A History of Temple Island Lodge 8031
Temple Island itself is situated in the River Thames above Hambleden Lock. It has on it an elegant Georgian folly originally built in 1771 as a lodge for nearby Fawley Court. It was designed by James Wyatt. It had very early Etruscan style paintings decorating the principal room based on designs which had just been discovered in Pompeii. In 1771 it was owned by the Freeman family then by the Mackenzie family, until purchased in 1987 on a long lease by the Regatta Stewards who have since carried out restoration work including the frescos
LODGE EARLY DAYS
In 1964 at an Officer’s and Past Master’s meeting of Thames Lodge No 1895 a suggestion was made “to consider the formation of a second Masonic Lodge in Henley-on–Thames”. At their request W Bro C T Luker, the Secretary circulated members in October 1964 with a questionnaire asking whether or not they supported that idea and also whether or not they would be prepared to be a Founder. This was followed by a meeting of brethren interested in forming a daughter lodge to Thames Lodge on Wednesday 25th November 1964. It was held in The Thames Masonic Temple. 27 members had indicated that they were in favour of such formation of whom 19 indicated that they would wish to be Founders. Not all Thames Lodge brethren were in favour and reassurances were later given to the effect that “the Committee felt that there were sufficient Founders and Candidates of the necessary calibre to proceed with the formation of a second Lodge”.
The meeting proposed a General Committee be appointed and thus a committee of 10 was formed “to work out costs and details”. A provisional order of cost for the Consecration and formation of the new Lodge was given as “approximately £180”. The meeting closed and was immediately followed by a meeting of the ad hoc General Committee. This General Committee was comprised of :-
W Bro M Ballinger W Bro R G Frewin W Bro R J Drury W Bro H J Webber W Bro F Shirley Bro A Ford
Bro J T Thompson Bro E Mowlett Bro G Allen Bro J Lawlor
The General Committee met on 15th January 1965. It was reported that a letter from the Provincial Grand Master had been received wherein he gave consent to the formation of a second Lodge in Henley and “further suggested that a suitable name might be ‘Temple Island Lodge’ ”. The General Committee agreed that they should recommend to the Founders that the name of the Lodge should be ‘Temple Island Lodge’. Recommendations were similarly made for appointment of Officers, for Thames Lodge to be asked to sponsor the founding of the new Lodge and for a first meeting of the Founders be held on 22nd January 1965.
The Founders duly met at 6.30 pm on 22nd January 1965 at Bro J Lawlor’s, 20 Market Place. That meeting established the future nature of Temple Island Lodge. The founders unanimously agreed the name of the lodge, meeting place Thames Lodge Masonic Temple; meeting dates; fees, catering and bye-laws were addressed; the ritual “should be Oxfordshire Working (Ritus Oxoniensis)”, sic, and W Bro R G Frewin was appointed by the Founders as first Master of the new Lodge.
The Founders held a number of meetings over the next months leading to a Consecration of a new Lodge Temple Island No 8031 at the Congregational Hall, Reading Road, Henley on Thames on 6th October 1965.
Matters moved along quickly and some of the key things that took place during this busy period are set down hereafter:-
At the Founders Meeting held on 26th February 1965, in Townland’s Hospital Committee Room, the Bye Laws were agreed; the Petition was signed, to be further dealt with at the next Thames Lodge meeting; the first Officers were agreed; matters such as Clearance Certificates were dealt with; the Lodge crest was approved; the summons was agreed to be issued in green. W Bro R G Frewin (W M designate) “expressed his most sincere thanks to W Bro F Shirley and W Bro H J Webber for the magnificent way in which they had steered the formation of the new Lodge to the present state”.
On 9th March at a meeting of Thames Lodge a ballot to sponsor a new Lodge was taken, Some of the older brethren were opposed to the idea but the ballot was successful in favour, “they then expressed sincere and genuine good wishes for the success of the daughter lodge”.
On 15th March W Bro H J Webber, Secretary, wrote to Dr B M Hobby with a signed and completed Petition to form Temple Island Lodge. He gave as reasons for promoting a daughter lodge: the expansion of the population in Henley; the long waiting list of candidates for Thames Lodge; the consent of The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master and lastly, the assurance of the 24 founding members to the brethren of Thames Lodge of their “full support and co-operation for the mother lodge at all times”.
At the Founders Meeting on 14th May 1965 the Secretary reported that the Grand Master’s consent to the name and number (8031) of the Lodge had been received via W Bro Dr B M Hobby.
It was also noted that Byelaws 6 & 7 should read £5-5-0 for the annual subscription, with Country Members at £1-1-0.
The Congregational Church Hall was agreed as the venue for both the ceremony and the dinner afterwards.
The fee for use of the Hall was £4-4-0 but members agreed a small donation also be made to Church funds.
The Consecration was attended by :-
The R W Bro the Rt Hon The Lord Rathcreedan T D, Provincial Grand Master; ##
W Bro Dr W C Costin OBE, MC, Deputy P G M; ##
W Bro B L Garrod P G S W; ##
W Bro A E Lorton PP J G W; ##
Bro Rt Rev Bishop A L E Williams DD, P G Chaplain; ##
W Bro B M Hobby P G Secretary; ##
W Bro H W Howland P G D of C; ##
W Bro L E Dring P Deputy G D of C; ##
W Bro A J O Back P Asst. G Pursuivant ##
W Bro E E Cromack P G D;
W Bro R B C Ryall P A G D C;
W Bro R F Hall Asst. P G Secretary;
Bro H Witts P Asst. Grand Tyler. ##
The consecrating officers are marked ## in the list above.
In addition to these 13 Provincial representatives 24 Founders and 83 Master Masons and other distinguished Brethren attended. A total of 120.
The Lodge was opened in the three degrees by the Provincial Grand Master who then addressed the Brethren as to the motive of the meeting.
The Minutes of the consecrating Meeting record that the Warrant dated 29th April 1965 was then duly read by W Bro Hobby.
A moving oration on the nature and principles of the institution was read by Bro Bishop Williams.
The Provincial Grand Master then Consecrated, Dedicated and Constituted the Lodge, during which ceremony a Choir “beautifully rendered” an Anthem and other musical services.
The Deputy Provincial Grand Master was then invited to assume the gavel and W Bro RG Frewin was installed as Worshipful Master for the ensuing year.
After being invested with his collar and badge of office W Bro Frewin was placed in the Master’s chair.
The W M then proceeded to invest the other officers of Temple Island Lodge, to formally adopt the Bye-Laws, give a vote of thanks to the Consecrating Officers and to propose the election of four honorary members.
Two joining members were also proposed, namely W Bro E F Allwood and Bro Peter Hancock together with one Candidate for Initiation, Mr M Lawlor.
The 1960s and 1970s
(To be continued)