It is the only Hall Stone Lodge in the masonic province of Wiltshire, rewarded by the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England with a special jewel or decoration, below right, to be worn in perpetuity by its Worshipful Master.
This commemorates the fact that St Aldhelm was the only Wiltshire lodge to give over ten guineas (£10.05), per member towards building a new Grand Lodge in London, opened in 1922 as a memorial to fallen brethren.
WBro Chris Harvey, the St Aldhelm Worshipful Master, has been invited to join other Hall Stone Lodge leaders and national masonic dignitaries at a United Grand Lodge of England Armistice centenary meeting at Grand Lodge on November 10, the day before the national Armistice Day commemoration.
He will wear the ‘jewel’, or honour, as he and every St Aldhelm Worshipful Master does at every meeting of the Malmesbury lodge. It is one of the lodge’s most prized possessions.
In Malmesbury the lodge will mark the Armistice centenary at a dinner with family, friends and non-masonic guests, on Thursday, November 8 at 7pm. The lodge will be open to visitors, and there will be a short outline of the history of the Malmesbury Hall stone jewel.
The theme will also include Malmesbury and St Aldhelm Lodge in the 1914-18 war, drawn from the minute books.
The actual telegram sent from Buckingham Palace by the Prince of Wales to the Malmesbury lodge, asking for a significant donation to the Prince’s War Fund (which was also supported by St Aldhelm Lodge) will be on show, with other artefacts.
Another aspect will be a little-known patriotic part the craft played during the war, as described by Rudyard Kipling, an enthusiastic Freemason, in one of his best short stories, In the interests of the Brethren. Freemasons ‘bent’ the rules to care for brethren from all over the Empire who came to England as a result of the war.
Further details of the dinner from the St Aldhelm Lodge Chaplain, the Rev Richard Maslen, at email@example.com.