Witness a Gavel Raid at Old Wilsonians Lodge No 6602

W Bro Gregory Kirby LGR, Secretary of Old Wilsonians Lodge No 6602, reports

On Saturday 5th February 2022, at 11 am, nine members of the Old Wilsonians Lodge 6602, led by their Worshipful Master W Bro Richard Thorne, gathered at Mark Masons’ Hall to join the Old Kimboltonians Lodge 7204 for their regular meeting by dispensation in London; far from their usual venue the impressive “Kimbolton Castle”.  

Raiding party left to right: W Bro Terry Hall LGR, Bro Dan Willmott, Bro Jeff Casserley, W Bro Gregory Kirby LGR, W Bro Richard Thorne, W Bro Gary Willmott, Br. Keith Joyner LR, Bro Tom Holmes & Bro Mark McGhee.

Their mission was to rescue the Travelling Gavel. Both schools are members of the Federation of Old School Lodges, and W Bro Terry Hall, Federation Membership Secretary and London Rep, had launched the Travelling Gavel initiative in order to encourage Federation member Lodges to visit each other. The Old Wilsonians, therefore, rose to the challenge and booked in to attend, not only to Raid the Gavel but to witness a first-class raising ceremony for Bro Thomas Campbell. The ceremony was ably conducted by the Past Masters of the Lodge and followed by a splendid festive board.

After the usual toasts, the opportunity presented itself to claim the gavel and Bro Hall, who also happens to be the Old Wilsonians Lodge mentor, rose to his feet to press the case. However, the Old Kimboltonians were not giving it up lightly and cited clause six – that the meeting has to be a regular meeting. Bro Hall, being very familiar with the rules, was able to win the day by reminding our hosts that their Emergency meeting by dispensation was held on a regular basis, and that any further banter on the subject would require Bro Hall to wear another hat – namely the "Overseer of the Gavel".

The Old Kimboltonians admitted they were always intending to surrender the gavel, but wanted to test the robustness of the rules first. Under the watchful eyes of The Chairman of the Federation, W Bro Michael Button, and the Joint Secretary, W Bro John Hubbard, the Old Kimboltonian's WM, W Bro Max Constant, duly presented the Travelling Gavel to W Bro Richard Thorne to the delight and applause of all present. As the Old Wilsonians prepared to leave with their trophy, it was made very clear that the Old Kimboltonians would be plotting to retrieve it.

The Old Wilsonians' next regular meeting was on Thursday 3rd March 2022, at Mark Masons’ Hall, and the word was out that the Old Brentwoods, led by the Assistant Metropolitan Grand Master VW Bro Simon White, would be in attendance to "Rescue the Gavel". Eight Brethren signed in to attend the meeting, another first-class initiation ceremony, and dine afterwards. The Festive Board is where the Gavel is claimed, and the successful party also donates to the host Lodge charity account as a token gesture. To this end, Bro Simon made his pitch and W Bro Terry, standing in for Bro Richard, graciously surrendered the Travelling Gavel. The Old Brentwoods were so keen to rush off with their trophy they missed the Port donated by Bro Richard Thorne as a fine for not himself being present due to business commitments overseas. Having rescued and lost the Travelling Gavel am sure the Old Wilsonians have joined the Old Kimboltonians as those seeking to snatch it back ?

The Federation of School Lodges was founded after the Second World War and held its first meeting in January 1949. The member schools are listed here: https://wwWschoollodges.org.uk/about-us/member-lodges and if your school is eligible and wishes to "Retrieve the Gavel" the rules are here:  https://wwWschoollodges.org.uk/the-travelling-gavel

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 48 April 2022 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.

Read more articles in the Arena Issue 48 here.