Lodge of the Round Table History

At the Festive Board after a Regular Lodge Meeting of St. Nicholas Lodge No. 4846, held at the Masonic Hall, Kings Heath during the 1962 / 3 season, four Round Tablers who were seated together decided it was time a Round Table Lodge was founded to meet in the Province of Worcestershire.

The Consecration

W.Bro. F.H. Griffiths O.St. J., P.G.D.As a result the Lodge of the Round Table No. 7961 was founded and consecrated at the Masonic Hall, Kings Heath on Wednesday 20th May 1964 by:
The Provincial Grand Master the late Rt. Wor. Bro. Lt. Col. O.W.D. Smith, D.L., J.P., assisted by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master the late W.Bro. H.E. Clive, O.B.E., P G.D., and the assistant Prov.Grand Master the late W.Bro. F.H. Griffiths O.St. J., P.G.D.

The Deputy Provincial Grand Master took a very keen interest in the formation of the Lodge because his son-in-law the late Michael Matthews was Chairman of Area 35 of the Round Table movement, though not a member of the Craft.

There were sixteen founders, coming from fifteen different Lodges, together with three original joining members - these Brethren were unable to be founders because they had not been Master Masons for three years at the time of consecration, but the founders decided that for all purposes they would always be treated as founders.

The Founders

  • Worshipful Master - W.Bro. J. Lewis
  • Senior Warden - Bro. G. Hosking
  • Junior Warden - Bro. W. E. Gibbons
  • Chaplain - W.Bro. C. Arthur Jones
  • Treasurer - Bro. R. Brant
  • Secretary - Bro. S. R. Knight, D.F.C.
  • Director Ceremonies - W.Bro. J. E. James
  • Senior Deacon - Bro. J. E. W. Rooke
  • Junior Deacon - Bro. N. Stockley
  • Asst Director Ceremonies - W.Bro. E. Y. Fullwood, J.P.
  • Asst Secretary - Bro. A. L. Grayson
  • Inner Guard - Bro. A. W. Reeves
  • Steward - Bro. A. E. Dainty
  • Steward - Bro. D. L. Wood
  • Steward - Bro. M. J. F. Harrison
  • Tyler - Bro. W. B. Elliott

The Founders Fee was made up of:

  • Joining Fee (12.1/2 Guineas) £ 13. 02s. 06d
  • Collar (£1.9s.0d + 2s 2d Purchase Tax) £ 01. 11s. 02d
  • Jewel (15s.6d + 2s.11d Purchase Tax) £ 00. 18s. 05d
  • Engraving on Jewel £ 00.08s. 11d
  • Total Founders Fee £ 16. 01s. 00d

Thus effectively each founder paid the normal joining fee and also purchased his own collar and jewel of office. The founders decided that the Lodge would work strict emulation working and that the customs of the Lodge be written down and maintained as long as the Lodge was in existence.

Moseley Lodge No. 5224 sponsored the Lodge and W.Bro. Jack Lewis, a member of that Lodge, became the first Worshipful Master to be followed by W.Bro. John E. James and then normal progression was followed. Eight founders passed through the Chair, followed by two of the original joining members. The Lodge's first initiate Bro. Gordon Parker occupied the Chair in 1974, ten years after the Lodge was founded. Circumstances allowed the remaining active founder Bro. Raymond Brant to occupy the Chair in 1981. A joy to the founders and all the members of the Lodge.

The First Almoner of the Lodge was the late Bro. Geoffrey Burnett, an original joining member. He was a Past Chairman of Scarborough Round Table and a personal friend of the then Grand Master the most Wor. Bro. The Rt. Hon. Earl of Scarborough, who was invited to the Consecration but though unable to attend sent a letter wishing the Lodge well. This is recorded in the Lodge Minutes. A Telegram was also received from the President of Round Table Bro. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, sending his felicitations.

Bro. Geoff Burnett was a kindly man who suffered a long illness with great fortitude. His compassion and concern for those who needed help was a wonderful example to the Brethren. To commemorate his passing, a Benevolent Fund was formed called "The Geoffrey Burnett Fund" for the purpose of relieving members of the Lodge who may be in distress. W.Bro. John E. James was then appointed to that office and he proved himself to be an excellent Almoner. His untiring efforts on behalf of Charity and dedication to his duties was admired by all who knew this wonderful Mason and he will long be remembered for his unselfish service to the Lodge and those who needed him: no cry for help was in vain.

At the time of Consecration the Lodge had to look beyond the founders for an Organist and for this office Bro. Jim Knight of Stechford Lodge No. 3185 was invited. He performed his duties in an excellent manner and became a loyal member of our team. He used his professional skills to design the Lodge Banner and was eventually, as a mark of appreciation and affection, elected to Honorary Membership which he treasured until his passing. W.Bro. Derrick Hobson was then invited to become our Guest Organist which he did with great distinction for one year, from then the office of Organist has been filled by the late Bro. Neville Stockley who performed his duties in a most sincere manner and later by Bro. Barry Hurdley who followed in a most admirable way his predecessors, bringing joy and happiness to the Lodge with his music. The latest of our musical masons is W.Bro. Philip E. Wilson, P.Prov.G.Stwd.

The founders wanted an extra special Tyler, one who would become dear to them as Tablers and Masons.Tylers Sword To this task was appointed a retired school master Bro. Douglas French, a wit and raconteur. He had never tyled before but soon learned his duties under the watchful eye of the Senior Past Masters. He became an excellent part of the team. He loved his new Lodge and when age and ill health forced him to lay down his sword he too was rewarded by being made an Honorary Member, a privilege he enjoyed until his passing.

Since the Lodge was founded it has been the custom for the Ladies to join the Brethren at the Festive Board following the December Lodge Meeting, when we celebrate Christmas with good food, wine and entertainment.

Over the years the new Worshipful Master has entertained the Brethren and their Ladies either on the evening of his Installation, or at his home on a summer's day. In the early years of the Lodge a traditional Ladies Evening was held at various venues and been thoroughly enjoyed by the members of the Lodge, their Ladies and Friends. When our dear Bro. John James lived in his country houses, he would invite the Brethren, their Ladies and Families to a Turkey Tea Party and those Brethren who were there remember those fun days in Worcestershire and Herefordshire with great joy.

The cost of the Lodge Banner was raised by the Members by holding Cheese and Wine Parties. These not only raised money but were the foundation of the Lodge Social Life. Though the lodge has many members from all walks of life with their families we are one body and in this unity is strength of purpose, achievement bound together in Brotherly Love.

The Consecration of our Lodge signified and truly demonstrates that there is complete compatibility between Round Table on the one hand and Freemasonry Universal on the other. In aims and mutual service Round Tablers (if they be men of religious convictions) can also become Freemasons, and by the same token, Freemasons can, as of course many do, become Round Tablers.

Round Table consists of young men from all walks of life and from its small beginning has rapidly grown into an International force of men operating together in beneficial interest whenever need in the community arises, and is inspired throughout by the principle "service above self - he profits most, who serve best".

It should be mentioned that membership of this Lodge is open to all who are interested and not just Round Tablers.