Excerpts of the history written by W Bro HF Yeo PPGMO in 1916
The Lodge was founded on the 1st of may 1865 (when the Earl Amherst was the Grand Master and The provincial Grand Master was the Rev John Huyshe). the meetings were held at 143 Union street Plymouth, the home of Charity craft Lodge 223, to which it was directly associated. In 1878 the lodge moved to 193 Union Street and in 1889 it was moved to Freemasons Hall 1 princess square Plymouth.
According to the first account of the Lodge history, written in 1916 the original minute book had been lost and the second begins by recording a regular meeting held on Monday 28th July 1873. On that occasion The Deputy provincial Grand master ( W Bro Col John Elliot CB CMG) was the master of the Lodge and on that evening Bro James Page Phillips was duly proposed, seconded and balloted for and installed as WM for the ensuing year, and according to the minutes the ceremony was most ably and impressively performed by Col. Elliot the DPGM of the Province. During the evening the Rt Wor PGM ( Major Tanner Davy JP) honoured the lodge with his presence and expressed his gratification by the manner in which the installation was performed and the general work within the Lodge.
Bro W boon JW presented the Lodge with an axe in July 1874, at the same regular meeting the WM W Bro S Anniss proposed an amendment of Bye Law II that the advancement fee be raised from 1 Guinea to one and a half which was adopted at the next meeting.
at the Jan meeting in 1877 Bro J Moysey proposed that Jewels be procured for collars of the Lodge, resulting in a small committee being appointed for this task.
The regular meetings according to By-laws printed in 1871 were to be held on Friday of every alternate month, this was strangely interpreted for they were held on other days as well, whilst 2 3 4 and 5 regular meetings are mentioned as having been held in certain years
It may be remarked that the marks chosen were not as yet confined to right or straight lines, but this and what then may have been considered as other irregularities were amended by Grand Lodge as time progressed. Indeed, the amended by laws in 1882 clearly indicate the strong guidance by grand Lodge (formed in 1856( in laying down that the Wm Treasurer and Tyler shall be elected at the regular meeting preceding the installation. A change in subscriptions necessitated the total revision of the Bylaws and they were reprinted in 1887.
A further revision was made in 1895 when it was decided that the Lodge meet on the fourth Thursday in January April Jul ad Octobers and that dues would be collected at the April meeting. The bye laws were again amended in 1916 (the advancement fee raised to two Guineas)
It is worthy to note the keen interest the PGM (Lieut- Col Tanner Davy JP) took in the welfare of the Lodge, for in 1884 he personally installed the WM.
He repeated this act of service the following year, afterwards adjourning to the Farley hotel for refreshments, where Bro Charles Soper's band rendered the harmonies of the evening.
In 1886 Provincial Grand lodge was held under the banner of Charity mark 76, this was the last favour that the then PGM bestowed on it before his death, the Lodge minutes recorded a letter of sympathy being sent to his widow and the receipt of her thanks for the gesture. A donation was subsequently given by the Lodge to a memorial tablet.
In July 1887 VW Rev T W Lemon MA PG Chap (eng) was appointed chaplain of the Lodge, As Chaplain of the Lodge he continued his zeal for MMM and later presented the Lodge with a handsome photograph of himself!
It is also recorded that in 1885 WM James Holland and W Bro Archelaus Trout PPGADC presented a tracing board to the Lodge
Two stalwarts of the Lodge WM Browning PPGJD and one of the founders W Bro John M Hifley PPGSW advanced after the consecration of the Lodge also claim our acknowledgement: for the former continued in one office or another and more particularly as treasurer up until his death in 1895. his valuable service was recognised in 1884 when his brethren presented him an engraved gold pencil case and pen. W Bro Hifleys long secretarial service was also recognised in 1882 by the presentation of a very handsome pair of spectacles.
These two true and loyal officers worked long in double harness and the lodge upon their demise, which occurred within a month or two of one another, experienced a profound loss.
The Hon Sir H Stafford Northcote, Bart., C.B. was appointed Prov GM in 1890 and Captain G.S. Strode J.P. as his Deputy. the DPGM in 1892 assisted at the Installation of the then senior member of the Lodge W Bro J W Cornish. In 1900 the PGM (the Lord Northcote) wrote thanking the Lodge for their congratulations upon his appointment as Governor general of Bombay, and acceding to the request of the Province to retain his rank: at the same time bespeaking their hearty support for the DPGM. However in 1904 the PGM felt it incumbent upon him to resign and his deputy was duly appointed. he officially visited the Lodge accompanied by several Provincial officers in 1905
The jubilee of the Province was celebrated in 1908 and about this time a series of official visits were recorded and that to Elliott Mark 169 is duly recorded.
The lodge has upon more than one occasion made application to the Mark Benevolent Fund for assistance on behalf of its members and always with gratifying results. The Lodge subscriptions to the Fund have been insignificant, but a splendid effort was made by WBro FD Walke PPGIG to remedy the state of affairs and he attended the annual festival as a Steward. whilst in 1916 a very great effort was made in this part of the Province, when the total donations exceeded all previous years (£175 8s)
In 1917 the R W PGM (Major G S Strode) will preside at the Mark benevolent Fund Festival in London, when the Lodge in common with other Devonshire Lodges will feel it obligatory to make a supreme efforts to worthily support the PGM.
The Jubilee of the Lodge in 1915 was marked by provincial Grand Lodge being held under the banner of Charity 76. A banner was purchased by the members for this purpose. It was duly presented at the Provincial meeting in September, when W Bro J E Deans was elected and invested as PG treasurer and W Bro W E Foale was appointed and invested as PGJO - worthy honours on such an important occasion.
1916 onwards by James Dickson PADC Lodge Secretary
The first meeting of 1916 was an advancement of 3 new brethren at the same ceremony, this method of advancing several brethren at the same time was not unique with instances of 6 candidates being advanced on the one evening recorded (May 1918)
New Bylaws were duly confirmed by Grand Lodge on 5th September 1916.
Charity Mark, like many lodges, had several members on active service in the Great War.
Typical of so many others, Charity Lodge No.76 asked their Secretary to write to all members serving in the Forces, and the letter he dispatched on the 17th. April 1915, read:
On behalf of the Lodge I beg to convey to you their greetings and to express their regret at what necessarily keeps you absent from us and to say how much they will welcome you back again. They pray that the G.O.O.T.U will spare you and that you may soon return to your friends and to us. I am glad to say that our Lodge is progressing favourably and that we have work in store as we have three candidates for our next meeting.
"This year we celebrate our jubilee and we hope to make very special arrangements to fittingly commemorate the occasion. "We have ordered a new banner which is being paid for by the members subscribing among themselves without trenching on the Lodge funds at all. Unfortunately our rejoicing will be marred by the fact that our nation is at war and that some of our brethren are in the midst of danger, but we shell try to do justice to the occasion as we are certain our absent brethren would it so.
"With best of good wishes and hoping to hear from you when opportunity offers" Bro. H.F. Yeo
Bro Charles Gloyn was lost at the battle of Jutland on the 31st of May 1916 when his ship HMS Indefatigable was sunk by the German battlecruiser Von Der Tann, the lodge paid their respects to his memory on the 22nd of June 1916.
R B Barlow, FG Bennett, J Dicks, GW Ferris, L H Harding, T W Jenkins, SCL Millman, S J Renouf, EA Trout, LGR Turpin, W Woolland and Fred Williams all served with HM Forces.
EA Trout according to the Provincial website, had a very chequered Naval career, Lodges were called upon to perform unusual tasks. One was Charity Lodge's application to Mark Grand Lodge for a duplicate certificate for Bro. E.A. Trout, their Junior Warden. The origin al was lost in the disaster to H.M.S. Majestic. Disaster seemed to dog Brother Trout, for he served in six ships which were either sunk or disabled by the enemy, but each time he survived unscathed, eventually to return to his Lodge to continue his Mark activities.
It is also worthy to note that family members of the brethren of Charity 76 also made the ultimate sacrifice as demonstrated by the entry in the minutes of 16th October 1916 where the JW Bro J M Tolman (who was to become master in July 1920) thanked the lodge for their sympathies on the death of his son who was killed in France.
At the installation meeting of July 1916W Bro H S Sambell was installed as master and it also saw the appointment of a new secretary W Bro J E Deans, his predecessor W Bro Yeo (mentioned in the earlier history) was presented with a past masters jewel at the January meeting in 1917. A record of this was made in a local newspaper and as well as recognising his service to the Lodge it also made reference to the lodge having only 27 members when he joined and had now over 50.
With the end of the great war the attendance of brethren increased as many were now returning from active service and there were many advancements carried out.
An entry of particular note is made in Oct 1919 minutes where the brethren made a presentation the secretary W Bro Deans on behalf of his newly born son David in the form of a life governorship in the Mark Benevolent fund.
In January 1920 a proposal to meet 6 times per year instead of 4 was put forward, this indicates the level of work being carried out in the Lodge but the motion was not carried.
The minute book unfortunately at this time does not have a complete record of the summons but the Lodge carried out its business with new masters being Installed and new candidates being advanced.
An active social calendar has always been a feature of Charity Mark and in Jan 1921 an 'at home and whist drive' was held at the Royal hotel in Plymouth.
On the 8th of May 1923 the secretary W Bro JE Deans received a letter of thanks from the Duke and Duchess of York on congratulating them on their marriage.
In 1924 there was again a proposal to meet 6 times per year but as in 1920 this was not carried.
One thing that is striking is the very formal nature of the Lodge business, a letter of sympathy or a bereavement or injury was always proposed formally as demonstrated by the entry in Jan 1926 when 'it was proposed that a letter of sympathy be sent to W Bro Hooper who has met with an accident to his hand' Carried.
At the same meeting it was also proposed and carried that the Tylers dues would be waived in future.
Charity 76 always took an active part in the WDMMM and in April 1926 W Bro J J Squire was congratulated on being elected President of the association.
At the same meeting the indefatigable W Bro Trout said goodbye to the lodge for some time with the brethren wishing him God speed on his travels.
The Lodge was a supporter of the mark Benevolent Fund and in Oct 1927 voted to give 10 guineas to the fund. ( a figure of over £500 today)
In July 1930 W Bro Deans indicated his desire to retire as secretary , a post he had carried out diligently since 1916. Also at this meeting the W M W Bro Spencer 'gave a lucid explanation on the object of the New mark Building Fund and expressed his hope that the Lodge would support the PGM in this endeavour'
Charity has always been at the heart of Mark Masonry and it is gratifying to see that on the death of the Chaplain W Bro the Rev J F Buckler in April 1931 that the lodge voted in favour of making his widow a grant of £5 5shillings from the Poor and distressed Fund.
W Bro Yeo who had been secretary up until 1916 passed away in Oct 1931 and the lodge mourned his passing.
1934 saw a proposal for the Lodge to purchase a Ritual, which should be the required standard for future advancements.
In April 1935 w Bro Walke (treasurer) since 1919 gave his resignation from the post due to his impaired eyesight
In April 1936 the summons indicated that the Lodge would be placed in mourning for 3 months in consequence of the death of His Most gracious Majesty King George V, this was followed in May 1936 by another period of mourning for the R W Deputy Grand master Lord Aldenham.
The lodge decided that in July 1937 that every subscribing member be presented with a MMM token at the cost of the Lodge, these were presented t the meeting in October of that year,
The minutes of Oct 1939 are opened with the recording of the absence of many members of the Lodge due to the national emergency and that it was inadvisable for them to attempt the degree ceremony.
Even though there was a war on the Lodge still had an element of humour about it as in April 1940 the Tyler w Bro C Rowse enquired as to why his name had been omitted from the nomination of masters for the ensuing year, for the second time. The secretary W Bro SCL Millman apologised and recorded that the Tyler retired from the Lodge calmed by the balm of consolation and that the lodge instructed the secretary to write to the Tyler expressing his contrition. The secretary records that he cheerfully accepted this further humiliation!
As a result of damage sustained during an air raid In march 1941 the Lodge moved from Freemasons Hall Princes Sq Plymouth to Sincerity Masonic Hall Elliot St Plymouth, 'the attached letter may be used as authority until a new warrant is made to replace the one destroyed by enemy action.'
The lodge lost regalia and equipment and a claim for £35 was made to the authorities
The war was having a considerable effect on the country at this time such that it was difficult for new brethren to obtain mark masons aprons and provincial grand secretary issued a letter (see attached)
Also the Grand Master HRH Due of Kent was killed died on 25 August 1942, at the age of 39, along with fourteen others, on board RAF Short Sunderland flying boat W4026, which crashed into a hillside near Dunbeath, Caithness, Scotland, while flying from Invergordon, Ross and Cromarty, to Iceland on non-operational duties. The lodge, as was customary, entered a period of mourning for 6 months.
In October 1942 W Bro Gilson George Henry Rowe was advanced to the sublime degree of M.M.M., he would become master of the Lodge in October 1953 and installed by the PGM, he would remain a member of the Lodge for 66 years until his death in 2008. This is the longest period of membership to Charity Mark on record. He is connected to the lodge today by his son W Bro G S Rowe Prov GJW
In July 1946 the lodge was presented with a replacement copy of the original warrant by W Bro Ruse Provincial Grand secretary on behalf of the PGM
In July 1948 the PGM Rt W Bro C B Spencer TD OBE carried out the installation of the new master. In the October of the same year a vote of thanks was accorded to W Bro Rowse (who had been master in 1908/1909) for recovering the Lodge jewels from the ruins of the Masonic temple at Princess sq which had been destroyed by enemy action.
In July 1948 W Bro Mervyn Madge was appointed WM(he would later become treasurer for many years)
The then PGM Rt W Bro CB Spencer attended Charity on numerous occasions and in October 1949 he commented on the 1951 festival and asked for the Lodge's support.
In July W Bro Rowse was congratulated on being a member of Charity mark for 50 years.
Again in July 1951 the PGM Rt W Bro CB Spencer TD OBE carried out the installation of the new master W Bro R P Badock
At the same meeting A letter of thanks was read on behalf of the PGM thanking everyone in the Province for their support at the Festival. The province of Devonshire donated the 2nd largest sum ever recorded to a festival and he was very proud to say that the Province had 'marked well'
The 1950's was a steady and harmonious period of work for Charity mark 76, with advancements and Installations being carried out diligently.
1n Jan 1960 the lodge congratulated W Bro F D Walke (master in 1910) on being advanced 56 years earlier on the same night.
October 1963 saw congratulations being offered to W Bro Plimsaul on 44 years membership and W Bro Symons on 30 years membership
1965 saw Charity Mark celebrate its centenary year, with W Bro G Pengelly as master. It was marked by a dinner at the Dolphin restaurant Cooperative house Royal Parade Plymouth. In attendance were the RW PGM C B Spencer who presented a centenary certificate to the Lodge.
The Provincial Grand sec V W Bro Lt-Cdr JR Southamy MBE read the original warrant of the Lodge from 1865.
In October 1965 the Lodge agreed to change it byelaws and subsequently it moved from Elliot St to Mount Edgcumbe Masonic Hall Citadel Rd Plymouth and its new meeting dates would be the third Thursday in Jan March, May September and November
10th of January 1966 the Lodge first met in Mount Edgecumbe Masonic Hall.
W Bro Renouf celebrated 50 years of membership in the April of 1966 and in May the brethren presented him with an 'illuminated testimonial' as well as reading the minutes from 50 years ago, The WM invited him to take the chair but as it had been some 40 years since he last occupied it he politely declined.
In September 1966 W Bro M Madge resigned as treasurer after many years service
W Bro Norman Crocker was advanced in May 1968, he would become master in 1977 and serve as Lodge secretary from 1979 until 2004, his retirement after 25 years as secretary was commemorated by a presentation of a watch and a mark token in gold attached to a chain. W Bro Crocker was to be afforded Grand Lodge Honours during his distinguished Mark career.
W Bro Ray Palmer was advanced in March 1969, he became master in 1979 and served as treasurer for several years. W Bro D A Jackson was advanced in January 1971. W Bro Jackson is the senior member of the Lodge at this 150th anniversary, serving as almoner for many years.
The Lodge secretary at this time was W bro HFT Vickery who received Grand Lodge honours in 1971
In January 1974 the minutes record that the lodge sent a donation to the Royal Masonic hospital with a view to becoming a patron.
W Bro Peter Brookshaw was advanced in September 1974, he is another stalwart of the Lodge, He was installed as master in 1987 then serving as treasurer for many years. the Lodge was very proud when he became Lord mayor of Plymouth in 2011.
W Bro J P Bills was advanced in May 1975, W Bro Bills continues to serve the Lodge as chaplain today.
On the 20th of may 1975 w Bro FHA Jinman passed to the Grand Lodge Above 40 years after he was master of the Lodge.
The next current member to be advanced was W Bro MJ Hutchison in September 1975, he was proposed by W Bro Tolcher and seconded by the then Bro P Brookshaw. W Bro Hutchinson served the Lodge for many years as Charity steward and DC, he served as master in 1989, was afforded Grand Rank Honours and is a regular attendee of the lodge today.
May 1977 saw the Lodge commemorate W Bro Vickery who had served as Lodge secretary for 28 years, this presentation was made by W Bro Badock (treasurer)who had known him for over 50 years. W Bro N Crocker became master in November 1977 and his year in office is the only year up until that point where no new candidates were advanced,
It was announced at the September meeting of 1980 that Elliott Mark lodge had left the Mt Edgecumbe building and as Charity Lodge was in the habit of using their equipment and Lodge furniture the Lodge would have to make provision for these, typically the brethren of Charity Mark rallied and donated the required items.
In September 1981, our current Tyler W Bro R Downing was advanced as a MMM and in 1983, he left the lodge but rejoined and was installed as master in 1997, W Bro DA Jackson was installed as master by the outgoing master W Bro R Nethercott.
W Bro G S Rowe was advanced in May 1984, he was proposed by W Bro CG Buckley and seconded by his father W Bro GGH Rowe, W Bro Rowe became master in 2002 and continues his excellent ritual in the lodge today.
W Bro L Randall was advanced in May 1986, W Bro Randall served the lodge as master 1993 and latterly RofM.
W Bro Northmore was advanced in 1991 and served as master in 2001 and also served as Lodge secretary after W Bro N Crocker retired from the post.
In January 1993 V W Bro D Owen Assistant PGM presented W Bro Rowe his congratulations on being a member of Charity Mark for 50 years.
The late W Bro T Murphy was advanced in March 1993, W bro Tommy was one of the lodge great characters and was an active proposer and seconder of new members to charity Mark . He became master in 1998.
The Lodge bylaws were updated in May 1993 and approved by Grand Lodge and the following March W Bro AD Vangorph was advanced, he was later to become master in 2003.
Our current charity steward W Bro M D Freeman was advanced in September 1994, he became master in 2005. In November 1994 VW Bro Jack Bone Grand Master overseer congratulated the Lodge in becoming a patron of the benevolence Fund, he then invested the master, W Bro L GA Randall with the collarette.
On 31st of May 1995, the Lodge received a letter from the MMM Fund of Benevolence advising them that a donation of £1000 was sent to Children's Hospice South West on behalf of the brethren of Charity 76.
In January 1999 the lodge adopted new bye laws which saw them move from Mount Edgecumbe Masonic hall to Their current abode St Auybn Masonic Hall stoke Plymouth. with a subsequent change of meeting dates to the 2nd Thursdays in Jan, march, May Sept and Nov,
The Lodge first met at St Aubyn on the 11th March 1999 when W Bro DW Pearn was advanced, he became master in 2006 and serves as ADC today.
Our current Almoner w Bro J Bovingdon was advanced in May 1999 and served as master in 2007.
A Donation of £500 was made to the Primrose appeal in 1999 and it was marked by a photograph in the evening herald with the then WM T Murphy photographed with W Bro M Hutchison Charity Steward presenting the cheque.
The current PGSD W Bro r Dearing was advanced into the lodge as a MMM in January 2000, he served the Lodge as master in2008 and continues to support the Lodge and is the senior Deacon,
The current DC W Bro J Baxter PprGSD was advanced on 11th May 2000 and he served as master in 2009.
In May 2000 it was agreed to amend the lodge bylaws to incorporate a change of Installation month, this was done and approved by Grand Lodge, the new installation month now being March and hence why the Wm served for 16 months from November 1999 to March 2001.
W bro a M workman joined as a joining member in November 2001 and became master in 2013.
At the same meeting the first Charity Mark Burns night was proposed, this took the form of a normal lodge business meeting followed by the Burns supper, it was to evolve into a separate evening celebration and is well supported to this day.
May 2002 our current secretary was advanced into Mark masonry, W Bro Dickson , who became master in 2010 was proposed by W Bro J Bovingdon and seconded by w bro t Murphy.
In march 2003, W master GS Rowe invited the provincial Grand Chaplain to perform the task of dedicating the new past masters board for the lodge. W Bro Rowe installed W Bro Vangorph into the chair.
The most recent years of the lodge have been a continuation of the usual business of Mark masonry and in conclusion our current WM W Bro D Parry is confident that the lodge will continue in its traditions and Masonic responsibilities for many years to come.