Wyche Lodge No. 3638

The History of Wyche

At the beginning of 1912 shortly before the First World War, freemasons in Droitwich met to consider forming a lodge in the Borough. As a result of this meeting it was resolved by those present to form a new lodge named the Wyche Lodge”.

Wyche Founders

The petition to form the new lodge was signed on 20th November 1912 by fourteen founders: W Bro J M Towers; Bro Rev E H Blackwood Price; Bro P J Pond; Bro A J Bearcroft; Bro R C Rowe; W Bro C H Cooke; W Bro W J Hill; Bro T Willis; Bro H Terry; Bro S W Culley; Bro G W Hobson; Bro A T Harris; Bro J Brazier and Bro T F Culley. It was signed by the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master on the 10th December 1912 and was granted by Grand Lodge on the 20th day of the same month.

Of the 14 Founders, nine were Worcestershire Masons: three from Worcester Lodge No 280; four from Semper Fidelis Lodge No 529; one from Page Lodge No 3378 and one from St Laurence Lodge No 2724.

The Consecration took place on Wednesday 29th January 1913 at 3.30pm by the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master General Sir William Campbell KCB and other Provincial Grand Officers. 122 brethren in total were present.

It was held in Salters Hall – built in 1879 and subsequently demolished in 1933, which stood on the site of what, is now the town’s library.  W Bro J M Towers of Worcester Lodge was installed as the first Worshipful Master of the Lodge. Senior Warden was Bro E H Blackwood Price of Page Lodge and the Junior Warden was Bro P J Pond of Worcester Lodge.

The Lodge takes its name from “Wyche” the ancient name of Droitwich with the arms of the Borough occupying the centre of the design of the Lodge Banner. The Dexter part consists of two lions passant pierced by a sword in pale. The royal lions refer to the granting of the town’s first Charter by King John in 1216 AD and the impalement being formerly the arms of the Statute Merchant of the town. The two salt peels in the second and third quarters  were the old “barrows” or rush baskets formerly used in the manufacture of salt. The Masonic emblems of Corn, Wine, Oil and Salt are represented by the ear of corn, vine leaves and grapes, the olive branch and the Borough’s motto – Sal Sapit Omnia (Salt savours everything.)

Following the consecration ceremony, 11 candidates were proposed and seconded for membership during the evening and the Lodge had 25 members by the end of its first year.

The first candidate was Dr Percy G Roden , a doctor practising in Friar Street. He was initiated, together with two more candidates, at the first regular meeting on the 11th February 1913 at the regular meeting place – The Baptist School Rooms, Ombersley Street, Droitwich Spa (opposite what is now Barclays Bank) with the festive board following at the Worcestershire Brine Baths Hotel.

All three candidates were balloted for on the same night as their Initiation. Three more were balloted and Initiated at the next meeting on 11th March and three more on 8th April. The next day there was an emergency meeting to Pass the first group to the Second Degree. After March, ceremonies with more than one candidate continued to be held and in the rest of 1913 alone there were five more emergency meetings making a total of 14 meetings for ceremonies that year.

In January 1925 permission was granted for a Lodge of Instruction to be formed and meetings were held in the Board room of the Poor Law Institution, Union Lane, Droitwich Spa until the Lodge moved to its new regular meeting place in the Board Room at the new Rural District Council Offices which were built in 1935 (opposite what is now the new Medical Centre)

The first Ladies Night was held at the Worcestershire Hotel on 13th Feb 1925 with W Master H Lyde as Master. (In 1927 a motion to allow non Masonic men to attend ladies night was defeated.) The Manager of “The Worcestershire” for many years was Wor. Bro. T F Culley who was appropriately appointed Lodge Steward and afforded the Lodge excellent hospitality. Ladies Nights were held here until the Second World War when the Winter Gardens or The Raven Hotel were used.

The Second World War saw some further changes to Lodge arrangements.

As the Army had occupied the Worcestershire Hotel, Lodge meetings from January 1940 onwards were followed by a hot meal at the Raven Hotel. On 9th April 1941 it was agreed that the wearing of gloves could be dispensed with as clothing coupons had to be used to buy them. It was also agreed in May 1942 that regular Lodge meetings would be temporarily changed to Saturday afternoons.

May 1945 brought VE Day and the end of the war in Europe. As neither the Secretary or Assistant Secretary turned up for the Lodge meeting that night, it was decided to cancel the lecture scheduled for that evening.

By February 1948 the Worcestershire Hotel had been returned to the proprietor by the War Office and the Lodge resumed dining there.

1963 brought up the 50th Anniversary of the Lodge. W Bro Bill Bailey was in the chair and there were 45 members and 47 visitors in attendance.  W Bro Bailey donated an organ and once a year “Salut d’Amour”, by Edward Elgar was played in memory of him and his wife for their generous gift.

Due to the poor condition of the original Lodge Banner by now, a new version was painted on hardboard. A short Dedication ceremony, presided over by the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, was held in February 1966.

W Bro Denis Brooks gave notice, on 11th December 1967 of his intention to propose at the next meeting that a Chapter be formed under the Banner of Wyche Lodge. The proposal was passed unanimously in January 1968. A petition followed in March with many Lodge brethren as founders. A Lodge choir was formed in February 1968. by W Bro Thawley and used to perform regularly, particularly singing carols on Past Masters night.

May 1969 saw the last Lodge meeting in Droitwich. The Lodge received a letter from the Clerk to the Rural District Council requesting that the Lodge remove its furniture from the storage room, as it was now required for Council use. At a business meeting on 7th July 1969 it was agreed that the Lodge should move to the Masonic Hall in Bromsgrove on a temporary basis and that the Lodge should return to Droitwich as soon as possible. Accommodation at the Masonic Hall in Worcester had also been offered but on 16th June 1970 it was decided to accept the offer of the Bromsgrove Masonic Building Company to use their Masonic Hall on a permanent basis until satisfactory accommodation in Droitwich could be found. (This sadly never materialised) Past Master honours boards were produced in April 1972 using a bequest from W. Bro. Ernest Davis now that the Lodge met in a full time Masonic facility.

In October 1972 it was decided to transfer, by Deed of Gift, the organ left to Wyche Lodge by W Bro C S Bailey to Bromsgrove Masonic Building Company, for use by all lodges using Bromsgrove Masonic hall. Some now redundant Lodge furniture, including the three pedestal chairs, were loaned to The Worcester Masonic Building Company in 1973.

The idea of “a Catshill Lodge” (a daughter lodge) was first minuted in April 1973. In March 1974 a petition to form the Catshill Lodge was sponsored by many Wyche Lodge members.

W Bro Reginald Pearson donated a jewel to the Lodge in 1978 for the Immediate Past Master to wear. (He received his 50 year service certificate in February 1987.)

March 1983 saw W. Bro Tommy W. Grounsell achieve Grand Rank – Past Grand Standard Bearer, a first for the Lodge. He subsequently received his Certificate of Merit in July 1997 and his 50 Year Certificate was presented to him in April 2001 by the Worshipful Assistant Provincial Grand Master K A Hawkard. In November 1996 the Very Worshipful Deputy Provincial Grand Master R E Whitlock attended to present a 50 year certificate to W Bro Denis Brooks who subsequently received a Certificate of Merit in June 2004 and a 60 year certificate from the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, R G H Goddard M.A. in November 2006.

The last meeting of the Lodge at Bromsgrove was held in April 2002 and a permanent move to Worcester was agreed by all parties with the first meeting of the Lodge at Rainbow Hill held on Tuesday 8th October of the same year.

A new Lodge Banner, kindly stitched by Mrs Mavis Lewis, wife of W. Bro. David Lewis, was dedicated by the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, R G H Goddard in March 2009.

Wyche Banner

WYCHE CENTENARY 

2013 heralded Wyche Lodge Centenary Celebrations, upholding 100 years of Wyche traditions.

A Provincial team headed by the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, R G H Goddard, conducted a special centenary ceremony attended by Wyche Lodge members and honoured guests. Those present, totalling 100 brethren, heard the Provincial Chaplin recite our rich history and the evening was concluded with a memorable festive board.

We look forward to our next 100 years.