Baring Lodge No. 2602
20th November 2014
- The Masonic Centre,
- 36 Cromer Road,
- NR26 8RR
W.M: William J. Hannant, Pine Tree Farm, Norwich Road, Cromer, Norfolk, NR7 9JU
Tel: 01263 512280 (Home) 07771 508820 (Mobile)
Secretary: Neil White, 1 Owl Barn, Cromer Road, Sidestrand, Cromer, NR27 0LT
Tel: 01263 576681 (Home) 07957 617805 (Mobile)
Almoner: Dougie W. Reid, ‘Manorwood’, Church Road, Thorpe Market, Norwich, NR25 6DR
Tel: 01263 834938
Next Master: Royston C. Young, 4 Blowlands Lane, Upper Sheringham, NR26 8TQ
Tel: 01263 825978
NOTES FROM THE ARCHIVES
In the early 1890’s there were no regular Masonic Lodges meeting in the Cromer or Sheringham areas. Members of Union Lodge No 52 (this historic lodge still meets in Norwich) proposed the formation of a lodge to be held in Cromer to meet the needs of the area. Baring Lodge was duly consecrated on March 16th 1896 as a daughter lodge to Union Lodge.
The consecration was held at Tucker’s Hotel in Cromer, and performed by the Grand Secretary assisted by the Deputy Provincial Grand Master and other dignitaries. W Bro. Robert Fenner was installed as the first Master of the lodge. Around 80 masons were present and 15 of the then 17 Norfolk lodges were represented. The Lodge Bible was presented by Bro J. Lovelace and the evening concluded with a banquet at the Hotel de Paris.
The next meeting set the pace for the infant lodge, there were five Initiates! The members came from many professions or trades, although it must be said that the retail trade – grocers, ironmongers etc. featured perhaps more than others. Over the last century the members continue to be of diverse professions.
The lodge continued to meet and dine at Tucker’s Hotel for a couple of years and then for 20 years moved around Cromer: February 1898 to the Hotel Metropole October 1904 to the Cliftonville Hotel October 1916 back to the Hotel Metropole February 1920 to the East Cliffe Hotel February 1924 to the Cliffe House March 1927 to the Royal Cromer Hotel October 1928 to the Red Lion Hotel.
As the Red Lion ‘lodge room’ was unable to hold the number of visitors, the installation meetings were held at the Hotel Metropole, dining at the Red Lion and latterly meeting at the Red Lion and dining at the Cliftonville. The Red Lion then remained the meeting place until the move to the current home at the Masonic Centre in Sheringham which took place with the February 1986 meeting.
The 50th anniversary was celebrated at the 1945 installation meeting in the Red Lion with Bro. H. Park taking the Master’s chair. After the ‘war-time’ meal, the Tyler, Bro. W. Smith was presented with a cheque for 50 guineas and an album containing the names of all the members, in recognition of his then 50 years service to the Lodge. At that time he was the only remaining member of the original 1896 Lodge. The evening concluded with a concert.
The minute book pertaining to this meeting also contains an interesting printed leaflet indicating the numbers of Initiations, Passings, Raisings and joining members for each of the 50 years. Our first Master, W.Bro. Fenner holds the record with 10 Initiations, Passings and Raisings under his gavel!
The 16th March 1996 saw the Centenary of the Baring Lodge consecration and a special Centenary Meeting was held on this anniversary, followed with a celebration dinner at the Northrepps Cottage.
The minutes of the meetings until recent times were hand written in bespoke minute books and we are fortunate that all except one are extant and in the lodge’s possession.
The lodge name ‘Baring’ is derived from the family name of Lord Cromer and it his family coat of arms used on Baring Lodge’s banner. There is however a difference on the crest printed on the summons or notice of meeting; this is derived from the coat of arms for Lord Cromer. The inscription or motto ‘Probitate et Labore’ is again from the Baring family coat of arms and translates to By ‘Probity and Industry’.
The Tyler – or outer guard at Baring lodge meetings is a member of the lodge and usually serves for a few years. However, during most of the first century of Baring lodge’s meetings, this position was held by two long serving masons. The situation then, was that the Tyler received payment for his services and the minutes for the December meetings often showed the membership voting a Christmas gratuity of 1 guinea for the Tyler. During WW2, the minutes show two Tylers being present – It is thought that the restricted public transport necessitated this.
During the two world wars, Baring Lodge lost members and sons of members who were serving King and Country. A poignant reminder is the Grand Lodge Certificate still waiting to be presented to one of our members lost in the 1914-18 conflict.
The minutes and other surviving paperwork of the lodge, gives little idea of the differences in life in 1896 compared to today. The visitors to the lodge came from around the Province and even from beyond – just as today: but how did they get to Cromer? Train, horse and trap or did they stay over for the night? However, reading the minutes for a hundred years ago shows that the meeting was just the same as one today. Let us hope that we can say the same at the two hundredth anniversary of Baring Lodge.
Baring Lodge Minute Books
- The New Ashlar No 20 – Autumn 1984
- The Norfolk Chronicle – March 16th 1945