North Devon Masters No:9316
Meeting at 4 Trafalgar Lawn, Barnstaple
Third Tuesday in February, June and August
Installation meeting August.
Date of warrant 8th February, 1989
The reasons for the lodge being formed cannot be better explained than to quote from the oration given at the Consecration: - ‘On examining the role of Craft lodges in the Province of Devonshire, as given in our Devonshire Freemasons Year Book, one notes that the great majority of these lodges are situated in the south and centre of the county and that the north is numerically but poorly provided for. However; there is no need for me to remind those who live in this delectable corner of the country that the cream naturally rises to the top, of which we have an excellent example in our present Provincial Grand Master. (Bro A. J. Huxtable). Quality is always of more importance than quantity. In one respect, however, North Devon has been found wanting, it has not possessed an installed Masters Lodge and, thanks to the keenness and enthusiasm of the founders of the North Devon Masters Lodge, we are met today to correct that omission’
The mother lodge was Loyal Lodge number 251. The Provincial Grand Master; Bro A. J. Huxtable, conducted the Consecration, and the first Master was Bro R.D.M. Penny, AssistProvGM. At the end of the Consecration meeting the Provincial Grand Master and the Provincial Senior Warden were proposed as joining members. The next meeting was held at Trafalgar Lawn, Barnstaple and was attended by the Provincial Grand Master who had to retire from the lodge when he was accepted as a joining member. Before the ballot, the Provincial Grand Master had presented founders jewels to all the founding members present. There was a working of the third degree, which is the only ceremony worked by the lodge apart from the Installation during its entire history, Bro Douglas Penny was re—installed at Trafalgar Lawn, Barnstaple on 21 August 1990. On this occasion the Provincial Grand Master undertook the Inner Working and Installation and it is highly likely that the Master, Douglas Penny is certainly the only Master in Devon to have been installed in the same Chair on successive years by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master and the Provincial Grand Master.
The next meeting of the lodge was held at South Molton on 19 February 1991 when the Senior Warden proposed that the following meeting he held on Lundy Island and this was organised by the Master, Douglas Penny. It was undoubtedly due to Douglas Penny’s influence spiritually (in all meanings of the word) that on the day in question the 1 7,June 1991, (having been preceded by a fortnight of appalling weather and gales and followed by another fortnight of appalling weather a gales), this particular day was calm and benign, in fact several brethren suffered too much from the sun. The meeting was formally held at the St. Helens Church, Lundy Island, Bristol Channel and was attended by many visiting brethren.
The lodge has been blessed with a variety of meeting places. As described, the June meeting in 1991 was held on Lundy Island. The meeting in June 1992 was held at the masonic hall in Minehead and was preceded by a trip on the steam railway from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead and obviously back again after the meeting. The meeting had the great honour of hearing from Bro Stanley Hopkins, ProvGM (Somerset) with a brief address on steam railways and in particular the West Somerset line itself. Following the talk the Provincial Grand Master presented Bro Stanley Hopkins with a cheque for two thousand pounds being a gift from the Province of Devonshire for the Province of Somerset’s 1993 Festival.
Having had the June meeting in 1991 and 1992 on foreign territory, it was decided that the June 1993 meeting being held at the Masonic Hall, Tiverton. In the morning the members and their ladies had taken a trip on the Great Western Canal from Tiverton up to Manley Bridge which proved highly enjoyable, apart from the fact that the barge horse while given some freedom whilst the barge was being turned around at the end of its first half lovingly tried to nuzzle one of the ladies and proceeded to push her into the canal. The trip on the canal also started to cement an earlier precedence. It was a matter of great distress to many members that on a previous year on the West Somerset Railway the train had run out of gin, not very long after its start. When the trip was proposed on the canal, the organisers when booking it told the lady of this and suggested that the barge had suitable supplies of this essential commodity. This was duly done. Unfortunately they had only been on the barge for about ten minutes when it stopped a the first bridge and the brethren were told that they had run out of tonic water.
The following year in June 1994 another first was held when the lodge held their summer meeting onboard the S. S. Great Britain in Bristol Docks. The brethren and their ladies dined in the ships salon courtesy of the Bro Doctor Dennis Fox, ProvGM (Bristol), the salon only having recently been refurbished. Following the luncheon the ladies withdrew and were taken around the ship whilst the regular meeting was held and after the meeting when the ladies rejoined the men folk, a talk was given by the Captain on the history of his ship. It transpired that it was probably the very first lodge meeting that had ever been held onboard and a donation of one hundred and five pounds was given to S. S. Great Britain.
The next year the meeting was held at Exeter and at the end of the formal business an address was received on certain aspects of the Cathedral with particular reference to the association with Freemasonry. In the morning, the brethren had met with their ladies and had been given a guided tour of the Cathedral which proved fascinating
In June 1996 the brethren assembled at Paignton and took the steam train to Kingswear, and were then ferried across to Dartmouth where the regular meeting was held in the masonic hall at Dartmouth. The brethren and their ladies dined in the lodge dining room and afterwards had a trip up the river Dart before ferrying back to Kingswear for the return journey to Paignton.
In June 1997 the meeting was held at the Little Barn, Buckland Abbey at Yelverton, following which luncheon was taken at the Abbey. Following the luncheon the brethren travelled to H. M. Royal Dockyards at Plymouth where they visited the museum and had an interesting talk on the history of the Royal Dockyards.
the 1998 June meeting was held at the Exmoor Zoological Park, Bratton Fleming, which was run by the daughter of Bro Vic Bentley one of the members of the lodge. The meeting was held in Bro Bentley’s lounge in his adjoining farmhouse, and after the meeting a buffet lunch was held at the Zoo which people were free to visit. Bro Bentley was actually proposed as a joining member in his own dining room and Bro David Palmer the Past Provincial Grand Master of the Mark Lodge in Somerset was also proposed as a member,
The meeting in 2002 was held at the Eden Project in Cornwall, by kind permission of Bro Nick Barrington, ProvGM, Cornwall, The meeting was held at the masonic hall at St. Austell followed by a meal in the refectory, and afterwards a visit to the Eden Project where everyone was most impressed by the Biomes and their marvellous plants.
Apart from the June meetings the lodge has visited other temples in North Devon and having been consecrated at Ilfracombe has met at Torrington, Braunton, South Molton and Lynton.
In February 1994 the Masonic Study Group of the Province of Monmouthshire gave a demonstration of a Russian Installation Ceremony circa 1810 whilst the Lodge of St. Paul from Bristol worked the Bristol Ceremony of initiation.