The History of Beaufort Lodge - No.3834

Warranted : January 1918
Consecrated : 9 May 1918
Meeting at the Masonic Hall, Swansea.

No history of this Lodge can be written without first mentioning the ‘old’ Beaufort Lodge No.443 which was Constituted on 24 April 1769. The present Beaufort Lodge takes its name from this, the first Masonic Lodge in Swansea.
The original Beaufort Lodge was on the Register of the Premier Grand Lodge of England, known as the ‘Moderns’. It was named after the Fifth Duke of Beaufort who, at that time, was Grand Master of the ‘Moderns’, 1769-1771, and as such, issued and signed the Warrant. The Dukes of Beaufort have, for some centuries, been closely connected with Swansea, being Lords of Gower and large landowners in the district.
The original Warrant hung for a number of years alongside the Warrant of the present Beaufort Lodge, issued nearly 150 years later. The Warrant number of the old Lodge was changed to 378 in 1770, to 291 in 1780, and to 292 in 1781 . On the new list of 1792, the number was again altered to 244, which it remained until the Lodge was Erased from the Grand Lodge List on 10 February 1809.
Details of the first Beaufort Lodge are to be found via the link above/right.

When the present Beaufort Lodge was formed, the Province of South Wales Eastern Division comprised 30 Lodges, four of which operated in Swansea. They were: Indefatigable Lodge No.237, Talbot Lodge No.1323, Caradoc Lodge No.1573 and Dr James Griffith Hall Lodge No.3161. The Provincial Year Book shows 28 Lodges, but in 1918, there were 30 Lodges. St Quintin’s Lodge No.1882, Cowbridge, though dormant, was not Erased until 5 September 1923 and Loyal Hay Lodge No.2382 was not transferred to the Province of Hereford until 25 November 1920.
The first meeting of the Founders of the Lodge was held at the old Masonic Hall in Caer Street on 20 September 1917, which 19 Brethren attended. Subsequent Meetings were held in the Exchange Buildings, the Cameron Hotel and 12 Fisher Street. It is interesting to note that the Founder’s fee was five guineas, inclusive of the cost of the Jewel; the Initiation fee was ten guineas (£10.50p); and the annual subscription, one pound eleven shillings and six pence (£1.57½p), payable half yearly in advance.
Caradoc Lodge agreed to be the Sponsoring Lodge. The Warrant is dated 11 January 1918, but the Grand Secretary wrote that the Petition would be granted, subject to the withdrawal from the list of Founders of the names of nine Brethren, who were not Master Masons of three years standing. These Brethren afterwards became Joining Members of the Lodge.
RWBro Charles L D Venables Llewellyn, ProvGM, was away on active service, and in such circumstances, WBro Henry Pendrill Charles, DepProvGM would be expected to perform the Consecration Ceremony. Grand Lodge, however, did not deem this to be appropriate, because the DepProvGM, was the Master Designate. It was resolved that the Grand Secretary, VWBro P Colville Smith, MA, be invited to undertake the duties of Consecrating Officer, to which he agreed. The Consecration Ceremony was held at the Albert Hall, Swansea, on 9 May 1918. Amongst the names in the Attendance Book at the Consecration Meeting, was one R P St John Charles, MM, of Cambrian Lodge No.364, who was to become Provincial Grand Master in 1938.
In 1924, Beaufort Lodge was one of the 6 Founder Lodges responsible for the acquisition of the premises in St Helen’s Road, Swansea, with a view to providing a full and complete venue for the use of Swansea Freemasons. The first Chairman of the Swansea Masonic Hall Co Ltd was the Lodge Treasurer, WBro C J Tazewell, who held the Office until his death in 1933. It should be added that the present Chairman is also a Member of Beaufort Lodge, namely WBro Francis Langford, who has held the Office since 1999.
The first Regular Meeting of the Lodge was held on 13 June 1918, when a Ballot was held for nine Joining Members and eight Candidates for Initiation. On that evening, two of the eight Candidates were Initiated. Between June and December 1918, eight Meetings were held at which fifteen Candidates were Initiated and there were fourteen Joining Members.
The Lodge Insignia includes a view of Swansea Castle at a very early date, (see illustration) and the Motto, in Latin: ‘Fiat Lux’ translates as ‘Let there he light’. The meaning of the symbols on the Banner is not on record and so is open to conjecture.
With the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939, the Meeting scheduled for that month was cancelled, which is the first recorded mention of the Second World War in the Minutes. A number of Meetings of the Lodge were cancelled or re-arranged in 1940, and as a result of the ‘blackout restrictions’, Meetings in the winter of 1940/41 were held in the afternoon, usually starting at 2.30 pm. With the coming of summer, the Meetings reverted to a 6.30 pm start. No dinner was held following the April 1941 Installation, because of the emergency orders and the strict rationing measures which had been introduced.
The Lodge Members and their families who died or were reported missing are recorded as follows:

1940 June Bro G Gender’s son reported missing on active service.
1941 January Bro Hedley Jones reported missing on active service.
1941 March WBro W D Rees and his wife killed as a result of enemy action.
1941 May Bro Hedley Jones (reported missing in January) now confirmed as a prisoner of war.
1942 June WBro FR Conybear’s son reported missing from an operational flight over enemy territory. In September 1942, official confirmation was received that his son had been killed on active service.
1942 September Bro D Lewis’s brother was reported missing, his ship having been torpedoed.
1943 January Bro A H Rice’s son killed on active service in the Middle East.

On a brighter note, Bro Hedley Jones, who had been a POW since May 1941, was Passed to the Second Degree in May 1945, and Bro PC A Griffin, who was Initiated on 12 June 1941 ,was Passed and Raised in Loyal Lodge No.3719, Freetown, Sierra Leone, in April and June 1942 respectively. Beaufort Lodge was informed of his Passing and Raising by letter from the Secretary of Loyal Lodge.
It is interesting that during this period, the Lodge held 8 Emergency Meetings, which were necessary due to the large number of applications for Membership. In 1940, 5 applications for Membership were received; there were 8 in 1941, 7 in 1942, 6 in 1943 and 9 in 1945. It is also apparent from the Minutes, that despite the restrictions in force, the number of Brethren and visitors attending each Meeting remained high. Indeed, visiting Brethren travelled great distances to attend Meetings, particularly the Installation Meetings.
Other than the original Founders, every Master has been an Initiate of the Lodge, with only four exceptions, all of whom were Joining Members. Nine Initiates have been honoured by Grand Lodge, as has one Joining Member. In its 93 years’ history, there have been only four sons who have followed their fathers as Master of the Lodge. They are: WBro Malcolm Thompson in 1962, WBro Keith Ferguson in 1982, WBro Francis Langford in 1984 and WBro Philip Radford in 1994. WBro Anthony Robbins, son of WBro Leslie Robbins, who was Lodge Treasurer for almost two decades, became Master in 1987. WBro Leslie was Master of Lodge of Progress No.7928 in 1978.
Probably the best known and a most respected Member of the Lodge was WBro Malcolm Hayes Thompson, PPSGW, PSGD, who, as a Merchant Navy Radio Officer was proposed, Balloted for, and Initiated at an Emergency Lodge, held under Rule 160 Book of Constitutions, on 14 September 1948. He was Passed on 9 June 1949, and Raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason on 10 November 1949. WBro Malcolm Thompson went on to be WM in 1962. In 1967, he was appointed Provincial Grand Secretary in the Craft and Holy Royal Arch and served in both capacities until 1990. In 1991, he became Provincial Grand Master of Mark Master Masons, and held that Office until 1996. Sadly, he passed to the Grand Lodge Above in 2004; his presence and advice are still greatly missed.
Other Brethren who have made significant contributions to the Provincial Executive in the Craft, Royal Arch and Mark Master Masons include: in the Craft: WBro Rev Canon Huw Mosford, AProvGM, 2007-2009; in the Holy Royal Arch: WBro Francis TA Langford, Third Provincial Grand Principal in 1973; his son, WBro Francis Langford, Third Provincial Grand Principal, 2005 - 2007, Provincial Grand Treasurer since 2009; in the Mark Degree: WBro Wilfred K Jones, Provincial Grand Secretary, 1982 - 84, Provincial Grand Treasurer, 1984-1995; WBro Francis Langford, Provincial Grand Treasurer, 1995-2002, and WBro Keith B Ferguson, Provincial Grand Treasurer since 2002.
Finally, WBro Peter Griffin, PAGDC, a Farmer, who was Initiated into Beaufort Lodge on 12 June 1941 and was Installed as Master in 1957, was a Founder Member of 3 Lodges: Lodge of Progress No.7928; The Lord Swansea Lodge No.8364, of which he was Master in 1988; and South Wales Eastern Division Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge No.8900. In 1984, WBro Peter attained his ultimate rank in Craft Masonry, when he was appointed PAGDC in UGLE. In 2010, he celebrated 69 years in Beaufort Lodge and 53 years since being Installed in the Chair of King Solomon. Sadly, WBro Peter passed to the Grand Lodge Above in January 2011. He was 94 years of age.
In 2001, the Lodge secured its first Initiate through the internet, when a Mr Leighton Lloyd made contact with Provincial Office and through a series of connections, joined the Lodge. He became Worshipful Master in 2010.

Compiled by WBro Frank Langford, PGStB.

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