The Lodge of Three Pillars No. 5857
Warrant: 2 September 1942
Consecrated: 9 October 1942
In 1942 there were only 23 Lodges meeting in Cardiff. Even though the number of Lodges were fewer, the Membership of these older Lodges was much greater than today. As a result there was never any shortage of Candidates and in order to cope with the influx of Initiates, Lodges of Emergency were regularly employed. A number of Brethren however, were unhappy about the situation and a phrase in common currency at the time was ‘It is easy enough putting men into Freemasonry, but quite another thing putting Freemasonry into men’.
But what could be done about it? An idea emerged that a new Lodge, not attached to any older Lodges should be formed. A Lodge that would restrict its intake of Candidates to about two a year and a Lodge that would curtail Toasts and responses at the Festive Board (but retaining the Loyal Toast) was mooted. This would enable the time saved to be utilised to invite an expert Brother to speak on some interesting and perhaps unusual aspect of Freemasonry, to ensure the ‘daily advancement in Masonic knowledge’ by the Brethren; especially the younger Brethren.
The idea took form and came into being in the middle of WWII, with the Consecration of The Lodge of Three Pillars on 9 October 1942 a month later than originally planned as the then Prov. G. M., R. W. Bro. R. P. St. John Charles, Prov. G. M., was unable to attend due to ill health. However he made a full recovery and in the October assisted by the following Officers: W. Bro. David Rees Prov. S. G. W. as Senior Warden W. Bro. Gerald Tudor P. Pr. G. W. as Junior Warden, W. Bro. Rev. J .Humphries Prov. G. Chap. as Chaplain, W. Bro. George Whittington P. G. D. Prov. G. Sec. as Secretary, W. Bro. David Jenkins Prov. G. D. C. as D. C., W. Bro. Edward Jones P. Prov. G. Org. as Organist and W. Bro. Vincent J O'Brien P. Prov. G. D. C . as IG. . However, due to the late arrival of W. Bro. David Rees, W. Bro. Samuel Jones P. Prov. G. W. acted as the Senior Warden. At the conclusion of the Ceremony, the Prov. G. M. vacated the Chair in favour of W.. Bro. Edgar W Lewis P. A. G. D. C., P. Prov. G. W., Worshipful Master of Hendre Lodge No.3250, who Installed the Master Designate W. Bro. Edgar J. Rutter P. G. D. Dep. Prov. G. M. as Worshipful Master. He then appointed and Invested the first Officers of the Lodge with W. Bro. W. Gilbert as Senior Warden, W. Bro. R. G. Vergette as Junior Warden and W. Bro. R. E. Ward as Immediate Past Master.
W. Bro. Edgar John Rutter became the Dep. Prov. G. M. in 1931 an Office he held for 40 years with great distinction until his death in 1971 at the age of 79. He was Initiated into the Tennant Lodge No.1992 and was appointed to the rank of P. G. J. W. in 1951 as one of the special appointments to mark the Installation of the Earl of Scarborough as Grand Master. He also had the Order of Service to Masonry conferred on him, and was the senior holder at the time of his death.
The Consecrating Officers together with W. Bro Samuel Jones were Elected as Honorary Members. The Master of Tennant Lodge for the time being was also Elected as an Honorary Member of the Lodge, for although the Lodge did not wish to be attached to any of the older Lodges meeting in Cardiff, it was necessary to have a Sponsor and one can only assume that the Dep. Prov. G. M. used his influence in this matter.
The Lodge was conceived and Consecrated during W.W.II, a period when people were living a day-to-day existence, under the harsh conditions of food rationing, petrol coupons, clothing coupons and sweet coupons. Enemy bomb damage was in evidence in the City and the Suburbs. Cardiff Docks was a training ground for the Commando raid on St. Nazaire to destroy the dry dock there and so deny the Tirpitz, the pride of the German Navy, a base to attack Atlantic Convoys. Cardiff and Penarth became ports of entry for troops and equipment from the United States. Temperance Town in the Wood Street area was demolished after which the U.S. Army built a camp on the site.
Perhaps surprisingly, during those formative years when the Country was at war, there was not a single recorded entry in the Lodge Minutes relating to those troubled times, except that the accepted mode of dress was Morning Suit or Service Uniform and that on 31 March 1943, at the request of the Jerusalem Lodge No 9, Grand Lodge of Kentucky USA, Lieutenant De Zonia was Initiated into Freemasonry by W. Bro. Edgar J. Rutter. It is appropriate to record that during these early years, it was quite customary for Guest Speakers to attend and to address the Brethren not in the Temple, but at the Festive Board. This became a tradition within the Lodge, one that is maintained to this day. Indeed, within living memory there have been many eminent speakers, but the writer well remembers W. Bro. Rev. Gordon Lang, P. P. G. Chap. (Mon) who lived in Chepstow. Not only was he an Historian but also a Criminologist who incidentally had a great passion for cricket. He often asked the Brethren to choose the subject of his talk! Consequently, he was a frequent and very popular speaker who the Brethren looked forward to seeing every year. His claim to fame was that he was also a regular team member of the Brains Trust, which was a popular radio programme during the 1950s and 60s. Lodge Meetings were always well attended with our speakers entertaining over 100 Brethren.
Other notable speakers were W. Bro. Rev. Francis Rees, M. W. Bro. Lt. Col. Ronald L Davies, P. Prov. G. M., British Freemasonry in Germany, W. Bro. Malcolm H Thompson, W. Bro. Wynn Calvin and, of course our own R. W. Bro. Edgar J. Rutter.
To date, there have been two other Brethren of Grand Rank within the Lodge namely, W. Bro. George Ronald Latham, P. A. G. D. C. and W. Bro. Stanley William Jeffrey Clarke, P. A. G. D. C. The former was Initiated in 1948 and was Master in 1952. He was working for the Government in the Colonial Office in Ceylon. He had the honour of arranging a tour of that country for Maj-Gen., Sir Allan Adair, Assistant Grand Master. W. Bro. George Ronald Latham always attended Lodge when on leave when he would give interesting accounts of his experiences in that country. He presented a set of boxed gavels made from ivory and ebony, carved with the emblems of Office of the Master and Wardens, which are still in use to this day.
W. Bro. Richard N Peace who later became his Father-in-law initiated W. Bro. Jeff Clarke in 1967. He was Installed as Worshipful Master in 1976 after which he became the Lodge Secretary, an Office he held for nineteen years. One could say that he became Lodge Secretary by default as it was the R. W. Bro. The Lord Swansea, T. D., D. L. during his first visit to the Lodge at W. Bro. Jeff’s Installation who, hearing that there was great difficulty in providing a Past Master to take up the post, which was always his wish, volunteered W. Bro .Jeff’s services as soon as he had Installed his successor the following year. The Prov. G. M. then attended the Installation the following year to ensure that his wishes had been adhered to. Most unfortunately, Lord Swansea’s Regalia, which had been placed in the back of his car after the Meeting, were promptly stolen. Fortunately Bro Cyril Stevens our Senior Warden was a Police Inspector based at Cardiff Central, and all was recovered within the hour. Incredibly, his Regalia, including his Chain of Office, were stolen from his car the following year but sad to say on this occasion it was never recovered.
W. Bro. Jeff was appointed to Asst. Prov. G. D. C. and the following year to Dep. Pr. G. D. C. an office he held for a further two years. He was appointed to P. A.G. D. C. in Grand Lodge in 2001 and promoted to P. G. J. D in 2012. In the Mark Degree he was appointed Asst. Prov. G. M. in 1990. He is the present Mark Prov. G. Sec. and recently retired as the Prov. G. Sec. in the Royal Order of Scotland. W. Bro. Jeff also holds Grand Rank in Supreme Grand Chapter, Royal Ark Mariners, the Royal and Select Degree and the Order of the Secret Monitor. He has also been honoured with Provincial and District rank in other Orders in Freemasonry.
The Lodge Logo, which is depicted in the Past Masters Jewel and the Lodge Banner, was designed by the third Worshipful Master of the Lodge, W. Bro. Robert George Vergette. The Lodge Banner was made and presented to the Lodge by his wife, who was a member of the Royal School of Needlework. The R. W. Bro. Edgar J Rutter dedicated it. The Three Pillars emblazoned on the Banner could be taken to refer to those of Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, as depicted on our Grand Lodge Certificate, but this is not so. In this instance they refer to Truth, Knowledge and Understanding.
The other furnishings of the Lodge include a Set of Working Tools and Gavels made from Ebony and Ivory and carved with the emblem of Office was presented by W. Bro. Ronald Latham, a Lectern, presented by W. Bro. Graham J Harris who was Worshipful Master in 1981, a Set of Working Gavels presented by W. Bro. Peter F Brabrook, Worshipful Master in 1993 and a pair of alms plates with the Lodge Emblem carved in the base of each by W. Bro. Dr. John C. Giddings, Worshipful Master in 1994.
Among the more unusable items obtained by the Lodge was a box which was found in an attic in the Rumney area of Cardiff which was given to W. Bro. Neville T Rees for onward presentation to the lodge. On inspection of the contents it was concluded that the items were the lodge furnishings of a “Travelling Lodge” much research was undertaken to prove this theory and with the assistance of Grand Lodge this proved the case. During the history of the “Box” the contents were used in many countries and indeed on Passenger Liners crossing the Atlantic. Since it has been in the care of the Lodge it has travelled up and down the country as a visual part of a talk entitled “the Mystery of the Travelling Lodge Box.
When the golden jubilee was celebrated in 1992, the Lodge was fortunate to still have a Founder Member present, namely W. Bro Thomas J Jenkins P. Pr. G. S. W., who was Worshipful Master on three occasions in 1949, 1958 and 1959. He gave outstanding service to the Lodge and his talks at the Festive Board were always very informative and most enjoyable. It was also an occasion of some excitement as the first Initiate of the Lodge Bro. Alec James Smart was in attendance having travelled up from Somerset for the celebration, and it was an emotional reunion when Bro. James and W. Bro. Tom was reintroduced. To mark the Jubilee Meeting a Master’s Chain Collar was commissioned bearing the names of all the Masters of the Lodge.
The Lodge has on nine occasions witnessed the Initiation of sons of a Brother, and on more than one occasion the Worshipful Master has invited the father to conduct the Ceremony, always a moment to be captured in the memory of those present. Four became Worshipful Master, namely Bro. Keith Taylor who became Worshipful Master of a Lodge in the Isle of Wight. Sadly he died at an early age and his blood brother, Bro. Peter Edgar Taylor, both the sons of W. Bro. Eric T W Taylor. Also W. Bro Nigel Adams, the son of W. Bro. Peter Adams and W. Bro. Robert Harris, the son of W. Bro. Graham J. Harris. Family connections form the backbone of most Lodges and it would be remiss not to acknowledge the considerable contribution and involvement of the Chumley family. W. Bro. Peter Adams was the first, followed by W. Bro. Neville Rees, then W. Bro. Derek Chumley, brother-in-law to both the former, and W. Bro. David Lane.
There are many Brethren who have served the Lodge with much distinction and have consequently brought great credit to the Lodge. One is W. Bro Alan Pinches P. Prov. S. G. W. who was Initiated in 1958, Worshipful Master in 1964 and was responsible for taking the Lodge forward after its early years and making it the vibrant Lodge it became. W. Bro. Alan was appointed to the rank of Dep. Prov. G. D. C., promoted to P. Prov. J. G. W. and later to P. Prov. S. G. W.. He is currently Lodge Chaplain. In 2008 his attainment of fifty years in Craft Masonry and of fifty years of marriage to his wife Margaret was celebrated by a Gala Dinner in the presence of R. W. Bro. Captain Sir Norman Lloyd-Edwards K. C. V. O., who had only three months previously been appointed Provincial Grand Master. The Lodge was delighted to be able to entertain Alan and Margaret, members of their family and Brethren’s Wives and Partners.
We now come to a new chapter in the life of the Lodge and we are again reminded of the following remarks, which were delivered at the 50th anniversary celebrations:
"Let the example of our predecessors and the spirit of the Past, as well as that of the ever present future, animate us to the most complete, abounding service and to the building of the great and glorious heritage we have received, into a more bright and beautiful possession to be transmitted pure and unsullied to those who come after us. May this Lodge flourish and increase until time shall be no more."
Compiled by: W.Bro S W J Clarke, PGJD
Lodge Secretary 1978 - 1995