ANCIENT AND HONOURABLE FRATERNITY OF FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS

Lodge of St. Paul No. 8229

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Although the Lodge Consecration took place on July 11th 1968, it was two years earlier that discussion commenced to consider the formation of a new lodge with membership to be primarily based on Freemasons resident in or near the Parish of Shurdington. Many meetings took place at The Greenway Hotel and at the Lilleybrook Hotel (now The Cheltenham Park Hotel). W Bro the Reverend Charles Markham, the non-stipendiary Curate at St Pauls Shurdington and Badgeworth acted as Chairman and subsequently was installed as the First Worshipful Master of the Lodge.

It was agreed that the new Lodge would be called 'The Lodge of St. Paul ' to establish the link with the Parish of Shurdington. This would be further recognised with the church appearing prominently on our Lodge Jewel and later on our Lodge Banner. The Banner was produced in 2003 by W. Bro Peter Marsh Past Provincial Grand Master of Gloucestershire from a legacy given by the late W. Bro John Carpenter, a founder member of the Lodge of St. Paul. It was dedicated at the Lodge Meeting on the 20th March 2003.

The design consists of the name of the Lodge, and the Square and Compasses. In the centre is the picture of the Parish Church of St. Paul, Shurdington with its distinctive tall, slender tower. Also on the banner is the sword and the opened Volume of the Sacred Law with the words "The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God". These words come from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians Chapter 6. Paul was under house arrest in Rome. Paul was a Roman citizen, and because of his Christian faith was not put in a common prison by the Romans, but kept in his own home with a Roman soldier guarding the door. Looking at the Roman soldier with his helmet, sword and breastplate, as his uniform, Paul used these items of equipment to list the qualities a Christian needs to equip himself as a follower of Jesus.

"Fasten on the belt of truth, for a breast plate put on integrity; let the shoes on your feet be the gospel of peace, to give you firm footing; and with all these take up the great shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the burning arrows of the evil one. Accept salvation as your helmet, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God"

After much hard work and resolve by many Founding members, the United Grand Lodge of England granted a warrant 13th March 1968 and the Consecration Ceremony took place at The Lilleybrook Hotel on Thursday July 11th, 1968, at 4.00pm in what was then the Hotel Ballroom which had been specially adapted as a Masonic Temple. This was to be the meeting place for the Lodge of St Paul in its early years until it moved to the Masonic Hall. Portland Street. In those early years we were often 90 to well over a 100 members dining at the festive board. Before each meeting we had to set up the temple and afterwards return the furniture etc to the basement!

Although the association with the Parish of Shurdington may not now be as strong as was first envisaged over 40 years ago, we do thankfully retain that connection through our Lodge emblem and we trust that this will continue for many years to come.

The current brethren and their families and friends had a most joyful celebration to mark the Ruby Jubilee on 12th July 2008 which was made more special by the attendance of the three remaining founder members. Proceedings commenced with a Thanksgiving Service at the Church of St Paul, Shurdington. The RW Provincial Grand Master generously gave dispensation for the wearing of regalia and the procession of the Lodge Banner within the Church. The Lodge copy of the Volume of the Sacred Law was also used during the ceremony where the readings were given by the three Founders. The Lodge of St. Paul is directly associated with the Church at Shurdington. The Founding Master was the Rev Charles Markham, incumbent at Shurdington & Badgeworth and the gracious and distinctive church steeple features on the Lodge emblem and Banner.

After the church service the brethren and guests retired to the Cheltenham Park Hotel for dinner. This venue again has a particular association with the Lodge of St Paul as the Consecration Ceremony in 1968 took place here when it was known as the Lilleybrook Hotel. The Lodge of St. Paul used this venue for Lodge meetings for many years before eventually moving into Portland Street Cheltenham. The day was full of many happy memories of times past and we were so pleased to be able to share these with our remaining Founders.

Details of our Lodge Family Tree may be found here

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