Meetings: 3rd Thursday – September, November, December, January, February, March, April
Installation: 3rd Thursday – October
Web site: www.eccleston7754.org.uk
Secretary: Jason Astley
The first meeting of the founders of which we have any indication is the 11 August 1960 at the De Trafford Arms, Croston. The first minutes we have recorded are for the 2 November 1960 when the founding brethren present signed the forms from Provincial Grand Lodge for the founding of a new lodge; to obtain their dates of raising and clearance certificates from their mother lodges and to forward these to the acting secretary, W/Bro W Rasburn. As this same meeting the officers for the new lodge were decided, with W/Bro F Clitheroe PPRGD as W/Master Designate, W/Bro A S Rutter S/W, W/Bro I G Parker JW, W/Bro O Hart Chaplain, W/Bro E Knowles Treasurer, W/Bro W Rasburn Secretary, W/Bro J T Cank PPGD DC, Bro W Bamford SD, Bro JT Holden JD, W/Bro H Bleakley ADC, Bro R Hart Almoner, Bro W Blamire Asst Secretary, Bro F Blackledge IG, Bros S Banks, M C Thompson, H Bradburn, F Robinson, W Farrington, J Blackstone, Stewards and Bro C C Smith PPrGPurs as Tyler.
The lodge would hold eight meetings per year: September to April inclusive, on the third Thursday of the month. At a meeting held at the De Trafford Arms on Thursday the 9 February 1961 the brethren learned that the MW Grand Master had acceded to their request to form a new lodge and that it would be no 7754. At this same meeting it was passed that provincial fees of £5-7-0 and Grand Lodge fees of £13-5-6 should be paid. Also, that the services of the secretary be deemed as payment of subscriptions, and that the master have the privilege of inviting two guests free of dining fee. It was passed that at any ballot for membership, that two black balls would exclude. At the conclusion of the meeting it was decided to hold a practice at the De Trafford Arms on Thursday 12 January 1961 at 7.30pm. At a meeting held before the practice on the 12 of January, the founders were informed that WBro Sir Thomas Hargreaves PGD Ass Pr GM and WBro T Ainsworth had agreed to present the WM Designate and WBro G Marsh P PR GDC and WBro J Prescott P Pr G W to act as installing IPM and IG respectively. The rector of St Marys Church in Eccleston had given his permission for the church to be used on the lodge summons after the consecration ceremony.
At a meeting held at the De Trafford Arms on Thursday the 9 February 1961 two founders were asked to approach Leyland Masonic Hall for a permission to hold the consecration there and a letter from the Prov Grand Secretary informed them that the Provincial Grand Master could consecrate the lodge on Tuesday 30 May 1961. The letter also asked that a number of founders attend the Provincial Office on the 19 April that year. They also read out the names of five people who had made an application to join the lodge, one of which was Mr Alan Wilbert Jones, who sadly passed away July 2018, and he celebrated 50 years in masonry in October 2011.
The committee then decided that all five applicants be interviewed on Thursday the 20th April at 7.30pm and invitations be sent to all the masters in the Ormskirk group, inviting them to the consecration.
At the final founder meeting held at the De Trafford Arms on the 11th May 1961, the menu was melon, soup, halibut, turkey with new potatoes and vegetables, fruit salad and fresh cream, cheese and biscuits, and coffee, at a cost of 17/- plus 5/- towards the cost of the wine.
It was agreed that Bro J Gill be accepted as a joining member and Mr W Gibbons, Mr A W Jones, Mr W H Birtles, Mr J R Shorrock were agreed as fit and proper persons to join freemasonry in general and Eccleston Lodge in particular.
The lodge was consecrated and the first master was installed on Tuesday 30th May 1961 at 2.30pm in the Palm Court at Leyland Masonic Hall. The consecrating officer was Right Worshipful Bro L E Rutherford Prov GM assisted by his Wardens, and the Deputy Provincial Grand Master WBro T.W. Ward as Installing Officer. Along with WBro C.J. Park Assistant Provincial Grand Master there were 23 founding brethren, 21 consecrating and installing brethren and 129 visiting brethren present. The lodge made a donation to Masonic Charity of £50 guineas.
The first four meetings saw one joining member and four initiations. The fifth meeting was a double second degree and the sixth meeting saw the third degree for the first initiate into the lodge, Bro Wm Gibbons. This meeting also saw a visit from WBro C.J. Park PGD Assistant PGM.
For the first installation they once again returned to Leyland Masonic Hall and continue to share the installation meetings between Leyland and Ormskirk. Then on 15 February 1968 a notice of motion was given in lodge that the lodge move to Leyland Masonic Hall, whilst staying members of the Ormskirk Group. This was carried unanimously by the brethren present.
At the lodge meeting held on 21 March 1968 there was a notice of motion to change the by-laws that read that the lodge meet at Leyland Masonic Hall. The last meeting before the move was the installation of Bro John Blackstone who went on to be Chairman of the Leyland group for many years. This was held at Ormskirk Masonic Hall on Friday 19 April 1968.
The first meeting of the lodge to be held at Leyland after the move was held on Thursday 19 September 1968 when Bro R A Hart was raised to the degree of a master mason. At the meeting held on 16 April 1970 it was balloted to move the installation meeting to the September. When the installation was later moved to October, the September meeting became founders’ night until the lodge no longer had sufficient founders to fill the offices.
The lodge continued to grow and prosper and celebrated its Silver Jubilee in 1986 when Bro G R Eastham was Worshipful Master. On Thursday the 20 November 1997 – following many discussions with Grand and Provincial Grand Office and with several communications with the College of Heralds together with untold hours of dedicated work by Mrs Jean Oxley and with assistance from WBro Ken Oxley – the lodge dedicated its banner. At that time four of the lodge founders, WBro’s I.G. Parker, R. Hart, A.E. Marsden and J. Blackstone were still members of the lodge.
The lodge has moved on over the last 50 years and today it is a vibrant lodge with a good blend of youth and experience.