Before we explore the history of Elliott Lodge we should delve into how Freemasonry developed in the Ashfield district and to do this we need to go back to the consecration of the Forest Lodge in 1879 which is the oldest surviving Lodge in the Mansfield area. In 1891 Forest Lodge sponsored the formation of the Ashfield Lodge No. 2412 our Grandmother Lodge. The ceremony took place at the town hall in Sutton in Ashfield followed by a banquet. Ashfield Lodge was the first Masonic Lodge to meet in Sutton in Ashfield.
In 1951 Ashfield Lodge sponsored our mother Lodge, the de Sutton Lodge No 7067. The consecration took place at the Masonic Hall in Nottingham. The foundation of a second Lodge in Sutton in Ashfield marked a milestone in the development of Freemasonry in the area. Both Lodges held their meetings at the Freemasons Hall, Denman's Head, Market Place, Sutton in Ashfield.
The Denman's Head was named after Thomas Lord Denman 1779–1854, who became Lord Chief Justice of England. He grew up in this County and became Deputy Recorder for Nottingham. Lord Denman was extremely popular and the name of the Public House in Sutton in Ashfield was changed from the Kings Head to the Denman's Head. He was a great reformer seeking to abolish slavery and reform the legal system.
In 1972 it was muted by the then Deputy Provincial Grand Master V. W. Brother Leslie Mitchell at the de Sutton Installation Meeting that it was time to think about forming another Lodge in Sutton in Ashfield - due to the numbers in the de Sutton Lodge and the time it would take to attain the chair of the Lodge. Events progressed and in October 1973 a meeting was held at the Denman's Head where 27 members of the de Sutton Lodge agreed to form another Lodge. The Petition was drawn up and approved at the de Sutton Lodge meeting on 20th December 1973.
These 27 freemasons are the Founders of our Lodge and it is to them we owe the existence of the Elliott Lodge, its traditions and ritual. Sadly only 5 are still with us at the time of writing.
The Consecration of the Elliott Lodge took place on Monday 20th May 1974 at the Masonic Hall Goldsmith Street, Nottingham, followed by the Installation of the first Master of Elliott Lodge W. Brother W. J. Ramsell then in his 91st year. R. W. Brother C. H. V. Elliott conducted the Ceremony of Consecration. V. W. Brother L. J. Mitchell acting as Installing Officer conducting the Installation of W. Brother Walter Ramsell who had been Master of the Ashfield Lodge in 1950 and was also a member of the de Sutton Lodge.
The first regular meeting of the Elliott Lodge was held on the Wednesday 9th October 1974 at the Denman's Head at Sutton in Ashfield. The first initiate was Kenneth Bastow.
On the 12th May 1982 the Elliott Lodge banner was consecrated by the Provincial Chaplain W. Brother R. T. Warburton at the Masonic Hall, Nottingham. The banner bears the armorial arms of C. H. V. Elliott. The motto at the base of the coat of arms 'deo non fortuna' means 'By the aid of God not fortune'. The banner cost £375.00.
1990 saw huge changes in the Elliott Lodge. The last meeting at the Denman's Head was held on the 11th April 1990 which was a 3rd Degree ceremony held in the presence of R. W. Brother C. H. V. Elliott the Past Provincial Grand Master which proved to be the last time he visited Elliott Lodge.
The reason for leaving Sutton in Ashfield was not by choice but due to the fact that over the previous two or three years problems had been mounting at the Denman's Head. The Home Brewery had been taken over, and the fabric of the Hotel was in need of maintenance and licensee's seemed to change monthly.
It was decided, when given notice to quit, that the Lodge should move to Mansfield Masonic Hall. Sixteen happy years had been spent at the Denman's Head and it was a great wrench to move from Sutton in Ashfield. The move was completed over the summer of 1990.
The first meeting at the Masonic Hall at Mansfield was held on Friday 12th October 1990 when W. Brother Ken Redfern installed his successor W. Brother John Wilkinson. The meeting night had moved from a Wednesday to the second Friday in the month which has proved a success with the brethren of the Lodge.
Elliott Lodge continues to meet at Mansfield, but still has its roots in the Ashfield area. In 1997 W. Brother Eric Saxton was appointed to Grand Lodge as Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies. In 2007 W. Brother Michael Page was appointed to high office as the Provincial Senior Warden. In the same year the Lodge contributed over £89,000 to the New Samaritan Fund during the Provincial 2007 Festival.
Other recent highlights have included our 25th Anniversary event in May 1999 followed by the first Provincial Team visit to the Lodge in December 2001. January 2003 saw our 200th meeting and we have now passed the 250th with W. Brother Robert Parker in the chair as the 37th Master of the Lodge.
Freemasonry continues to flourish in the Elliott Lodge bringing together all the tenets of the Craft, namely Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.
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