Following the festive season when the rest of the county seems to knuckle down to a quiet January, Gloucestershire freemasons still have much to reflect on and celebrate. From remembering Robert Burns to the famous ‘Old Twelvey’ at Vasser Smith, January is far from quiet. We highlight a few of these fantastic evenings below.
We have already heard of the fabulous evening at Hambrook Lodge celebrating Burns night in memory of the famous freemason – poet and Lyricist Robert Burns. Only a few days later in the north of the province a similar evening was unfolding. The Prince of Wales Lodge – No 951 – held a traditional Burns night supper during their regular meeting at Stow-on-the-Wold on Friday 19th Jan 2024. They had 96 attend the event and members of Cheltenham Pipe band accompanied the evening. A full article is available here
You then only need to head west and over the Severn to Lydney to be treated to a veritable feast of good old English entertainment and see King Richard drop in for ‘Old Twelvy’. That’s right, Peter Watkins had royalty at his right hand to help his fellow Foresters wassail ‘Old Twelvy’. Vassar Smith Lodge’s January meeting inevitably falls close to 17th which, prior to the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1752, was traditionally twelfth night. Anglo Saxons dictated that at the beginning of the year, the Lord of the Manor would greet the assembled serfs and peasants with the toast ‘Waes hael’, [good health]. The tradition continued throughout the Middle Ages, and is naturally kept alive in the Forest of Dean.
Meanwhile in the centre of the province in Stroud and Cheltenham at Vigilantia Lodge, St Lawrence Lodge and Seven Springs Lodge the bagpipes were sounding out again. Seven Springs Director of Ceremonies Peter Trotman Reports “A Hearty number of wives, partners, potential candidates and Brethren filled the Festive Board to celebrate Sevens Springs Lodge Annual Ladies, Burns Night Supper on Monday [22nd] evening”.
Vigilantia Senior Warden, Andrew Laver, reports: “A great turn out for our annual Burns Night, a big thank you W Bro Kazimierz Dabrowski who organised the evening and to all our guests and our Piper for the evening Mr Stuart Jessop.”
This is just a small taste of what was happening throughout Gloucestershire during January, kicking off 2024 with aplomb. If you are a Gloucestershire Lodge and would like to share your news with a wider audience please send your article and photos through here.
We thank Ian Jackson, Dick Smith, Mike Newlove, Andrew Laver and Chris Kitson for providing these images and their insights in to a vibrant January for Freemasonry in this the Province of Gloucestershire.