Agricola Members conquer Vesuvius…

Tuesday 15th May 2018, saw 24 Lodge members, wives and partners gather at the Vesuvius Italian Restaurant in Maidstone for a Dinner to mark the end of the 2017/2018 Masonic “Season”.

The Lodge does not meet during the summer months.   It was originally formed as a Farmers’ Lodge, whose members would be busy harvesting their crops during the period May to October.

A great time was had by all…

Organised by Junior Warden and membership Officer Neil Marshall, the evening featured some excellent Italian food and wines all cooked and prepared by the lovely staff at Vesuvius.  Several happy diners remarked on the quality of the food, especially the Steak and the Veal which were pronounced “yummy!”

We were delighted to welcome our newest recruit Michael K. and his partner who were able to meet and get to know the members of the Lodge in a relaxed and happy setting.  Michael will hopefully be welcomed into the Lodge in January but we hope to see much more of him before then.

As no Masonic occasion would be complete without a raffle, Neil raffled a bottle of Berry Brothers and Rudd’s No 3 Gin in aid of the Lodge’s centenary fund (we will be 100 years old in 2023).  Rather unusually for an Agricola event it wasn’t won by Secretary Bob Burns, but went instead to well known Gourmet and “Masterbrew” expert Roger Waltham.

Look out for our next social occasion, a mid summer get together at one of Maidstone’s finest Nepalese restaurants,  the Ghurkha in Week Street, Maidstone on Friday 29th June at 19:30. Wives, Partners, Family and Friends all welcome. Please book with Ian Packer ASAP.

Viva Espana!

This just in from our Spanish Correspondent:   Snr.  Rodgerico de Walthamos who is currently on a beer tasting expedition somewhere in the Iberian Peninsula…


Muchos Gracias Hermano!

April 2018 Meeting

Our April Regular meeting took place at the Maidstone Masonic Centre on 27th April 2018.

The main event this time was the “Raising” (i.e. taking the third degree) of Bro. David Dadswell by our Worshipful Master Paul Constable.

However before that, the Lodge witnessed a sad moment when WBro. David Kershaw rose to pay a fulsome tribute to our late Brother Richard Hinge,  who died recently at the age of 83.

David Kershaw
David Kershaw

Initiated in 1969, Richard was the last member of the Hinge “Dynasty” who had been staunch supporters of Agricola Lodge since it was founded in 1922.  Both his Father and Grandfather had been members;  and Richard had served the Lodge for many years including a stint as Secretary in the early 1990’s.

David recalled how he, Richard and the late Ted Whiting had progressed through the Lodge Offices together, providing mutual support, encouragement and friendship over many years.  He was, said David…

An example to us all, who will be sadly missed.

A Service of Thanksgiving for Richard’s Life will be held on Wednesday 16th May.  Details can be obtained from the Lodge Secretary.

David and Paul
David (L) and Paul

The meeting then proceeded with Organist John Fry restored to his place at the keyboard after his recent hospital treatment.  The Ceremony of Raising, featured an hilarious moment when The Worshipful Master, (who is 5ft 3 inches tall) raised David (almost 6ft 5 inches tall).

The Master Masons among our readership will appreciate the problem :-)))

Happily all was concluded satisfactorily,  when David was invested with the Rank of a Master Mason with much acclaim.

The Festive Board was our usual happy affair featuring Hot Sussex Smokie, Roast Beef and Apple Pie.  The Bottle Raffle in aid of the Lodge Centenary Fund featured a particularly fine bottle of Jura Single Malt.  It raised £56.00 and was won by David Kershaw.

The main Raffle raised a further £175.00 for which Charity Steward
Jim de Save thanked the Brethren.

In his toast to the Worshipful Master, acting IPM Richard Carney congratulated him on another battling and determined performance and thanked him for the funniest moment (see above) “… Since Herbie Watson’s trousers fell down”.  A famous moment of high comedy, featuring a wardrobe malfunction,  which occurred back in the year 2000.

This meeting was the last of the current “season”.   Our next will be on Friday 26th October 2018.  However there are a couple of social events over the summer.  Full details are in the Events section.

Agricola Eggheads rule OK? (Well almost…)

Agricola’s Quiz team recently took part in the 6th annual Maidstone Masonic Centre Quiz Night.

This annual competition for the “Brooks-Tozer Shield” seeks to raise both the intellectual ability of the members,  as well as a significant sum for the improvement of the Centre.

However by the end of the evening it was generally accepted that whilst second objective had been achieved,  the former “may be in doubt”.

Appearing for what was billed as the “Agro Cola” team were Malcolm & Janet Graham, Mike and Julie Spencer, Ian and Kellie Packer and Bob and Wendy Burns.

Fleur de Lis Lodge
The winning team from Fleur de Lis Lodge

For the first time the eventual winners were the team from Fleur de Lis Lodge No 8969  who improved on their previous best position of 2nd.

However the “Agro Cola”  Eggheads ended up a creditable 4th.


Secretary Bob Burns afterwards admitted that they would have come third if he had listened to Wendy who provided the correct answer to a critical question.

However the team displayed what Bob describes as…
“A good spread of useless knowledge”.

The evening raised  the magnificent sum of £360.00 which will be donated to the Maidstone Masonic Centre for improving  facilities for the members.

March 2018 Meeting

Our March Regular meeting took place at the Maidstone Masonic Centre on 23rd March 2018.

38 Brethren gathered to witness the “Passing” (i.e. taking the second degree) of Bro. Nick Marinov by our Worshipful Master, Paul Constable.

Peter Malcolm and Nik
Peter, Malcolm and Nik

The meeting began in a somewhat unusual manner as our Organist John Fry had been admitted to hospital with a kidney complaint.  The opening Ode was therefore sung “Acapella” but was surprisingly tuneful given the limited vocal talent of most of the membership.


The Almoner John Sampson assured the Brethren that Bro. John was responding to treatment and was keeping us appraised of his progress via Social Media.  We all wish John (F) a speedy recovery.

Moving on with the Agenda, The Secretary Bob Burns rose to deal with the Minutes of the last meeting.  He informed the meeting that the only comment he had received was from (a suspiciously anonymous) Brother who apparently claimed that they were “the best minutes he had ever seen” ;-))

Nik’s answers to the questions leading from the 1st to 2nd degrees were word perfect, as was the rendition of the 2nd Degree Working Tools by Peter Jacobs and the Explanation of the 2nd Degree Tracing Board by Mike Spencer.

One innovation later in the evening was the introduction of a 4th “Rising” by the WM.  This was blamed on the IPM who was apparently asleep…

Alms raised during the meeting were £101.30.

Peter, Roger and Mark, Beer quality control testing!

The meeting was followed by a thoroughly enjoyable Festive Board at which a further £233.00 was raised.  The Bottle Raffle was won by Bob Burns (again…).

Responding to the Toast to the Guests and Visitors, WBro. Tony Hayward of the White Horse of Kent Lodge No 8784 thanked the Brethren for an enjoyable meeting, a sumptuous Festive Board and for their warm and sincere welcome.  He expressed the wish of all the Guests and Visitors that they might enjoy a similar occasion in the not too distant future.

January 2018 Meeting

Our regular meeting on the 26th January 2018, saw us welcome our latest recruit, in the person of Nikolay Marinov.  Nik’s journey into Freemasonry began some years ago when he moved into the house next door to Senior Warden Malcolm Graham.  He had long been interested in Freemasonry but it was his growing friendship with his next door neighbour which finally convinced him to take the plunge and apply for membership.

nik marinov initiation
Nik was proposed by Malcolm Graham (l) and seconded by Neil Marshall (r)

Nik, aged 35, is an Accountant living in Maidstone with his wife Maria, who is a local GP,  and his 2 young boys aged 6 and 1.  His hobbies are “anything sporty” with a particular interest in  Martial Arts.  Malcolm of course proposed him.  He was seconded by Junior Warden, and Membership Officer Neil Marshall.

The meeting opened at 6pm and, in addition to a smoothly executed first degree ceremony, included a poignant moment in the Lodge’s history when long standing member WBro. Richard Hinge was elected an Honorary Member.  A local fruit Farmer,  Richard is the third generation of his family to have been a member of Agricola Lodge.  He served the Lodge in many ways over the years;  but is perhaps most remembered for his years as Lodge Secretary, and for his rendition of the “Address to the Brethren” which was a regular and much loved feature of our Installation Meetings for longer than most of us can remember.

The Lodge was also delighted to see WBro. John Beadle back with us after his stroke last year.

nik marinov initiation
Nik was welcomed by WM Paul Constable

The formal proceedings being over,  the Lodge was closed at around 8:15 after which the Brethren repaired to the Dining Room for our now traditional January Burns Supper.  The meal began with a warm and satisfying, home made, Cock a Leekie soup.  This was followed up by Haggis Neaps and Tatties and rounded off with Tipsy Trifle, Cheese and Coffee.

Following the usual Toasts, Neil Marshall rose to propose the “Toast to the Initiate.”  He outlined Nik’s background assuring the Brethren that although Accountancy didn’t enjoy the most exciting of reputations, Nik was very much at the hip “Rock and Roll” end of the profession.  Following a rousing toast, Nik thanked the Brethren for accepting him into the Lodge and said how much he was looking forward to getting to know more about Freemasonry.

With the Lodge’s Centenary looming in 2023, our Secretary Bob Burns kindly donated a bottle of Single Malt whisky which was raffled in aid of the Centenary Fund.  It was won by er…..  Bob Burns !!!  

A Stewards Enquiry has been ordered ;-)))

The meeting was brought to a close by Tyler Mark Kirby at approximately 10:00pm

From the Archives….

This photo was kindly submitted by Roger Waltham.  It was taken around 1999.  Sadly mobile cameras weren’t as good in those days so the quality isn’t great, but it brings back many happy memories of times gone by.

Cheese & Wine
Roger Waltham (R) running the bar with the late Tony Stanesby

During the 1980’s and 90’s the Lodge, In association with Agricola Chapter, ran an Annual Cheese and Wine Party every summer.  It was hosted by  Ernie and Daphne Nicholls at their Farm in Avery Lane Otham and often raised a 4 figure sum for Charity.

The Bar would be set up in one of Ernie’s apple stores which had to be laboriously swept out every year.  You can see the Apple Boxes from which it was constructed just below the red table cloth.

Members of the Lodge would make an annual trip to Calais to bring back the wine and the wives and partners of the members would prepare a sumptuous and extensive buffet for the enjoyment of all.

The photo shows Roger and former member Tony Stanesby who took over running the Bar from the late WBro. Tommy Thompson and his wife “Bubbles”.

Sadly a few wet years and the passing of time saw support for this event decline to the point where it was decided to abandon it.

The memories it left however remain strong….

If you have any old photos of Lodge events in times past,  please let us have them so that they can be preserved for future generations of Agricola Freemasons….

Lodge Officers – The Charity Steward

Another important post in a Freemasons’ Lodge is that of the Charity Steward, whose role is to champion all forms of charitable activity within the Lodge.

It  is a job which should never be undertaken lightly, as to do it properly requires personal commitment,  time and effort.

Fundraising activities can be undertaken in  many ways  but a common pathway to success is to build a relationship of trust and goodwill with the membership.

Fundraising priorities will vary between Lodges and  will depend on whether or not the Province is “in Festival”.  However the specific duties of the Charity Steward which are common to all may be summarised as follows:

  • Presenting compelling cases for giving, without being either too forceful, (which may deter potential donors), or too passive (so as not to miss opportunities).
  • Encouraging regular giving e.g. through standing orders.
  • Increasing the value of donations through Gift Aid.
  • Discussing legacies, as appropriate.
  • Planning, organising and implementing events and fundraising activities.
  • Making regular  reports to the Lodge.
  • Keeping monies safe and, wherever possible, earning interest.
  • Maintaining accurate records.
  • Ensuring the Charity Accounts are presented to the Lodge/Chapter on an annual basis.
  • Disbursing funds as authorised by the Lodge.
CEKFC Charity
CEKFC Charity Presentation

Initiating and leading fundraising within the Lodge not only brings financial benefits to Masonic and non-Masonic Charities, but personal satisfaction and a great deal of fun along the way!   For someone who enjoys fundraising or event planning it is a great way to make a real difference not only in the Lodge but in the Community at large.

If this is something that interests you, click here to find out how to get involved.

12 Gifts of Christmas…. #12 Happy Christmas!

MCF Logo
The MCF logo

This year the Masonic Charitable Foundation are releasing a series of 12 short videos to highlight the work carried out on behalf of our members during 2017.  It is stories like this that make us proud to be Masons!

And Finally…

People sometimes ask
What is Freemasonry for?

Here are a few answers…


If you have enjoyed this festive look at what Freemasonry is really all about and would like to get involved, we at Agricola Lodge No 4501 would love to hear from you.

 Click here to get the ball rolling.

Merry Christmas from us all in
Agricola Lodge No 4501

SEE YOU IN 2018!


<Previous Video in this series

12 Gifts of Christmas…. #11 Tony

MCF Logo
The MCF logo

This year the Masonic Charitable Foundation are releasing a series of 12 short videos to highlight the work carried out on behalf of our members during 2017.  It is stories like this that make us proud to be Masons!

Here is the next in the series…

 Taking on the important role of Almoner or Visiting Volunteer can be a challenge. The MCF produces guides, factsheets and videos help people like Tony to support the members of their Masonic community.