October 2017 – A very special visitor!

Our October 2017 meeting saw the Worshipful Master, Neil Sadler welcome a most special and distinguished guest in the person of Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master,  Roger Odd.  The purpose of Roger’s visit was to present Agricola Lodge with a splendid pair of stone Ashlars in recognition of the Lodge’s gererous support of the Province of East Kent’s Tercentenary Appeal.

Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral

In 2016, to celebrate 300 years since the founding of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE),  the Masonic Provinces of East Kent, West Kent, Surrey and Sussex came together to launch an appeal in aid of restoration works at Canterbury Cathedral.  The result  was that over £300,000 was raised to fund important repairs to,  and restoration of, the stonework in the NW Transept Tower of the Cathedral.

Ashlars have a symbolic importance in Freemasonry;  as the Stonemason’s  transformation of the “Rough” ashlar  into the “Perfect” cube of the dressed stone,  is taken as a metaphor for the process which we refer to as “making good men better.”  These presentation Ashlars are made from the same Caen Limestone with which Canterbury Cathedral is faced.  They feature the Square and Compasses logo of UGLE on the front and our Lodge number, 4501 on the reverse.

Neil Sadler with Roger Odd
WM Neil Sadler (L) receives the Ashlars from Roger Odd

During his talk Roger described how Kent Freemasonry’s close and valued relationship with the Cathedral began over 150 years ago.  He passed on the thanks of both the  Dean of Canterbury, the Very Rev Dr. Robert Willis, and The Provincial Grand Master of East Kent, Geoffrey Dearing.

 

This meeting also saw the presentation of a Grand Lodge Certificate to Bro. Peter Jacobs by Agricola’s own Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Roger Waltham.  A Grand Lodge Certificate is presented to every Freemason on completion of the Three Degrees, at which point he becomes a Master Mason.

This evening also saw the election of our Master Elect, Paul Constable.  Paul will be installed into the Worshipful Master’s Chair at our Installation meeting on 24th November 2017.  Full details and booking facilities are available in the Events section of this site.

As usual, the formal part of the meeting was followed by our excellent Festive Board, the highlight of which was a rather splendid Steak and Ale Pie!…

Report:  Richard Carney

Photos:  Neil Marshall

 

 

SKY® TV – Inside the Freemasons

Earlier this year SKY® TV aired a five part documentary entitled “Inside the Freemasons”  which took a long look at the organization both at local and national  level.

It provides the viewer with an unprecedented look at what it means to be a Freemason in the UK today.

In seeking to look beyond the grandeur of Freemasons Hall, and by focusing on ordinary Masons, the show reveals Freemasons to be simply a group of ordinary men united in their desire to do something positive to improve themselves and in doing so, to bring about a better world.

Its major importance however is that it has, once and for all, slain the myth that Freemasonry is somehow a malign influence in society.  It confirms the organisation as being about Friendship, Kindness, Generosity, Compassion, Respect and Integrity; and by showing not just what Freemasons do but why they do it,  “Inside the Freemasons”  finally shows the public at large that Freemasonry is…..  “a force for good”.

If you missed the original broadcasts and are considering applying for membership of Agricola Lodge No 4501,  you can now judge for yourself as the entire series is available on a DVD (Price £17.99 inc postage) from the UGLE website….

http://letchworthshop.co.uk

A potted History of Freemasonry

The questions of when, how, why and where Freemasonry originated are still the subject of intense speculation. The consensus amongst most Masonic scholars is that it descends directly or indirectly from the organisation of operative stonemasons who built the great cathedrals and castles of the middle ages.

July 31, 1599:  The Oldest Masonic Lodge Minutes in existence are from the Lodge of Edinburgh No. 1 which has records to prove its long-time existence as the world’s oldest Masonic Lodge.

1646:  Elias Ashmole (The founder of the Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford) recorded his initiation into Freemasonry with these words… 
“October 16, 4.30pm – I was made a freemason at Warrington in Lancashire with Colonel Henry Mainwaring (a Roundhead parliamentarian friend related to his father-in-law) of Karincham in Cheshire. The names of those that were then at the Lodge, Mr Richard Penket Worden, Mr James Collier, Mr Richard Sankey, Henry Littler, John Ellam, Richard Ellam and Hugh Brewer.”
This is the first evidence of the initiation of an English speculative mason – notwithstanding the fact that those present and listed would have certainly been initiated at an earlier date.

24 June 1717:  Four London Lodges, which had existed for some time, came together at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in St Paul’s Churchyard in London, declared themselves a Grand Lodge and elected Anthony Sayer as their Grand Master. This was the first Grand Lodge in the world.

1723: By this time the new Grand Lodge had published its first rule book – The Book of Constitutions of Masonry – and was meeting quarterly and recording its meetings. It had extended its authority outside London.

1725:  The Grand Lodge of Ireland was established.

1736:  The Grand Lodge of Scotland was established. The three Home Grand Lodges began to take Freemasonry overseas and the development of Freemasonry abroad mirrors the 18th and 19th century development of the British Empire.

1751:  A rival Grand Lodge appeared in London. Its original members were Irish Masons who claimed that the original Grand Lodge had made innovations. They dubbed the first Grand Lodge the Moderns and called themselves the Antients. The two existed side by side – both at home and abroad – for nearly 63 years, neither recognising each other as regular.

1813:  After four years of negotiation, the two Grand Lodges in England united on 27 December 1813 to form the United Grand Lodge of England. This union led to a great deal of standardisation of ritual, procedures and regalia.

1814:  Some 647 Lodges were in existence. The 19th century saw a great expansion of Freemasonry – both at home and abroad.

1900:  2,800 Lodges had been established despite losses when independent Grand Lodges were formed in Canada and Australia in the later part of the century.

1914 -1945:  The two World Wars both had a great effect on English Freemasonry. In the three years after the First World War over 350 new Lodges were set up, and in the three years after the Second World War nearly 600 new Lodges came into being. In many cases the founders were servicemen who wanted to continue the camaraderie they had built up during their war service, and were looking for a calm centre in a greatly changed and changing world.

1967:  On 14 June 1967 the 250th anniversary of Grand Lodge was celebrated at the Royal Albert Hall. Centrepiece of the celebrations was the installation as Grand Master of HRH The Duke of Kent, who still holds that office today.

1992:  On 10 June 1992 over 12,500 Freemasons and guests gathered at Earls Court in West London to celebrate the 275th anniversary of Grand Lodge. For the first time press and television were present at a meeting of Grand Lodge and the event featured on television newscasts around the world.

2017:  Freemasons around the world are currently celebrating the 300th Anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England..

Some famous  Freemasons…

  •  At least five Kings of England (more recently Edward VII, Edward VIII and George VI),
  • The present  Duke of Kent,
  • Statesmen  Winston Churchill and Lord Kitchener,
  • Military genius the  Duke of Wellington,
  • Authors Rudyard Kipling and Arthur Conan Doyle,
  • World Cup winning England manager,  Alf Ramsey,
  • The explorer  Ernest Shackleton,
  • The scientist who discovered penicillin, Alexander Fleming ,
  • Painter  William Hogarth,
  • 18th Century Poet  Alexander Pope
  • Flamboyant playwright Oscar Wilde.
  • Famous actors  David Garrick,   Richard Todd and Peter Sellers,
  • Musicians: Arthur Sullivan of Gilbert and Sullivan fame and Nat King Cole.

Agricola – How is it pronounced?

There can be few Lodges in the country, whose name gets mispronounced as often as ours!

Indeed it has become something of a sport for our more mischievous Brethren to refer to us as  Agri CO la (with the emphasis on the third syllable), knowing that it will elicit a wry grin from our members.

It’s all taken in good sport of course!

The ubiquity of a certain american soft drink, allied to the fact that few of us had a classical education involving the study of Latin,  is probably to blame.  The correct pronunciation is A GRI Cola, with the stress on the second syllable.

So if you are intending to visit, and get asked to respond for the Guests and Visitors, which are you going to use?

You can of course be assured of a warm response….. whichever you choose!

Agricola – How did it get it’s name?

If you have read the “About” page of this site, you will have already seen that the founders of Agricola Lodge No 4501 shared a common interest in Farming.  When the Lodge was founded in the period just after the end of the First World War, food production was vital:  Agriculture and those working in it were an important sector of the economy.

The word itself is Latin for Farmer.  It’s root lies in the Latin words ager, meaning Field, and cola meaning tiller or cultivator.

Agricola Lodge Insignia
The Lodge Insignia

 

The Lodge insignia (apologies for the quality of the picture… it’s very old)  features the roman goddess Ceres seated holding the fruits of the harvest.

A Ploughman is tilling the land in the background followed by a flock of birds.

 

 

 

Ceres Goddess of the Harvest

Ceres was the goddess of Agriculture, grain and the love a mother bears for her child.  In greek mythology she is known as Demeter.  Ceres was the goddess of the harvest, and was thought to be responsible for the fertility of the land.

The insignia  is surrounded by hops to illustrate the Lodge’s connection to traditional Kentish agriculture.

Agricola has been used several times as a name for farming Lodges.  Agricola Lodge No 1991 meets in York and Agricola Lodge No 7741, in Durham.  Do you know of any others?

Then please let us know…

Blog

This blog records the life of our Lodge to give you a flavour of what we get up to.

It also contains information which may help you understand more about Freemasonry before you decide to apply for membership

Whether it’s our latest Charity Project, a fun social event or a report on the more formal aspects of Freemasonry in Maidstone, you will find details here.

Watch this space!