Mansfield Lodge 7094 was created in 1951. As a preface to the first by-laws of the Lodge the founders expressed their gratification that the new Lodge should have been founded so soon after the Second World War when the world was riven by rival ideologies, many of which were the very antithesis of Freemasonry. It was their conviction that establishing the Lodge gave positive expression to their belief in God and enabled them to play their part in furthering peace, love and harmony in the world and make it a better place in which to live.
Freemasonry has existed in Mansfield since around 1700. The only named Lodge in the records is Forest Lodge 1852 (so named after the Forest of Sherwood which it bordered) formed in 1879. A second Lodge, Broxtowe Lodge 3648 (named for the Hundred of which Mansfield was the chief town) was formed in 1913.
After the Second World War, given the increased development of industry, business and, hence, prosperity of the town and surrounding districts, the two Lodges were proving inadequate. Mansfield Lodge 7094 was founded under the banner (sponsorship) of Broxtowe Lodge.
The first meeting of Mansfield Lodge was held on Saturday, 29th September 1951. The celebrations of this event were very grand and started at 3:00pm. The Consecration (establishing) of the Lodge was conducted by V.W. Brother Rev. Canon Charles Dudley Hart. The Lodge was then Called Off (a recess) to take tea. The Assistant Provincial Grand Master, W. Brother Horace 'Bertie' Edgar Stevens, then installed W. Brother W.A. Royce as the first Master of Mansfield Lodge. Afterwards, the Brethren took cocktails before supper, provided by the Mansfield Co-Operative Society at l0/6d (about £12 in today's values) per head. (Sadly, no details of the menu remain.) 105 Brethren attended the celebrations, each paying 25/-d (£28.50 in today's values).
The cost of becoming a member of Mansfield Lodge in the early years was not cheap; the fee for Initiation was 20 guineas (£478.50 in today's values) - modern fees are but a fraction of this! Annual subscriptions for members, which included all meals except at Installation, were 6 guineas (£143.50 in today's values).
The banner is an important part of Lodge furnishings; it hangs over the Master's pedestal when the Lodge meets.
The design of the banner was taken from the 'makers' lists' enhanced by incorporating the Coat of Arms of the Borough of Mansfield and the main panel of the Broxtowe Lodge. The motto "UBI FIDES IBI LUX ET ROBUR" (with trust there is light and strength) was proposed. Grand Lodge, however, insisted that the banner bear the motto of the Borough, "SICUT QUERCUS VIRESCUIT INDUSTRIA" (industry flourishes like the oak).The cost was £199 (£4533 in today's values).
In 1992 concern was expressed regarding the deteriorating state of the Lodge banner, particularly the background fabric and detailed embroidery. A refurbishment was undertaken by Toye, Kenning & Spencer Ltd. at a cost of £711 (£910 in today's values). The re-furbished banner was dedicated by W. Brother B.F. Baines, Provincial Grand Chaplain, on Friday, 22nd December 1995 during a Ceremonial Visit of the Provincial Grand Master accompanied by 22 Provincial Officers; 94 Brethren were present.
Mansfield Lodge Today
The founders intended for the Lodge to meet on the last Monday in the months of October, November, January, February and March. The Installation (of a new Master of the Lodge) ceremony was to be held on the last Friday in September. The Installation meeting is now the fourth Monday in September and the Lodge often holds an additional meeting in April or May.
The founders wished that one meeting should be set aside for a Lecture; these are catechetical explanations of Masonic rituals. Although these are rarely delivered (the last occasion being in 2008) the Lodge regularly offers two addresses each year: one on Rudyard Kipling in November and one on Robbie Burns during a 'Burns' Supper' in January (the date of the Lodge meeting being very close to, and sometimes falling on, 'Burns' Night').
The Lodge usually celebrates Christmas Festivities on the Saturday before Christmas Eve. The Master of the Lodge organizes a black-tie Ladies' Night, now usually in March. Families and non-Masonic friends are very welcome at both events.
The Lodge actively supports non-Masonic charities and welcomes requests for assistance (addressed to the Lodge Charity Steward). In 1986, W. Brother J.M.R. Wann, then Charity Steward of Mansfield Lodge, proposed that all Lodges meeting at Mansfield Masonic Hall should co-operate in raising funds for local charities. This was the start of the Mansfield Charity Stewards worthy work for non-Masonic charitable causes. This continues today under the banner of 'Freemasons of Mansfield Town'.
'Adapted and abridged from 'Mansfield Lodge No. 7094 - the first fifty years" by W. Brother Barrie W. Haycox, PAGDC (39pp, 2001)
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