History of Loyalty Lodge No 243
Loyalty Lodge No. 349 was consecrated on the 16 October 1810 under the “Antient” Grand Lodge. The account of the ceremony is recorded in the Minute Book of Mariners’s Lodge No. 222, who were our founder-
In the later part of the eighteenth century “Antient” Lodges came to be known as “Atholl” Lodges by reason of the fact that successive Dukes of Atholl presided over them as Grand Masters. It is the privilege of the Deacons of such Lodges to wear as their Jewels of Office, a winged Hermes-
Over the early years the Register of Grand Lodge was rewritten and subsequently Loyalty Lodge was renumbered, first in 1814 to No. 448, then in 1832 to No. 299 and finally in 1863 received its present No. 243.
Loyalty Lodge now forms part of The Province of Guernsey and Alderney in the Channel Islands which is one of the smallest Provinces of the United Grand Lodge of England, supporting just eleven Lodges. However the Channel Islands are not within the United Kingdom, having been a possession of the Duke of Normandy long before 1066.
Today they still remain British Crown Dependencies in a unique relationship under the British Monarchy.
Freemasonry came to Guernsey, the second largest Island in the Channel Islands, in 1753 in the reign of King George II. The Grand Master of the Ancient & Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons was John Proby, Baron of Carysfort in the County of Wicklow, in Ireland, and Freemasonry was spreading fast across the length and breadth of the land. New Masonic Lodges were being formed as travelling merchantmen, scholars, seafarers and servicemen carried the principles and tenets of the Fraternity far and wide.
Guernsey, however, was yet to be enlightened and would probably have remained as such for many years to come had it not been for the thriving fishing, knitting industries and commerce of the main town of St. Peter Port. Not to mention a little bit of Privateering and Smuggling.
In those early days, Masonic Lodges took their name from the place in which they regularly met. May 10th 1753 witnessed the birth of the first Lodge in Guernsey, the Lily Tavern Lodge No. 228 in St. Peter Port by the Moderns Grand Lodge. Sadly the Lodge did not survive the passing years.
Mariners’ Lodge No.168 being the oldest surviving Lodge in the Province and indeed in the Channel Islands dating back to the 10 March 1784.
Second is Doyle’s Lodge of Fellowship No 84 dating back to the 22 September 1806.
Loyalty Lodge No 243 is proud to rank as the third oldest Lodge in the Province and over the 200 years has always been willing to champion the progress of Freemasonry.
Between 1858 and 1881 Loyalty Lodge together with other Lodges had met in the building at the junction of Court Row and Le Marchant Street. It had been a Methodist Chapel and still stands to this day.
In 1882 Loyalty Lodge together with Mariners’ Lodge No.168 and Lodge Fidelis No. 1809 decided to build a new Masonic Temple in Le Marchant Street in St Peter Port.
The Foundation stone was laid on the 3 March 1882 and the new Temple was dedicated on Thursday 6 September the same year.
The Temple having been completed and furnished for the princely sum of One Thousand Four Hundred and Sixty Six Pounds, Fourteen Shillings and Nine Pence.
During its history Loyalty Lodge has survived two World Wars, both so very different. For during the 1914 to 1918 War meetings of the Lodges continued without interruption throughout, but it was not without it’s toll for it is recorded in the Masonic Roll of Honour at the United Grand Lodge of England that eighteen Brethren of the Province fell in the service of their King and Country. This includes Corporal Albert James Rabey, who was Worshipful Master of Loyalty Lodge in 1918.
In contrast, it must be recorded that the Province suffered grievously in World War II when the Channel Islands were occupied by the German Forces. Guernsey was occupied from Sunday 30th June, 1940 until the British Forces liberated the Island on the 9th May, 1945. On the Island of Alderney the residents did not return to their Island home until December, 1945 as it had been used as a Concentration Camp.
The German Authorities banned Freemasonry in the Islands and both the Masonic Temples in Guernsey and the Masonic Temple in Alderney were sacked and pillaged by the German Forces.
When the German Occupation ended, Masonic activity in the Province soon resumed and the ravages of War began to be made good. This was assisted greatly by the generosity of the United Grand Lodge of England in donating £5,000 to this Province and also £5,000 to the Province of Jersey, for which we are eternally grateful.
Soon after the Liberation, two of the Lodges namely Mariners’ Lodge No.168 and Loyalty Lodge No. 243 received food parcels for the relief of needy Brethren and their families. These were sent by the Brethren of two Lodges in the New Zealand constitution bearing the same numbers as the local Lodges, namely Lodge Maungawhao No.168 and Lodge Island Bay No. 243. This act of fraternal friendship still remains in our memories to this day.
In a moving letter of thanks to Lodge Island Bay No. 243, New Zealand, in September, 1946, the then Assistant Secretary of Loyalty Lodge, Bro. John Loveridge later to become RW Bro Sir John Loveridge Kt., C.B.E. Provincial Grand Master of the Province wrote, and I quote,
“the greatest tragedy of all was that by reason of the Occupation we lost five years of our Masonic lives and moreover, our Temple was looted, badly damaged and desecrated by the enemy. The Temple has now happily been almost restored and our work on the square is fast returning to normal”.
R W Bro. Sir John Loveridge Kt.,C.B.E. was initiated into Loyalty Lodge No. 243 on the 14 December 1938 at the age of 26. His Masonic career was impressive, and his enthusiasm for Masonry, his Lodge, and the Province was absolute. The Occupation of the Island and the suspension of Masonic activity meant that Sir John in common with all the Brethren of the Province lost five years of his Masonic life. His Masonic career culminated in his being appointed Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Guernsey and Alderney in 1969 in which office he served until his death in 1994
In 1935 Sir John had entered the Guernsey Civil Service and in 1939, he was appointed to the position of Secretary to the States Committee for the Control of Essential Commodities which was responsible for planning on, and administration of supplies and services in the event of War. On the outbreak of War he volunteered for active service but in June 1940 he was ordered to remain at his post in the Island and not proceed to England. His services were recognised in 1945 by his appointment to a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Ultimately in 1973 he was appointed Bailiff for the Bailiwick of Guernsey until he was succeeded by Sir Charles Frossard, K.B.E. in 1982, who is also a Past Provincial Grand Master of this Province.
Having lost our Lodge Banner during the Occupation, the Lodge decided early in 1990 the 45th Anniversary of our Liberation to purchase a new Lodge Banner reflecting the symbolism of Freemasonry. Having agreed on a suitable design the Lodge Banner was received by the Provincial Grand Master, R W Bro. Sir John Loveridge Kt., C.B.E. and dedicated at a ceremony held on the 12 December 1990.
In Guernsey today, the main town of St. Peter Port has needlessly to say, changed dramatically since those far off days. Today it is a busy International Financial Centre with world famous names trading in the Island. Cruise Ships visit on a regular basis bringing visiting tourists of all nationalities to our shores.
It is against this background that Freemasonry is still flourishing in the Province. The new purpose built Masonic Centre in Guernsey was dedicated on the 25th July, 1998. All ten Guernsey Lodges of the Province meet in this building, together with the Lodges and Chapters of the other orders in Freemasonry. In Alderney, St Ann’s Lodge No. 593 meets in their own Masonic Temple as does the other orders active on the Island.
As part of the contribution towards the new Masonic Temple Loyalty Lodge donated the display cabinet in the dining room which allows the Museum Committee to display the many items of Masonic interest for all the Brethren to enjoy. On display today we have items relating to the 200 years of Loyalty Lodge.
We in Loyalty Lodge together with our fellow Brethren celebrate our 200 years and look to the future with confidence that our younger Brethren will carry us forward in true style, enjoying their Freemasonry into the future, with the same determination and courage, of our Brethren of yesteryear.
W Bro. J E Martin, PJGD, PProv.SGW
16 October 2010