 2014 - Present

      (F) Founders    (*) Deceased  (I) Initiate   (J) Joining Member

25 Years and Onwards

The 127th regular meeting of the Lodge, convened on the 6th October 1993, was the start of our 25th Anniversary. The Master, installed the previous March, was W Bro Peter Lomax. During his year in office, he was to provide two “firsts” to the Lodge.

Having opened the Lodge, he requested all the members of Woolsack Lodge to stand and then welcomed the visitors, a practice continued ever since.  

We celebrated our 25th Anniversary on the 3rd November 1993 when Sqd Ldr Alan Fordham PGSD, A ProvGM presented the WM’s chain collar to the WM Bro P Lomax, on behalf of the past Masters of the Lodge. The centre piece of the collar being the Founder DC Jewel of ‘W Bro Bill Yalden’. Also adorning the collar now is the Tercentenary Anniversary Jewel of the Founding of Grand Lodge.

At the end of his tenure of office, the Senior Warden should have succeeded him, but for personal reasons was unable to do so. W. Bro Lomax offered to continue as Master for the following year. While other past Masters have been Master more than once, W. Bro Lomax is the first and only member, to date to have been Master in consecutive years.

During 1993 W Bro M E Yalden announced that W Bro Archie Giles had passed to the Grand Lodge above. In his eulogy he exhorted his loyal support to Woolsack to the extent that he had bequeathed a substantial legacy to it. This was to be used for the continuous betterment of the Lodge and its members.

In 1993, to mark the Lodge’s 25th Anniversary, a set of Gavels and Sounding Boards were presented to the Lodge by Bro. M G Sethard-Wright.

A Candle Snuffer and Stand were donated by W. Bro. Jack Bleach.

A new Minute Book was donated by V W.Bro. M E Yalden, in memory of his father who was the Founder Director of Ceremonies.  

W Bro. Noel Nickless presented Three Wine Goblets to be used by the Master and the two Wardens at the Festive Board.

It was announced by the Lodge Secretary at the 6th March 1996 installation meeting that W. Bro. Michael Yalden was to be honoured and invested with the Active Rank of Asst. Grand Director of Ceremonies at the meeting in Grand Lodge on the 24th April. This was the first step in W.Bro. Michael’s outstanding Masonic career.

At the October Meeting 1997 W Bro Michael Yalden announced that

W Bro Alan Tasker our Secretary of the Lodge had received appointment in Grand Lodge to PAGDC. Congratulation were expressed by all.                    

In 2000 RW Bro Terry Doyle PGM appointed W Bro Michael Yalden as Assistant Provincial Grand Master and he was reappointed in 2001 by the incoming PGM RW Bro Dennis Phipps. He served this office for 6 years.

In May 2006 W Bro Michael Yalden was appointed Deputy Provincial Grand Master of Surrey and served in that capacity until June 2012. 6 years in the office of Dep PGM which was great credit to himself and to the Lodge.

In 2007 V.W Bro M. E. Yalden was promoted in Grand Lodge to PGSwdB.

The Lodge’s continual giving.

The 1997 festival for the RMBI was established by the Province partly to raise many millions of pounds for a new Masonic Home locally at Hindhead. This Festival’s principal aim was that the funds raised would go towards its purchase and also for its refurbishment. It was originally a retreat for nursing Nuns. The property was purchased from the Franciscan Order of Nun’s who owned Mount Alvernia Hospital Guildford. It was subsequently converted into a new RMBI home to be known as Shannon Court, and named after the Countess of Shannon at the request of Lord Shannon.

After the extensive refurbishment it initially allowed 40 residents to be accommodated in individual rooms in four wings.

The intention being to provide a ‘family’ environment in preference to the more traditional institutional surroundings of other residential homes.

The name ‘Alvernia’ was perpetuated in a wing provided for those with mental frailties. These residents were later given the benefit of an additional wing named the ‘Davis Wing’.  The addition of this wing extended the home to accommodate up to 52 residents.


No less than 6 Chairmen, Deputy Chairmen, Secretaries and Treasurers of The Association of The Friends of Shannon Court (AFOSC) have been Members of Woolsack Lodge. Over the years the following brethren from Woolsack Lodge have had the privilege to give their service to the AFOSC: -


W Bro Alan Tasker Founder Chairman of the AFOSC.

VW Bro Michael Yalden. Founder Deputy Chairman & Chairman.

W Bro Gerald Yockney. Chairman.

W Bro Graham Walder. Secretary, Deputy Chairman & Chairman

W Bro Terry Owens Deputy Chairman, Chairman.

W Bro Gerald Phillips. Secretary, Chairman.

W Bro Paul Cope Treasurer.

W Bro John Stimpson Treasurer to date.


This support for the home continues with VW Bro Michael Yalden being the Independent Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the AFOSC of Shannon Court and W Bro Graham Walder being an Independent Trustee.

Shannon Court was officially opened in 1995 by the Countess of Shannon, wife of the then Provincial Grand Master for Surrey. The Rt Hon The Earl of Shannon’s full titles were R W Bro. The Rt. Hon Richard Bentinck Boyle 9th Earl of Shannon, Baron Carlton, Viscount Boyle, Baron Castlemartyr, FSA, FIMgt, FBHI.

During the length of the Festival Woolsack Lodge raised £16,000 towards the Festival Fund which, for a small membership, was very creditable. The Earl of Shannon was a major force behind the fund raising.

The overall Fund raised by Surrey for the Festival was £7.64 million. He was Born on the 23rd October 1924 – Died 7th May 2013. He presided as PGM for 32 years. and was the longest serving PGM of the Province in the history of Surrey.

Each year the Friends continue to hold an Annual Garden Party on the last Sunday in June where Woolsack Lodge are great supporter, helping with setting up the stalls and manning the events.

Over the years the serving PGM was supported by the Earl of Shannon who continued as a regular attender of the event, even after his retirement. Traditionally the PGM opens the Garden Party. Here W Bro Graham Walder, the Chairman of the AFOSC is seen with the Earl of Shannon at the annual Garden Party.

Shannon Court and the residents have played a very important role within Woolsack Lodge and the connection to Shannon Court remains strong to this day.

For many years Woolsack Lodge has held a Christmas  open meeting when friends and family members are invited to join us. It is held at the December regular meeting. One of the highlights is welcoming the Godalming Town Band playing Christmas Carols with our our regular compere W Bro Terry Owens keeping us all on our toes. Every year we welcome many Residents, Carers, Committee Members of the AFOSC and Management  from Shannon Court. So popular is the event it is not unusaual for in excess of 70 sitting down to dine on the Christmas Fare and joining in the carol singing


Surprise Visit from the PGM

Another first of which the Lodge is proud, was when the PGM RW Bro Eric Stuart Bamford made an unannounced visit to the Lodge at our 3rd October 2007 meeting who was making his first field promotion. The members were taken completely by surprise when W Bro Roy Hawker ProvGDC announced the ProvGM was in the anti-room and demanded admission. He, along with W Bro Derek Barr AProvGM accompanied by W Bro John Milner AProvGM entered the Lodge room and joined the DepPGM, VW Bro Michael Yalden already present as a member. W Bro Graham Walder, who was present at the meeting, was promoted to PPGReg and an OV of the Province by the RW PGM.  

The appearance of the ProvGM added extra meaning to the evening on what was already a special occasion and his presence was much appreciated by all Brethren present.

The Master, W Bro G Yockney had invited W Bro Walder to conduct the initiation of Mr John Wenden, his son in law. The Master also agreed that the W Bro Walder’s other son in law, Bro Dr Ian Hayes an Irish Freemason, could present the Working Tools, which he had to learn as Emulation ritual is not practiced in the Hibernian Lodge 95. As is the tradition in Woolsack Lodge the JW W Bro Peter Lomax delivered the charge.

Also, at the meeting W Bro Lomax, the Lodge Charity Steward presented the PGM with a cheque for £4,177 towards the 2008 Festival which brought the current giving to the Festival from the Lodge to £13,048. He announced a further £1,452 would be shortly available to enable the Lodge to reach the Silver award of £14 500 some commendable achievement from only 25 members. It was a night that all present remember well.                           


Ireland Here We Come

The year 2000 when W. Bro Graham Walder witnessed his son- in-law, Dr lan Hayes, initiated into one of Ireland's oldest Lodges, the differences in the ceremony were very marked. It was suggested by the current PGM of Munster, a friend of W Bro Graham Walder that W Bro Walder should bring his Lodge (Woolsack 8221) to Cork to visit and demonstrate the First-Degree ceremony as practised under the English Constitution.

The then Worshipful Master of Hibernian Lodge 95 (Cork) W Bro Leslie Deane, (Currently PGM of Munster), readily agreed.

A four-day visit to Ireland was duly arranged. The then Current PGM of Munster Alan Campbell was also in attendance for the ceremony and the festivities.

The original warrant of the Lodge 95 was issued in 1738 and was signed by Lord Mountjoy the then Grand Master, however it lapsed for a short time.  

VW Bro David Fitzgerald the Deputy Grand Master of Munster at that time was given the power to move the warrant and it was transferred to Cork to be named Hibernian Lodge 95 in 1750. Woolsack visited the Hibernian Lodge at The Masonic Hall, Tuckey Street, Cork, Ireland, 1st May 2007.

The Masonic Hall where the ceremony took place has been their meeting place since 1926 when all the Cork Lodges came together under one roof. It is a three-storey building, dark in its aspect. Standards of the current Lodges hanging down around the Temple and it is bedecked with those erased, having their banners raised high.

A group of 8 brethren from Woolsack Lodge accompanied by W. Bro. Chris Rashbrook APGM of Surrey and W Bro John Cane met together on 1st May 2007 and demonstrated the First Degree working of the Emulation Ritual under the English Constitution to the Hibernian Lodge and their guests.  The flawless ceremony was delivered by W. Bro. Terry Owens with W Bro Noel Nickless acting as the candidate. With all offices filled by members of Woolsack Lodge plus W Bro John Cole and W Bro C. Rashbrook AProvGM.

After the ceremony the RW Bro. Alan Campbell. PGM of Munster declared that he would like to see some of our ritual and ceremonial being adopted in the Province of Munster.

Later that evening we were entertained by Hibernian Lodge with their and our family members; the latter had joined us on the trip. This took place at one of Cork’s finest hotels, the Imperial Hotel.   

Back Row:  W. Bro Terry Owens, W. Bro Leslie Deane.    (Currently PGM of Munster). Middle Row: W. Bro Richard Floyd, W. Bro John Cane, RW. Bro

Alan Campbell ProvGM Munster, W. Bro Chris Rashbrook AProvGM of Surrey, W. Bro Peter Lomax. Front Row: W. Bro Nigel Marriott, W. Bro Roger Marriott, W. Bro Graham Walder, Bro Don Amor, W. Bro Noel Nickless.


The following day we were the personal guests of the PGM at the Munster Grand Lodge AGM. He invited us to accompany him in the procession. We processed from the top floor to the Temple down the very narrow staircase. All our party very much appreciated this gesture.

During our trip we were being taken on a tour of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, the current Bishop of Cork is the V Rev Paul Colton, a freemason. Here we are lining up waiting to take our instructions by our Masonic guide a senior Member of the Lodge and Cathedral tour guide.  He pointed out that we would see many Masonic symbols with King Solomon’s pillar names being carved on the backs of pews and other Masons Marks discretely placed around the Cathedral.

We were shown a huge stained-glass window with many Masonic symbols, the Square and Compasses and other tools of a Mason’s trade. The new Cathedral foundation stone was laid in 1855 making the current Cathedral one of many built on the same site, the first recorded being when St Fin Barre founded his monastic School of Cork in 606.

One other special feature of note is that is that Lady Elizabeth Aldworth, nee St. Léger was said to be a patroness of the Craft through her long life, this portrait shows her wearing the trowel pendant from her left shoulder an early distinguishing jewel of a Craftsman.

She was buried in the grounds of St. Fin Barres Cathedral and her remains were transferred to the new Cathedral when it was completed.

A plaque in her honour is mounted in front of the pulpit. The plaque states that she was born 1695 and died 1775, aged 80. Her Masonic Initiation was said to be between 1710-12.  

She is reported to be the only Lady Freemason, having witnessed ceremonies at Lord Doneraille’s (her father’s) house from the library and when discovered they decided to make her a Mason to protect their privacy.    She became a pillar of society and remained a Mason until her death.

Lady Elizabeth’s Masonic Apron was a full Lamb Skin as were worn in that period historically from the Stonemason’s protective clothing. Her apron and other artefacts are on display at the Masonic Temple Museum Tuckey Street.

During the remainder of our free time we were entertained by members of the Lodge who organised visits to Kinsale the gourmet capital of Ireland. We had a personal guided tour and tasting of Ireland’s finest Irish whiskey at Jameson’s distillery in Middleton. We visited Blarney Castle where those who liked heights had the opportunity to kiss the Blarney Stone.  

After four days of Irish hospitality, entertainment and Masonic enlightenment we returned home, while others took the opportunity to enjoy a few days in the Irish countryside, ending a delightful trip to the Emerald Isle.

In October 2005 the Master announced the deaths of W Bro G J Darwood, MBE and Bro General Omar Ali-Shah, both long standing members of the Lodge, had been called to the Grand Lodge above.

In January 2007 the Secretary announced the death of W Bro Harry Collins acting IMP and founder of the Lodge he reached the highest office of PPSGW. In addition to being a dedicated Freemason Harry was a very keen sportsman in many fields and his success culminated in him being selected to umpire the Women’s Wimbledon Tennis Final between Virginia Wade when she beat Betty Stove in 1977 the Wimbledon Ladies Champion.

2008 was again a very special year for the Lodge. We received the Gold Award for our fund-raising efforts during the life of the Festival for the R.M.T.G.B. The award was presented to us by PGM at the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge in June.

The 7th November 2012 we were honoured with a visit with a deputation from Hibernian Lodge 95, Cork when a number of senior Masons visited including the Master W Bro Dr Ian Hayes, along with his IPM W Bro B M Curtain, W Bro G Delaney and VW Bro W Bateman. Not only was it graced with their presence, but the Master W Bo Gerald Phillips vacated the Chair and invited W Bro Mark Graham to take his place in the East, Mark was accompanied by his Guide Dog ‘Dot’.

Bro Massam was raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason under the watchful eye of Dot (Honorary Member) who with a glint in her eye confirming that the work of the evening was very much in order.

At the March 2013 meeting the Assistant Secretary rose and announced that on the 24th April 2013 at Grand Lodge W Bro Gerald Phillips our Secretary was to be invested with the rank of PAGSwdB, this was greeted with very warm applause.

At our Open Meeting, on Wednesday 3rd December 2014, the Master, Mark Graham, welcomed our honoured guest Most Worshipful Brother Christine Chapman, Grand Master of The Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Lady Freemasons who gave a talk entitled 'Women in Freemasonry', delivered in the Lodge room (when called off), in the presence of Brethren of the Lodge. Who were joined by Masonic and non-masonic guests and Residents from Shannon Court; afterwards all enjoyed sharing our festive Christmas Dinner.

On 4th October 2017 W Bro Graham Walder Master, of the Lodge handed the gavel to W Bro Peter Lomax to initiate his Grandson Josh Latter. It was a very special evening for the Lodge as the candidate was the youngest Brother ever initiated into the Lodge. W Bro Peter demonstrating his excellent ritual skills and the whole ceremony was carried out with feeling and pride.

11th January 2018 was a unique day for W Bro Jack Bleach, the father of our Lodge and a Founder member, when the RW Prov GM W Bro Ian Chandler presented W Bro Jack with his 70-year certificate saying how remarkable it was in his 95 year he was still an active participant in his various Lodges. He is a regular attender at L of I. Jack’s framed 70-year certificate commemorate his zealous and unstinting Loyalty to Freemasonry.

On the 17th of January 2018 by Dispensation from the RW Provincial Grand Master, due to the high number of ceremonies pending, the Lodge had to hold an additional meeting. The Lodge Ceremony was a double passing of Bros Ian Jopson and Josh Latter. Here seen accompanying Bro Ian Jopson is his father W Bro Nigel Jopson, with W Bro Graham Walder the Master, and Bro Josh Latter with his Grandfather, W Bro Peter Lomax.                    

In our Anniversary Year the Installation as Master of VW Bro M E Yalden PGSwdB, PDepPGM

March 2018 being Woolsack Lodge’s Golden Anniversary Year. To make It memorable VW Bro M E Yalden, a Founder, was installed as Master for the second time (the first being in 1974).

It was decided and agreed by the Master W Bro Walder that we would invite Oaktree Lodge No 9408, who practice the revised ritual, to install VW Bro Yalden. The WM, W Bro J W Switzer a Founder of Oaktree Lodge was approached, and he agreed to form a team to perform the full installation ceremony including investing all the officers.

The ceremony of installation was carried out by W Bro Gerald Phillips who occupied the Master’s Chair and, with the team, installed VW Bro M Yalden dressed as a Master Mason in the chair of Woolsack Lodge. Dispensation from the Province had to be obtained for this ceremony as Oaktree are the only Lodge in the Province who use this elaborate working.

The Installation was witnessed by 63 Brethren in the presence of W Bro Nick Parson APGM and VW Bro Derek Barr PDepPGM who both commented on very interesting and well performed ceremony. Special reference was made to W Bro J Switzer, W Bro Phillips, and the whole team for their excellent work

A complement of Grand Officers at the meeting.

Lodge of Instruction

Since the early days a Lodge of Instruction has been held each Wednesday evening commencing at 7.30pm from the first week in September through to the last week in February. Extra meetings are sometimes held in March if we have young members Lodge of Instruction Festival night or we make a request to Province for an extraordinary meeting.  All young Masons can attend, and we encourage them to do so.

The Founder Preceptor was the Director of Ceremonies W Bro W M Yalden and its normal that the Director of Ceremonies is the L.O.I. Preceptor or Assistant Preceptor.

All Brethren who have not passed through the Master Chair are encouraged to attend L of I particularly if they wish to progress through the various Chairs. The quality of the ceremonies is in the work undertaken by the younger Members and officers of the Lodge.

Over the years the Lodge has held a young members night in April when a 1st degree ceremony was carried out and all the offices in the Lodge were filled with young members i.e. Not past Masters. This meeting is formal and is followed by a festive board. All the brethren of the Lodge are encouraged to invite visitors.

During the last 3 or 4 years these have not been held due to the lack of not enough Brethren to fill the various offices. Now however due to the major influx of new joining members we have by the time the season closes 13 Brethren to fill the various offices so we can look forward to holding the meetings again.


Promotions and Appointments

Many members of the Lodge have been honoured by the Provincial Grand Masters over the 50 years of our existence. They have been appointed and invested with Provincial Grand Honours, with some receiving active appointments. In some cases, they may have carried out work in other Lodges however it is felt that their activities within Woolsack Lodge will have contributed to them receiving their appointments.

Provincial Officers


Our first 25 years

W Bro J J Bleach             W Bro C A Spenceley         W Br S V Jackman

W Bro W M Yalden        W Bro R V Smith                 W Bro H G Collins

W Bro K Kneen              W Bro W C Bonner             W Bro G W Bascombe

W Bro M E Yalden         W Bro G E Brumwell          W Bro G E Hoare

W Bro L R Whieldon     W Bro D Telford                  W Bro P A Woodcock

W Bro F W Green          W Bro R Seakins                  W Bro E A Tasker        

W Bro J W Cherriman   Bro J Smith                           W Bro G W Darwood   BEM


 Our second 25 years

W Bro G R Walder        W Bro R J Marriott              W Bro N P Marriott

W Bro N Nickless         W Bro P C Lomax                W Bro K Taylor

W Bro J Hall                   Bro D Amor                         W Bro T Owens

W Bro I Richards          W Bro R Floyd                      W Bro J Hall                                         

W.Bro M Graham        W Bro P Cope


Grand Officers

Brethren who have received Grand Rank and who have been past Masters of and in the Lodge during the first 50 years.

W Bro S Spenceley        W Bro J J Bleach                W Bro E A Tasker

V W Bro M E Yalden     W Bro G Yockney              W Bro G C Phillips

W Bro W. M. Yalden        


Social Activities

Social activities play an important part and we endeavour to plan a program each season.

It allows us to repay the support we receive from our wives and partners. Iand  gives us the opportunity to invite our non masonic friends.

Woolsack has over the years held Open Meetings at Christmas, Ladies Night, Quiz Nights, BBQs, Special Dinner evenings, Summer Afternoon River Cruises and Valentine Nights.

This anniversary year is no exception as we have a programme of events planned by the social committee.

By the time you read this we will have had our 2018 Summer BBQ, to be followed by a 10 Pin Bowling night in

November and our Open Christmas meeting in December a Quiz and supper night in January culminating in our Valentines Dinner at the Hogs Back Hotel in February. It is important to note that our Lodge Compare and Almoner W Bro Terry Owens puts a great deal of time to ensure the entertainment for the evening is first rate and a special thanks goes out to him and his wife Rak.

None of these events are successful without the Social Committee the efforts and time they put in, thanks must go out to Ian & Melanie Richards, Terry & Rak Owens, Kath & Graham Walder and Michael & Janet Yalden. However, without you the Members of the Lodges support they will not be successful and the Charities are the first to suffer if they are not supported.

Remember it is an ideal opportunity to bring friends and family members along and also those who are interested in joining our fraternity as all are very welcome.                                           

Continuing our Charity Efforts

In addition to our Charity efforts detailed in our first 25 years. We have continued to support all of the Provincial Festivals and in all cases surpassed our own expectations achieving the Bronze award for the RMTGB in 2008 Festival.

On behalf of the Province and the Lodge W Bro Terry Owens has organised and taken part in numerous events.

He has made several Parachute Jumps over Salisbury Plain, Abseiling down Guildford Cathedral, climbing Ben Nevis, and recently organising and taking part in the longest and fastest Zip wire run in Europe at Penryn Slate Quarry in Wales all in the aid of Charity.


The 2019 Festival in aid of the RMBI, is coming to an end with the Lodge currently achieving the bronze award having donated over £10,000. Initially our Charity Steward W Bro Lomax at the commencement of the Festival had collected £3750 from the Lodge Members: all the Brethren of the Lodge at that time became Stewards of the Festival.

During the last 25 years we have extended our support to many other local and National Charities, including: -


Guide Dogs for the Blind      Stroke Association

Alzheimer’s Society                Parkinson’s

Canine Partners                      Help for Heroes

The Surrey Air Ambulance.

Association of Friends of Shannon Court.

Teddies for Loving Care (every year since inception)           

Surrey Masonic Widows Association


Special mention must be made to W Bro Peter Lomax our Charity Steward who without his dedicated efforts over the 15 years in office much of our fund-raising success would not have been possible. Our Almoner, W Bro Terry Owens is now in his 12th year of Office not only is he very active in his capacity of Almoner in this Lodge, but he undertakes a similar role as a group Almoner in the Province of Hampshire.

This Lodge owes much to his enthusiasm and dedication and to those who he looks after and who are in need. A true Mason!



I trust you have found this record of our Lodge history interesting reading. We are without doubt a Lodge on the change, our membership now is 28, we have 4 on the waiting list of candidates for initiation. Our average age per member is now much lower than it has been for many years.

Our young brethren are taking a very active and enthusiastic part in the Lodge activities both in and out of the Lodge and by attending L of I. It is good to see them bring guests to our meetings and social events. The Lodge numbers are increasing we now have 26 members and 4 candidates.


I also extend my thanks for contributions to this record from W Bro R Floyd, W Bro Peter Lomax, W Bro J Cane and W.Bro M.E.Yalden.

I trust that this history and brief record of the Lodge you have found interesting, and it will encourage particularly the young Masons and those who may join in the future to carry on the traditions of the Lodge Founders but, more importantly, to demonstrate to them not only the beneficial effects they receive by being a member of this Institution but to convey to the rest of the world our fraternity


W Bro Graham R Walder PPJGW.


The next 50 years

Let us hope that the next 50 years will bring us a period of stability and prosperity for Woolsack Lodge, for Freemasonry and for mankind in general and peace in the world. Here’s to the next 50 years.


Let us with all reverence and humility

express our gratitude to the Great Architect of the Universe

for favours already received;

May he continue to preserve the Order

by cementing and adorning it

with every moral and social virtue.

                                                  So, mote it be.

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