Next Meeting Date

April 26th 2016
We open at 5:45pm prompt

Meeting Dates
Lodge Meetings

The 4th Tuesday of January, February, March and April. Then September, October & November (for December meeting see 'special dates').

Special dates:
3rd Wednesday in December is the Christmas meeting

4th Wednesday of May is the visit to St John's Lodge.


Committee
 
The first Monday of each Masonic month.
   
LOI  
LOI is the 2nd Wednesday of each Masonic month.

Honorary Members
R.W. Bro B.M. Cooper
R.W.Bro. R.G.H.Goddard
Contact & Location

The Talbot Hotel Stourbridge
Lodge of Stability No564
c/o The Talbot Hotel
High Street
Stourbridge
West Midlands
DY8 1DW

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Car Parking is available directly outside in the high street or behind the Talbot in limited numbers (please register at the Bar on arrival)

The History of the Lodge

Stability’s origins began with a petition from members of 2 Lodges, Faithful No.696 and Harmonic No.313, indeed the first Master was Charles Curran a Past Master of Faithful Lodge. We began life as Number 824 however this was changed sometime later to No. 564 upon the renumbering of Lodges by Grand Lodge.

To say Stability began life in on a rocky financial footing rather understates the matter. The first meeting was held at the Vine Inn In Stourbridge on the16th July 1849,  where the Landlord was a Mr Ford, who was soon invited to join the Lodge and promptly loaned them £50 at 5% interest. Then Bro Hassall who was a founder loaned them £50 which was later converted to a gift and he was promptly elected as Treasurer, maybe at his request to watch over his investment. £47.10s was immediately used to purchase the beautiful Lodge furniture which we still have and use today from St Johns Lodge of Lichfield No 431 which was an old lapsed lodge. It is rumoured that some of the furniture even predates the Lichfield Lodge and was made by French prisoners during the Napoleonic wars. As you must realise Stability has had to contend with several wars during its history, from the Crimean through the Boer war and both wars of the 20th Century all of which caused many adjustments to our meetings dates particularly World War 2).

In 1883 Stability was commanded to host a meeting of P.G.L. at Moseley, where afterwards the Brethren processed to the Parish Church and a Divine Service was held. There followed the laying of a Foundation Stone by the P. G. Master Sir.  E. A. H. Lechmere. This was the precursor to our sponsorship of Masefield Lodge No. 2034, who invited is in 1984 to their centenary celebrations.

Stability has met at only 3 places since its consecration. The Vine as previously mentioned was where we first met, but in September 1851 Bro Ford the landlord of the Vine told the Lodge that he would be leaving the Vine and that it would be closed for several months and that we would be homeless. It was first suggested that we move to the Bell Inn in Rye Market but before this could be accomplished an amendment was put that we move to the Talbot Hotel. This was accomplished, and obviously feeling that they had benefited from there experience with Bro Ford at the Vine, promptly initiated the landlord of the Talbot a Mr Benjamin Brookes into the Lodge, The Talbot has been our meeting place ever since except for few months when the present Lodge rooms were built in 1924 when we moved to the Carlisle Hall in Victoria Street.

In 1951 the tradition of reciprocal visits by the Lodge of St John Lichfield from whom we had obtained our Lodge furniture was established and is still maintained today. The Lodge of Stability was rightly named as we have maintained our stature in persevering through the good times and the not so good times. We at all times try to preserve the standards of all that is good and deserving of praise in Free Masonry.

This is just a brief insight in to the early Lodge history and there now follows a more detailed history of the last 50 years.

1949 onwards - By 1949 the war had been over for four years. Rationing was with us but inflation had yet to come. The annual subscription of the Lodge of £2.5.0. ( or £2.25 in modern currency ) seems to belong to another world when compared with today’s figure.

The Installation ceremony in January 1949 was attended by 41 members and 35 visitors. It is interesting to note that amongst the Brethren on the Lowest rungs of Stability ladder were men who were to mark their presence on the future of the Lodge :- W. A.( Gus ) Peplow, A. J. B. Shearer, and the one and only Leslie Vaughan. The latter earned the sobriquet of “ Flash ” . We never found out why. He was one of the most friendly of Freemasons and ever a joy to the Lodge.The accounts presented for the previous year show the dining bill to be £ 209.1.8d I imagine every generation has said of the previous ones “ those were the days”.

In October of 1949 a landmark was reached. After the Lodge meeting 166 Brethren repaired to the Town Hall to celebrate the Centenary of a grand old Lodge. The Toast to the Lodge was proposed by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master who had already, during the Lodge meeting presented the Centenary warrant to the W.M. Walter Stevens. It must have been a very happy and proud gathering on that historic night. As petrol was still on rationing there would have been few vehicles abroad in the late ( or early ) hours , which was perhaps fortunate.

The Fifties saw a return to normalcy and the departure of the remaining wartime restrictions. Masonry in Stourbridge flourished, and that very prospering brought to a head a matter which must have exercised the minds of a number of Brethren for some time. By 1959 the Talbot Hotel accommodated four Lodges and one Royal Arch Chapter. Each unit dealt individually with the Brewery in the matter of rent, and with Stability in the matter of depreciation fund since the original furnishings had been provided by the Lodge of Stability . Over the years the other Lodges had introduced their own additions. It became clear that there was a need for a central body to look after the business side of things on behalf of all the units, things such as rent insurances, replacements, Lodge boards, cleaning etc. A working paper was presented to the Lodge by it’s then Secretary, W.Bro Ralph Bennett ( about whom much more later ). A great debate took place in 564 and there were some searching questions, as one of the key proposals was the transfer of our furniture and effects to a Masonic Management Committee. Ralph Bennett handled the episode with his customary sympathy and understanding. His proposals were eventually accepted, albeit with some Masonic caution, and as a result the Stourbridge Masonic Management Committee came into being.

One of the most delightful links in the chain of our history was forged or rather reforged during the years since 1949, 'Lichfield Night'. The story of how our ancient Brethren came into possession of our Lodge furniture and effects is very important to Stability and recalls how a Lodge in Lichfield had befallen hard times and Stability managed to buy the furniture and other goods. In 1951 this was commemorated by reciprocal visits between Stability and the now reformed 'St John's Lodge of Lichfield'. Thus began a tradition that has gratified generations of Brethren from both Lodges. Not only has the annual fixture given additional pleasure to Lodge meetings, but has supplied wonderful ammunition for the Visitor’s toast at the Festive Board. For many years Ralph Bennett was the resident Proposer of this toast on Lichfield Night and his variations on a theme became classics. Of course the required response ( or counter-thrust ) by the reigning Master of St. Johns has always been worth the entrance fee. For years the beautiful firing glasses bought in 1849 were proudly displayed , but the risk of damage and the impossibility of replacements, has led to a discontinuance of the practice.

The Fifties also saw a re-introduction to one of the great social activities of Masonic life - the Ladies’ Night. There are so few occasions that allows the long suffering Ladies to get together within the confines of the Art, and so popular were the early ones that the tradition continued , with occasional breaks, through the next decades. Latterly some of the Masters have had the inspired idea of two nights, one with the Ballroom, and another, usually the Christmas meeting, of a less energetic Dinner with Carols. The latter undoubtedly appeals to the more mature members and those, who like the writer, acquired two left feet. The Ladies’ song, an adaptation from the Visitors’ song ( never used in 564 ) is one of the most memorable moments of these nights.

The “Swinging Sixties” had, initially no impact on Freemasonry, although the later years made their impact felt generally. As the decade opened the annual subscription was £5.00. a relatively modest increase over ten years. The first Master of the decade was W.Bro.R.P. Matkin, a very down to earth man and a supporter of Sunderland Football Club. The Hotel accounts for 1959 were £269.00 and that included rent.

The early sixties saw the end of active service from one of the great men of Stability, W. Bro. Albert Grove. His contribution to the Lodge can only be described as outstanding. He reached back in time and knew well many a name on the Honours Board of the 19th Century. He occupied the Chair in 1914 - a tremendous year for the world! It was hoped to commemorate his half century since, by installing him as Master in l964. However, his declining health prevented this pleasure. His final years were spent in a nursing home. Amongst the offices he held were those of Secretary and Treasurer for many years. He had a delightful touch when responding to the Toast of Grand Lodge ( an honour which he richly deserved ), and many a Festive Board enjoyed his impish humour. He was, also the author of “The First Hundred Years “ a book which contains a lot of our history and a lot of Albert Grove. When we talk of dedication and devotion to our Mother Lodge we can think of him.

With the arrival of the Seventies changes can be seen. The annual subscription moves up to £10 the Stourbridge Masonic Management Committee has procured an extensive choice in the dining menu and Ritual working is under change at the behest of Grand Lodge. Attendance’s are still good - one Installation Ceremony attracting 90 brethren. For many years Ralph Bennett had been the Lodge Secretary, following on from Albert Grove. The story of Ralph Bennett is nearly the story of Stability for some decades. His genuine Masonic approach to things was an inspiration to all who had the pleasure of knowing him. Many an Initiate will remember the warmth of reception by W.Bro.Ralph. His honours in the Province and at Grand level were just rewards for his common sense, practical guidance and industry. His photograph, taken to celebrate his 50 years of Free Masonry, hangs proudly in the Committee Room. On relinquishing the duties of Secretary, he followed his predecessor W.Bro. Grove, in taking on the no less arduous duties of Treasurer.

Ralph was succeeded as Secretary by W.Bro. Rupert Griffin. Rupert was another mason whose approach to matters was of a practical nature. For many years he had been Preceptor. Sadly he suffered a sever illness which cut short his ability to continue his duties. “Thank Heavens for an active Assistant Secretary”, said Ralph Bennett. That was W.Bro. John Glynne-Jones. He took over the role at almost a moment’s notice ( it was an Installation month ) and became one of the most admired and best loved members. His industry, whether as Lodge Secretary, Member of the Stourbridge Masonic Management Committee, or Provincial Grand Treasurer became proverbial. One always felt that he knew “what it was all about”. His wife, Jill, often said that she was thinking of changing the name of their house to “Stability”. His sudden death at a comparatively young age plunged the Lodge into a short period of gloom. The funeral was attended by scored of Masons from all over the Province - a final testimony to a great man and a great Mason.

A successor was needed and “Cometh the hour - cometh the man”, said W.Bro. John Shearer. As usual he was proved right. W.Bro. John Smith (J.C.R to all and sundry) took over the job and continued in the grand tradition, of the Stability Secretaries. Also, in the grand tradition, after one of the longest spells as Secretary, he vacated the office only to take on the role of Treasurer. He was succeeded by first W.Bro. R.E. Moult and then W.Bro. D.F.Perks another of the tremendous workaholics so regularly found in 564.

In 1972 the Lodge became involved in Masonic history. This is a subject still shrouded in uncertainties, and even the best researchers continue to differ on such matters as our origins. The W.M.W.Bro.H.R.(Harry) Matthews used the December meeting to deliver a translation of a copy of the Old Charges which had been loaned to him. These wonderful old documents (of which the earliest is probably late 14th Century) were read at meetings before the arrival of Lodge Warrants. In other words, they preceded the formation of the first Grand Lodge in 1717. The earliest Lodge in Worcestershire met at the Talbot Hotel in the early 18th Century, and it is not inconceivable that the copy translated by W.Bro. Matthews was in use then.

Called the Hathaway Manuscript after the family in whose possession it resided in l972, at the behest of the W.M. it was taken to London for examination by the Premier Research Lodge of the world- Ars Quatuor Coronati - the Lodge of the Four Crowned Martyrs. It was responsible directly and indirectly - for two superb papers published in the annual Translations of that August body. When the Hathaway manuscript was returned it found a permanent home in our Provincial Grand Lodge Library. Whenever brethren from 564 pay a visit they should look it up. Not only is it a part of history, but reminds us that Stourbridge and the Talbot Hotel can justly be considered the cradle of Free Masonry in the Province of Worcestershire. Hathaway will for ever be associated with Stability and W.Bro. Harry Matthews.

The late 70’ s and the early 80’s seem crowded with incident. Firstly a new Lodge appeared in Stourbridge - Crystal Lodge. There was some concern at first, as it was felt that another Lodge might attract Initiates away from the existing “establishment” but such was not the case. Very soon Crystal became an accepted part of Stourbridge Masonry. It developed it’s own customs and traditions. It’s annual Burns Night has become proverbial, and on the first occasion attracted one hundred brethren. One off-spin for 564 has been one of it’s Past Masters, W.Bro J.S. (Jim) Webb as a regular visitor. In a relatively short time W.Bro. Webb proved to be a dynamic addition to Stourbridge Masonry.

A surprise, however, was the application by the Harmonic Lodge of Dudley to move to Stourbridge. Harmonic, of course was our sponsoring Lodge back in 1849, and had fallen on difficult times. The early 80’s saw a recession throughout the country, and this was generally felt by the Craft. Curiously, although consent was given, only about half of the members of Harmonic made the transfer. Equally curiously, their stay lasted only a year or so, before they returned to Dudley. It was sad to see our Mother Lodge’s Mother Lodge in such difficulties. Happily since then, a general improvement in their affairs has taken place. As one of the oldest Lodges in the Province (they have already celebrated their bi-centenary) and as our oldest living relative, we take a pride in their past. One interesting thing to note is that after their return to Dudley they were unable to secure a Tyler, a not unknown problem. Into the breach stepped W.Bro. Alan Payne of Crystal Lodge; rather a case of the past looking to the present for a continuation of its’ work.

The early eighties were certainly eventful. Suddenly the Brewery served notice on the Stourbridge Lodges. It was pointed out that this was a statutory requirement in order to change the terms of the lease. In other words a substantial increase in rent was being proposed. This was partly to bring it into line with the economic situation (there is no doubt that the Stourbridge Lodges were in a favourable position by comparison to many other areas) but there was also a concern that the Brewery was interested in developing the accommodation side of the business. This was rather reinforced a while later when the Management Committee received a suggestion from our hosts that the Lodges move to the Bell Hotel. As this would involve outside catering apart from anything else, it was rightly declined.

A number of meetings of Lodge Committees took place and eventually a proposal to meet the new rent and other charges, by means of a Capitation Scheme was adopted. This, undoubtedly has been a major influence in the increased Lodge subscriptions. One view prevailing was that the Brewery was looking ahead to the Open Market in the E.E.C. and an influx of business agents needing accommodation.

The nicest surprise happened in 1985. In that year W.Bro. R.E. Moult occupied the Chair. For some time he had mentioned the likelihood of Stability being the mother of an infant which was about to celebrate it’s centenary. An examination of our 19th century Minute Book revealed - nothing. Apparently our Ancient Brethren didn’t consider a Constitution worth recording. As a result there was some scepticism, but with true Stability grit, W.Bro. Moult persisted and was proved right when he obtained from the Province a chart of lodges since the earliest recorded times. Naturally everyone jumped on the band-wagon. To celebrate the event the W.M. invited officers from our daughter Masefield Lodge Number 2034 of Kings Heath, to join us on our traditional Lichfield Night. What an occasion for our brethren to sit at the Festive Board with descendants of our early furnishers and our first offspring. Adding icing to a delicious cake, W.Bro. D.H. (David) Higgs was instrumental in bringing to the meeting a Brother who appears high on our list of members, but one who few of us had ever met. Bro.R.S. Blunsom had left the district many years ago, but retained his membership. Amongst the tales he related of his early days was being driven to Lodge meetings by a young W.Bro Grove at hair raising speed in an open sports car. For those of us who only remember W.Bro. Grove in his final years, the image of him as a latter day Grand Prix contestant was quite a revelation.

The final decade of the 20th Century opens with W. Bro. P.R. Guinness being installed into the Master’s Chair. It is worth noting that the progression from Initiation has taken approximately 15 years. A perusal of the accounts for 1993 is most illuminating. The annual rent has risen to £880 and the Dining Account shows the expenditure of £3380. These figures give us some idea of the way currency has depreciated since 1949. On the acceptable side of our assets include a share book value of nearly £33.000. It had better be explained that this is by virtue of a legacy from one of our brethren of long ago - Bro. W.J. Price. It took nearly another twenty years before his hopes became reality and there is no doubt that the Lodge was in a happy financial position.

If the work of the Administrative Department is often a “behind the scenes activity” the work of the Preceptors is very much Masonry Visible. The ritual working of a Lodge is one indication of its “prosperity”. So much of this is due to the ability to communicate at Lodge practices and in the Lodge of Instruction. During the period under review Stability has been well served in this important area. The earliest Preceptor of whom I had experience was W.Bro. Rupert Griffin. Mention of his style has been made earlier. He was succeeded by W.Bro. A.J.B.Shearer, who held the office for over twenty years, a tremendous record. During that period he was responsible for putting numerous teams through their paces. This requires a great deal of willingness and a vast endurance of patience! W.Bro. Shearer combined these qualities in abundance. The calibre of today’s superb ritualists such as W.Bro. W. Cooper and W.Bro A.J. Yeates is full testimony to their grounding on Friday Nights.

For a short period W.Bro. Shearer was followed by one of the great lights of the years - W.Bro. H.D. Charnock. Strictly speaking this was less of a change than a continuation, since our late Brother was also possessed of the same sterling qualities. One of the most sincere of men, he was someone who would always lend a sympathetic ear to the problems of others. His good sense and quiet approach endeared him to all who were privileged to share his company. The term “lived respected and died regretted” could have been coined for W.Bro. Dennis Charnock.

W.Bro. W. “Bill” Cooper a later incumbent is another with impeccable credentials. Together with W.Bro. John Yeates his qualities have been recognised by the Province and honour reflected on the Lodge. Perhaps W. Bro. Bill will best be remembered as the member who almost established a dynasty. Both his sons were initiated into our “Mystic” Rites and in January 1994 he was made even prouder when W.Bro. Peter Cooper was installed as the 146th Master of Stability. This wonderful continuity of the Family Stability runs through our history. Fathers and sons, uncles and nephews, cousins and brothers, have contributed their worth to the passing years, enriching the Lodge and their relationships.

No record of Stability's most recent half century would be complete without mention of some wonderful entertainment at the Festive Boards. This has been due, in no small measure, to Bro. Harold Rich, our resident organist and pianist par excellence. All initiations are delightful, in the case of Bro. Harold it was inspired. Some of the finest artists and artistes have provided the Lodge with some memorable moments, and thus Bro. Rich has engaged his connections with anything but detriment to appreciative audiences of Brethren and Visitors. Bro. Harold celebrated 40 consecutive years as the Lodge organist, a record that will stand for some time no doubt.

What wonderful friends this Lodge has made through the tradition of visitation. If I select the late W.Bro. Gerald Milner of the Lodge of St. Thomas No. 7940 who died in October 1997, as a typical addition to our meetings it is only because he was most probably, our longest serving guest. No meeting could give us greater enjoyment than one where the time honoured toast, Bro. Visitors, is received by a full house.

“ No mortal can more the Ladies adore…..” runs the song. In this Lodge we have good reason to cleebrate the efforts of our members and their contributions over a century and a half must not go unsung! Their support of us has been loyal and phenomenal:

W.Bro. Joe Brookes, a P.M. (1955) who became an honorary member was initiated 60 years ago in October 1939 and he presented me for Installation. He always knew what was going on in Stourbridge and probably still does.

W.Bro. David Anthony was I.P.M. in Centenary year. His son W.Bro. Dr. Yeuan Anthony, wrote of this Veterinary Surgeon and faithful Mason when he died in 1986 that he introduced humane slaughtering into this country. He was of course Vet to Marsh and Baxter’s, the Brierley Hill pork butchers. His gentle Welsh tones referred to Masonry as “Mau Mau.” Outside the door of the Lodge, and I can easily recall his talk of translation of Breton works into English since Welsh and Breton looked the same and only sounded different.

W.Bro. Jack Roberts was our dearly loved Treasurer for many years. Physically short in stature but a memorable Inner Guard on Installation Nights. He it was who established a tradition for the Lodge Treasurer to perform that function. His great friend W.Bro. Doug Wilkinson was quite simply a stalwart. A regular attender who would take on any job without notice. It was only at his funeral that many of us heard for the first time of his great voluntary work for Youth.

When we read in the Centenary Roll that W. Bro. Archie Clunas was elected the sixth Tyler in 1938 could we really expect that by 1999 that number would have increased only to eight?. “ Cheeky Chappie ” Bro. Don Roden, initiated as a serving Brother in 1947 would probably not have believed, as Archie stumbled along that he would have to wait until well into the seventies for him to retire. He himself retired several times before Wonderful Worshipful Bro. Keith Whitehouse of the quite extraordinary jokes took over.

In 1996 W.Bro. John Shearer celebrated his 50 years in Freemasonry, precisely as one would have expected, on the very day, March 26th. He comfortably took the Chair and spoke to us of his thoughts and recollections, his high regard for Albert Grove’s influence on our ritual, which has now been transmitted as purely as possible by a succession of D.C’s, ( in particular W.Bro. John Clayton ),to new generations. It is worth reflecting here that in his first hand account of Albert Grove we can imagine a conversation in Lodge, where a memory of Joseph Aston, a Founder, whom Grove met in open Lodge and later described vividly in his History, could have been vouchsafed and passed on by John Shearer, and thus to us. What a breathtaking swoop to our origins. John defined on that night his part in the creation , together with W.Bro. Rupert Griffin, of our version of the Initiate’s Chain which he performed with distinction that echoes in my ears to this day. He then closed the Lodge, one could say with relish, and at the close of that year on December 30th, he died. God Bless his Heart and Soul.

The Masonic Chains links are many and varied as are the contributions we may make. The Lodge of Stability No. 564 has always benefited from Brethren who for whatever reason do not progress to the Chair of King Solomon. How often would we have been in difficulties without Bro. Chris Morgan, to name one such who, as with Bro. Harold Rich has been promoted to Provincial Grand Rank.

Another source of talent besides initiates that must be emphasised here is that of joining members. Some have joined below the rank of Installed Master and among those Brethren to have achieved the highest honour our Lodge has in its power to confer. Others have been PM’s of Lodges already, valued equally in every respect with PM’s of Stability. Similarly to junior joining Brethren, some of these have been willing and able to progress to the Chair, which has fortified us significantly. To illustrate the role of Chance in Masonry as in Life, W.Bro. John McCaskill was able to go through with satisfaction to himself and advantage to the Lodge whereas the equally estimable W.Bro. Harry Dillworth was prevented by illness as late as the Senior Warden’s Office.

During the life of the Lodge there has been a number of occasions when Masters have been asked to reign again. Always this has been undertaken selflessly for the good of the Lodge and often the reason has been one of personal calamity or distress. One particular Brother to be called upon is W.Bro. Bryon Aston, who, with Judith’s support gave us a wonderful year in 1997. The other three in this half century are W Bro. Scott Winning, W.Bro. Bill Cooper and W.Bro. Noel Hollingworth, each of whom carried on consecutively as circumstances called for with distinguished success. What strength is represented for Freemasonry in these Brethren, and how grateful we are to their ever patient spouses for their acquiescence. The story of the connection through these two latter Brethren with Kleobulos Lodge in Rhodes and the Famous Visit together with Brethren from St. John’s Lodge of Lichfield and others must be told elsewhere.

The tangible Furniture and equipment of the Lodge are steadily receiving attention in order to transfer to our successors a heritage not merely ethereal but solid assets preserved, enhanced and augmented. The Fall at the Secretary’s Table fashioned by Mrs. Evelyn Morrison (widow of a regular visitor W.Bro. John Morrison); the presently nameless Honours Board made for us by Philip Gameson of Cradley; the magnificent new Lodge Banner, commissioned from and wrought by Mrs Lyn Murtagh, daughter of the above Mrs. Morrison; the Working Tools for the Lodge of Instruction made and presented by our devoted Almoner W.Bro. Peter Guinness and of course our antique and oft discussed "Lichfield Furniture". The latter may justifiably expect special Birthday pampering as our founding artefacts and let us not forget the basis of Craft Freemasonry for many Freemasons who meet in Stourbridge on the Square but not perhaps ever at The Lodge of Stability.

Above there was reference made to a Founder, W.Bro. Joseph Aston. When he died in 1899 the Lodge decided to purchase for Holy Trinity Church, Amblecote a Font as a memorial to him. When W.Bro. Dennis Charnock died and a number of Brethren attended his funeral, several of us sought and found this Font. May we continue to remember both of them, genuinely departed Merit.

W.Bro. Ron Moult kindly prepared the following report of another Stability event of 100 Years ago which was recently commemorated featuring a local Anglican Church.

“On Sunday 17th May 1998 the WM, Officers and Brethren joined the congregation of St. Mary’s, Old Swinford at Evensong to mark the centenary of the consecration of the new chancel on Saturday 21st May 1898. During the service the Rector, Reverend Greville Cross referred to a report in the “County Express” of 28th May 1989 which made Reference to ‘The entry of the Freemasons in all the glories of their handsome vesture and adornment. Headed by the Tyler Mr. (sic.) Otho Scott, bearing in hand the sword, his emblem of Office, they marched up the centre aisle to the South Chapel, where chairs were reserved for them. The procession was a most imposing one, the gilded dress of the senior Office bearers adding lustre to the scene. Forty eight Masons had accepted invitations, but owing to the weather some were absentees” There follows a list of those present which, in accordance with our usual custom I shall take as read. Suffice it to mention that Joseph Aston was there, less than a year before his death and despite the inclement weather that kept others away. Samuel Fiddian was there, whose name we are hearing currently as WM in our Ancient Minutes. Incredibly the list contains the name of George Blenharne whose Great-Grandson W.Bro. Bob Banks of St. Paul’s Lodge (Warks) visited us this very year and spoke of his ancestor. Apparently he was a flautist who, with others often entertained the Brethren at Masonic Functions.

During the period under revue we participated in a celebration of an even older vintage. The earliest recorded evidence of Freemasonry in Worcestershire is the warranting of the Talbot Lodge No.119 of Stourbridge at the Talbot Hotel on 21st August 1733 and in 1983 there was a memorable meeting attended by the Provincial Grand Master, Rt. W.Bro. E.F. Hanson, now an honorary member of our Lodge. W.Bro. Michael Fellows acting as Provincial Senior Grand Warden, W.Bro. Colin Davies acting as Provincial Junior Grand Warden and many Brethren including members of 564 who took part.

In 1997 The Lodge again included a Grand Officer in its number, when H.R.H. The Duke Of Kent appointed W.Bro. A.J.Yeates to the Rank of Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. The Brethren saw fit to express their satisfaction and appreciation of this by purchasing and presenting the necessary Dress regalia to W.Bro. Yeates, who, overwhelmed, suitably responded.

W. Bro. George Barrow was Worshipful Master in this Sesquicentenary Year which was carried off with some aplomb. His term in office was celebrated when he and Iris arranged an imaginative and exciting Ladies Weekend in the Lake District in May, which was very well supported.

With regard to contributions of the Lodge to Charitable objects we shall again refrain from comment other than to repeat Grove’s confident statement that “in the cause of Charity” this Lodge will never wish to live on its past record.

As the Chain of Time moves us towards the 21st Century there is little doubt that our Lodge will face it with the confidence that it’s past has provided. When we consider that it has survived the wreck of several mighty empires, has enjoyed the membership of outstanding talent and continues to be representative of all that is good in Freemasonry we can be sure that the Lodge of Stability Number 564, in this, the Province of Worcestershire, is well prepared for the challenge - of the next fifty years.

Thanks to Albert Grove, Bill Cooper and John Yeates, along with the countless people who assisted them, for their hours and hours of hard work in publishing the original material quoted here.

I've had such a wonderful evening I hope you last for another 160 years
John Pedley - Regular Visitor and Partaker of Festivities