History

FOUNDERS

Just after the turn of the century, certain brethren mostly from the Lodge of Good Fellowship No. 276 realised that that they were the only Lodge in the rapidly expanding town and clearly saw the need for another Lodge. With the support of others they formed a proposal to petition for a new Lodge, they were the founders and they were:

of Unite Lodge No 697 and first Worshipful Master

 

W.Bro. F.E.Crate

Curate of Springfield

of Lodge of Good fellowship No 276

 

W.Bro. T.J.D.Cramphorn

Merchant

 

W.Bro. C.F.Godfrey

Corn Merchant

 

W.Bro. F.Spalding.

Photographer

 

W.Bro. O.C.Cramphorn

Merchant

 

W. Bro.W.Cowell

Secretary to a Public Co

 

W.Bro. J.P.Lewin

Land Steward

 

Bro.F.H.Dennis

Engineer

 

Bro.S.Rodd

Auctioneer

 

Bro.H.I.Chapman

Jeweller

 

Bro.A.G.Cleale

Ironmonger

 

Bro.C.W.Hayward

Institution Manager

 

Bro.IB.H.Low

Surveyor

 

Bro.E.H.Ainsworth

Engineer

 

Bro.E.J.Bunn

Draper

of Lodge of St Peters No 1024

 

W. Bro.C.L.Finch

Registrar of Births & Deaths

 

W.Bro W. F Howard Flanders

Barrister

of Lodge of True Friendship No 160

 

Bro. W.A.Leech

Gunsmith

 

WHY SPRINGFIELD

Several of the founders were already residents in Springfield and it was thought to be a good name to adopt from its’ historical past.

The village of Springfield in the Saxon era was the largest village in the County. In the Domesday Book (1086), the name is given as SPRINGINGHEFELDA and was an entirely separate village from Chelmsford. Even fifty years ago it was still separate. It later bore the name SPRINGFIELD - or field of springs.

In 1421 a brass effigy of Thomas Coggeshall, who was at Agincourt, was placed in the nave of the Springfield church, where it is still stands today.

The connections with the United Sates of American are almost entirely due to those who left the parish and set up home in the New World. One was a church warden of All Saints Church by the name of Pynchon, who in 1636 bought some land in Massachusetts, where he became the largest local landowner and used the name of Springfield. That village grew to a large town where Smith and Weston established their arms factory and who gave the name to the Springfield rifle. Massachusetts has now grown to the size of a city producing weaponry as well as other goods.

Other towns in United Sates bearing the same name can be found in Illinois, Ohio and Missouri.

THE FORMING OF THE LODGE

The Emergency Lodge meeting of the Lodge of Good Fellowship 276 at the Assembly Rooms Crane Court was opened in ample form, on 21st day of June 1906 and in accordance with Ancient custom in solemn prayer. The Worshipful Master then stated the object of the meeting, to consider and if approved, recommend to The Most Worshipful Grand Master a petition for a warrant to establish a new lodge in the precincts of the Parish of Springfield, Essex, to be called the Springfield Lodge or some other classical name in harmony with the sentiments of the Founders.

W.Bro. J.P.Lewin PPSGW, PM and Treasurer after some observations in general terms and much pathos, stated that although he did not quite approve of the establishment of a New Lodge in the district, nevertheless he would not oppose it, should the Founders of the New Lodge be disposed to make solemn promise not to lower the fees under their Mother Lodge, and would take every care with prudence and Forethought to admit none but worthy men as members. Under those conditions only he made proposition that the New Lodge be carried into effect. W.Bro. Secretary after a few remarks, the Petition, was seconded it, and it was then duly put, to the brethren and carried and signed by the W Master in open lodge, convened for that purpose. There being no further business on the agenda. The Lodge of Emergency was closed in due form and Solemn Prayer in accord with ancient rites.

The Brethren Present at the Emergency Lodge meeting of the Lodge of Good Fellowship 276 on 21st day of June 1906

 

W.Bro. C.F. GODFREY

WM

 

Bro. E.H.AINSWORTH

SW

 

Bro. I.GOWER

JW

 

W.Bro. J.P.LEWIN

Treasurer

 

Bro. S.RODD

 

 

W.Bro. E.SHEDD

Secretary

 

Bro. H.H.HAYLOCK

 

 

Bro. E.W.L.RUNN

 

 

Bro. W,J. SLIPPER

 

 

Bro. H.CHAPMAN

 

 

Bro. C.W.HAYWARD

 

 

Bro. R.FRANCIS

 

 

W.Bro. A.R.CHAMBERLAYNE

 

 

Bro. J.B.H.LOW

 

 

Bro. T.H.MARTIN

 

 

Bro. W.RIST

 

 

Bro. L.R.KNIGHT

 

 

W.Bro. A.SINERMORE

 

 

Bro. AJ.CLEALE

 

 

W.Bro. R.F.BRICK-DALE

 

 

Bro. W.HOLLINGWORTH

Tyler

 

W.Bro. F.W.B.STOCKTON

 

 

W.Bro. W.COWELL

 

THE CONSECRATION CEREMONY

On 4th December 1906. the Springfield Lodge was solemnly consecrated at the Crane Court Rooms which were on the site of the National Westminster Bank in High Street. Chelmsford.

The Consecration Ceremony was performed by the R.W. Provincial Grand Master, the Hon. Mark Lockwood assisted by W. Bro. J.H. Salter, Deputy ProvGM. Among the visitors were many well-known masons from various other lodges in Essex including the oldest one, No 51, the Angel Lodge Colchester. The whole ceremony was reported quite fully in the Essex County Standard of the day and related that the festive board was held at the Saracens Head Hotel where some seventy brethren dined together. Photographs of the consecrating officers are in the minute book for that day

At the conclusion of the ceremony, W. Bro. F.E. Crate was installed as the first W.M. and invested the following officers.

 

Bro W.J Slipper.

SW

 

Bro F.H Dennis

JW

 

W.Bro C.F Godfrey

Secretary

 

Bro S Rodd

SD

 

Bro H.I. Chapman

JD

 

Bro C.W Hayward

IG

 

W.Bro. F. Spalding

DC

 

Bro A.G. Cleale

Steward

 

Bro W.A. Leech

Steward

 

Bro J.B.H. Low

Steward

A committee was formed to frame the bylaws..

Subsequent Lodge meetings were held for some while in the Church Hall, Springfield,(now the Old Court Theatre) opposite the County Gaol (Chelmsford Prison) and. It must be remembered that the Lodge was originally a temperance Lodge, the festive board consisting of sandwiches, cakes and cups of tea. This was prepared in a back room of the then church hall by the wives of the brethren. Mothers of small children used to help and would take them along they were told to keep quiet during the meetings but afterwards were allowed to run around, just like children still do and naturally they knew most of the early members, especially those who made a fuss of them. Mind you, this was all before the First World War

The Lodge Banner was presented in 1907 by W.Bro. T.J.D. Cramphorn and his brother, W.Bro. O.C.Cramphorn, it was the work of Miss Newman, teacher of needlework at the Chelmsford School of Art. It is still displayed behind the Master's Chair at every meeting.

THE FIRST LODGE MEETINGS

The first Lodge meeting of 1907 included two ceremonies, one to initiate Rev. F.S Paynter Rector of Springfield and Mr. Charles Green sexton at the church and who later became Tyler for many years. Both were passed and raised at subsequent meetings. Even in those days the ceremonies were reported as being performed in an elegant, impressive and feeling manner.

All the names of the past brethren are faithfully recorded and it would be difficult to pick out certain names without being biased. It is however recorded that the Rev, and Mrs.Paynter held a Lodge garden party at the Rectory which was appreciated. The same Reverend brother presented a Mannburg organ so that accompanying music could be provided at the Lodge meetings. It was not until 1913 that a Lodge of Instruction was organised and this was held over Cramphorns shop in the High Street Chelmsford which is no longer there.

1914 - 1918

At the outbreak of the First World War, several members were called up for military services but the Lodge still carried on with those who were left for a number enlisted as special constables doing local duties. In 1916, the church hall having been requisitioned by the military a dispensation was obtained permitting the next meeting to be held in the Trinity Church Infants School. In September 1916 It was proposed that the Rt. Rev. J.E. Watts-Ditchfield, the Bishop of Chelmsford, be accepted as a joining member together with Capt. J.A. Unett, D.S.O. the Chief Constable of Essex. Later in that year, a further dispensation was obtained for the next meeting to be held in the Officers Recreation Room of the County Gaol (Chelmsford Prison), the War Office having taken over the previous halls. It was at this meeting that the Bishop and Chief Constable were admitted as joining members; W.Bro. C.F.Godfrey was then installed as W M with the Bishop as S.W. This appears to be the only installation Lodge meeting to be held authentically in a prison in the British Isles. It was in that same year. On 27th November 1917, the Lodge meeting was held in the Shire Hall, for which a dispensation was obtained it was then that the Rt. Rev. J.E. Watts-Ditchfield, Bishop of Chelmsford was installed as Master..

Following the Armistice, the business members were joined by members of the local industry including the Essex County Council which brought everyone in touch with local notability and the pioneers in their separate fields. Engineers joined in the assemblies. The usual Lodge business proceeded without hitch during the 1920s and looking down the list of members there are some who are but names but still remembered as kind friends. Reading down the list of members, we have had Mayors of Chelmsford and inventors of wireless telegraphy as well as electrical designers to grace our meetings.

MASONIC HALL CHELMSFORD

It was not until 1929 that a Masonic Hall was suggested for Chelmsford and the Lodge gave it their support by subscribing to share in the holding company. Here again, the Lodge paid quite a large part in assisting in its formation and provided a painting of the Lodge crest which is still displayed over the entrance door. Records show that the cost was defrayed by W.Bro. Unett. It was in September 1930 that a resolution was passed for the Lodge to be moved from the Church Hall, Springfield to the new Freemasons' Hall beside the County Hotel and a special meeting was called in confirmation. The first Lodge meeting at the new venue was held on 25th November 1930 for which a dispensation was gained. It was the usual installation meeting when all the previous year's officers were advanced one step. It is recorded that the organ in the present temple was presented by W.Bro. Stamp-Wortley in 1930 for which he was openly thanked.

1939 - 1945

The outbreak of the Second World War seems to have had little effect on the workings of the Lodge, only a few were called to the colours, among them was W.Bro. E.H. Crate, who could not continue as master, his place was temporarily taken by his father who was then chaplain. The subscriptions for those in the armed services were reduced to 10/6 (£0.52p).

At the November meeting of 1942 it is recorded that the noise of hostile aircraft was heard and in spite of the loud and persistent booming of the anti- aircraft guns, the ceremony proceeded calmly and without interruption. It was reported that after thirty-six years as D.C. W.Bro. Slipper, a founder, had to resign owing to his many higher Masonic duties

The War seems to have passed without interrupting the progress of the Lodge which went from strength to strength and 2006 the Lodge celebrated its 100th anniversary the Provincial Executive attended the meeting held on 23rd January 2007