Celebrating Tradition: The Federation of School Lodges in England and Wales

A pivotal moment as the Federation of School Lodges celebrates 75 years in great style and friendship at Southend High School for Boys

Established in 1946, the Federation of School Lodges stands as a testament to the enduring bond of Freemasonry within the academic community. With more than 175 Lodges spanning across England and Wales, this reputable organisation embodies unity, camaraderie, and the pursuit of shared values. At the helm of this impressive Federation is RW.Bro Sir David Wootton, an esteemed member of Bradfordians Lodge No. 9886, who serves as its President. However, the Federation is not short of distinguished brethren, including the notable Provincial Grand Master RW.Bro Paul William Tarrant, an Old Westcliffian.

A Network of Brotherhood Across England and Wales

Within the Province of Essex, the heart of this fellowship beats strong. Eight lodges and two chapters regularly convene throughout the year to uphold the tenets of Freemasonry and strengthen their fraternal bonds. These include:

  • Old Parkonians Lodge No. 4709, Chingford.
  • Old Southendian Lodge No. 5403, Southend-on-Sea.
  • Old Westcliffian Lodge No. 5456, Southend-on-Sea.
  • Old Chelmsfordian Lodge No. 5499, Chelmsford.
  • Old Palmerians Lodge No. 5632, Grays.
  • Old Libertian Lodge No. 6096, Upminster.
  • Old Loughtonians Lodge No. 7311, Loughton.
  • Old Esthameians Lodge No. 7693, Upminster.

Additionally, two chapters contribute to this enriching tradition:

  • Old Parkonians Chapter No. 4709, Chingford.
  • Old Southendian Chapter No. 5403, Southend-on-Sea.

75th Anniversary: A Milestone Celebration

A pivotal moment arrived on the 19th of August when the Old Southendian Lodge No. 5403 hosted the 75th anniversary of the Federation of School Lodges. A momentous occasion, the event saw the gathering of nearly 50 school lodges from across England and Wales, with over 160 masons, friends, and family in attendance. The AGM and Lodge meeting took place at Southend High School for Boys, adding a poignant touch to the celebratory backdrop.

Among the attendees, the Essex School Lodges were well-represented. Notably, the Old Parkonians Lodge received the honour of being designated the custodians of the Federation’s Travelling Gavel, recognising their significant attendance. The presentation occurred at the event, which was fittingly hosted by the Old Southendian Lodge. The event was a testament to the unity and competitive spirit that lies at the heart of Freemasonry.

A Tribute to History and Brotherhood

As the Lodge opened and addressed its regular proceedings, it was soon time to welcome a captivating presentation. W.Bro Mark Smith, humorously referred to as “007,” captivated the audience with his talk. The presentation, rich with historical insights, vividly brought to life events such as the Battle of Britain and the history of the Western Front in WW2, including the reason why Ian Fleming called James Bond ‘007. The engaging narrative held the attention of all present, creating an atmosphere of unity and shared interest.

A Festive Banquet and Future Prospects

Post-meeting, brethren, ladies, and gentlemen gathered at Saxon Hall for a delightful Festive Board. Notably, the Provincial Grand Master received a special birthday cake, a surprise enjoyed by all present. As the festivities unfolded, the essence of camaraderie and tradition was evident, forming an enduring memory for those in attendance.

Looking ahead, the future promises further opportunities for camaraderie. The Federation of School Lodges Annual Cluster Meeting is set to be hosted by Old Kimboltonians No. 7204 of in the Province of Northants and Huntingdonshire at Kimbolton Castle on 31.08.24. As anticipation builds, members of Old Southendian Lodge crafted a unique luminous green baton that secured the meeting summons, like the ancient scrolls. Symbolising unity, this button was ceremoniously passed to the PGM of Northants and Huntingdonshire, and member of Old Kimboltonians Lodge.

A Testament to Unity and Heritage

Freemasonry has long provided a platform for brethren to connect, share experiences, and uphold cherished traditions. Festivals have emerged as meaningful events, combining Masonic bonds with social interactions. Partners of the brethren convene, fostering their own connections and enjoying local attractions while joining the Masonic banquet.

The forthcoming Essex School Lodge Cluster Meeting will find its home at the Cross Keys Masonic Centre in Grays, hosted by Old Palmerians Lodge. As the cycle of camaraderie continues, each gathering becomes a testament to the enduring legacy of school-based Masonic brotherhood.

The Federation of School Lodges stands as an embodiment of tradition, unity, and the pursuit of knowledge – values that have shaped the lives of brethren across England and Wales for decades. Through Lodges, Chapters, and annual meetings, this remarkable federation serves as a bridge between academic roots and Masonic bonds, weaving together the tapestry of brotherhood that thrives within the Province of Essex and beyond.

For further information visit the Federation of School Lodges