Father of the Lodge celebrates 60 years’ service

This is the story of one man’s dedication to Freemasonry and the joy it continues to give him.

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Peter George Townsend Ludlow

Peter George Townsend Ludlow is the current Father of Hungerford Lodge. This term is used to describe the member with the longest continuous service to the Lodge. He started his long and illustrious masonic career on 19th February 1957 when he was initiated into the Hungerford Lodge and he has been a constant member ever since.

Progressing steadily through the ranks within the Lodge he was installed as Master on 15th November 1966. His performance as Master obviously caught the eye of the Berkshire Provincial team as he subsequently rose to the rank of Assistant Provincial Grand Master for Berkshire and then on to Past Senior Grand Deacon of the United Grand Lodge of England.

Despite being 90, Peter is a very active Mason. He is a member of a number of Masonic Lodges and other Masonic orders within Berkshire, Wiltshire and Somerset and visits widely. He regularly brings a retinue of guests to our meetings.

Peter is well-loved within the Lodge and his is the calm voice we turn to when guidance is required, for example when the Lodge moved its meeting place from Hungerford to Newbury. When we recently interviewed a young prospective candidate, Peter spoke passionately about Freemasonry’s ability to keep him interested for 60 years as well as the support it has given him through troubled times such as the recent loss of his beloved wife, Daphne. Which other hobby can bring men of 23 and 90 together in this way?

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Peter (in his regalia) flanked by Kenny (L) and Adam (R) who were Passed, together with some of the members and visitors

At our meeting on 21st February, 65 members and visitors saw Peter presented with a certificate thanking him for his 60 years of service to Freemasonry in the Province of Berkshire. This was then followed by a certificate recognising his dedication from the Province of Somerset. Those attending were also treated to a double Passing ceremony for two of our Four Aces.

After the meeting, all present joined Peter at the Festive Board at the Royal British Legion Club in Newbury. No doubt a few memories were shared and new ones created.

© Hungerford Lodge 4748

Mark takes the helm

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The new team – Mark and Jeremy are second and third from the left kneeling

Tuesday 15th November saw Mark Wiltshire installed as the Master or leader of the Hungerford Lodge by Jeremy Dickins. Jeremy has been a real asset to the Lodge over the last year. He has worked hard at the ceremonies and has been just as diligent with the administrative side of the Lodge. Jeremy thanked his team for their support over the previous year before installing his successor in the time-honoured manner. Mark then appointed his team for the coming year, demonstrating how capable he is at memorising and reciting the ritual whilst at the same time displaying a sense of humour and a deftness of touch.

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The Festive Board

Once the ceremonial part of the evening was over, the members and guests retired to the Newbury Royal British Legion (RBL) Club for a celebratory meal. In all, 88 people sat down to dine on tomato soup, roast beef and all the trimmings, followed by a cheese board. The buzz of excitement for the evening had been building over the last few weeks and the atmosphere at the meal was electric. Masons had travelled from near and far to witness the changing of the guard as it is always a special event in a Lodge’s calendar.

Mark is part of the Provincial Outreach team and most, if not all, of the team had turned out to support their colleague. The Outreach team runs Open Days at each of the Masonic Centres throughout Berkshire with a view to making Freemasonry more accessible to the public and dispelling some of the myths propagated by the national media. The team had recently opened the Newbury Masonic Centre for one such event as part of the Remembrance Day activities in Newbury.

Supporting the Poppy Appeal
Supporting the Poppy Appeal

Once the meal was over the raffle was drawn with some splendid prizes available. The generosity of those attending meant that £500 was raised by the raffle and a further £180 was collected for alms. Mark consulted with his team and they decided to present a donation of £250 to the RBL Poppy Appeal on behalf of the Lodge. The remainder was donated the Lodge Benevolent Association for future charitable works. The RBL team were extremely grateful for the generosity.

A traditional part of the celebrations at the Installation of a new Master, is the singing of The Master’s Song. This is a combination of solo and participatory singing. Those who have been the recipient, know this is a very emotional moment for the new Master. One of Mark’s close friends, Graham Reynolds had jokingly offered to sing the Master’s Song for Mark at his installation. Mark was delighted by this offer and held his friend to this commitment. Graham’s skills as a Heating (not cooling) Engineer are more in demand than his singing skills and he was a touch out of practice. This added to the fun of the evening.

The Deputy Provincial Grand Master (deputy leader for Berkshire Masons) Anthony Howlett-Bolton was on hand to witness the event along with his retinue and they left having thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

A ‘Lewis’ set to take his first step

On 20th October, the Hungerford Lodge will be performing the most important act any Lodge can, initiating a new Freemason. This particular new entrant, being the son of our Secretary, is particularly special as he is known as a Lewis – or the son of a Mason.

No one is absolutely certain why this term came to be adopted for the son of a Mason. It is thought to be derived from the device used by stonemasons to lift larger stones into place with a crane, chain block or winch.

The principle of the three-legged lewis sometimes known as St Peter's keys
The principle of the three-legged lewis sometimes known as St Peter’s keys “Wolf2” by Satrughna02 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wolf2.jpg#/media/File:Wolf2.jpg

According to the Library and Museum of Freemasonry – “Although [a lewis] is not a working tool used in Masonic ritual it can be seen as a symbol of strength, which a son is to his father.”

The Masonic Dictionary goes further …in the English ritual it is found among the emblems placed upon the tracing board of the Entered Apprentice, and is used in that degree as a symbol of strength, because, by its assistance, the operative Mason is enabled to lift the heaviest stones with a comparatively trifling exertion of physical power. Extending the symbolic allusion still further, the son of a Mason is in England called a Lewis,” because it is his duty to support the sinking powers and aid the failing strength of his father, or, as Oliver has expressed it, “to bear the burden and heat of the day, that his parents may rest in their old age, thus rendering the evening of their lives peaceful and happy.”

Whatever the derivation, we invite you to join us as we initiate a new Freemason and make a father incredibly proud of his son.

Sharing the Knowledge

JOG donationHungerford Freemasons are delighted to have presented a cheque for £500 to the John O’Gaunt School Library Appeal this week.

Gilbert Mills, Chairman of the Hungerford Freemasons Lodge Benevolent Association, presented a cheque to Assistant Head Teacher Mrs Bunston, PSA Chair Penny Locke and Librarian Mrs Lamb.

Hungerford Freemasons have taken a keen interest in the local community since the Lodge formed 90 years ago and we were delighted to have been approached to help with the John O’Gaunt School Library project.

As a self-confessed silver surfer, Gilbert said “Freemasonry has always been about encouraging people to be the best version of themselves that they can be. We do this by taking what we call a Daily Advancement or doing something every day to improve yourself. We hope that this new facility will help our children and grandchildren to do just that, as well as demystifying modern technology for my generation!”

About the Benevolent Association:

The Hungerford Lodge Benevolent Association is a registered charity that has in the last five years distributed over £25,000 of funds raised solely from the members of the Lodge and other Berkshire freemasons.

About the Learning Resource Centre:

The new Learning Resource Centre (LRC) will be an open plan space, set out with distinct zones and touch pad technology. As well as appropriate, varied and inspiring books, there will be a teaching space with interactive whiteboard, iPod stations for listening to audio books, reading ‘nook’ to read comfortably (my own children like to read lying down or even upside down!) and gallery space in which to celebrate student work. There will be a careers area to show our children what they never dreamed they might be, a graphic novel section for those who like a little ‘Pow!’ in their narrative and a variety of reading seats about the space for those who like to just ‘be’. The LRC will be modern in design, whilst approachable and inspiring in outlook. It will also be a space for our community; book groups for different age groups, storytelling afternoons for toddlers, author visits and book signings in conjunction with our local book shop and town library and the setting for our ‘Silver Surfers’ ICT course. Reading should be as much at the heart of the Hungerford Community as it is at our school.

The Last Supper – Hungerford Lodge Leaves Home After Almost 90 Years

After almost 90 years at the heart of the Hungerford community, the Hungerford Lodge is to move to the Newbury Masonic Centre. The Lodge has used the Town Hall and Corn Exchange for its meetings since 1925 but this association has come to an end due to the changing business needs of the Hungerford Town & Manor. This is a source of great disappointment to the members who have always been very proud to call themselves Hungerford Freemasons, and support local Hungerford charities, including funding the disabled access lift for the Town Hall.

After almost 90 years at the heart of the Hungerford community, the Hungerford Lodge is to move to the Newbury Masonic Centre. The Lodge has used the Town Hall and Corn Exchange for its meetings since 1925 but this association has come to an end due to the changing business needs of the Hungerford Town & Manor. This is a source of great disappointment to the members who have always been very proud to call themselves Hungerford Freemasons, and support local Hungerford charities, including funding the disabled access lift for the Town Hall.

Traditionally a celebration of the best of Freemasonry, the meeting and Festive Board held on December 9th 2014, was tinged with sadness. It was the last meeting of the Hungerford Lodge in Hungerford. Every year the Lodge celebrates Christmas with a legendary meal accompanied by the Hungerford Town Band playing Carols – who knew that Land of Hope and Glory was a Carol?

After the meal, the Lodge runs its Christmas auction. Over the years, this auction has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity through the generosity of the Hungerford and visiting Freemasons. The money raised supports the activities of the Lodge Benevolent Association, which is a registered charity and since 2009, they have donated over £25,000 to local and national charities including:

The members of the Lodge formed a steering group which was tasked with investigating the alternatives within Hungerford and the surrounding areas. Although every effort was made to remain within Hungerford, no suitable accommodation was found which necessitated a move away from the Lodge’s traditional home. It was therefore decided to approach the Newbury Masonic Centre to host them for the future. This will bring the Hungerford Craft, Chapter and Mark Lodges all back under one roof again.

To maintain a link with Hungerford, the Lodge will hold its support meetings (General Purposes Committee, Lodge of Instruction and rehearsals) in the Cygnet Room of the Three Swans Hotel. The Lodge has also chosen to hold its Festive Board in Hungerford. The steering group will continue to take feedback from the members as to what is working and what needs to change as we adjust to our new home.

The Lodge wishes to thank the management committee at the Newbury Masonic Centre as well as the Berkshire Freemasons Executive team for their advice and guidance during this difficult time.

Learning the Ritual

Turning the key
Turning the key

A year ago I went to a great seminar organised by the Berkshire Masonic Education Team on the topic of Learning the Ritual. It was not a cramming session on a particular part of the “little blue book”, rather it was a discussion on the science of learning. I was intrigued to find out that we don’t all learn in the same way. There are different methods which influence the way a person takes in, understands, expresses and remembers information. The other part of the course was learning when not to attempt to learn. It may seem like common sense but sometimes it has to be said before people realise it.

Trying to learn when you are tired, stressed/upset, hungry, or have consumed alcohol will typically make the learning  less effective. The problem with this list is that most Masons are busy people anyway and so they will frequently be tired or stressed which will make it particularly difficult. As for being hungry or having consumed alcohol, well that is more personally controllable.

The session established in my mind, not only the need to foster the right environment for learning, but also to learn in the right way for me. But what is the right way for you? People can be divided into five categories:

 1. Visual

Visual learners learn through seeing. They’re the ones most likely to drift off during a long lecture. Masons in this category are more comfortable with images, than working with words. Visual learners generally find tools like diagrams, flowcharts, pictures or symbols key to learning the ritual.  A good trick for visual learners is to develop a system of images to replace the written word. It can be useful for visual learners to colour code their notes, to create more visual stimulation. Another trick is to associate parts of the ritual with a mental image of a part of the Lodge or the particular Working Tool.

2. Auditory

Auditory learners learn by listening. Lectures, tutorials, and group discussions are essential, for these learners. Auditory learners can focus better on text passages by reading them aloud, so they can hear how the words sound. Masons in this category may benefit from recording themselves delivering the ritual. The advent of the MP3 and iPod/iPhone devices allow auditory learning Masons to play the ritual over and over in the car or on the journey to work.

3. Read/Write

Reading and writing are the main methods, here. Masons who are read/write learners may find it helpful to write out the piece that they trying to learn.  They should read it, then create a new, condensed set of study notes. Masons categorised as read/write learners often benefit from the creation of mnemonics, for example as children we were taught to remember the sequence of the colours of the rainbow with Richard Of York Gave Battle in Vain (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet). It might therefore follow that you could create a mnemonic for the seven liberal arts and sciences or the five noble orders of architecture.

4. Kinaesthetic

Kinaesthetic learners learn by doing. These Masons will get an enormous amount out of the Lodge of Instruction by rehearsing the piece over and over again. Learning exercises should aim to bring all their senses into the experience. This will provide multiple cues to aid their recall of the ritual. For example, walking to the Junior Warden’s chair should trigger the memory of the specific part of the ritual.

5. Multimodal

Masons who are multimodal learners will display two or more of the above learning preferences equally, or near equally. This is more of an ideal condition, as combining elements of different learning styles can be beneficial, regardless of your predominant preference.  Learning styles can and do change, over time. This is often influenced by changes in your life and learning environment.

Personally, I have tried auditory and kinaesthetic learning as I find that I need to learn the words and then practice the associated floor work.

Which type(s) of learner are you?

This questionnaire uses 16 questions to  determine your learning style. The test presents a variety of learning or explaining scenarios, and asks how you would best make a decision, or give advice, or integrate this new information. It’s a good idea to retake the test annually. That way, as you change you can adapt your learning style to meet your current needs.

This thinking can be applied to all forms of learning, not just Masonic ritual. I hope this post helps you to find the best way for you to learn the ritual and as a result it takes some of the stress out of the process.

Further Study

You may also want to listen to this podcast from In The Chair where Robert Bone interviews Rick Smith author of the great book “Learning Masonic Ritual, the Simple, Systematic and Successful Way to Master the Work”. He has also written a companion book “Learning Royal Arch Chapter Ritual”.

© Hungerford Lodge 4748