Freemasonry was first introduced into the village of Tollesbury in 1925. It all began with a Ceremony of Consecration for the new Lodge which took place at the Masonic Hall in Colchester on Monday 28 September 1925.
The Consecration Ceremony was performed in accordance with the tradition of Craft Freemasonry by the then Provincial Grand Master of Essex, the Rt. Hon. Lord Lambourne, PC. CVO., Lord Lieutenant of Essex. There followed what was described in the Lodge Minute Book as ‘An impressive oration delivered by the Bishop of Colchester’, the Provincial Grand Chaplain. To view details of the Founders and Inaugural Officers of the Tollesbury Lodge click here.
On the conclusion of the Ceremony the Rev. W. Carter was installed into the chair of King Solomon as the first Master of the Tollesbury Lodge.
- On Monday 5 October 1925 the very first meeting of the Tollesbury Lodge was held in the village Parish Room. This continued to be the pattern for Lodge meetings up until 1946 when meetings alternated between the Easterford Lodge Masonic Hall in Kelvedon and the School Room, at that time attached to the village’s Congregational church. This continued right up until 1965.
- In February 1930 The Tollesbury Chapter No.4738 of the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch was Consecrated in the Masonic Hall, Colchester. There were 23 Founding Members of this new Chapter; The Rev. F.E.Crate being the Founding First Principal; Robert S. Appleton, Second Principal and the Rev. W.Carter was the Third Principal. The new Tollesbury Chapter became the 44th Chapter to be consecrated in the Province of Essex.
- In 1962 a decision was made by the members to actively pursue the purchase of land within the village on which to build their own Masonic Temple, although this became a long and frustrating search.
- At last, in February 1965 an opportunity arose to rent from the Parish Council the ‘Old School’ in East Street at a cost of £100 per year plus rates of approximately £34. The Lodge agreed to rent the property for a period of 25 years.
- In 1970 a petition was signed for the Lodge to sponsor the formation of a second Craft Lodge and in May 1971 Bro. N.Brand became the first Master of the newly formed Woodrolfe (Woodup) Lodge No.8354.
- In November 1978 the ‘Old School’ was purchased outright for the princely sum of £10,000, the money being raised almost entirely by gifts and loans from members of the Tollesbury and Woodrolfe Lodges and the Tollesbury Chapter.
- In 1982 a major extension and repair programme was carried out with the result that the dining hall doubled its original size; a spacious and well equipped kitchen was added as well as a new bar. Once again, the cost was predominately met by gifts and loans with most of the internal building and decoration work undertaken by a small band of dedicated members.
- By 2009 a further 5 additional Masonic Orders had chosen to make Tollesbury their home, thereby increasing the appeal and variety of Freemasonry now available in the village.
- In the Summer of 2013 an extensive refurbishment of the entrance hall, and the addition of a new disabled toilet facility, marked the start of an ambitious programme aimed at; upgrading our facilities, attracting new members and becoming more involved with the local community.
Freemasonry in Tollesbury is fast approaching its 100th anniversary and yet it still remains as worthwhile, fascinating and challenging in the 21st Century as it was all those years ago.
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