Berkshire Masonic Centre
Kennet Lodge was founded on the 22nd September 1922, and meetings were held at the Masonic Hall, Greyfriars Road, Reading, on the fourth Wednesday in the months of September, October, November, January, February and March. Traditionally a Christmas event was held in December, and a Ladies Festival later in the year – a practice that Lodge members have tried to continue.
Meeting on Wednesday’s was chosen as a number of the Founders were in the retail trade, and Wednesday was traditionally a half day for traders and retailers. The meeting days have been retained, with rehearsals on the Monday preceding the meetings, and Lodge of Instruction the week before the meetings.
Over the years the Lodge attracted a number of members with a building, surveying, architectural or business background, and now has a mixed membership covering a very broad range of occupations.
In common with many other Lodges, Kennet Lodge moved to the Sindlesham Masonic Centre in 1969, and enjoys meetings in oak paneled rooms, which were moved from the original Greyfriers meeting rooms.
Founders Jewel and Lodge Banner
During a masonic meeting past Masters of the lodge, can be seen wearing a past Masters Jewel on their breast pocket.
When Kennet Lodge was established in 1922 the 18 Founding Members commissioned a bespoke Jewel to commemorate the dedication of the Lodge, (see image left), sadly most of these were lost.
But one of the few remaining Founder’s Jewels found its way back to Kennet Lodge 4414 via W. Bro Alan West, who restored it, and it can now be seen affixed to the cushion, which supports the Volume of the Sacred Law (VSL) and is displayed at every meeting.
In 2019 a second Founders Jewel was found by Bro. Robert Hubbard-Clark who presented it to the Lodge. This Jewel will / has been restored and will be presented to each IPM to wear during his year in that office.
Little was known of its history, and on viewing the Jewel, the Brethren wanted to know why there was a camel on the ribbon, this was one of the rare occasions the Provincial Museum was unable to help.
The Secretary at the time, W. Bro. Robin Kent, investigated, and found the answer probably lies in ‘an honourable understanding’. Kennet Lodge was founded in 1922 by a ‘personal, honourable understanding’, as a Temperance Lodge. This prevailed until 1960 when ‘changing times’ prompted a ballot to revoke the temperance. The proposition was carried with two dissentions and one abstainer (no pun intended!).
So what has the ‘honourable understanding’ to do with a camel. The answer can be found in a book called ‘How to Read a Church’which explains the imagery and symbolism used in religious buildings. The entry under camels states; ‘Since the camel can go many days without drinking it became symbol of temperance’.
Also on the Jewel and on the Lodge Banner, the River Kennet is depicted, which runs through Reading makes its confluence with the Thames near the Old Gasworks.
The Latin motto on the Banner “Nulla Pallescere Culpa”, the translation of which was provided by the late Revd. Peter Newton, the Provincial Chaplain. In his oration at the 75th Anniversary of Kennet Lodge in 1997. W.Bro. Peter said “the moto reads ‘To turn pale from no crime’, ‘To be conscious of no guilt or ‘Pale at no fault’. The best everyday interpretation of it, and the motto that the members of Kennet Lodge should live by, is “To have a clear conscience”
Perhaps the Founders felt that the avoidance of alcohol, in an age when temperance was strongly supported by prevailing religion, was instrumental in the preservation of a clear conscience! needless to say, the temperance rule was dropped, as societal attitudes changed, though the original motto, if given sufficient thought, serves well as a guiding principle of a good Mason.
1. Kennet Lodge preserves a reputation, taking pride in its execution of its ritual, secured in part through its older members having been schooled by an earlier inspirational Director of Ceremonies. It is sustained by an energetic group of new members (Light Blue Masons).
2. Festive Boards (meals after our meetings) are characterized by good humour and are described by visitors as welcoming and ‘very friendly’.
3. New members are made particularly welcome, meeting as many members as possible informally before their interview. They are offered exceptional support as they move forward, beyond Initiation.
4. Kennet Lodge has a growing group of members who regularly visit a number of other Lodges on a reciprocal basis, in particular Kennet has an excellent connection with Shiplake Lodge in Henley, Hungerford Lodge in Newbury, which is encouraged by the dual membership by some of the members. Plus Kennet Lodge is looking to expand future visiting with our daughter Lodge Old Sunning, mother Lodge Greyfriars and grandmother Lodge Reading Lodge of Union.
5. Lodge of Instruction meetings have informality, encouraging members to volunteer for pieces of work above their current office, and doing much to promoting cordial interactions at the individual and group level. Latterly with inputs from The Grand Lodge information database (Solomon), and other known sources, assist the understanding of members in the context, symbolism, language and detail of our Masonic Ritual.
6. In recent years, the Kennet Lodge has undertaken in-depth reviews of its operation and membership, identifying the steps necessary to keep membership and participation buoyant, and to aide improvement.
7. The recent recruitment of a team of younger, keen, conscientious members, drawn from a variety of backgrounds, has given the Lodge a boost, and is being used as a basis to try to attract further members. With an active Lodge Membership Officer has been appointed.
8. Fellowship within the Lodge, and beyond, is strong, with the Mentor, Almoner and other Care Team members active in their supportive/developmental roles.
9. Kennet Lodge is currently engaged in trying to recover the active membership of a small number of former members, whose work situation or family commitments prevented them from continuing at an earlier stage in their Masonic life.
10. In anticipating its Centenary celebrations in 2022, Kennet Lodge 4414 is keen to attract a further supply of suitable members, and is planning appropriate events to mark the occasion.