Masonic Exhibition planned for Braintree

Braintree’s oldest Masonic Lodge is to celebrate more than 150 years of history and involvement with the community with a major exhibition about local Freemasonry planned for 2021 at the Town’s museum in Manor Street. 

It is believed that it will be the first such exhibition of its kind outside London and to allow as many people as possible to visit and see the display, the Lodge has donated £1,000 to the Friends of Braintree Museum to cover the cost of admission for all visitors for 12 months.

The Lodge of St Mary, which first met in 1870, gave the Museum £500 with a further £500 provided from the Essex Freemasons Community Fund. This will help cover the costs of the Museum which wants to encourage as many local residents to visit and find out more about their additional programmes of exhibitions covering local history, art, textiles and science.

It was originally intended that the Masonic exhibition would take place this year to coincide with the actual anniversary of The Lodge of St Mary, but will now be delayed until 2021 due to Covid-19. The proposal to fund the project was moved forward by the immediate past master of the Lodge John Adlam who is also a museum volunteer with his wife Sandra.

“The Lodge has played an enormous role in the local community for the last 150 years and during that period we have collated records and images of our history and also that of Braintree,” said John Adlam. “It was therefore a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our 150th anniversary and support the Braintree Museum at the same time.”

When allowed to go ahead, the Masonic exhibition will last for 10 days and will be open to the public with Lodge members taking in turns to be on duty to answer questions and to generally promote Freemasonry within the community.

Assistant Provincial Grand Master Lee Taylor who attended the cheque presentation ceremony, commented: “Lodge of St Mary has played an enormous role in the history of Braintree and it is good to see that the public will now be able to get a glimpse of what Freemasons do and how they contribute to the local community. I am also pleased to see that the money will help to encourage more visitors to come along to the Museum, and get a better idea of local history and some amazing exhibitions.”

The Lodge of St Mary meets at Howard Hall in Bocking End. It was Consecrated on 14th June 1870 at the White Hart Hotel and has met at several different locations over the years including the offices of Messrs Balls & Balls the auctioneers and Board School. Finally, in 1888 it was decided that the Lodge would meet at the White Hart Hotel on the second Monday from September to April and in 1933 moved to Howard Hall in 1933 where it has remained to this date.