ABOUT MOSSLEY LODGE
THE FORMATION OF MOSSLEY LODGE
Against this background, it was reported at the Annual Meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of North Wales, year on year, that there was growth in the number of Freemasons in the Province. However, concern was continually being expressed, not so much about the numbers, but about the quality of candidates who were coming forward for Initiation. This assertion was borne out in the Annual Report given by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master to the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge at Bangor, in 1961, that there were six lodges in the Province with ten or more members in arrears of subscription.
At the Annual Meeting the following year the Deputy Provincial Grand Master spoke of the emphasis that should be put on quality and not on quantity. At the Annual Meeting held in 1965, he congratulated those members who had formed two new lodges namely Mossley Lodge No. 7985 and St. Asaph Lodge No. 8034 and stated “both had been started with every good sign for a happy and successful future”. However what was not stated was that both these Lodges were begun with the idea of attracting professional and business people as members.
The idea of a new lodge in Hawarden stemmed from W. Bro. John Hewitt, PPAGDC, a member and secretary of St. Deiniol’s Lodge No. 3273 and secretary of the newly formed Hawarden Masonic Hall Company Limited. This Company had taken over the ownership and running of the Masonic Hall, in Hawarden, from St. Deiniol’s Lodge No. 3273, so that all Lodges using the building could have a sense of responsibility for it and help with the running of the premises.
W.Bro. Hewitt was cognisant that many Lodges in the area were accepting large numbers of Brethren; had long waiting lists of those wishing to become members; and that it took many Brethren between 15 and 18 years from initiation before becoming Worshipful Master of their Lodge. Indeed in the period 1962 to 1964 a sample of six local lodges revealed they had initiated 62 members and had 125 members in arrears out of a combined membership 2,149.
The idea that Mossley Lodge should have a membership exclusively of professional and business people did not go down well with members of the Craft in this part of the Province.
Unlike other new lodges founded in this area the Founders of this Lodge were not, in the majority, exclusively from the sponsoring lodge (St. Deiniol’s Lodge No. 3273) but were made up of seventeen Founders from a number of different Lodges. W.Bro. Hewitt, PPAGDC, gathered together a group consisting of eight from the teaching profession; three shopkeepers; two general managers; one builder; one solicitor; one accountant and one bank manager.
It was agreed that the name of the Lodge should be “Mossley Lodge”, however there is no reference in either the Lodge Minutes or in its Committee Minutes as to where this name stems from. The only Founder of the Lodge still alive i.e. W.Bro. Aylmer Hughes Clark, PPJGD, recalls that the name “Mossley” is derived from the name of a small valley that runs across the road from the fountain in Hawarden to Tinkers Dale. This fits in with Mossley Court, a small development of houses built by another Founder, W.Bro. Kenneth Shone, PM, being so named because it overlooks that valley. It has been further established that fields in the area bore names and there is reference in documents relating to the Hawarden Estate circa 1750 to the Mossley/Wigdale field.
W.M. W.Bro Emlyn Roberts, PM
S.W. Bro. John Kilshaw
J.W. Bro. Herbert Gordon Davies
Other officers to be appointed at the first meeting were as follows:
Chaplain W.Bro.Thomas Iorwerh Evans, PPGStdB
Treasurer W.Bro. Thomas Kenneth Hibbert, PPAGDC
Secretary W.Bro. John Hewitt, PPAGDC
Director of Ceremonies W.Bro. William Latham, PPGPurs
Senior Deacon Bro. Herbert Alexander
Junior Deacon Bro. Aylmer Hughes Clark
Assistant Director of Ceremonies Bro. Iorwerth Parry Jones
Almoner Bro. Kenneth Shone
Assistant Secretary Bro. William Leslie Rowlands
Inner Guard Bro. Cyril Peters
Steward Bro. Douglas Brook
Steward Bro. Thomas Richard Glynne Coppack
Tyler Bro. Edwin Hughes
The Petition was approved and signed by the Provincial Grand Master, and the Warrant of the Lodge bears the date of 10th June 1964.
The Lodge was consecrated by the Right Worshipful Bro The Rt. Hon The Lord Kenyon, D.L., J.P., LL.D., Provincial Grand Master in the Hall of Hawarden Grammar School, on 31st. October, 1964.
W. Bro. T. Garfield Tilling, Prov.S. G. Warden as S. W.
W.Bro. E. Lloyd Jones, Prov.J. G. Warden as J. W.
W.Bro.Rev. Charles Morris, Prov.G.Chaplain as Chaplain
W.Bro.Howell T. Lewis, P.J.G.D., Prov. G Secretary as Secretary
W.Bro.H.J.Rathbone, O.B.E. P.J.G.D., Prov.G.Dir.of Cers. as D.C.
W.Bro.Henry R. Musgrave, Prov.Deputy G.Dir. of Cers. as Deputy D.C.
W.Bro.Wynne Spencer, Prov.Deputy G.Dir.of Cers. as Deputy D. C.
W.Bro.Harold Jones, P.A.G.D.C. as Organist
W.Bro. Frank Beech, Prov. G Pursuivant as Inner Guard
W.Bro H. Emlyn Jones, Prov.G.Tyler as Tyler
Officers appointed at the Lodge Meeting immediately following the Consecration were those previously agreed by the Founders.
The Address to the Master was delivered by the Provincial Grand Master; the Address to the Wardens was delivered by W.Bro Sir Robert Davies, PJGD, Assistant Provincial Grand Master; and the Address to the Brethren was given by W.Bro. Colonel. James Ellis Evans, PJGD, Deputy Provincial Grand Master.
At this meeting the following fees were agreed:
Membership fees: 8 guineas Initiation fee: 30 guineas
Joining fee: 10 guineas Re-joining fee: 5 guineas
The following gentlemen were proposed for initiation:
Mr. David Vernon Hughes and Mr. Brian John Hefferman
And the following Brethren were proposed as Joining Members :
Bro. David Poynton Roberts and Bro Arthur Hindes Dodd.
THE EARLY YEARS OF MOSSLEY LODGE
At the second Regular Meeting on November 13th 1964 a ballot took place for the above four candidates and this proving successful Mr. David Vernon Hughes was Initiated on 11th December 1964 and Mr. Brian John Hefferman was initiated on the 8th January 1965. It is of interest to note that W.Bro. A.G.Thomas, PPJGW, of Aberconwy Lodge No.5996 who has recently celebrated 60 years in Freemasonry as well as his father, with the same name but a member of St. Tudno Lodge No.775 attended at Mr. Hughes’ initiation.
During the first years candidates came forward regularly, but there were a number of problems with the interpretation of the phrase “professional and business” which resulted in members being prevented from proposing good candidates for membership of this Lodge. Also some candidates proposed lived a considerable distance from Hawarden and so after going through their Third Degree were not able to make progress in the Lodge or contribute greatly to its development.
There were other problems associated with the day in the month that the Lodge met. In March, 1967, a Notice of Motion was carried unanimously to change the regular day of meeting from the second Friday to the fourth Thursday in the month. The Minutes state that “the alteration was necessary in order that we should reach an amicable agreement with Old Castles’ Lodge No. 5773, so that they might continue to hold their rehearsal meeting on the same Friday evening as they had done in past years". Subsequently, in February, 1969, a further Notice of Motion resulted in the decision to change the day of the meeting to the last Friday in the month and the Installation Meeting to be on the last Saturday in March, which appertains to this day.
At the Committee Meeting of the Lodge held in September 1968 the Lodge Crest was approved as it appeared on the September Lodge Summons for the first time with the request that a little of the dark background be removed. This crest had been created by the Head of Art at Hawarden Grammar School, Mr. Ray Day. The Crest and Lodge Jewels show the Mossley Valley with a “Red House” that also overlooked the valley. This house was a Gladstone family house which has since been demolished.
Of the Founders, W. Bro. Emlyn Roberts became ProvGOrganist. In 1966 and was promoted to the rank of PPJGW in 1981; W.Bro. John Hewitt was promoted to the rank of PPJGW in 1969; W.Bro. John Kilshaw received Provincial Honours in 1970 as ProvAGReg. and was promoted to the rank of PPJGW in 1984; W.Bro. Thomas Kenneth Hibbert was also promoted to Prov.JGW in1974; W.Bro.H.Gordon Davies received Provincial Honours as ProvAGSec in 1973;W.Bro. William Leslie Rowlands also received Provincial Honours as ProvSGD in 1973; W.Bro. Aylmer Hughes Clark received Provincial Honours as ProvJGD in 1975.
Of the first two Initiates into Mossley Lodge W.Bro. David V Hughes is now Assistant Secretary (having handed over the batton after serving many years as Secretary). Having received Provincial Honours as PPAGDC in 1977, promoted to PPGSwdB in 2001, promoted to PPJGW in 2007 and received Grand Rank as PAGDC in 2009. Unfortunately W.Bro Brian J Hefferman who received Provincial Honours as PPAGReg in1978 died on October 6th 1983. He is still remembered in the Lodge – the Tracing Boards were presented to the Lodge by his wife, Marion, in his memory in October 1985.
In February 1972 the Secretary and “Father” of the Lodge W.Bro. John Hewitt decided to resign from the Lodge and although, at the time, this caused concern the other Founders rallied round to make sure that the Lodge continued with the meetings being harmonious. Indeed it can be said that the Members and, in particular the Master Elect W.Bro. Brian Hefferman should be congratulated for their determination to make sure that Mossley suffered little disruption.
At the October meeting in 1972 members of St. Marks Lodge, No 2423, in Connah’s Quay officially attended Mossley Lodge. The Master of St Marks at that time was W. Bro. Dennis Murray and he was accompanied by fourteen of their members. In January 1973 the Members of Mossley Lodge returned the compliment by attending the meeting of St. Mark’s Lodge. They again visited St.Mark’s Lodge in January 1974.
THE MIDDLE YEARS OF MOSSLEY LODGE
Considerable work was carried out during 1974 to improve the facilities at Hawarden by constructing a new dining room at Hawarden Masonic Hall and this resulted in a letter from W.Bro. John Hewitt, Secretary of the Masonic Hall Company Limited and Former Secretary of Mossley Lodge, inviting eight members of Mossley Lodge to the opening of this building on 23rd October 1974.
The Lodge itself was extremely active with very few Meetings not having candidates for Initiation or passing or raising. Also there were regular Social Events including Ladies Nights’ and Christmas Parties for the children and grandchildren of the Brethren.
At the November 1989 meeting of the Lodge, which was the 25th anniversary of its Consecration, the Lodge was honoured by a visit of the Provincial Grand Master and the Provincial Team. During the visit Bro. Geoffrey Thomas Smith was passed to the Second Degree and the Working Tools were presented and explained by Rt. W. Bro. The Rt. Honourable The Lord Kenyon. At this meeting the Worshipful Master presented a cheque for £2000 to Lord Kenyon towards the 1996 Festival.
It is to be noted that it was in September 1991 that the Provincial Secretary wrote to all Lodge Secretaries requesting that all members complete a pro-forma with their personal details including their wives Christian names and their home telephone number. This was done in order to begin a computer based data base of all members in the Province.
At the January 1992 meeting of the Lodge the Worshipful Master, on behalf of the Lodge, congratulated Bro. Martin Kilshaw on his being promoted to the rank of Wing Commander and also his being made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the New Year’s Honours List.
W.Bro. Cyril Muir Jones, PPGStdB, who joined Mossley Lodge in November 1969 and been Worshipful Master in 1979 celebrated his 90th birthday by inviting all Lodge members to a Dinner Party and this was referred to by the Secretary in the Third Call in the October 1992 Meeting. At the February 1997 Meeting, the Lodge was again honoured with the visit of the Right Worshipful Provioncial Grand Master who came to present a Long Service Certificate to W.Bro. Cyril Muir Jones PPGStdB in recognition of him having been a Freemason for 57 years. The Rt. W. Provincial Grand Master, Bro. Ian Lawrie Mackeson Sandbach said that before presenting the Certificate he would like to make reference to the new Coat of Arms which is displayed on the Certificate and also on the Provincial Banner. The Coat of Arms consists of the Lion of Denbighshire, Montgomeryshire and Anglesey, the Goat of Merionethshire, the Double Headed Eagle of Caernarvonshire and the Chough of Flintshire, all of which were well established at the time that W.Bro.Muir-Jones was initiated. The Rt. W.Provincial Grand Master then presented his Certificate to him.
At the next meeting of the Lodge a demonstration of the First Degree was worked with Bro. Ian Peter Fraser as Candidate. At an appropriate point in the ceremony when W.Bro. D.G.Roberts was requested by the Worshipful Master to explain the significance of placing the Candidate in the N.E.part of the Lodge, the secretary informed Bro. Fraser that the official ceremony to complete his Initiation into Freemasonry was now about to be worked. After the explanation of the N.E.Corner had been given the ceremony was continued with as normal and Bro. Fraser completed his somewhat protracted Initiation and was admitted as an Entered Apprentice.
At the September 1997 Lodge Meeting, Bro. George Ellison a member of Quator Coronati Lodge No. 2076 gave a talk on “Masonry in the Middle East”.
It was reported at the Lodge Meeting held on September 1998 that a cheque for £12000 had been presented to Deeside Community Hospital towards its Scanner Appeal.
At the 2003 Installation meeting the Worshipful Master requested the Brethren Stand to Order to mark the passing of W. Bro. J.Kilshaw, PPJGW. This marked the end of an era as W.Bro. Kilshaw was the last surviving Founder who was still a Subscribing Member of the Lodge.
During the Autumn of 2004 informal discussions took place between Mossley members and members of Ewloe Lodge No. 7447 which culminated in a meeting on the 8th November 2004 in which representatives of both Lodges discussed the difficulties they were facing. They both had seven meetings per annum and there was poor attendance in both cases, at each meeting.
W. Bro. W.J.Hewitt explained that at the time Ewloe Lodge had 24 members but that they could only rely on 12 members regularly attending meetings and “ three or four casually” attending.
W.Bro .D.V. Hughes stated that Mossley Lodge had 15 full members and one honorary member with W.Bro. T.D.Dudley helping as Tyler. Of the 15 members 4 did not attend, there were 2 Master Masons one of whom is the Junior Warden and one visits his son in Australia every January February and March, so did not wish to progress.
Discussion then ensued as to a “pattern” of meetings that would be satisfactory to both Lodges.
It was agreed that as a suitable pattern might be:-
Mossley meeting on the last Friday in September, November, January with the Installation on the last Saturday in March.
Ewloe meeting on the fourth Tuesday in October, the third Tuesday in December, the fourth Tuesday in February with the Installation on the fourth Tuesday in April.
All members of both Lodges would be asked to attend both sets of meetings.
Discussion then centred on the views of Provincial Grand Lodge, the financial aspects of this arrangement with regard to Hawarden Masonc Hall. The caterer who had already been approached was happy with such an arrangement.
The Provincial Grand Master gave his blessing to the proposal and both Lodges moved simultaneously to amend their By-Laws.
This arrangement lasted for a period of time with varying degrees of success, with stalwarts of each Lodge attending and supporting each other’s Lodge meetings. Eventually Ewloe Lodge handed in its Warrant; eight members of Ewloe Lodge became Joining Members of Mossley Lodge.
THE PRESENT OF MOSSLEY LODGE
At the September Lodge 2009 the Worshipful Master congratulated W.Bro.David V. Hughes on him having been appointed to the rank of Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies at the April Investiture Meeting of Grand Lodge.
In the recent past the Lodge has grievously lost two of its stalwart members in W.Bro. Steve Ragsdale PPJGW who at the time of his death was Lodge Organist and Charity Steward, he had previously been Director of Ceremonies, Worshipful Master and a trusted counsel and W.Bro. Joseph Grundy PPJGW who at the time of his death was Director of Ceremonies and had been a long serving Secretary and Worshipful Master. In spite of his failing sight he travelled to each Lodge from Colwyn Bay by bus and when he got to Hawarden he set the Lodge out and made everything right for the meeting. He kept the lodge going for a number of years.
The Installation Meeting held, by Dispensation on 23rd March 2013 was abandoned due to the inability, through inclement weather, of any Installed Master being able to be present. The delayed Installation Ceremony took place on Saturday 30th March 2013 when members were able to get into the Masonic Hall Car Park and the Hall itself.