St Albans

Lodge No 2597

The Lodge banner shows a white St. Andrews Cross on a blue background with the Latin motto Dictis Albane Manebas This translates to May you be true to your word Or We will maintain the word or faith of Albane

 

Beginnings

On 28.8.1895 Six Freemasons met in an office at 211 Hereford Street Christchurch, with the view of establishing a new lodge. A second meeting was held at the same venue some 14 days later, this time with an additional 7 brethren all of a like mind. During this meeting a ballot was held for the offices of Master and officers the Treasurer, Organist and Chaplain were proposed and elected. They resolved that the meeting place is in the Montreal Street hall of The Crown Lodge and that the Fourth Friday in the month is the regular night of the Lodge. A petition to the then-District Grand Master asking that a provisional warrant be issued was signed by the brethren present. The petition was sponsored by the brethren of the Conyers Lodge.

 

The Consecration

The First meeting of the Lodge under a 'provisional warrant was held on the 11th October 1895 in the Art Gallery, Durham Street, Christchurch, and was conducted by the then-District Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother, P. Cunningham. Some Forty Installed Masters are being present. On the 24th April 1896, the District Grand Master handed to the Lodge the Warrant received from United Grand Lodge, in exchange for the provisional warrant previously issued by him. The Warrant bearing the date 8th January 1896 was read by the District Grand Secretary and was received with a flourish of trumpets and duly saluted by the members.

 

The Name

The name St. Albans did create an ongoing discussion within the Lodge, there being two differing views as to its origin. One view was that it took the name from the St. Albans district of Christchurch, the other view being called after Saint Alban, the first Masonic martyr. It is a fact that the Lodge has never met within the St Albans district, despite the first minutes of the lodge reads "forming a lodge in the St. Albans District". The second view that the name refers to St. Alban is based on the fact that the name has an apostrophe "The St. Alban's Lodge. "suggesting that it refers to the person rather than the District. St. Alban, who originally came from Scotland might help explain the design of the Lodge banner, which first appeared in printed form in 1903. At the consecration meeting, a refectory Toast to the memory of St Alban was given and this practice continues to this day.

 

Historical Note

It is worth mentioning that in 1904, Bro. C.W.R. Royds, a member of the Navy Lodge No.2612 in London, at an emergency meeting of St. Albans Lodge held on 23rd May, by dispensation, was passed to the Fellow Craft degree and one month later was raised to the degree of Master Mason. This was a double degree as Bro. Royds was accompanied by another Fellow Craft, Robert Falcon Scott, a member of the Drury Lane Lodge, again located in London. Both brothers were members of the Antarctic expedition whose ship was berthed in Lyttleton at that time. Bro. Royds went on to the Rank of Admiral in the Royal Navy and was subsequently Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London. Brother Scott of course, is legendary for his ill-fated journey to the South Pole.