The History of Lodge St Servanus No. 771

The history of Lodge St Servanus No. 771 by Bro. Gordon N.S. Neave

The 1950s


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The Fifties

Outside the routine matters of initiating, passing, raising, being generous with benevolence, subscribing to laudable charities, looking after and purchasing needed goods for the property, ably governing finances, visiting Sister Lodges and receiving in turn many visitors from other Lodges the early fifties was a relatively quiet period.

An interesting saga was that of the club bar business (I wonder did Calvinistic attitudes and staunch Presbyterianism play a part?). First reference is made by the Master at an Emergency Meeting in March 1951 stating that the request for a bar at the Annual Dance had been turned down in Committee. A year later one reads of the Annual Dance and "that there be no bar".

A further year passed and at a General Committee Meeting the question of a club licence was raised (this was after a decision had been taken to have a bar at the Annual Dance). The Secretary was asked to explore the matter of a club licence further and the costs, and to have same discussed and approved in Open Lodge. A week later a minute at a regular meeting reads as follows "Brother J.T. Leckie, D.M. objected to the decision of the General Committee to run a bar at the Annual Dance without the approval of the Lodge". The Master stated that the committee had to make all the arrangements for the dance and ruled that their decision on the matter was quite in order.

The recommendation of the General committee to make application for a club licence was submitted to the Lodge for approval or otherwise. Discussion and argument, motion and counter motion followed, the decision being that the motion i.e. application be made for a club licence, was approved by a large majority. A couple of weeks later this decision was rescinded when the Secretary pointed out that after taking advice, this decision should have been taken after "Notice of Motion". Two Brethren consequently proposed and served notice of motion and that the matter would again crop up at a regular meeting in due course. It did and despite an amendment to the contrary a clear majority were in favour of a club licence being applied for. A minute from a General Committee Meeting on 21st December, 1953 informs that a Club Licence had been granted and that the Committee run the bar at the Festival of St. John. This suggestion was readily accepted with much appreciation—I wonder will club licence and a bar be raised again?

The Scottish Masonic Home, Ault Wharrie at Dunblane was opened on Saturday 27th October 1951 and Lodge St. Servanus was represented at the opening. Over the years a close association and friendship has developed between the Lodge and the Home. This is understandable on account of their nearness to each other. Each year a number of guests from Ault Wharrie are invited to the Annual Christmas Party held in the Lodge for elderly male residents in the Alva area. Office bearers of Lodge St. Servanus and in particular, the Almoner, maintain close links with this admirable Home for elderly Brethren.

Intimation was given in January 1952 of the desire to open a new Lodge in Tullibody by certain brethren and in due course the erection and consecration took place in September 1952 of Lodge Ladywell No. 1474 Tullibody.

Early in 1952 Freemasons in Scotland were saddened to learn of the death of His Majesty King George VI, a Past Grand Master Mason. Instructions were received to the effect that all Lodges in Scotland would observe a state of mourning for three months.

Many names are mentioned in the minutes of the fifties and it is always difficult to decide who to comment upon in a sketchy history, but I feel mention should be made of Brother G. Campbell P.M. whose sudden death is reported in a minute at a meeting in March 1952. Brother Campbell held various offices and was R.W.M. 1926-27. His worth was probably that of being a first class Installing and Mark Master and was much in demand by Sister Lodges.

Brother J.T. Leckie was singled out for mention by the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master Brother Pitcairn on an annual visitation. He commented upon Brother Leckie's loyal and valuable services as the Lodge's Secretary over a period of eleven years. At this time Brother Leckie had just been appointed Substitute Master.

A nice gesture took place in October 1952 when P.M. Brother Charles Taylor number 32 on the Lodge's register, initiated on 11th January 1892, and at that time the oldest living member of Lodge St. Servanus was presented with a Life Membership. He said in his thank you speech "before becoming a Mason I had watched the mallets being made".

Church Services were held from time to time and the Chaplain of Alloa Lodge No. 69 the Reverend Peter Brodie, B.D., L.L.D., commenting in a reply to a vote of thanks he had received for conducting a service, stated how pleased he was to officiate and remarked that a Masonic Church Service should be an annual event in every Lodge. A few days later the Master, at a regular meeting, remarked "that the attendance of the Alva members at the Church Service, taken by the Reverend Brodie was very disappointing". Menstrie Parish Church and St. Serfs, Alva were the usual venues for church services.

Under competent business at a regular meeting held in November 1955 Brother Robert Beveridge presented the following Notice of Motion "that the Lodge House property be sold". .This would be decided at the regular meeting on 19th December, 1955. A decision to sell was taken and on 5th March 1956 an offer of £500 was accepted from Mr. William Dick, Lorne Cottage, Alva. Brother Beveridge 34 years on, a Past Master, is still active, very experienced, and a valued and influential elder statesman and Mason in Lodge St. Servanus.

In November 1958 it is reported in a communication from Grand Lodge that a new home, Randolph Hill in Dunblane, was available for brethren, dependants and Mason's widows who wished to convalesce there following a serious illness or an operation. The masonic Homes Board who decided that for the first two weeks of convalescence no charge will be made, but if the period be extended a charge of up to £4-4/-d per week be made. A fine example of masonic munificence.


The Sixties


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