A Brief History 1963-2013
Presentation by W. Bro Paul Sumedho, Master,
on the occasion of the Lodge’s 50th Anniversary in September 2013.
50 years ago the Founders of this Lodge took their inspiration in the research of the history of Wolverton, a history that dates back to the Doomsday Book when the population consisted of just 32 villagers, 8 smallholders, and 10 slaves; today the population of Wolverton exceeds 13,000. The area was then recorded as Wluerintone (Pron. wolf hairs ing tun), often thought to be an Old English language word meaning 'Wulfhere's estate'; Wulfhere being an Anglo-Saxon Chieftain. The original parish church of this Saxon settlement was Holy Trinity Church. Both Church and Chieftain were later to be found on the Lodge Banner, and remain a focus of the history of the Lodge.
Wolverton remained a small Buckinghamshire village until the building of the Grand Union Canal in 1805, and the London to Birmingham Railway in the 1830s when it was chosen as the site for the locomotive repair shop. The railway later became a catalyst for freemasonry in Wolverton when in 1860 James E. McConnell, Locomotive Superintendent at the Wolverton Works, having observed that there was no freemasonry in North Bucks approached members of his London Lodge and railway associates to petition for a new Lodge. Scientific Lodge was consecrated in 1860 in Stony Stratford, finally moving to the Wolverton Masonic Hall in 1956.
Following the meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge in October 1962, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, W.Bro. Bertram F. Jones, made an appeal for the formation of new Lodges in the Province to enable the many worthy men who wished to become members of the Order to do so and to help the younger Brethren to advance more quickly.
W.Bro. W.E. Arnold, a Past Master of Scientific Lodge, who had that day been invested as Provincial Senior Grand Warden, rose to the challenge, and invited the Brethren of the Lodges in and near Wolverton to become Founders of the proposed new Lodge.
Arrangements moved quickly and on Saturday, 14th September, 1963 Wolverton Trinity Lodge No. 7917 was Consecration at the College of Further Education, Wolverton.
Owing to the unfortunate death of the R.W.Bro. Major-General the Rt. Hon. Lord Burnham, Provincial Grand Master, W.Bro. Bertram F. Jones, Deputy Provincial Grand Master in Charge consecrated the new Lodge, in the presence of 268 Freemasons gathered from many Provinces.
Initially the Lodge adopted Nigerian Ritual. Later changing to the "permissive variations", and around 1969, when the Nigerian Ritual went out of print then adopting the Emulation Ritual as practised by the Emulation Lodge of Improvement.
Over the years many brethren have generously presented gifts to the Lodge. These include:-
- * Handsomely bound Volume of the Sacred Law which was dedicated by the Provincial Grand Chaplain
- * Velvet supporting cushion, having a "fall" embroidered with the name and number of the Lodge
- * Case containing a beautiful set of Working Tools
- * Wardens Falls.
The first Officers of the Lodge provided the Collar and Jewel, suitably inscribed, of their respective Office. New Collars were presented in 1998 by the then Master. The Mentor Collar and Jewel were presented in 2013 by the Lodge’s first Mentor.
In December 2012, a new member presented to the Lodge a Tyler’s sword and Inner Guard’s poniard both of which he had made.
Having chosen the antiquity of Wolverton as a theme for the lodge it is not surprising to find on our banner, as a principal feature, a figure depicting an Anglo-Saxon Chieftain, namely “Wullfere. The background picture is that of Holy Trinity Church, Wolverton, taken from an actual photograph.
This very handsome banner was presented to the Lodge by W.Bro. Bertram F. Jones, Deputy Provincial Grand Master in Charge.
As for Holy Trinity Church, the medieval church building was replaced by a new church begun in 1809 and finished in 1815. It still boasts its 14th century central tower, and stands today to the north west of the town on an eminence overlooking the valley of the Ouse.
The Lodge has had six Grand Officers appointed who were members at the time of appointment. Two are still members.
In 1968 the Lodge adopted as a resolution that it should always try to include lectures in its programme as well as items of Masonic History or interest. For 20 years from 1969, one member in particular carried out this duty most successfully. Although there have since been occasional lectures this practice has waned, but the Lodge has taken the occasions of its 50th anniversary to include such talks in its programme.
Of our organists, Bro. Wally E. Smith was organist of the Lodge from 1964 until his death in 1985. He was appointed Past Provincial Grand Organist in 1980.
After Bro. Wally, our next Honoured Guest and Organist was with us until he stood down in 2013. He was appointed Deputy Grand Organist in 1996, and is currently Past Deputy Grand Organist. He also organised the greatly appreciated annual event of Carols at the December Festive Board, where he was supported by his daughters and other family members.
Continuing the masonic journey, February 1975 saw the consecration of a new Chapter attached to Wolverton Trinity Lodge. The Chapter continues to flourish with many Lodge members exalted into it.
From the Lodge's foundation until 1979 Lodge members attended Scientific Lodge of Instruction and the Lodge was very much indebted to that Lodge of Instruction for the considerable help received.
In December 1979 the Lodge approved a proposal, and very soon afterwards had its own Lodge of Instruction, which continues to meet twice each month. We are indebted to its many Preceptors and Secretaries for their many years of support.
With a Chapter and Lodge of Instruction under its belt, on 4th June 1988, a daughter, Milton Keynes Lodge No. 9277 was consecrated.
With the consecration of Milton Keynes Lodge No. 9277 33 new lodges had been added to the Province of Buckinghamshire since the consecration of Wolverton Trinity Lodge. By 2013 this has reached 50 new Lodges; thus amply fulfilling the hopes of the late W.Bro. Bertram F. Jones Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master and W.Bro. W.E. Arnold the First Master of Wolverton Trinity Lodge.
By its very nature a brief history is just that, and must of necessity omit many events and many of those who so contributed to the development and life of the Lodge. So in closing, I record a hearty thank you to our Founders, Past Masters and Members, present day brethren, and to our many guests and supporters.
W Bro Paul Sumedho, PDistGStwd (E.Arch),