THE EARLIEST DAYS OF THE LODGE OF HONOUR
A petition was sent to the R.W.P.G.M. for onward transmission to the M.W.G.M. requesting that a new Lodge be formed in Bath entitled “The Tynte Lodge of Honour and Independence”. Of the 17 names on the petition no less than 11 were from the R.Y.L. The petition was granted by the Grand Master, but with some modifications regarding the name. The word “Tynte” was removed for the present because of the unmasonic proceedings at Bath “which had unfortunately occasioned so much trouble and wasted so much time” and it was thought that it would be unwise for the P.G.M’s name to be associated with these. Also deleted were the words “and Independence”, Grand Lodge having ruled against any Lodge assuming such a title.
The Warrant of the Lodge was issued on 23rd February 1825 under the designation The Lodge of Honour and assigned the number 798. Three Tracing Boards were painted by Arthur Thistleton, a theatre scene painter at Drury Lane, London. These were inscribed on the reverse with “Tynte Lodge of Honour and Independence”, so it would appear that they were ordered before Grand Lodge had confirmed the name. Two of these boards still remain in use today and, for those who are interested, an article on the Boards appeared in a past copy of the Somerset Masters’ Transactions. A replacement for the third Board was painted by Bro. A. Mayland and consecrated in 1999. The first regular meeting took place on Monday 7th March 1825.
There was no formal consecration of the Lodge which was simply opened in the First Degree. A letter from the Grand Secretary was read concerning the title. A minor, (aged 20 years), was balloted for, approved and initiated with the consent of his father and by Dispensation from the P.G.M. The Royal Sussex Lodge lent their regalia for this occasion. In these early years relations between the Royal Cumberland and Royal Sussex Lodges were most cordial, and visits exchanged. To further promote masonic feeling among members of Bath Lodges an annual dinner took place on St. John’s Day, (27th December).
The Lodge was greatly indebted to Col. Tynte and Capt. Maddison for its formation and successful launching. Col. Tynte presented a handsome chair for the Master, (now occupied by the I.P.M.), and Capt. Maddison donated the jewels of the Lodge. By the end of 1825, membership had risen to 40; half of whom had belonged to the R.Y.L. Admissions continued during 1827 and 1828 and in the following year the Lodge moved from York House to the White Lion, no reason being given.
In 1832 Capt. Maddison was appointed Deputy Grand Master for Somerset and in reply to a congratulatory letter drew attention to the fact that attendance at Lodge was falling off and he hoped that interest would be revived. No doubt Capt. Maddison had in mind the failure of the Royal York Lodge and thought it prudent that brethren should be warned in time. This was the first of a whole series of warnings and appeals which were to be made during the next 100 years, in fact the last was given as recently as 1955 !
The Lodge was allocated a new number in 1833 and became No. 528. There were then 36 members and 38 transient ones. Captain Maddison became the Master and was re-elected again for the next year. Yet another move was made, this time to the Corridor Rooms which were leased by the three Lodges at a rental of £40 per annum of which the Lodge of Honour paid £20, the Royal Cumberland £ 12 and the Royal Sussex £8. Furniture was provided at a cost of £ 101 of which theLodge of Honour paid more than half. At that time it was customary for the Lodge dinner to be provided at York House on the day following the monthly meeting. Conditions at the Corridor Rooms were not very satisfactory; all Lodges experiencing continual interruptions from the room below. These trying conditions remained until December 1849 when a move was made to 3, Westgate Buildings.
Captain Maddison was elected W.M. in 1839 and during that year a William Long was initiated. It was his son, Col. William Long who was ultimately to become P.G.M. for Somerset. It is interesting to note how, during these formative years, the bye-laws of the Lodge gradually developed:- 1. The Appearance Book (now Attendance Book) was introduced. 2. The W.M. and Treasurer to be elected by ballot papers at the November meeting. (Note the office of Treasurer and Secretary was not separated until 1850) 3. Lodge to meet on the second Monday in the month with the Installation in December from 1850.
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